The highest mountain range of the peninsula is Sierra Nevada, located just 1 ½ hours from Malaga in Granada, where is located the southernmost ski resort of Europe. Granada has much more to offer to visitors besides winter sports.
The original name of Sierra Nevada is related to the Sun, during Roman times it was known as 'Solarius' and after the fall of the Empire the barbarians called it 'Solorio', both names related to the brightness of the sun on the snow. Muslims continued calling it Mountain of Sun; it was the Christians who changed the name to Sierra Nevada around the eighteenth century.
Altitude and temperature of the Sierra has allowed the conservation of the greatest biological diversity across Europe, a slow process that comes from the last ice age, after which plant species from higher latitudes found refuge here. One of the natural symbols of Sierra Nevada is known as the Snow Star. Depending on the height, you can see vegetation on the summit, high, medium or low mountain.
It is still possible to find areas of permafrost in various parts of the mountains, as for instance around the remains of a glacier in the area of Los Corrales del Veleta; reminiscent remains of ancient glaciers.
One of the attractions to go to Sierra Nevada is its proximity to such an important monument as the Alhambra in Granada for which it serves as a backdrop; one of the most representative Islamic architectures in the world. The massif rises majestically behind the hills where is located this wonderful Moorish architecture that has been declared a World Heritage Site.
Only 36 kilometres separate Granada from the ski resort Prado Llano located at 2200 meters above sea level, one of the most popular ski resorts in Spain.
This ski resort has many advantages; the most important is the fabulous weather you can enjoy with many sunny days throughout the year and a big blue sky that makes any sport on snow even more enjoyable. During clear and cloudless days you can see the Mediterranean coast and even the coast of Africa; the saying goes that in Granada you can ski and swim in the Mediterranean Sea on the same day. In addition you can enjoy the snow until the end of April, the date by which other ski resorts in northern Spain have already finished their ski season.
Because of the proximity of Sierra Nevada to the city of Granada, to which you can drive pretty fast, Sierra Nevada is the ideal place to spend a few days during your winter vacation.
The winter attraction is not the only option proposed by this great mountain of the Iberian Peninsula. Prado Llano Station opens part of its facilities during the summer which gives the opportunity to use the chairlift to watch the fantastic scenery from above.
Sports lovers can enjoy during the summer in Sierra Nevada mountain bikes, horseback riding, numerous hiking and climbing events.
Sierra Nevada is one of Spain's National Parks and Biosphere Reserve.
The options of Sierra Nevada extend throughout the year in addition to the ski station you will find numerous hiking trails, the best known being those listed below:
Vereda de la Estrella
This trail offers beautiful views to the north of the massif.
Complete Tour of 3000 metres peaks of Sierra Nevada
This route is not recommended for inexperienced hikers as it requires great physical effort.
340 km trail around the mountain and which also has cattle trails.
Check more trails in our trekking guide of Granada.
The itinerary from Malaga to Sierra Nevada is following the route already mentioned in our guide to Granada, and once there you just have to follow the signs that will lead you to Sierra Nevada.
If you don't like to drive you can book a transfer to Sierra Nevada.
The road route from Malaga to Sierra Nevada will take about 2 hours. In the map below you can see the itinerary in detail: