When thinking of sunny southern Spain, skiing might not be the first activity that comes to mind. But did you know that Granada is home to an incredible ski resort? Sierra Nevada, meaning ‘mountain range covered in snow’, is easy to get to with a car rental in Malaga being just a 1.5-hour drive away. The resort is the most southerly ski resort in Europe and situated on the third highest peak in Spain. From guaranteed snow and great weather to a collection of varied trails, in this guide, we explain why Sierra Nevada is an ideal spot for your next ski holiday.
Before we get started, we first wanted to bring you some helpful tips for first-time skiers, just in case you are a beginner! Kristen at the outdoor adventure blog Bearfoot Theory advises: “If it’s your first-time skiing or if you haven’t been in a while, start your day on the mountain with a ski lesson. Your instructor will teach you the proper form and show you the ropes. Then focus on getting strong on the easier, groomed runs. When you hit the slopes, don’t let your skis control you. Instead, control them by leaning forward and taking charge.”
Variety of ski runs
One winning attribute of Sierra Nevada is the variety of ski runs available. Ranging from beginners to the experienced, there is something for everyone. The resort is home to over 106km of pistes, including 19 green runs for those who are beginners, allowing them to ease into this wonderful hobby. There are also 41 blue runs and 53 runs for those who are intermediate skill – this is the level that Sierra Nevada really comes into its own. For those who are considered advanced, however, there are also 7 black runs to really test your abilities.
Josh from the travel blog Spain for Pleasure, offers his advice: “Generally speaking, the Sierra Nevada is perfect for intermediates. The mountain isn’t technical, and the wide-open nature of almost all of its runs allows for a lot of freedom, so most intermediates should be comfortable on any red and one or two of the blacks.”
Long ski season
The ski season at Sierra Nevada is between late November and early May, providing a long window for you to get your visit in. In fact, it is one of the longest non-glacial ski seasons in Europe, as the team at Luxury Travel Blog explain: “There are fewer than 50 ski resorts in the world open in May for late-season skiing and the Sierra Nevada is one of them. That gives you a full six months to plan and schedule your visit this season!” With such a long season on offer, it certainly makes planning your trip that much easier, especially for those who would like to travel with children.
Lots of activities
Another attractive feature of Sierra Nevada is the sheer amount of activities you can enjoy once off the slopes. For those who would like to add some variety to their holiday, you can not only look forward to a toboggan run, trekking, sledging, and children’s snowmobiles, but also a host of restaurants and bars to relax in. Serving up regional cuisine and Alpine dishes, there are nine on slope restaurants, including the sunny terrace with panoramic views at Campanario, and the comfortable Borreguiles restaurant with its self-service buffet.
Further afield in Sierra Nevada is the La Fragua restaurant, known as one of the best spots in Sierra Nevada. The restaurant describes what’s on offer: “What makes La Fragua Restaurant a great place is our menu together with our location with beautiful views of the valley. We try to create a warm environment for the guests to experience. The mixing of the environment, the location and the menu, is what makes La Fragua Restaurant a lovely place to dine at. The ambience of the restaurant is inspired by what we love, the mountains.
“What we intend to do is offer local recipes with local fresh products. We are inspired by the people who cooked many years ago here in the region. We offer a wide variety of dishes trying to provide high quality in every meal.”
Close to incredible attractions
Having a ski resort located in Granada also means you are conveniently located close to a number of other must-see attractions. This area of Spain is incredibly rich in history so a ski holiday to Sierra Nevada also means you can soak up the local culture as well. Perhaps the most famous attraction of all is the spectacular Alhambra – an ancient Moorish palace that is remarkably well preserved. Further still, there is the epic beauty of the Granada Cathedral and the 11th-century Bañuelo Arab Baths. You can read more about the historic attractions of Granada in our guide.
Of course, all those who have been to southern Spain will know full well that it has great weather. You can truly rely on the forecast so while you are on the slopes, there’s a chance to top up that tan! With more than 80% sunny days during the ski season, it is one of the sunniest ski resorts in Europe. When you then consider its close proximity to the beaches of the Costa del Sol, you can enjoy skiing in the mountains and a trip to the beach in the same day! Temperatures can often reach the high teens and more in locations like Motril in the latter part of the ski season, making holiday options truly diverse.
Reasons to ski in Sierra Nevada
- Variety of ski runs
- Long ski season
- Lots of activities
- Close to incredible attractions
- Great weather
As you can see, there are many reasons to choose Sierra Nevada as the destination for your next ski holiday. From great ski runs for all abilities to its magnificent and convenient geographical location, this will be one holiday not to forget.
For more tips and advice, make sure to read the other guides to Andalucía over on our blog.