We have put together some information below aimed at those planning to pick up a hire car from the airport and drive up to Arinsal. Having a hire car during your holiday can offer you great flexibility and will allow you to get out and about much more to explore the surrounding area. One thing to always consider when driving is where you will park the car and if you will incur any costs in doing so, parking in Arinsal is generally pretty straightforward with a couple of large commumnal car parks in the village, however if your hotel is located away from these you should check what parking facilities they offer.
If you're renting a car and driving from the airport we've put together some routes from the closest airports.
The information on this page should be used as a guide, and can change. If you are driving, it is your responsibility to know the laws of the country you are driving in.
When driving to Andorra it is very important to consider that you will be driving high up into the mountains, and hopefully there will be loads of snow! It is highly recommended that your car has winter tyres, but also that you carry snow chains. If you are renting a car from the airport, try to book these both in advance.
You can be stopped by the police and not allowed to continue if the weather is bad and you do not have winter tyres or snow chains so it is best to be prepared. The weather can change very quickly, and access to Andorra from France is up a very steep windy road so if the weather is bad you will most probably need chains! If there is lots of snow around, you will also find it very useful to have a shovel in your car so that you dig yourself out, as well as a pair of waterproof gloves.
There are customs checkpoints at both the French and the Spanish borders. At the French side you should slow down, and stop if indicated, both on the way in and out of Andorra. The same applies to entering from Spain, however on the way back in to Spain it is compulsory to stop and open your boot. If stopped you will usually be asked if you have any alcohol or tobacco, so make sure you know the limits.
In Andorra there are no motorways, the speed limits vary up to 90km/h and are usually well signposted, make sure you pay attention to these as there are a handful of speed cameras dotted around. You should also keep your eye out for signs indicating parking restrictions as if you are caught parking illegally you can be given an on-the-spot fine!
IMPORTANT NOTICE: During winter months (from November 1st until May 15th) it is a legal requirement of Andorra to have either winter tyres fitted (marked with a snowflake icon found on the tyre wall), or if not then for you to carry snow chains. If you're caught without them you can receive an on-the-spot fine of €180.
Winter tyres greatly increase your grip, and therefore your control, when driving in winter conditions. Often referred to as snow tyres, they are more effective than regular tyres even just when it is cold without any snow, so definately recommended for your car if you are driving in Andorra. Some people just add winter tyres to their drive wheels, although your car will be more balanced and less likely to skid if you fit them to each wheel. If you are renting a car you can usually add winter tyres as an optional extra, or if you are taking your own car you there are lots of options of where to buy them, whether you prefer to visit your local garage or you can order them online and even get fitting included with an online order.
You can identify winter tyes by looking for the snowflake symbol on the tyre wall, and when it snows heavily the police will check to make sure drivers have winter tyres fitted, if not you will then be required to either fit snow chains or to turn back, and can be fined €180. Even if you have winter tyres fitted you should still carry snow chains in your car for when there is heavy snow.
If you prefer to rent a car and drive from the airport, you'll find an excellent choice of car rental companies operating from Barcelona and Toulouse. However, it's very important that you advise the rental company about travelling to Andorra because it is crossing an international border and outside the EU, so some of the "cheaper" companies charge extra fees for this.
Before your holiday you should make sure you read up on the driving information, as well as understanding the route from the airport. When booking, make sure you ask about the extras such as snow tyres and snow chains, as these may need to be pre-booked, and you may have to pay extra for them. Last but not least, make sure you've worked out how much luggage space you'll need, including for any skis or snowboards you'll be bringing with you.