Four daylight hours in North Macedonia

Visited November 2022

Neither of us had done a ski trip in Europe before, so we decided it was about time to change that. Rather than going for one of the more frequented ski destinations like Chamonix or Verbier, we did a little research on the landlocked principality of Andorra. Not only would it count as a new country, but it also contained the largest ski resort in the Pyrenees that was said to be perfect for intermediate skiiers. After a few glowing reviews from co-wokers, we dusted off our ski gear, bought a ticket to Toulouse, and hit the slopes for the first time in Europe, and the first time in a long time for both of us.


Bryggen Wharf

Colorful wooden buildings and a lively waterfront

Fløyen Panorama

A bird’s eye view of the bustling Bergen harbor


How we got there and how we got around

Bryggen Wharf

Exploring the city center

After the long drive, our first stop was lunch. We had a wonderful cheese spread and chocolate fondue with fruit at Casa del Formatge right off the main shopping street. Speaking of shopping, Andorra in general is known for its tax free status, so it has a ton of stores. We spent most of the afternoon walking down the main drag (Avinguda Meritxell) and slowly making our way to the famous department store Pyrenees. Outside of shopping, there were a few other highlights along the way.

Flying in

Hot dog pit stop

Backstreets of Bergenhus

Colorful wooden buildings


Fløyen Panorama

Dining along the waterfront

The rest of our first day was spent back in Soldeu, a smaller town back in the eastern part of the country that we picked due to recommendations from co-workers and its proximity to a main Grandvalira gondola up to the mountain. In fact, our hotel was literally no more than a 2 minute walk from the lift, and across the street from a ski rental place, so the location couldn’t have been more convenient. The hotel itself was the perfect mix of a ski resort / lodge feel with beautiful views and all the amenities we needed, including a small spa (to relax our muscles after the next day’s skiing) and breakfast each morning. The hotel lobby was casual but cozy for a drink.

Soldeu is basically one main street, but it packs a surprising amount of restaurants. On our first night, we wandered down to a late dinner (note: some places don’t even open until 8:00pm on the weekends) at a more casual but still nice bar/restaurant in the Sport Hotel Hermitage & Spa, which we would highly recommend. It felt like we were in an upscale chalet with fantastic food (spicy shrimp tempura, gyoza, and salmon poke) and a talented pianist to match.

Looking southeast

At the top


Getting There & Getting Around

We usually save this section for last, but like Liechtenstein, Andorra is a bit tricky to get to because of the lack of an airport in the country itself. You basically have two options if you want to fly into a larger city and then you drive into Andorra from there. We decided on the latter, and so we took an early flight into Toulouse from Gatwick and rented a car at the airport. We found a few buses that would take you there, some of them offered through the Andorra hotels, but we decided to go for the freedom of a rental, which would allow us to stop in Carcassonne on the way back as well.

The drive from Toulouse to Andorra La Vella was a bit long and took just under 3 hours, with the longest part coming towards the end as you wind through the mountains (although the scenery was beautiful). If you would like to have your passport stamped in Andorra, you need to specifically ask as you drive through border control at Pas de la Casa, which is first town across the border into Andorra from France. It’s just a tourist stamp, and not needed to enter the country, but we made sure to get it.

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