WE love Spain for its sun and sand (and sangria, seafood, drool…) but who goes to ski in Spain?
If you’re flying to southern Spain in May and overhear talk of ski resorts, you’ll freak out you’re on the wrong plane.
But Spain is Europe’s second-most mountainous country, with its southernmost ski resort, and one of few places you can ski in the morning and hit the beach in the afternoon.
Not only can you go skiing in Spain, but its premier ski resort Baquiera Beret is popular among Spain’s royal family and often enjoys the best snow cover in Europe.
During the 2019-20 season ski resorts in Spain received 4.7 million people, with 3.4 million going to the Pyrenees mountain range in the northeast border region with France.
The Sierra Nevada mountain-range in the south is home to Spain’s second most popular ski resort, though you can have a day-out skiing at Navacerrada when staying in Madrid or visit La Molina if you’re staying in Barcelona over winter.
Below are the top 5 ski resorts in Spain ranked according to popularity with international skiers.
1. Baqueira Beret
Spanish province: Lleida, Catalunya
Total piste length: 160km
Ski trail difficulty: Green to double-black diamond
Annual foreign skier numbers: 158,000
What is Baqueira Beret ski resort famous for?
Baqueira Beret is not well-known internationally, but is famous in Spain as the royal family’s ski resort of choice. Former king Juan Carlos I and his wife Sofía were among the first to fall in love with Baquiera after it opened in the 1960s. They own a luxury house in which they traditionally celebrated New Year’s Eve with their children, including current King Felipe VI.
The ski area is between 1,500m to 2,610m elevation and boasts 160km of ski pistes. Ski routes from green to double-black diamond are spread across the three valleys of Beret, Baquiera and Bonaigua. The resort has 35 ski lifts, including a gondola, 20 chair lifts, 7 conveyor belts and 7 ski lifts.
Due to its elevation and favourable position on the northern side of the Spanish Pyrenees, Baquiera Beret enjoys some of the best snow cover among European ski resorts and a season lasting November to April.
How do I get to Baquiera Beret?
Baquiera Beret is in the province of Lleida in the northeastern region of Catalunya and is a 2 hr 40min drive from Lleida city. However, Baquiera is close to the French border and a shorter 2hr 20min drive from Toulouse in southern France. This means the nearest airport is Toulouse-Blagnac over the border in France.
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2. Sierra Nevada
Mountain-range: Sierra Nevada
Spanish province: Granada, Andalucia
Total piste length: 105km
Ski trail difficulty: Green to black diamond
Annual foreign skier numbers: 91,000
What is Sierra Nevada ski resort famous for?
The Sierra Nevada mountain-range is home to continental Spain’s tallest peak, Mulhácen (3,479). Sierra Nevada means ‘mountains covered in snow’ in Spanish and Mulhácen typically stays white from October-June despite being on the sunny Costa Tropical. The Sierra Nevada ski resort is located on continental Spain’s third-highest peak, Veleta (3,396), and is just a 1hr 30min drive from Spain’s southern Mediterranean coastline.
the Sierra Nevada is Europe’s southernmost ski resort and the highest in Spain, with a base elevation of 2,100m rising to a max elevation of 3,300m. The high altitude allows for a ski season from November to May, which can make for sunny ski days towards to the end of the snow. When snow is abundant, you can ski almost anywhere across the ski resort as it’s above the tree line.
The Sierra Nevada is how to 105km of ski runs, from green to single-black diamond. The lift system features 2 cable cars, 17 chairlifts, 2 T-bar lifts, 2 magic carpets and 1 ski tow.
How do I get to the Sierra Nevada ski resort?
The Sierra Nevada ski resort is just 42km and an average hour’s drive from Granada city. The nearest transport hub is Granada International Airport. Direct buses are available that take just 45 minutes to reach the ski resort, allowing for day-trips from Granada.
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3. Boi Taüll
Spanish province: Lleida (Lerida), Catalunya
Total piste length: 45km
Ski trail difficulty: Green to black
Annual foreign skier numbers: 52,000
What is Boi Taull ski resort famous for?
Boi Taull is located further south than Baquiera Beret in the Spanish Pyrenees, but is home to the highest ski pistes in the entire Pyrenees. Base elevation starts at 2000m to a maximum of 2750m. The high altitude allows for higher-quality snow is one of the reasons Boi Taull was ranked as the no. 1 ski resort in Spain during the last three World Ski Awards.
Boi Taull has 45km of ski pistes, with 10 green runs, 7 blue runs, 26 red runs and 9 black runs with 16 ski lifts allowing access around the ski resort.
How do I get to the Boi Taull ski resort?
Boi Taull is a 1hr 50min drive from the nearest international airport, Lleida–Alguaire Airport in the city of Lleide (Lerida) in Catalunya. Boi Taull is a four-hour drive from Barcelona, and a 3 hour drive from Zaragoza.
Spanish province: Huesca, Aragon
Total piste length: 182km
Ski trail difficulty: Green to black
Annual foreign skier numbers: 44,000
What is Formigal ski resort famous for?
Formigal (also known as Formigal-Panticosa) is based in the Tena Valley and the only ski resort in the region of Aragon in this top 5 list. Formigal-Panticosa is one of few ski resorts in Spain with an elevation difference over 1000m. The region of Panticosa in particular is known as one of the best places to freeride in Spain, with 1075m of elevation difference to enjoy.
Skiing starts at the bottom of the Tena Valley at 1145m and rises to 2265 at its highest point. The 182km of ski runs are accessed by a network of 37 ski lifts.
Formigal is known as one of the most modern ski resorts in Spain and features a purpose-built town at its base.
How do I get to Formigal ski resort?
Formigal is located right on the Spanish-French border, and is a 1hr 30min drive from the city of Huesca. The Huesca-Pirineos airport is 100km from ski resorts but is the best way to access Formigal-Panticosa.
Spanish province: Girona, Catalunya
Total piste length: 74km
Ski trail difficulty: Green to black
Annual foreign skier numbers: 40,000
What is Masella ski resort famous for?
Known by itself, Masella is actually part of a wider ski resort known as Alp 2500 and which includes the towns of Masella and La Molina. The Alp 2500 area covers 135km of ski runs, with a base elevation of 1600m rising to 2535m. Masella itself enjoys a vertical elevation of 935m.
Masella is based on the side of the Tosa d-Alp mountain in the province of Girona, in Catalunya, and its 65 ski runs are serviced by 17 ski lifts.
Masella also has 10km of illuminated ski slopes to allow for night skiing.
How do I get to Masella ski resort?
Masella is located on the Spanish-French border very close to Andorra. It is a 2hr drive from Girona city and the closest airport is Girona-Costa Brava airport.
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