For affordable, vibrant nightlife in a ski resort it’s hard to beat Andorra, and Arinsal is among the best resorts for lively après-ski scenes, with around two dozen bars lining the main street.
The Derby (tel: +376 835 706; www.thederbyirishbar.com), an Irish bar, has a lively atmosphere most evenings.
Other options along the main Carretera General drag include La Jungla, which has a laid-back ambience with chill-out music, disco-pub Solana, a good option for later on in the night.
Arinsal has a good selection of restaurants for its size, with offerings ranging from Basque, Catalan and French regional cuisine to international styles you might not expect to find in an Andorran ski area.
Most of the restaurants in Arinsal are located along the main Carretera General thoroughfare. CISCO’S (tel: +376 836 398) is a gastropub that opens at 1500 and offers tapas and snacks (complemented by a lively atmosphere), then a full Mediterranean menu in the evening.
While those wishing to sample something a little more traditional should head to Sagarotegui Herri (tel: +376 838 566), which serves excellent Basque specialities.
Other good options include El Bosc (tel: +376 835 519) for pizza and burgers, El Moli (tel: +376 835 281) for curries, and Surf (tel: +376 838 069) for Argentinean steak.
Beyond the slopes
Although primarily a straightforward ski and nightlife resort, Arinsal does offer other activities. Be wary and check that these are actually in Arinsal however, as facilities in neighbouring Vallnord villages such as Pal and Ordino can be listed as Arinsal attractions when in reality they are some distance away.
A case in point is the sports centre (tel: +376 878 110) in Ordino, approximately 5km (3 miles) away, or the Palau de Gel ice rink in Canillo, around 25km (16 miles) from the resort. The famous and extensive Caldea spa (tel: +376 800 999; www.caldea.com) in Andorra la Vella offers linked indoor and outdoor pools, fountains, waterfalls, saunas, jacuzzis, Turkish baths, hydrotherapy and massage.
The resort itself has an Olympic-sized swimming pool, squash courts, sauna and gym, while outdoor possibilities include dog sledding, snowmobiling and paragliding.
Arinsal is a good choice for families due to its good natural ski terrain that's enhanced by specially created fun areas for children, excellent nurseries and a ski school. The ski school also runs a nursery service for children aged one to four, with the school itself accepting children from the age of four for lessons.
Off the slopes, Arinsal is affordable for family lodging and dining, and there are plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained. Children will love a ride on the snow snake, a long snake-like mass of linked sledges that is pulled down the slope. Other family activities include bowling and tobogganing, and there are even special child-sized snowmobiles.
Andorra is famous for its duty-free shopping, and Arinsal is no exception, with a small shopping area offering alcohol, cigarettes, perfume and electronic goods at very affordable prices. For a wider choice, it's a 15-minute trip to the capital Andorra la Vella.
Resort visitors can join the free Vallnord Club, a discount scheme, which gives savings (typically of 5% to 10%) in most shops, restaurants and some other attractions in Vallnord.
Take to the air on a helicopter sightseeing trip, with booking available through the tourist office (tel: +376 878 000; www.vallnord.com). Flights generally last 10 minutes, but longer helicopter flights and transfers to Ordino-Arcalís areas are also available. Experienced skiers can even opt to be dropped at the top of the mountain, skiing back down over the untouched snow.
The long, narrow village of stone-clad buildings has some rustic appeal despite undergoing rapid development in recent years. There is a wide choice of hotels in Arinsal as well as many reasonably priced self-catering apartments, plus a hostel for those on a budget.
Hotel Spa Diana Parc
A modern 5-star hotel, refurbished in 2014, with superb spa facilities and room options that include suites with themed children’s rooms and hydrotherapy bathtubs. Aside from world-class facilities it also boasts an enviable central location just 150m (492ft) from the gondola.Address: , Carretera General,, La Massana, AD 400
Telephone: +376 736 350
Hotel Princesa Parc
One of a new breed of high-calibre accommodation options in Andorra that has started to appear over the past decade or so, this 4-star hotel is close to the gondola (150m/492ft) and resort centre (100m/328ft). Despite its relatively central location, Hotel Princesa Parc’s wellness facilities, pool and relaxed communal area make it the perfect spot for a quiet break.Address: , Carretera General, Arinsal, AD 400
Telephone: +376 736 350
Hotel Husa Xalet Besolí
A modern 3-star hotel close to the lifts, Hotel Husa Xalet Besolí has spacious rooms with balconies and a games room with a billiard table and video games.Address: , Carretera d'Escladella 13, Arinsal, AD 400
Telephone: +376 836 336
A very affordable 3-star with spacious rooms and a highly regarded on-site restaurant, Hotel Montane is centrally located close to the lifts, slopes and local amenities.Address: , Carretera General d'Arinsal, Arinsal, AD 400
Telephone: +376 737 535
This friendly apartment complex is only 20m (66ft) from the gondola in central Arinsal. Apartments are available for two to four people.Address: , Carretera General 8, La Massana, AD 400
Telephone: +376 837 237
An affordable hostel located across the road from the gondola, Hostel Micolau is a lively spot within close proximity to the resort’s most popular pubs and restaurants; a perfect choice for those keen on sampling the resort’s hedonistic nightlife.Address: , Ctra General d'Arinsal, 15, Arinsal, AD400
Telephone: +376 737 707