Spain attracts visitors with its sunshine and beaches, but it also has some great skiing at Sierra Nevada in Europe’s southernmost mountain range. The ski resort is small in comparison to other European resorts, but has hosted the 1996 world ski championships. Sierra Nevada is the most southerly ski resort in Europe and has numerous runs of varying difficulties to satisfy all levels of skiers. Skiers are usually surprised to find the air temperature is warmer than other resorts thanks to its southerly location.
Sierra Nevada offers 61km of ski slopes with 45 pistes and six off-piste routes. The majority of the slopes are in the intermediate range. Expert skiers have access to some excellent and challenging off-piste runs and snowboarders can enjoy a park with half-pipe. The slopes are accessible by two cable cars, 12 chair lifts and 5 ski lifts. The ski resort is open from 9am to 5pm but you can ski at night during weekends and bank holidays. The natural snow is supplemented by snow cannons on some runs, ensuring good skiing.
Most of the accommodation is offered at Pradollano, a village accessed by a narrow, winding road. It offers a range of luxury hotel/resorts, cheaper hostels and Alpine-style self-catering apartments. Another ski resort village located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range is Sol y Nieve. There are restaurants on and off the mountain and après-ski is lively, with several bars and two discos.
Sierra Nevada offers five months of snow between December and May with its best snow conditions from early February to mid-March. Non-skiing activities include ice-skating, tobogganing, snowmobiling, horseback riding and paragliding. There is also a fitness center, swimming pool and sauna as well as courts for squash and tennis.
The best way to get to Sierra Nevada is to fly to Malaga and take a bus, via Granada. The city of Granada is well worth a visit with its spectacular location overlooking the Sierra Nevada and the great Moorish pleasure palace – the Alhambra. Other sites to visit include the Albaican and the Sacromonte.