Skiing in Spain? Yes, the Iberian peninsula may be more commonly known for its sangria and sandy beaches, but there are a number of world-class ski resorts within the Spanish Pyrenees.
Tracing the French/Spanish border, the Spanish Pyrenees run from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediteranean Sea, zig-zagging through the tiny country of Andorra. Peaks reach up to 3,400m and prices are much more reasonable, compared to neighbouring France or Italy.
Our favourite reason to ski Spain? Quiet slopes. If you visit outside peak holiday times, you can almost guarantee empty pistes and acres of backcountry to explore.
As one of the largest and most well-known ski resorts in the Pyrenees, Baqueira-Beret is certainly one to add to the bucket list. It is a favourite with the Spanish royal family and remarkably reasonably priced compared to France. Forget first lifts, you won’t find the Spaniards on the slopes before 10am, perfect for early birds who like empty groomers. With the top lift rising to 2,516m, you don’t have to worry about rain – it is one of the most snow-sure resorts in Spain.
Reindeer and bears roam the slopes around this Spanish ski resort. Yes, really! Perched right on the French border, Formigal is favoured for its snow-preserving north-facing slopes and large ski area.Wide, cruisy runs are the defining feature here, which beginners and intermediates will certainly appreciate. Advanced skiers can carve down the challenging black runs here, plus dip your tips into the extensive off-piste potential.
A glass of Tempranillo overlooking the capvespre (sunset) anyone? La Molina is known for its stunning visas over the Pyrenees. Just two hours from Barcelona, you can combine a city weekend with a few downhill runs. Beginners will feel right at home here, especially those with kids. Over half of the 68 slopes are greens and blues. With the highest point at 2,536m, you’ll find snowy slopes right into spring.
Dodge the crowds and head to the quiet untouched pistes of Boí Taüll. Home to the highest skiable point in the Pyrenees, it is a great ski destination for late season snow. Skiing begins at 2,000m, with plenty of steep reds and blacks. It is almost impossible to get lost, because all runs lead back to the same mountain base. So you won’t end up on the other side of the valley to your friends at beer o’clock.
Known as the lost valley, you won’t find many crowds in Cerler. Expansive views of the Aneto glacier are a favourite among the locals. With 45 miles of pistes, 3,700ft of vertical descent and 18 lifts, you won’t get bored – plus there’s acres of backcountry to explore near the Ampriu area. Cerler is also home to Spain’s largest snow parks, so time to brush up those 360s and show the kids how it’s done.
Fancy stargazing after a day skiing? Espot Esqui is located in the National Park of Aigüestortes, one of the best stargazing areas in southern Europe. After a full day on the slopes, head up to Cafeteria Cota 2000 for a traditional Catalan escudella (meat stew) and a session gazing through a catadioptric telescope at the night sky. Backcountry enthusiasts will appreciate that it is also the start of Spain’s best hut-to-hut ski tour, the Carros de Foc.