If you ask the millions of tourists who go to Spain each year skiing may not be among the top reasons they travel to the country. Most travelers head to Spain for, among other reasons, the sunny weather, beautiful beaches, world-famous Spanish cuisine and wine, impressive historical monuments, magnificent churches, football, art, bustling nightlife, and famous festivals.
That said, Spain has some amazing ski destinations you should consider visiting the next time you’re planning a skiing holiday.
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The Best Ski Resorts in Spain
Why Ski in Spain?
The Alps may be the preferred destination for those looking to go for a ski vacation but choosing to go skiing in Spain may not be a bad idea. Here are some reasons why.
In other skiing destinations, you can’t enjoy skiing and sunbathing at the beach, all in one holiday. In Spain, this might be possible. For example, if you go skiing at Sierra Nevada, during certain months you can do your skiing in the morning, and after that go soak up the sun on the beach at the nearby coastal town Salobreña.
Ski resorts in Spain are much cheaper than the famous ski destinations in France and Switzerland.
A lot of budget airlines fly to Spain. This makes ski stations in the county more accessible than those in other destinations.
Skiing has become very popular among the locals and tourists, but the pristine white slopes don’t get as crowded as the more famous locations in Europe. So you can expect to find fewer skiers when you go out skiing in Spain.
Better weather is experienced during winter in Spain. For example, the Sierra Nevada ski resort experiences long hours of sunshine which makes you skiing more enjoyable. So don’t forget to pack your ski goggles. To travel to Spain you might have to apply for an ETIAS for Europe which grants travelers entry into the ETIAS countries.
Where to Ski in Spain
There are ski resorts in places around Spain like Pyrenees, Sierra Nevada, Granada, Leon, La Rioja, and Teruel. Here are some of the best resorts you’ll find in these areas.
Spain Ski Resorts – Baqueira-Beret
This is the most popular and biggest ski resort in Spain. Located in Aran Valley in the Pyrenees, the resort is about 200km north of Barcelona. It counts among its guests Spain’s Royal Family, who have a home there.
Opened in 1964 Baqueira-Beret has over 150 kilometers of slopes that cater to all skiing levels from amateur to professional. Close to the resort are traditional villages you can stay at or visit beautiful Romanesque churches there.
Spain Ski Resorts – Sierra Nevada
If you visit this resort towards the end of the skiing season (March- April) you can be able to ski in the morning and enjoy sunbathing at a beach in Salobreña in the afternoon.
Located in the South of Spain between the Mediterranean Sea and Andalusian city, Granada, Sierra Nevada has over 100 kilometers of slopes that also cater for skiers of all levels. Some of its courses have been included in the World Alpine Ski Championships, so professional skiers have something challenging to look forward to when they go there.
If you don’t know how to ski the resort has several ski schools where you can learn.
Spain Ski Resorts – Puerto de Navacerrada
If you visit the Spanish capital city Madrid, you can plan a day trip to this ski resort that is about 50 kilometers away. Located in a place known as Sierra de Guadarrama the resort is easily reachable by train from Madrid.
You can go to Puerto de Navacerrada for a few hours of skiing then return to Madrid to continue visiting the many attractions in Europe’s fourth-largest city. This ski resort has two sections, one for advanced skiers which is the upper part and the lower part which is for beginners.
Due to its close proximity to Madrid, it can get extremely busy during the weekends, however, weekdays have close to no traffic.
Spain Ski Resorts – Formigal
This resort is located in Aragon Pyrenees about 8km from the French Spain border at Pau. It is one of the best destinations for a family ski vacation because they have a ski school close by where your children can learn to ski. They also have dedicated family zones, where several pistes are marked with cartoons to make it more fun for the kids.
Formigal which recently got a €110 million renovation, which included the addition of 21 ultra-modern lifts linking to its valleys, has around 140 kilometers of skiable terrain. Night skiing is allowed at the resort, and there is a timed slalom track where you can test your skiing skills. You can do this while being video recorded, a service the resort also offers, so that you can review your run once done and also have a unique souvenir to take back home with you, or share with your friends on social media.
Spain Ski Resorts – La Molina and Masella
Another Spanish city you can easily get to a ski resort from is Barcelona. Located about two hours away from Barcelona is La Molina and Masella, two ski resorts that are next to each other.
La Molina was the first ski resort to be opened in Spain back in 1943. It also has the country’s first ski school. It is popular with skiing beginners and snowboarders because of its easy runs.
Masella, on the other hand, has more difficult runs and is popular with advanced skiers. Together the two resorts have more have 130 kilometers of skiing terrain combined. If you’re looking to ski when in Spain, and you’re in Barcelona these destinations offer the perfect place to take a day or two break from the busy city life.
Spain may not be your first choice for a ski holiday, but the country is a good ski destination with world-class runs, cheaper ski resorts, high-quality ski schools and good weather to make your skiing trip fun. So give Spain a try, you’ll fall in love with its ski slopes!
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