Providing Granada’s dramatic backdrop, the Sierra Nevada range extends about 75km from west to east. Its wild snowcapped peaks boast the highest point in mainland Spain (Mulhacén, 3479m) and Europe’s most southerly ski resort at Pradollano. The lower southern reaches, peppered with picturesque white villages, are collectively known as Las Alpujarras.
Some 859 sq km are encompassed by the Parque Nacional Sierra Nevada. Spain’s largest national park, this protected area is home to 2100 of Spain’s 7000 plant species, including unique types of crocus, narcissus, thistle, clover, poppy and gentian, as well as Andalucía’s largest ibex population. Bordering the national park at lower altitudes is the Parque Natural Sierra Nevada.
From July to early September, the higher mountains offer wonderful multiday trekking and day hikes. Outside of this period, there’s a risk of inclement weather, but the lower Alpujarras are always welcoming, with most snow melted by May.