The Ski Guide to Sierra Nevada Ski Resort that you need to read
When most people think of Spain, they conjure up images of sun, sea, and sand but did you know Spain also has several places where you can go snow skiing.
Built around the village of Pradollano in Southern Spain is the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort, a world-class winter sports resort close to the Mediterranean Sea.
The Sierra Nevada Ski Resort is also very close to the historical city of Granada, allowing you to visit the world-famous Alhambra palace while skiing in Spain.
Laid out on the northwestern slopes of mainland Spain’s third-highest mountain ( Veleta), the Sierra Nevada Ski Resorts altitude and modern snow-making equipment mean that the resort has an extremely long season that sometimes lasts into early June.
The Sierra Nevada Ski resort is also one of the few places in the world where you can ski in the morning and be on the beach by lunchtime.
Below, we have compiled a list of helpful information about the Sierra Nevada Ski resort and how you can go there.
Helpful Information about Visiting The Sierra Nevada Ski Resort
- The season opens: Late-November
- The season closes: End of May
- No. of Pistes: 131
- Km of Pistes: 110k
- Type of Pistes: 19 Green Pistes, 45 Blue Pistes, 53 Red Pistes, 7 Black Pistes
- Ski Lifts: 21
- Nearest Train Station: Granada
- Nearest Airport: Federico García Lorca Granada Airport (GRX)
Where is Sierra Nevada?
The Sierra Nevada Ski Resort is located in the Andalucian province of Granada.
Still, the Sierra Nevada National Park, where the resort is situated, also encompasses a small area of Malaga and Almeria provinces.
The Sierra Nevada Ski Resort is 17 miles from Granada and 99 miles from Malaga and is easily accessed by road from both cities.
How to get to Sierra Nevada
There is no train station in Pradollano, but the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort does have a frequent bus service that connects the ski area with Granada.
If you are arriving from overseas, you can fly into Federico García Lorca Granada Airport (GRX) or Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (AGP).
Ideally, you will want to have your own transportation as it will not only make getting to the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort easier it will also give you more freedom to explore the white villages of the Alpujarras.
How to get from Madrid to Sierra Nevada:
Bus: To get to the Sierra Nevada Ski resort by bus, you need to go to Madrid Estacion Sur and take the bus to Granada.
The journey takes 4 hours and 30 minutes and costs between 30€ and 45€. – Get your tickets here.
Train: To get to the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort from Madrid by train, you need to go to Estación Madrid – Puerta de Atocha and travel to Granada.
The journey takes 3 hours 20 minutes and costs between 90€ and 150€- – Buy your ticket here.
How to get from Seville to Sierra Nevada:
Bus: To get to the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort by bus from Seville, you need to go to the Plaza de Armas bus station and get to Granada.
Buses run every four hours with a journey time of 3 hours. Tickets start from 26€. – Get your ticket in advance here.
Train: To get to the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort by train, you need to go to Seville Santa Justa station.
There are three trains a day from Seville to Granada with a journey time of 2 hours 35 minutes. Tickets start from 23€. – Train tickets can be bought here.
How to get from Malaga to Sierra Nevada:
Bus: To get to the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort by bus, go to Estación de Autobuses de Málaga and buy a ticket for Granada.
There are frequent buses throughout the day with a journey time of 1 hour 45 minutes. Ticket prices start at 5€. – Get your ticket here.
Train: To get to the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort by train, you need to go to Malaga Maria Zambrano station and buy a ticket to Granada. – Buy your train ticket here.
The journey takes 1 hour and 12 minutes with a stop at Antequera-Santa Ana. Ticket prices start at 6€. – Book your ticket here.
How to get from Cadiz to Sierra Nevada:
Bus: To get to the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort by bus, you need to go to Cadiz Bus station and buy a ticket for Granada.
The journey time takes 5 hours and 15 minutes. Tickets start from 23€. – Get your ticket here.
Train: To get to the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort by train, you need to go to the central railway station in Cadiz and buy a ticket to Granada.
All trains make a stop in Seville. The journey time is 4 hours and 7 minutes. Tickets start from 23€.
