The Most Unique Experiences to Have in Spain's Sierra Nevada Natural Park

Spains Sierra Nevada natural park
Spain's Sierra Nevada natural park | © Chema / Flickr
Mark Nayler

Located less than an hour’s drive from the beautiful Andalusian city of Granada, Sierra Nevada is Spain’s biggest natural park. Read on for the most unique and unforgettable experiences to enjoy in this amazing area, from star-gazing to night skiing.

Summitting Mulhacén

A visit to the Sierra Nevada gives you the opportunity to conquer mainland Spain’s highest mountain – the 3,478 metre Mulhacén. It’s doable in a day from Trevélez and Capileira in the Aplujarra or Hoya de la Mora on the peak’s other side – epic 10-hour hikes (to the top and back) that will leave you feeling utterly exhilarated.

Lunch on the top of Veleta

For a gentler and shorter trek, head to the top of Mount Veleta: at 3,396 metres, it’s the Sierra Nevada’s second highest peak and mainland Spain’s third. The summit is about a two-hour walk from Hoya de la Mora and is a breathtaking spot from which to survey the park’s rugged wildernesses – so pack a picnic.

In the clouds: the summit of the 3,478-metre Mulhacén

Night skiing

Europe’s most southerly ski resort is located on Veleta’s northern slopes. For a truly unforgettable experience, go night skiing on the three kilometres of floodlit piste that are open from 7 to 10pm. Before setting off, enjoy a free cup of soup in front of a giant bonfire that’s lit at Borreguiles, where the route starts.

Visiting the Alpujarra

A cluster of whitewashed villages scattered along the park’s southern edge, the Alpujarras are some of the most beautiful and unspoilt settlements in Europe. Don’t leave without visiting the three located close together in the gorgeous Poquiera valley: Capileira, Bubión and Pampaneira.

Trevélez, in the park’s beautiful Alpujarra region

Eating jamon in Trevélez

From Capileira, it’s about a 40-minute drive to lovely Trevélez, the highest of the Alpujarra villages at 1,476 metres. The dry climate and mountain air here are ideal for curing ham, which is why Trevélez is known for producing some of the best jamon in Spain. Be sure to try some.

Star gazing

Such is the Sierra Nevada’s altitude that the night skies are absolutely amazing. The must-attend event is the Night of Raining Stars, which usually occurs mid-August (this year it’s the 11th): enjoy a picnic and music performed by a string quartet as you watch this incredible natural phenomenon from a height of 2,700 metres.

A night sky in the Sierrra Nevada

Staying in a mountain refuge

For a real mountaineering experience, split your journey to the top of Mulhacén over two days and spend the night in a high-altitude refuge, where you’ll dine with fellow trekkers and sleep in a shared dorm. The fully staffed Refugio Poqueira, located at 2,500 metres, is the best. Booking in advance recommended.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article