From November until May, the highest mountain range on the Iberian Peninsula is a magnificent sight with its glistening blanket of snow. Measured from east to west, the Sierra Nevada is 100 kilometers long and, like the alps, arose during the collision of the European and African continental plates. Its highest peak is the Mulhacén, which reaches a height of 3,482 meters. Those travelling to the mountains from Granada are repeatedly rewarded with stunning views along the way. Do not forget to stop in at the roadside information center with its café and splendid terrace. Hiking trails leading over the mountains begin where the road ends. The core section of the Sierra Nevada has been protected since 1999 by the establishment of a national park here.
Following the Rio Genil upstream to Mediterranean forests
The Vereda de la Estrella runs from Güejar into the Sierra Nevada until it reaches the northern cliffs of the Mulhacén, where Mediterranean oaks and maples grow, as well as a giant chestnut tree known as “El Abuelo,” or “the grandfather.” The trail starts at the bridge over the Rio Genil and follows the river upstream into the mountains near Alcazaba. There are two huts in operation on the way back. (5:30 hrs, 21 km, elevation change: 820 m)
Breathtaking view from the highest mountain in Spain
At an elevation of 3,482 meters, the Pico de Mulhacén is the highest mountain on the Iberian peninsula. The trail up the mountain starts at the shelter, which is open year-round. A shuttle provided by the national park service in Hoya del Portillo will take you to the shelter. (5:11 hrs, 8.75 km, elevation change: 960 m)
Crossing rope bridges in a gorge near Granada
This trail starts east of the Alhambra and leads through a narrow gorge. The route is marked out as the “Cahorros Bajos.” When you reach Tajo del Lunes, you can head back via a different trail taking you over the uplands to Granada. (2:45 hrs, 8.61 km, elevation change: 300 m)
Moorish villages at the base of Spain's highest mountains
This deep valley is overshadowed by the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Along the way, you will see the ancient Moorish towns of Pampaneira, Bubión, Capileira and La Cebadilla. (5:34 hrs, 16.2 km, elevation change: 810 m)
Great views across the roof of Andalusia
From Monachil you can reach the ski village of Sierra Nevada after about 30 minutes via an adventurous road . Outside the ski season you will meet only a few people; despite the views from above being phenomenal. At 3,100 meters above sea level you can take several lovely walks.
To the route: