Sierra Nevada, known as the Mountain of the Sun by Andalucia’s Moorish residents, is home to 15 peaks that are more than 9,800 feet (3,000 meters) high, including the highest point on the Iberian Peninsula and Europe’s most southerly ski resort. This national park and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve attracts hikers from around the world.
Spain’s largest national park is perfect for outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, bird watching, and skiing. The area is also speckled with charming villages, particularly in the region of La Alpujarra, a popular day trip from Grenada. This is where, amid winding mountain roads, you’ll happen upon the famous pueblos blancos (white villages), a group of idyllic towns with Moorish architecture and tiny terraced streets.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Sierra Nevada National Park is a must-visit for adventure travelers and outdoor enthusiasts.
- Remember to dress in layers; temperatures can vary drastically at different altitudes.
- Bring plenty of water; hot and dry conditions can quickly lead to dehydration.
- Wear sturdy hiking boots suitable for traversing rocky and uneven terrain.
- Cellphone coverage is unreliable within the park.
- Day trips to the La Alpujarra region from Grenada typically last around 10 hours.
How to Get There
Granada serves as the main gateway to Sierra Nevada National Park, which is located 13 miles (21 kilometers) away. Many visitors arrive by car along the highest road in Europe, though it’s also possible to take a bus from the Granada bus station.
When to Get There
If you’re planning to go trekking, visit the region between July and early September (or as early as May in the lower Alpujarras). Inclement weather remains a risk throughout the rest of the year.
Wildlife in the Sierra Nevada
This national park and biosphere reserve protects an incredible range of species. The most notable animal that you’re likely to see during a visit is the Spanish ibex; about 15,000 of them call the national park home. Raptors, rabbits, squirrels, foxes, and badgers are often spotted as well.