- Location: Shared by Granada and Almeria provinces in southern Spain
- Attraction Type: Nature and Activity Park
- Significance: A UNESCO World Heritage site endowed with abundant flora and fauna; also a significant historical remain of Roman, and Moor civilizations
- Best Time to Visit: All through the year
- Visiting hours: 9am to 4pm
- How to Reach: By road from Granada — 45 minutes drive; alternatively by road from Almeria
- Nearest International Airport: Granada and Almeria
Sierra Nevada National Park, Spain spread over 86,000 hectares occupies the provinces of Almeria and Grenada. The Sierra Nevada can be broadly divided into the high ridge mountainous area characterized by glacial actions and sparse vegetation, and the Mediterranean mountainous region featured by well-established plant and animal lives. This national park in Spain also features the Mulhacen and Veleta peaks, the two highest peaks of the Iberian Peninsula.
Spain Sierra Nevada National Park is exceptional biodiversity of Europe providing refuge to around 2100 plant species out of which 116 are endangered and about 70 are endemic. Among the animals, weasel, foxes, badgers, lizards, and snakes are significant. However, wild mountain goat or ibex is easiest to spot. If you are a bird watcher, then the golden eagle, Bonelli’s eagle, griffon vulture, hoopoe, and peregrine falcons would fascinate you.
Traditionally called ‘Sierra del Sol’, or the ‘mountains of the sun’, this UNESCO World Heritage site carries the legacies of the Romans, Moors, Visigoths, and Tartessians especially in the Alpujarra slopes. Alpujarra, the last shelter of the Moors, carries remnants of flat-roofed houses belonging to the Moors. The slopes of Alpujarra also have irrigation channels that collected meltwater from the snow peaks to the low lying areas.
Hiking through Sierra Nevada National Park is a stimulating activity. Trekking through undulating meadows and vibrant woods, you would discover that time has stood still in the lower slopes of Sierra del Sol. This territory is endowed with abundant flora and fauna for your exploration. This leisurely walk from Barranco de San Juan takes about five hours. If you have a liking for more adventurous trails, then the route along Rio Trevelez would be ideal. The terrain is challenging with several climbs, river crossings, and mountain streams. This route could take you up to a height of nearly 2000 meters.
If you are seeking greater adventure in the Sierra Nevada in Spain and are physically fit then make an attempt to scaling Mount Mulhacen. The 16 km climb begins from Capiliera and involves several steep climbs. If you are attempting to climb the slopes in winter carry winter climbing gear as there is considerable snow on your ascent.
In winter, Sierra Nevada becomes one of the most sought after ski destinations in southern Europe. In fact, Prasdollano resort at 2100m in Sierra Nevada is the southernmost ski destination of Europe. With 61 km of course spread across 39 runs it suits the needs of skiers of all levels. Beginners, as well as experts, can try out their skills in these slopes. Though ski lifts operate from 9 am to 4:30 pm, floodlit skiing is gradually gaining popularity. Attempt skiing under floodlights on Friday or Saturday evenings; it would become a memorable experience.
Accommodation and Dining
In the Sierra Nevada National Park, accommodation for trekkers are available in Refugio del Poqueira and Refugio de Postero Alto, both in Granada territory of the park. All along with the trekking routes restaurants and eateries are available to cater to your gastronomic needs. Alternatively, you could stay in Granada, about 45 minutes driving distance from Sierra Nevada National Park. Parador de Granada, Sercotel Carmen, Hotel Saray, and Hotel Corona are among the deluxe hotels to select from. If you opt for putting up in a comfort hotel then Hotel Los Angeles, Hotel Guadalupe, and Abadia Hotel are among your choices.
Granada has innumerable restaurants spread across which specialize in delectable Spanish, Mediterranean, and Portuguese dishes. Los Santanderinos a typical Spanish eatery serves braised mushroom with Iberian ham, stuffed squid, and special items in beef, lamb, and fish. Ruta del Veleta is another renowned Spanish restaurant specializing in roasted game birds like partridge and pheasant, roast suckling pig, and filet steak in morel-studded cream sauce.
Related Links :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTG53qK-9c8: For great views of the Spanish Sierra Nevada, click on this travel video from 1998. You will also get lots of necessary information from this authentic travel video!