‘Hey, cool, I saw your picture on Facebook – where did you go snowboarding?’ ‘Oh in Granada, there is actually a big well-known ski region where I live, called Sierra Nevada!’
Granada Skiing and Snowboarding
It all started with me seeing a picture of my Australian friend who lives in Spain on skies with the hashtag Granada skiing. When I asked her about it she told me that she actually lived very close to a famous ski region, in the South of Spain. That sure is one thing I would have never considered possible. Since I was dying to go snowboarding again and in anticipation to see my friend, it obviously didn’t take me long to book my flight down there for a long weekend of snowboarding. ‘What Lisa, you went down there for only 4 days?’ ‘Yeah, 2 days of traveling for 2 full days of snowboarding sounds like an awesome trip to me.’ Well, the whole flying aspect could have gone a bit more smoothly as actually 3 of my 4 flights were delayed. Also, I was feeling really sick on the way down there and couldn’t even eat proper food for the first 2 days. Well, nothing was going to take away my excitement about being able to go snowboarding though. It will be easiest to fly to Málaga. From there you can take a bus to Granada which you can easily book through the ALSA website.
Things to eat in Granada
Let me tell you, although during the day Málaga welcomed me with warm sunny weather, once I was in Granada you could definitely feel that it is close to a ski region. Walking around in your normal snowboard jacket won’t be too warm, you will actually need it. I arrived in the evening and needed to get up very early in the morning to catch the ski bus. That didn’t stop us from going out for dinner and drinks though…keep in mind Spanish timing here though…so going out for dinner meant leaving my friend’s place earliest 9.30 ish. Spain is known for its delicious TAPAS. A special thing about Granda though is that you will be served tapas for free along with each drink you order so you don’t really have to order dinner and can just snack through the evening. A great tapas place you can go to is ‘Taberna 22′ in the old town.
The historical old town of Granada is incredibly beautiful. Walking through the district (‘Albaicin’) is like walking through a maze of old tiny alleys with hidden ARABIC TEA SHOPS and small restaurants. A very cute Arabic tea shop is the ‘Teteria La Oriental’ at ‘Calle Calderería Nueva’. If you keep walking up the steep passages it will take you to the lookout point ‘Mirador de San Nicholas’ where you can admire the famous ‘Alhambra’. ‘Lisa, you should maybe go snowboarding on one day and on the other day buy a ticket to visit the Alhambra.’ Yeah, I could have done that but snowboarding sounded so tempting. But if you’ve got enough time definitely buy a ticket and make sure to buy it ahead of time as they sell out quickly.
Snowboarding in Spain
Sierra Nevada is a famous ski region with a cute ski resort village (highest peak 3282 m) and a total number of 103 slopes, all taken together about 100 km long. The circumstances could have not been funnier as recently winds had brought sand from the Sahara to the ski regions in Europe so the snow actually had a light brown color, almost comparable to slopes with not enough snow left but it was in fact just a layer of fine sand on top of the very good snow. Unlike other regions I had been to in Italy and Austria, we were actually able to go snowboarding the full day until 5 pm and the snow would still be good. And if you’re lucky, on good days, you will be able to see the ocean all the way from the top. It was such a funny feeling though to be waiting at the lifts and hearing ‘radadadada’ fast Spanish speaking people all around you all day long.
Tickets can be purchased in advance on the Sierra Nevada Website but can also easily be purchased at one of the ticketing machines right next to the slopes with your credit card, a day pass was 47€ which I considered a quite reasonable price. Insurances can also be purchased which was advisable for my friends as they were both Australians living here so they didn’t really have any cover as the insurance situation is more complicated for them.
Getting to the ski region is very simple as there are buses running from Granada every day several times per day. A roundtrip is 9€ and the ride is 60 min. one way. The view going up the hill while the sun is rising and setting is for free. I always took the 8 am bus up the mountain and the 6 pm bus down. Either buy your tickets online or at one of the ticketing machines at the central bus station. Keep in mind though that it’s a busy time of the year so I preferred buying the tickets online beforehand. An insider tip, sometimes if you want to book bus tickets in the evening they will be all booked for the bus the next morning…but there is always the possibility that they might add an extra bus, so if that’s the case just check early in the morning if they’ve maybe added a second one and just book your tickets in the morning.
One thing you shouldn’t miss out on is starting the day up the hill at one of the restaurants right next to the slopes with warm freshly baked churros. SPANISH CHURROS are not as sweet as the normal churros. But what you do is you dip them in very thick hot cocoa you can just order at the bar. It’s heaven!
Granada is a very international place as a number of exchange students and language school students decide to come here. My friend went to two language schools, ‘Castila’ and ‘Delegnua’. Both schools are located in the Albaicin. The language school ‘Castila’ is a bit more expensive but set in a beautiful traditional house with a lovely garden. The city is just beautiful and there is a variety of things you can spend your time on. During the warmer time of the year you can go for amazing hikes that are located close-by or take the bus to go to the beach. That combined with being able to even go snowboarding throughout the winter time makes Granada a really interesting place. And the circumstances that brought me here were even more interesting. I initially met my friend at the other end of the world in Australia (she’s Australian) on a boat out on the ocean during a dive trip. She then decided to move to Spain so we saw each other again in Hamburg (Germany) where I live and now finally met in Spain for snowboarding. Life never gets boring if you don’t let it.