Travels

Road Trip To Sierra Nevada From Malaga, Southern Spain

I visited Sierra Nevada ski and mountain resort in the early days of December 2019 when people were busy with year-end plans to welcome the new year 2020. A year ago, this time I was struggling with my 4th chemotherapy and currently I’m having the great winter vacation in Andalusia, southern Spain. As many of you, I like to read the Alchemist book by Paulo Coelho very much. In this book, Andalusia is mentioned in the story with vast grassy fields. The place where the shepherd boy Santiago leads his sheep to travel throughout the Andalusia countryside to enjoy the life of freedom in harmony with nature. I really like the natural scenery here when reading this book. And it is more interesting to see vast Andalusia with its craggy mountain peaks, whitewashed villages on the hillsides and the beautiful sunny beaches with more than 300 sunny days each year.

Most of the white villages are clustered around the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges

Most of the white villages are clustered around the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges. Photograph: Nhu Le

There are many famous attractions in Andalusia such as Malaga, Granada, Cordoba, Seville … And in this article I want to recall the snow-covered mountains, steep winding roads, unspoiled canyons, specially the playful feeling when snowboarding for the first time in Sierra Nevada. I summarized the road trip from Malaga to Siera Nevada with the scenery on both sides of the road and the ski resort in the video below.

General information about Sierra Nevada:

The snowy mountain in the afternoon light

The snowy mountain in the afternoon light. Photograph: Nhu Le

Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in the Andalusia region, largely belong to the province of Granada. It is the highest mountain in Spain and Mulhacen is the highest peak with altitude of 3479 meters above sea level. This is a great place for those who love the outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and skiing in late November to April. Sierra Nevada is a paradise for snow lovers.

Travel time from Malaga to Sierra Nevada:

Driving up on winding mountain roads to get to Sierra Nevada

Driving up the winding mountain roads on the way to Sierra Nevada. Photograph: Nhu Le

It takes approximately a two-hour drive to Sierra Nevada from Malaga. There is a toll road with 3.40 euros but you can avoid it by using Google maps with driving option “Avoid tolls”.

Accommodation:

The hotels are located on the mountainside and have great views of the ski mountains

The hotels are located on the mountainside and have great views of the ski mountains. Photograph: Nhu Le

I booked a studio with mountain views in Sierra Nevada for 4 days, where I only need to walk about 10 minutes to the ski lift. I paid 40 euros/day for this modern small apartment Monte Gorbe with all the necessary amenities such as heating, microwave, fridge, kitchen, free WiFi, private parking in the basement … That’s the reasonable price I booked the apartment on weekdays. If you stay on here over the weekend, it will cost more expensive 2 or 3 times during high seasons, especially on Christmas and New Year. To save money, you should travel to Sierra Nevada on weekdays.

Eating and Drinking:

Breakfast combo 4.15 euro including cafe, bread and fresh orange juice

Breakfast combo 4.15 euro including cafe, sandwich and fresh orange juice. Photograph: Nhu Le

There are many restaurants and bars around the place. It is difficult to find an Asian food restaurant, mainly European food. I’m from Vietnam so when I travel to somewhere I often look for Asian food in Western countries. Many restaurants here have beautiful views of the snowy mountains. It feels so good when looking the clouds drifting over the snowy mountain peaks, and enjoying a crispy sandwich with a cup of warm coffee. When you are here, you should try Spanish traditional dishes such as Paella, Jamon, Tapas, Churros … There are some small supermarkets in Sierra Nevada, the prices are quite expensive compared to the other places in Spain and the products are not diverse. If you have a long trip here and sometimes you want to cook by yourself, then I recommend you to visit the supermarket in Grannada before going to Sierra Nevada.

Buy a cable car ride to the ski resort.

Buy ski passes at the ticket office

Buy ski passes at the ticket office. Photograph: Nhu Le

You have to buy a ticket to lift up ski resort, one day ski pass cost 52 euros. Fares may be low or high depending on the time. There are many options, you can buy multi-day or half-day tickets directly at the office or buy online through the website https://sierranevada.es/. In my opinion, you should buy online tickets with many promotions and suitable packages for your trip.

Ski Gear and Equipment:

A ski equipment sales and rentals shop at Sierra Nevada

A ski equipment sales and rentals shop at Sierra Nevada. Photograph: Nhu Le

I bought the helmet, glasses, clothes and waterproof gloves specifically for skiing. And I rented snowboard and ski boosts in Sierra Nevada for 10 euros/day. It will be a little bit expensive if you rent ski equipment inside ski resort. There are tours that provide skiing packages with a ski instructor, and ski equipment that you do not need to prepare in advance. You can see many ski equipment sales and rentals shops around Sierra Nevada.

My first skiing experience:

Ski slopes of Pradollano ski resort in Sierra Nevada

Ski slopes of Pradollano ski resort in Sierra Nevada. Photograph: Nhu Le

This is my first time skiing, it was hard to get used to the heavy snow boots and navigate snowboard. I fell to the snow ground countless times. Because it was the snowboard, so I fell all the way back or forward, once I fell down it was hard to stand up without taking my snow boosts off. I was struggling to know how to adjust the snowboard in the direction I want. Although I tried the best but I fell on my buttocks and it hurt days later 😀 And luckily, there was no injury when I slipped downhill and it was impossible to slow down, so I hit a pile of snow and broke a small roadside marker.

I love skiing but I’m not good at it and hope one day I can do skiing as expert. I really like the feeling of being in the snowy mountain, my hands were freezing cold when taking off my gloves to take pictures. It was very interesting to see the high mountain scenery covered in pristine white snow. And I felt very relaxed when taking a sip of the hot chocolate milk in the middle of the icy-cold fluttering in front of me. At that moment, I thought about the movie “Everest”, and felt how hard it was to conquer the majestic of mountain peaks covered with snow.

Great experience for the first time skiing

Great experience for the first time skiing. Photograph: Nhu Le

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