Ever wanted to learn to ski? Want to take your children to a winter holiday but lack the skill yourself? Have very young kids and elderly all at your party? I have just the right place for you: Font Romeu.
Font Romeu is the oldest ski resort in the Eastern Pyrenees. It is brilliantly located on the border between France and Spain and therefore both languages are spoken. English is well-spoken too. Being close to the Mediterranean, it enjoys 267 days of sunshine per year and the temperature is mild and lovely.
The resort is totally family-oriented. There are 2 main schools (ESF and ESI) that have both private and group session (advance booking highly recommended). There are creches for the little ones that can play safely on the snow with dedicated staff while you are enjoying your slopes.
The resort has numerous restaurants and cafes where the non-skiers can enjoy sunbathing while reading books, tablets or laptops. There is even a picnic area with internal and external sitting, all completely free.
There are many choices of sport, ranging from the alpine ski, alpinism, cross-country snowshoes, dogs sleigh, horses, ice-skating, and many more!
The ski pass is more affordable than in other resorts, and I was shocked when I discovered that it is FREE for under 5 and for over 70’s!! My father got to ski for one week for free!!
During half-term breaks, the local council organise plenty of events and entertainment, that varies from ice-skating (in a proper arena!), hockey matches, music and gatherings.
All in all, we found this place excellent. That’s why we will go there next year again, for the third time!
HOW TO GET THERE
For the first 2 years we got a flight from Stansted to (the stunning) Carcassonne. From there we rented a car and drove to Font-Romeu. The path is impressive as it moves across breathless valleys and gorges. If you go by car from Carcassonne, try your best to get to the rental car ASAP so you skip the cue and manage to drive during daylight to enjoy the scenery. You will get to Font-Romeu by late evening, enjoy a restaurant meal and go to bed.
Next year we are going to try a flight to Barcelona instead because it is easier to reach from other countries (my parents were flying from Milan to Stansted to get the transfer to Carcassone while could have gone straight to Barcelona).
WHERE TO SLEEP
If you are a no-car person, try and book something that is close to the funicular in the town centre or anywhere along the ski bus route. The bus that will take you to the town centre.
If you are a car person, anywhere is good. You want to park your car as near as possible Les Airelles (that is the major ski lift of the resort) or La Calme (another ski lift). There is plenty of free parking everywhere and there are 1-minute areas for fast drop your equipment and youngsters. If you go for this option, you can chose a more distant hotel or any Airbnb solutions.
We go to a lovely house in Egat. The host, Mrs Rosa, is lovely, the house is comfortable, and the location extremely convenient as it is minutes away from a large shopping centre with Super U, Lidl, petrol station, post office…
We like the B&B solution as it gives us the freedom of cooking and having a relaxed breakfast. Also, the spaces are larger than a hotel and more family-friendly. If you are a non-cooking person, being at walking distance to the restaurants and shops is a plus.
WHAT ABOUT THE EQUIPMENT?
You can rent all of the equipment in loco. With Intersport, you can book online in advance and get a reduced price. When we got there this year, they were all sold out already. So we went to Skimium Chez Rene and found that they are actually very good, and better located for us so we will go there again next year.
HOW MUCH DID I SPEND?
for 2 adults, 1 elderly, 1 child skiing for 6 days and 1 elderly accompanying:
€200 equipment rent + €560 ski pass + €278 ski lessons + €680 home rent + €100car rental + €300 flights+ about €250 food. Total around €2 368 that is about £400 per person. That is well below the average £1000 per person you can spend everywhere else!
Sun glasses are an absolute essential. Helmet is strongly recommended. No need for heavy clothes, the weather is mild. remember to get the activities of the week as soon as you arrive. Book courses and equipment in advance. Get private lessons instead of group as the learning is faster and more tailored.