A regular bus service links central Granada to the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort three or four times a day during the ski season.
The cost is around 10€ return, and tickets can be pre-purchased online or from the Granada bus station.
Alternatively, you can take a taxi which will cost between 35€ and 45€ and takes around 36 minutes. – Get your train ticket here.
All you Need to Know about the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort
What Type of Resort is Sierra Nevada?
To the unfamiliar, Spain might sound like a strange place to go on a skiing vacation, but you will be pleasantly surprised by what southern Spain’s mountains have to offer.
Constructed around the village of Pradollano, the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort may not be as big as other alpine ski destinations found in Austria, France, and Italy.
Still, it packs an enormous punch for its size. The resort covers an extensive amount of treeless skiable terrain and offers skiers the choice of 2 cable cars, 17-chairlifts, 2-T-bars 2-magic carpets, and 1-ski-tow.
Because the Sierra Nevada Ski resort is above the treeline, it has abundant snow aided by 390 snow cannons.
As most of the resort’s runs are geared to beginners and intermediate skiers, advanced skiers can test their skills on the World Cup Giant Slalom run known as “Fuente del Tesoro.”
While the highest vertical runs start at an altitude of just below 11,000 feet, the village of Pradollano is 3,000 feet lower down the mountain.
In Pradollano, you will find many shops selling ski-related goods and attire, plus most of the area’s bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.
Ski gear is widely available for hire, and there are 15 ski schools where you can take individual or group lessons.
How Much is a Ski Pass and is Renting Equipment Available?
Equipment hire costs between 17€ and 25€ per day, depending upon which shop you use.
Group lessons cost around 30€ for three hours. Individual lessons meanwhile cost around 50€ per hour.
The Sierra Nevada Ski Resort offers various ski passes for individuals, families, and groups and can be purchased online or from vendors at the resort.
Individual ski pass:
To get your ski pass for one to seven consecutive days, you have to choose the start date and the number of days you want to ski. The price includes VAT and mandatory travel insurance.
Price: 48€ per day
Half-day ski pass from 13:00 until the slopes closes: 38€
Night ski pass from 19:00 until 21:30: 25€
Family ski pass
A family ski pass covers three members of the same family unit. It is available from three to seven consecutive days for 136.80€ for three days and 296€ for seven days.
Season-long ski pass
With a season-long ski pass, you can enjoy the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort whenever you want. The pass is valid for any day of the season in which the pass is purchased, including night skiing, for 1,250€.
Ski Schools and Ski Lessons?
With 15 ski schools in the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort all competing for your business, it is best to shop around and see who offers the best prices.
Language too comes into play with English and Scandinavian-owned ski schools competing against Spanish-run operations.
Generally speaking, you can expect to pay around 50€ per hour for private ski lessons and around 15€ per hour for group lessons with at least four students.
Is the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort Busy?
With the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort catering to all of southern Spain, it can be hectic on the weekends and holidays.
Having said that, if you visit on a weekday, you have the place to yourself, which means never having to wait in a line for a lift and empty wide-open slopes.
If you fancy a white Christmas or want to see it in the New Year up in the mountains, you need to book your accommodation early as places sell out fast.
What is the Snow Quality Like?
With the resort being at such a high altitude and having extensive snow-making capabilities, a lack of snow is never a problem.
Some of the runs, however, can be a bit icy early in the morning. The best time to visit is after a storm has dumped fresh snow on the mountain creating powder-like conditions.
The big problem the Sierra Nevada has is wind. Being above the treeline, the resort is exposed to the elements, which means that when the wind picks up, they have to stop the ski lifts.
Pay close attention to the weather forecast to not be disappointed.
Sierra Nevada Ski Slopes
The Sierra Nevada Ski Resort is best suited to beginners and intermediate skiers as it offers plenty of no intimidating slopes where you can learn to improve your technique.
Advanced skiers or people used to the big resorts in the Alps, or the Rocky Mountains may find the resort small and not all that challenging despite having some nice long runs.
If you have never tried night skiing, it is available on the El Río and Maribel ski runs, where orange lights are used to light up the piste.
