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Where to ski and sunbathe on the same winter day in Europe

Where to ski and sunbathe on the same winter day in Europe

There is only one destination in the whole of mainland Europe where it is possible to ski in the morning and spend time on the beach in the afternoon. Granada is an ancient and beautiful city less than an hour from the coast of Spain and close to the resort areas of the Costa del Sol and Costa Tropical.

It may not be that practical to actually go swimming in the sea on the same day as hitting the slopes. But spending the afternoon on the beaches of these summer coastal destinations is something that is very practical on a large number of days during the winter months.

Spain is a great ski destination

Ski Spain

Spain is not the first European destination that many people will think of when considering a skiing holiday. But perhaps instead of opting for the more obvious mountain retreats maybe you should consider Granada (available from IceLolly.com) and the stunning slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The Granada ski season lasts from November to April and during this period the mountains in the area, including the 3478 m Mulhacén Mountain, are blessed with extremely good quality fine ski snow.

Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada

The Sierra Nevada range is within easy reach of the city of Granada and its airport and is also within a very reasonable driving distance of the popular airport at Malaga. The ski resort area itself is suitable for a wide range of winter sports enthusiasts including couples, singles, and most especially families. With children being able to take advantage of the wonderful Mirlo Blanco recreation zone.

Pradollano ski resort 2100m/6889feet
Pradollano distance from Granada 37km
Green ski runs: 8
Black ski runs: 4
Blue ski runs: 33
Red ski runs: 34

Here children will find a selection of activities for all ages. From the excitement of “Roller-Sledding” which is sort of similar to a toboggan run but at a child-friendly speed. They can also enjoy a whole host of other activities including ice skating and children’s longtime favourite sliding downhill on a rubber inner tube.

The Snow Garden

Granada Mountains

You will find quality attractions for the little ones including the Snow Garden and the crèche which are both run by highly trained and qualified staff who can cater for the needs of all children up to the age of six.

Obviously being a major Spanish ski resort you will find just about everything you would expect in the more usual ski centres of Northern Europe. Including a wide selection of Spanish and foreign-influenced restaurants. A large selection of bars as well as shopping opportunities and of course all the essentials such as ski hire.

Leave the slopes behind and hit the beach

Costa Tropical

After a morning hitting the slopes you may decide that the perfect antidote to snow is a little sand. Probably the nearest beach area to the mountain resorts is the Costa Tropical. This area boasts some beautiful beaches in many resorts including Salobreña, Almunecar and Torrenueva.

This area all the way from Motril down to Marbella enjoys winter daytime temperatures between 10 and 20° C generally falling somewhere in higher end of those two numbers on most days. The average daily winter sunshine for this area of the Spanish coast is five hours per day.

The resort town of Salobreña


The resort town of Salobreña is pretty much unspoilt when compared to its neighbours such as Fuengirola and Torremolinos just to the south. Here you will find a touch of the real Spanish coastal experience with wonderfully whitewashed houses and old cobbled streets.

People have been inhabiting this spot for over 6000 years and it is steeped in history. But still manages to cater very well to the needs of the modern tourist. You will also find it is impossible to avoid the 10th-century Moorish castle which dominates the town and is well worth a visit if for no other reason than the beautiful views.

Granada to Salobrena     70km – 50 mins
Granada to Fuengirola  151km – 90 mins

Here you will also find a reasonably good selection of shops as well as many traditional Spanish tapas bars and a very good range of eateries and the area also has a great selection of beaches for you to enjoy on warm winter afternoons.

So as you can see this is a great destination for those who would like to mix a ski experience and winter sun worship. With Granada and the Sierra Nevada’s only one to two hours easy drive from the well-known resort towns of the Costa Tropical and the Costa del Sol this feels like it could be the perfect ski and beach holiday location.

Ever since he was knee-high to a grasshopper Michael has always been a sucker for an adventure. As a kid he was lucky enough to live for many years in a handful of exotic far flung locations including Hong Kong, Pakistan, Kenya and Tanzania and since then he’s developed a taste for seeking out new cultures. So much in fact he now travels the world as a trading digital nomad, exploring sizzling street markets in Bangkok to random back alleys in Sri Lanka and everything in between! He also has a special fondness for Cohibas, street food, playing carrom, and fine wine and knows his clarets from his chiantis. He counts Cuba, Amsterdam, Laos, Cambodia and Italy as his favourite destinations.


  • Simon Gale

    12 January, 2015 at 5:47 am

    You can also Ski and Beach in Cyprus , right now the ski resort and 4 runs are open on the top of Mount Olympus on Troodos in Cyprus , and the wonderful beaches are just 1-1.5 hours drive away. People are swimming in the sea even now everyday in Paphos. This region is a sub-Tropical paradise and we even have banana plantations . Cyprus is one of the Best Kept Secrets in the Meditteranian 🙂

  • Jacob

    18 January, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Visited Granada last year for skiing! fantastic resort, Granada great also, love that you posted this its very underrated. A quick tip, when i was there i stopped at a hotel called abadia hotel (i think) good price and had a great spanish/arabic theme! nice blog

  • Tiana Kai

    18 December, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Oh I never thought of Spain. Nice list! I’m looking forward to shredding some pow in January back in Piedmont, plus their wine isn’t bad. 😉


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