Although now is not the time to travel, when the world opens again the Sierra Nevada could be on your list of places to visit. It is beautiful in both summer and winter.
Come explore the Sierra Nevada with Lidia and José!
-There is so much to do, and the views are just magical, Lidia says.
Sierra Nevada (the snowy mountains) is a mountain range in the south of Spain. Many of the peaks are more than 3000 metres. The winter season is normally from December to May 1st. The area gets a lot of snow.
The name “Sierra Nevada” is used for the mountain range itself, the ski resort, and also for the National Park. The Iberian peninsula’s highest mountain Mulhacen, 3482 metres, can be found in the Sierra Nevada.
Lidia loves the Sierra Nevada
Lidia, from Granada but currently living in Marbella went for a trek in the Sierra Nevada a few years ago:
– Some friends and I went to the Sierra Nevada to go trekking. We stayed in our tent one night and one night we slept in a cabin. When the winter season is over the snow and ice melt and creates natural lakes. They are just fantastic to swim in. We were there in July and the water was absolutely magnificent!
Wild camping is allowed in the Sierra Nevada as long as you abide by certain rules. There are no buildings in the remote areas of the park so in order to go there you need to bring a tent or sleep under the stars. In the park, you go by the weather and the light and for example, one rule for your tent is that you can erect it one hour before sunset and one hour after sunrise it has to be taken down again. And you are only allowed to stay in one spot two nights in a row.
We trekked for a few hours and found a beautiful spot for the night. We put our tent up at dusk and settled in. The weather was lovely, and it was such a feeling of freedom being out in nature. We saw no other people or buildings.
During the night we heard foxes. Perhaps, they were attracted by the smell of our chorizo from inside our tent. In the morning we noticed some of the chorizos missing so perhaps we had had a furry thief visiting? My friend had woken up by some scratching noises, he thought coming from an animal. He punched the side of the tent to scare the animal away but unfortunately, he also hit a big rock outside the tent. His hand hurt for days.
The next night we stayed in one of the cabins in the area. They are quite simple but comfortable. In the area, there are plenty of camping sites and cabins to rent.
You don’t have to be experienced to enjoy a trek, long or short in the Sierra Nevada. Quite quickly you come upon elevated levels and you can easily tell the air gets thinner, and the flora and fauna changes.
Perhaps you think of sea and beaches when you think about Spain but there are so many other things to do and see. A visit to my home town Granada before going for a trek in the Sierra Nevada is to experience the real Spanish. If there is snow or risk for bad weather, you need to use snow chains on your car or you won’t be allowed up on the mountain. Most gas-stations sell snow chains.
I feel very privileged to live in Spain, so close to the sea and mountains. It is real quality for the soul!
Sierra Nevada – the ski resort
The ski resort the Sierra Nevada is smaller than many of the larger resorts in the Alps, but it is a well maintained and offers good skiing with lots of snow. It is the southern-most ski resort in Europe. Many experienced skiers say that the harder slopes are less frequented and that there is plenty of space for some exploring also for the experienced skier.
The resort is ideal for families as there is great skiing for all ages and even if there are pubs and restaurants the nightlife is on the quieter side.
It only takes a few hours to get to Costa del Sol or the Alicante area. You can go skiing in the morning and jump through the waves in the afternoon. Or perhaps take a day at the beach in the middle of a week’s skiing holiday.
The National Park Sierra Nevada offers something for all levels and tastes, from beginners to advanced.
José organizes activities in the Sierra Nevada
Experienced mountain climber José has created his life around activities in the mountains. He organizes treks and climbs in the Sierra Nevada:
– I always long for the mountains. You can’t think about anything else while you are there. You have to be present at the moment to take in the beauty of the landscape, the views and the clear air. And when you are climbing you have to be one hundred per cent present or you might end up in danger. It is just you and the mountain.
Only your imagination sets the limits on what you can do in the mountains. For example, I love climbing frozen waterfalls. To climb on ice challenges me in new ways.
We also trek a lot. The mountain is steep, and you trek through different weather conditions and climate zones on the way up. You can start on bare land and in the hot sun and soon be surprised by wind and cold. You always have to be prepared and have all the right gear with you and you should always stay humble before nature’s powers.
Meeting point! Here we meet and check the gear before setting out on our trek.
Fairly soon we enter the snowy parts. It is just breathtakingly beautiful when the sun hits the snow. It is like everything else ceases to exist. The impressive mountain reminds me of my own mortality.
In the night we try to find or make a spot sheltered from the elements as much as possible. Be flexible and be prepared to change your plans. If it is too windy you might have to wait for calmer weather before you can continue.
In the summertime, it is easy to go on fantastic climbs without snow or ice. I have climbed for several years and yet I still discover new challenges every time in the Sierra Nevada. It is never boring.
Regardless of your level of experience, it is important not to take unnecessary risks. Don’t climb alone, check your equipment and tell someone of your plans and when you are expected to return. Safety before everything!
Granada and the Sierra Nevada are well worth a visit any time of the year as soon as it is possible again. If you would like to plan a longer visit with a trek or a climb you can get inspiration and tips here.