Ski trips from Barcelona, for a day or for longer: our top tips
Article updated 16 January, 2019.
Barcelona is close to the Pyrenees, making it a great starting point for a skiing trip, whether for a day or for longer. Wrap up warm, and off we go!
Barcelona is one of the few cities in Europe where you can go skiing and go to the beach on the same day (although you’ll need to be quick!)
- The best ski runs within easy reach of Barcelona are those at Grandvalira, in Andorra.
- The closest resort to Barcelona is around a 2-hour drive away, at Alp 2500 (including the La Masella and La Molina stations), in the Catalan Pyrenees. It’s fairly small, but big enough for a day trip. The stations are easy to access, so it’s better to visit on a weekday to avoid the crowds.
Skiing in the Catalan Pyrenees
Ski stations in the Pyrenees
There are 16 stations in the Catalan Pyrenees, but some are reserved for cross-country skiing. In total, there are no less than 330 runs, spread over around 400 km of skiing space.
The downhill stations include La Molina, La Masella, Baqueira-Beret, Port del Compte, Boí-Taüll, Espot, Vall de Núria, Port Ainé andWalter 2000.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s on offer to help you choose:
- Ski stations for beginners: La Molina, Port Ainé
- Ski stations for improvers: all of the stations, but note that the runs at La Molina and Port Ainé are easy.
- Ski stations for experts: Baqueira (the largest), Boí-Taüll.
- For families: La Molina for the easy runs and for ease of access, Boí-Taüll for the infrastructure, Baqueira for the variety of runs.
- For snowboarders: Baqueira, La Molina
- For cross-country: Tuixent-La Vansa, Aransa
The quietest station in the Catalan pyrenees is probably Vall de Núria. It’s only accessible by rack railway, which helps to create an optimum environment for winter sports, and you’ll be able to admire the views on the way.
- If you’re only skiing for a day or two, your options are more limited, since some of the stations are 4 hours from Barcelona. Your best options are La Molina, Masella, Vall de Núria or the stations in Andorra.
Getting to ski stations in the Catalan Pyrenees
- By car
Travelling by car is the fastest way of getting to the Catalan ski stations. Allow between 2 and 4 hours, depending on your chosen destination.
- By bus
Buses run from Barcelona to La Molina-Masella. The offer below is for a one-day trip to La Molina or Masella.
- It includes transport, your ski pass and a guide on the bus for the whole journey.
- By train
Two of the stations are accessible by train: La Molina and Vall de Núria. Trains leave from Plaça Catalunya around 6am and reach La Molina around 8.30. They stop at Ribes de Freser, where you can catch the rack railway for Vall de Núria. The train back to Barcelona leaves at around 6pm, arriving in the city at around 8.30pm.
- This train, known as the “tren blanco” (white train), only runs at the weekend and on public holidays during the ski season (December to April). The rest of the time, you’ll need to take the R3, which also serves Ribes de Freser and La Molina. It takes a bit longer, but runs more often.
- Once you’ve got to La Molina, you’ll need to take a bus from the train station to the ski station. It runs every 15 to 30 minutes and costs around €2 each way.
Skiing in Andorra
Grandvalira is spread across the villages of Pas de la Case, El Tarter, Soldeu, Canillo, Encamp and Grau Roig. Split into seven zones, it’s great for all kinds of winter sports, from beginner to expert levels.
Vallnord is Andorra’s second skiing destination. A single pass is available for the three stations (Arcalís, Arinsal and Pal).
- One advantage of Andorra is that there are bargains to be had away from the ski stations, due to the principality’s very low rates of VAT rates.
Getting to Andorra from Barcelona
- By car: from Barcelona, allow around 2 1/2 hours for Grandvalira, slightly longer for Vallnord.
- By bus: Nadal-Eurolines and Novatel run services from Barcelona to Grandvalira. The coach trip takes around 3 hours. They also serve the airport (add 30 minutes to your journey time).
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