Andalucia isn’t all beaches and sangria. On Sierra Nevada holidays you can explore the other side of the province – a mountain range that includes mainland Spain’s highest mountain, Europe’s southernmost ski resort and villages of whitewashed houses that shine in the sun. If you love nature, you’re in luck – wild flowers drown slopes in colour in spring, while ibex, horned goats and an array of birds can be spotted. The hiking and cycling is superb, and opens up wonderful views that can stretch as far as Morocco.
But you don’t have to be active on holidays to Sierra Nevada. The southern foothills of the Alpujarras, in particular, offer gorgeous towns with markets, castles, spas, cobbled medieval districts and great food, many of them clinging to gorges or set in woodland. Drives around the region, which can be easily reached from Granada, provide unexpected vistas and many appealing places to stop off.
Explore the Alpujarras
The mountains dip towards the sea in the Alpujarras. Highlights include Lanjaron, with its natural spas and Moorish castle, and Orgiva, with an alternative vibe and an excellent market.
Hit the slopes
Yes, you can ski and snowboard in southern Spain. The Sierra Nevada resort has 115 pistes covering more than 100 kilometres. The season lasts from December until early May.
Get to the top
Many of the peaks in the Sierra Nevada can be reached without mountaineering gear, although you’ll need to be fit and well-prepared – 3,400-metre Pico Veleta is popular.