Sierra Nevada National Park
The Sierra Nevada is a dramatic, rugged and extensive mountain range, the highest in Europe after the Alps and the most significant section of the Cordillera Penibética. The protected area encompasses 86,208ha of torrential rivers, sheer-sided gorges, stony scree slopes, glacial lakes between snowy summits and, in the foothills of the Alpujarras, cultivated terraces of almond trees and vegetables. Popular activities in the region include skiing, hiking, mountain biking and summer camps. One can simply travel and discover its fauna and flora, see its lagoons and have an adventure in this vast area of land.
With its' Moorish influences still prominent across the city, highly reasonable cost of living, an abundance of great tapas bars and seemingly no end to fun and excitement, Granada really is the… More →
The Sierra Nevada is a dramatic, rugged and extensive mountain range, the highest in Europe after the Alps and the most significant section of the Cordillera Penibética. The protected area… More →
Standing at an impressive 3,482m above sea level, situated in the Sierra Nevada National Park, Mt. Mulhacen is the highest mountain in mainland Spain. The mountain is named after the 15th-century… More →
As you might expect in a place of such beauty there are many excellent signposted and waymarked senderos (walks). Make sure you have a good map. Details of senderos, maps and walking guides are… More →
There are few villages on the higher ground in Sierra Nevada because of the severe weather, with strong icy winds and snow for some of the year. There are 25 villages in the park and about 10… More →
Things to see in Sierra Nevada National Park.
In the western part of the park is El Dornajo, at Km 23 on the A395 road, 958 340 625. It has loads of information on the park, including an exhibition on the area's flora and fauna, hiking, where… More →
The Sierra Nevada national park is easily accessible from the surrounding villages and towns which provide accommodation for tourists, whether it be a hostal, a hostel or a hotel. There are a few… More →
The park's plants are outstanding, with the highest number of endemic plant species in Europe. An impressive 2,100 different species of vascular plant, a quarter of those recorded in the whole of… More →
The park's main draw for fauna is its rich birdlife, with over 60 species inhabiting the Sierra. Nesting birds of prey include golden eagles, Bonelli's eagles, peregrine falcons, griffon vultures… More →
An increasingly popular option for tourists visiting the Sierra Nevada national park is to rent out a cottage, apartment or villa in one of the surrounding towns or villages.
Designated a national park in 1998, it is one of only two in Andalucia, the other being the Doñana National Park. It retains its status of natural park, which it has been since 1989, and this covers a marginally smaller area, of 85,777ha. It was declared a Unesco Biosphere Reserve in 1986, in recognition of its exceptionally diverse plant, bird and animal species.
There are over 20 peaks more than 3,000m, which makes it the second highest mountain range in Europe after the Alps. The two highest peaks in the Iberian Peninsula are in the park, the Mulhacén at 3,482m, closely followed by the Pico del Veleta, at 3,396m. On a clear day these mountains can be seen from as far away as Africa.
The park has a rich history, with the Tartessians, Visigoths, Romans and Moors all leaving their legacy in the area, which can be still be seen today; for example, the sophisticated irrigation systems inherited from the Moors and the distinctive architecture of the Alpujarras, with their flat-roofed houses, a design brought from north Africa with the Berbers. The Alpujarras have a long tradition of independence; the last Moorish king, Boabdil, famously sheltered here after the fall of Granada. It became the Moors' last refuge in Spain before their 1568 revolt failed and they were forced to leave Spain.
In the west of the park is Solynieve, Europe's southernmost ski resort, where the ski season generally runs from November to April. Apart from skiers and snowboarders at the resort, the park is popular with hikers, climbers and birdwatchers.
Apart from tourism, the economic mainstay of the Sierra Nevada is agricultural produce, with cereal crops, olives, grapes, almonds, walnuts, apples and cherries cultivated here, mainly in the southern foothills of the Alpujarras. Europe's most important iron mine is at Alquife, continuing a mining tradition in the Sierra that once included the extraction of copper and silver as well. Trevélez is renowned for its cured jamón serrano (mountain ham).
It's essential to bring high-factor sun protection and a hat, to prevent burning at this high altitude.