The south of Spain is known worldwide as a popular beach destination characterised by palm trees, glitzy marinas and over 300 days of sunshine per year. By November each year however, a nearby mountaintop signals the beginning of the skiing season for residents and tourists in the region.
Sierra Nevada, "where the south dresses itself in white" is located just 2-3 hours drive away from Marbella, just north of Granada, and is an amazing contrast to the famous coastline. With a capacity for almost 30,000 skiers per hour and the greatest skiable vertical slope in the country, the ski season varies according to weather conditions, but typically falls between late November and late April.
Sierra Nevada, Spanish for "snowy mountain", is Europe's most southern ski resort and has 105km (70 mi) of alpine skiing runs, a total of 115; 16 Green, 40 Blue, 50 Red, and 9 Black that can be reached by the various chairlifts, cable cars or t-bar lifts. Mulhacen is the ski resort's highest mountain range, standing at 3,480m above sea level. The resort offers a variety of slalom pistes for beginner to advanced skiers, as well as a cross-country skiing circuit, a Snow Park and night skiing on Saturdays. Sierra Nevada is also home to a number of excellent hotels and accommodation options, including five star fully-catered resorts to bed & breakfasts, apart-hotels and self-catered alpine style log cabins. Apres-ski facilities include ice skating, toboggans, ski bikes, saunas, a range of fantastic restaurants and tapas bars and a lively nightlife scene.
Sierra Nevada is the sunniest resort in Europe so sun lotion is a definite must, but the combination of natural snowfall on the mountain range and a highly advanced artificial snowmaking system ensures good snow conditions throughout the entire season. With winters characterised by milder temperatures and breezier days, the unique landscape of Andalucia is such that you can find yourself gliding down the alpine slopes of Sierra Nevada one day and enjoying an early evening drink on the beach, bathed in the radiant reds and purples of the sun setting over the Mediterranean, the next.
For live updates on weather and snow conditions at Sierra Nevada, please visit: sierranevada.es/es/webcams