Not unnaturally, when most people think of a holiday in southern Spain it’s some combination of sun, beaches and monuments like the Alhambra or Seville Cathedral that will spring to mind, and indeed these are certainly not to be missed. But if your winter holiday thoughts are turning to snow and skiing, we may have a surprise suggestion for you – take your skiing holiday in Andalucía! More specifically in the Sierra Nevada, just outside Granada.
For non-Spanish people this could be one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. Sierra Nevada is actually the most southerly ski resort on the continent, and it’s only possible because these mountains overlooking the fabled city of Granada are the highest in Spain. The season usually begins in late November, and lasts until April or May, so now’s the time to start planning. Andalucia.com has some good practical info about the Sierra Nevada Skiing Area.
The resort itself offers everything you would expect, including more than 100 km of ski slopes, places to buy or hire all the equipment, tuition, and lots of other activities, as well as shops, restaurants and cafés. Moreover, because it caters mostly for the Spanish, it’s usually not crowded during the week (though it can be a different story at weekends), and being in southern Spain the weather is often bright and sunny, although it can get pretty cold at night.
But it’s the location that creates the opportunity for a holiday that’s just that little bit different. Because the resort is only 45 minutes by car from the centre of Granada (and less than an hour even on the bus), what you can do is not restricted in the way it is in some resorts (in fact, as its less than 100 km from Granada to the coast you can go skiing in the mountains in the morning and swimming in the sea in the afternoon!). With a holiday apartment in the city as a base you can not only go on the piste when you want, you can also take a day or two off (especially if you’re unlucky to have bad weather) for sightseeing and exploring in one of Spain’s most magical cities.
In summer the closeness of the mountains and the Sierra Nevada National Park gives options for getting out of the city and going walking, climbing, cycling or horse-riding in a spectacular setting.