Loma de Dílar
If you are looking for a challenge, the pistes in the Loma Dilar area are for confident skiers who know what they are doing.
With shallow slopes, Borreguellias offers new skiers 19 green runs. It also has slower chair lifts which help new users get used to getting on and off the lifts.
Valeta offers intermediate skiers 50 red runs, many of which are long and narrow. There is also a broad run that offers views of the Mediterranean on a clear day.
From Valeta, you can ski down to Borreguellias and then down the Rio run into town.
Even though it is marked as a blue run, you should avoid the Rio unless you are an excellent skier.
Typically ski resort Terrain Parks are always the last to open up to the public as they take longer to prepare.
At the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort, they have a 541-foot long half-pipe that snowboarders love.
How Should you Prepare for Sierra Nevada Ski Resort?
Before you go rushing off on your Sierra Nevada ski holiday or day trip, you need to do things to ensure it will be a success.
Leading up to your ski trip, make sure you are in shape by exercising regularly, as this will pay dividends after recovering from a day on the slopes.
Be sure and pack the proper clothing for the conditions, which generally means dressing in three layers with a thin base layer, insulating middle, and a waterproof outer layer.
Be sure to wear long warm socks suited to ski boots, and don’t forget sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes from the sun.
Speaking of the sun, the Sierra Nevada Ski resort gets plenty of sunshine when it is not snowing, so don’t forget to bring sunscreen.
Where to Eat in Sierra Nevada Ski Resort
If you don’t want to tear yourself away from the slopes, there are plenty of places to eat in the resort.
The Sierra Nevada Ski Resort food outlets are located in the Borreguiles area of the resort.
There you will find restaurants offering a quick bite like a burger, a traditional Spanish Paella, or a sit-down meal with table service. New for the 2021/2022 season is Dominos Pizza.
Asador Parque in Lanjarón
If you want to take a break from skiing or only want to ski in the morning, go to the Asador Parque in Lanjarón for lunch.
This modern Spanish restaurant has a large free car park and specializes in freshly prepared Andalucian food.
Address: Avenida Alpujarra 44, 18420 Lanjaron Spain
Opening times: Monday to Friday 12:30-16:00. Saturday 12:30-16:00 and 20:00-Midnight. Sunday 12:30-16:00.
Restaurante Ci Vediamo in Pradollano
For an evening meal, try Restaurante Ci Vediamo in Pradollano, where they offer everything from Pizza to steaks.
Address: Plaza Andalucía s/n, 18196 Sierra Nevada, Sierra Nevada National Park Spain
Opening times: Every day from noon until midnight.
Tito Tapas in Pradollano
If you are looking for a place to have a few drinks, some tapas, or a delicious Spanish hot chocolate after a day in the cold, a good choice is Tito Tapas small restaurant/bar just off the plaza Pradalino.
Address: Edificio Mont Blanc, 18496, Sierra Nevada National Park Spain
Opening times: Noon until midnight. Closed on Wednesdays
Best Hotels in Sierra Nevada, Southern Spain
Unless you are driving up to the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort for just a day, you will need a place to stay. Here we have listed some of the best Sierra Nevada hotels which will appeal to all budgets.
Set in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort, the El Lodge, Ski & Spa embodies comfort and exclusivity.
Looking like a traditional alpine lodge, the boutique 21-room hotel was built using lumber imported from Finland.
Each room offers floor-to-ceiling windows and a private terrace from where you can enjoy stunning mountain views.
Features at the El Lodge, Ski & Spa include:
- Gourmet dining in The Grill restaurant
- The Sun Deck, a unique ski-in ski-out restaurant
- The Bar an ideal place for a pre-dinner or late-night drink
- The Lounge, a relaxing area with a roaring fireplace surrounded by leather Chesterfield sofas
- An indoor and outdoor heated swimming pool
- Sauna, Jacuzzi, and fitness gym
- Door-to-door skiing
Book your stay at El Lodge, Ski & Spa here.
Located just 54 yards from the Al Andalus cable car, the Hotel Apartamentos Trevenque offers apartments for couples, families, and friends.
