Updated: Jan 23
The Sierra Nevada - spend the morning skiing, the afternoon lounging on a beach and the evening dining in one of Spain’s most beautiful cities.
With the long hot summer days, merely a distant memory and the first snowfall of the year expected imminently, winter is most defiantly just around the corner here in Andalucía, Spain.
In normal times the picturesque towns of Pinos Genil, Monachil, and Güéjar Sierra all only 20 minutes from the city of Granada would spark into life, stopping off points on route to the Sierra Nevada ski resort. However with the back end of 2019/20 ski season severely disrupted and the second wave of Covid-19 currently gripping Europe discounts of 20% are being offered on ski passes together with the promise that any unused days will accumulate for next season.
For those of you not familiar with the Sierra Nevada, at 37 degrees North and on the same latitude as Cyprus it is Europe’s most southerly skiing area boasting a season that’s longer than most Alpine resorts, starting in mid to late November it continues well into April and beyond, in 2019 finishing on the 7th May.
As you would imagine any self-respecting ski resort should play host to more ski runs, restaurants, bars and hotels than you could possibly shake a stick at. With in excess of 110 km of marked pistes, over 130 ski runs catering for all levels of experience and more than 100 restaurants and hotels the Sierra Nevada certainly won’t disappoint even the most ardent of winter sports enthusiasts.
However, if like us you also have children and skiing is not necessarily your thing then you’ll be pleased to know that the Sierra Nevada has so much more to offer in terms of activities. Within the ski resort itself there’s a huge children’s play area where they can take to the toboggan runs, maybe try their luck on the Russian bobs, sit-ski, bobski, mini ski, skate ski, snowboard and even take a dip in the heated outdoor pool all to their hearts content, or as is more likely until mum and dad decide that their pockets have taken enough of a hammering, because yes it can be expensive with children’s activities costing around 10E for 30 minutes.
Yet, as is often the case the locals do know best, one of the first and most enduring lessons that I learned on my arrival in Spain is that very best tapas bars, the ones that attract the locals tend to have a copious amount of tissues littering the floor, so with that in mind and on arriving in Granada, we sought to discover the locals’ Sierra Nevada snow hang out.
At 2500 meters altitude Hoya de la Mora is just a short drive from the Sierra Nevada, where you and your children can enjoy a day in the snow completely free (equipment aside). The immediate area is populated almost entirely by bars and equipment hire shops of the wooden hut variety often most associated with Christmas markets. Food and drink here is basic but reasonably priced, however, we found it preferable to go fully equipped with flasks and food.
If like us you live within driving distance and you intend to be a regular or more than an occasional visitor to the slopes and why not the snow’s free, then you could be tempted to buy a sledge from one of the many independent roadside sellers that you’ll pass on your journey and who have seemingly deserted the beaches of Malaga and Torremolinos, their traditional summer haunts, for the much cooler climes of the Sierra Nevada. I should add that Decathlon in Granada also does a great line in toboggans and snowboards at very good prices.
Parking is a roadside free for all so you’ll need to arrive early and unlike the ski resort itself which is insured for accidents Hoya De La Mora is not; never the less the area is highly recommended for both children and adults alike.
If the thought of all this fun in the snow is not tempting enough then surely the Sierra Nevada’s close proximity to both the spectacular Moorish influenced city of Granada home to some of the finest, most varied and plentiful tapas in Spain and the beaches of the tropical coast, surely will clinch the deal.
Further information relating to the Sierra Nevada resort including discounts, lift passes, activities, restaurants and accommodation can be found on the sierranevada.es website.