Skiing and beach? Think Granada
"Lots of places claim to be sun ‘n ski destinations but this is one of the few where it is actually possible to ski and sunbathe on the beach in the same day."
Most years the ski resort in the Sierra Nevada near Granada is one of the first in Europe to open for the season. It usually gets going before December 1st, not closing until the early part of May. With about 80% of skiers being Spanish the resort remains relatively unknown to overseas visitors which is a shame given the many attractions of the area. In particular, property buyers seeking a location that offers a bit more than the usual sun n’ sand destinations should take a look . Get the location right and you can have the best of both worlds. Great beaches, scuba diving, golf on the coast. And skiing in Granada.
The lowest slopes are all above 2,000 metres and the highest above 3,000 metres. This means lack of snow is rarely a problem. However, even when there are periods without new snow, low air temperatures allow the snow cannons to get going. Pre-season air temperature is as low as -9ºC at night and could easily drop to -15ºC further into winter. Typically, rain turns to snow in the Sierra Nevada at 800m. The 2018/19 season saw snow depth on the upper slopes in the 4m – 5m range.
Investment in the mid-1990s for the World Downhill Championships gives the resort some of the most extensive snow making equipment in the world. Upgraded road infrastructure means motorway access from the airport and the city to the north and from the coast to the south. Once off the motorway the 20 minute run to the resort is on excellent roads and you can drive right to the slopes and ski away from the car or have a short walk to the lifts. Snow chains are needed sometimes.
The sunniest ski resort in Europe. On the clearest days it is possible to see the Mediterranean in the distance. And while it is freezing up in the Sierra down on the coast 50 minutes away, the Costa Tropical enjoys one of the micro-climate areas of the region. That means long, hot and dry summers and the mildest of winters. Lots of places claim to be sun ‘n ski destinations but this is one of the few where it is actually possible to ski and sunbathe in the same day. Sunny days in the winter will normally see 22ºC+ on the coast.
With 105kms of ski slopes the resort is family-friendly and excellent for beginners, intermediate and mixed ability groups. It has the biggest snow park in Spain and also the steepest skiable vertical drop, 1,200 metres, in Spain. Very busy at weekends which is when the Spanish go, so think about weekday visits. Long-established British Ski School for equipment hire and guides is the best option for non-Spanish speakers and the official Sierra Nevada site is here: Resort facilities include night-time skiing, ice skating, snow-boarding, Nordic skiing, tobogganing. Après ski is very relaxed and Spanish, long into the night, including the highest restaurant in Europe. Lots of accommodation choices, from budget apartments right the way through to the Marbella Club’s sister hotel.
Other things to do
Perfect resort for those who want to mix their skiing in Granada with other activities. Year-round scuba diving on the coast between Nerja and Salobreña, golf at Motril and Málaga. Of course the jewel in the crown is Granada, with the UNESCO World Heritage Alhambra Palace. Once the snow melts this area becomes one of the best mountain biking and hiking locations in Europe.
There are lots of options for property buyers, ranging from country houses within 45 minutes of Granada, village houses in one of the typical white villages of Andalucía but for many the ideal is a coastal property in a location such as Salobreña or Nerja and then you have the best of both worlds. Check out this Case Study for an example of a country property we found for clients just 45 minutes from skiing in Granada, on the slopes in less than 1½ hours.
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About the author
Barbara founded The Property Finders in 2003. More than two decades of experience and her in-depth knowledge of the Spanish property market help buyers get the knowledge they need to find the right property for them.