All the apartments come with a fully fitted kitchenette and microwave to give you a self-catering option.
Features at the Hotel Apartamentos Trevenque include:
- Underground parking
- Mountain or valley views
- Free WiFi
- Games room
- Direct access to slopes
- Sale of ski passes
- Ski storage
Check out prices & reviews here.
Located more than a mile above Pradollano, the modern Apartamentos Boabdil offers guests accommodation very close to the ski station and lifts.
All apartments come with bed linens and towels and feature 42-inch flat-screen televisions. Providing an excellent value for money, the apartments are ideally suited to families and budget-minded travelers.
Features at the Boabdil Apartments include:
- Towels & linens
- Flat-screen TV
- Cable channels
- Satellite channels
- Free WiFi
- Secured parking
- Ski pass vendor
- Ski equipment hire on site
Take a look at photos & offers here.
Top Things to do in Sierra Nevada when you’re not Skiing
For outdoor enthusiasts, nothing beats putting on a pair of snowshoes and trekking through the countryside.
So if you are looking for things to do in Sierra Nevada that don’t include skiing, snowshoe can be a great workout.
With the Sierra Nevada mountains receiving heavy snowfalls during the winter, there are plenty of exciting places to go snowshoeing.
Learning how to walk with snowshoes is easy, providing that you have the right size shoes to distribute your weight evenly.
Prices for snowshoeing tours vary by the operator and the number of people on the hike.
They can be booked for as little as 36€ for a three-to-four-hour tour and include the rental of snowshoes and poles. -Get your guided tour here.
Visit Granada’s Hammam Al Ándalus and enjoy the refreshing sensation of traditional steam rooms fed by thermal waters.
A 1.5-hour session with an optional massage costs 37€ and is limited to small groups of less than six persons. Standard swimming attire must be worn and all long hair tied up.
Hammam Al Ándalus is located behind what is now the Church of Santa Ana. – Get your guided tour here.
Discovered in 1959 by a group of boys out hunting bats, the Nerja Caves are some of the most important caves anywhere.
Stretching for almost three miles, the caverns are one of Spain’s major tourist attractions and contain some of the oldest rock paintings ever discovered and the largest stalactite in the world.
Following a short path about the caves, you then go on a 45-minute tour of the area that is open to the public.
Address: Carr. de Bajada a Playa de Maro, 29787, Málaga
Opening times: Every day from 09:00 till 15:30
Admission: Adults 14€, Children between 6-12: 6€ Children under six free.
While visiting the caves, stop by the Balcón de Europa in Nerja for glorious views of the sea or go to the Moorish village of Frigiliana and explore the winding streets. – Get your guided tour here.
No trip to the Sierra Nevada would be complete without going to Granada and visiting the Alhambra palace.
The best way to make the most of your visit is to use the services of a knowledgeable guide who can explain everything about the palace to you.
You can book a 3-hour guided tour of the complex, including the Nasrid Palaces, for 38.90€ per person. – Get your guided tour here.
Ice Skate in Pradollano
If you know how to ice skate or just want to give it a go, head to the Ice Rink in the lower part of town across from the Telemark shop.
Skate rental is included in the price and costs 7.50€ per hour.
Short FAQ about the Ultimate Sierra Nevada Ski Guide
Is Sierra Nevada good for skiing?
Yes, Sierra Nevada is good for skiing! It is perfect for beginners, intermediate skiers, and people looking to soak up the sunshine during the spring.
How long is the ski season in Sierra Nevada?
With a season that runs from November to late May or early June, the Sierra Nevada is home to Europe’s most southerly ski resort.
The resort, which has over 100 kilometers (62 miles) of skiable courses spread across 124 pistes, is set against the stunning backdrop of Mount Veleta’s northern slopes.
Will Sierra Nevada open this winter?
Yes, the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort is open for the 2021/2022 season. Sierra Nevada’s winter season will begin on Friday, December 18, and, in accordance with the Ministry of Health and Family of the Junta de Andalusia’s guidelines, will do so with a capacity limit of 50% of the slopes and the sale of online ski passes only.