The Sierra Nevada mountain range is home to Europe's most southern ski resorts and due to its high peaks, tourists can ski from December (or November if the snow has arrived early) to the end of April/beginning of May each year. At the foothills of the mountains sits the city of Granada which boasts many great tourist spots and lots of things to do.
From Marbella, it takes between 2 and 2.5 hours to drive to Sierra Nevada and although the peak season for tourists is during the winter months, the area is beautiful in the summer and very popular with hikers and nature enthusiasts.
The highest peak in the mountain range is Mulhacén which stands at 3,480m above sea level and is reportedly named after the penultimate Muslim King of Granada in the 15th Century, who if legend is to be believed, was buried at its summit.
The ski resort itself is located on the Veleta mountain which is the third highest peak in the range and the resort village, Pradallano, stretches up the hill to the north of the peak.
If you are travelling from the Marbella/Malaga area you must take the Autovía A7 / European route E15 (Malaga to Motril) until you get to the Autovía A44 / Eurpoean route E902 (Motril to Granada) which is easily signposted. Once you approach Granada, you will see signs for Sierra Nevada Ski Resort and you will pass around the outer edge of the city of Granada.
The mountain road which takes you to the resort is quite long and there can be some steep cliff edges but once you reach the top it is all worth it.
There is a large car park located underground the main square as you enter the resort and the cost is around €19 a day in high season. There are two outdoor carparks located further into the resort which only cost around €5 per day but have considerally less spaces so these are taken up quickly.
The resort has 115 runs in total - 16 Green, 40 Blue, 50 Red, and 9 Black, all that span over 100km of pistes. To get to these pistes you can take one of the many lifts which include 2 cable cars, 17 chairlifts, 2 T-bar lifts, 2 Magic carpets, and 1 Ski tow.
Passes for the slopes are not the cheapest but are unfortunately necessary if you want to take to the snow. Adults can obtain a day pass for between €43 and €45 while children's passes (up to 12 years) are between €29 and €32. Half day passes are available, where you can ski or snowboard between 1pm and 5pm, and are priced at approximately €37. Another way to enjoy the resort is through night skiing on the weekends and some select dates throughout the season for €15.50. Once you've finished for the day, you can either keep your ski passes as a memento, or insert them into one of several blue wall-mounted machines located around the central square and lifts and you will be given €3 back.
Staying up in Sierra Nevada couldn't be simpler; choose from a full board hotel, a quaint chalet or self catered apartments. You can travel up there just for the day if you wish, but we would recommend staying for two nights or more to get everything out of the experience.
Sierra Nevada is much more than a ski resort, there are lots more things to do and see. In keeping with the snow theme, you can also partake in ice skating and toboggans, ski bike and more, suitable for all ages. Taking the whole family to Sierra Nevada is a perfect getaway, where creche's and lessons for the little ones are also available.
And once you've finished on the slopes, there are an array of apres-ski facilities including fantastic restaurants and tapas bars and a lively nightlife scene.