Believe it or not Spain is a fantastic place to go skiing.
Despite Spain’s hot climate due to it’s location in Southern Europe it is actually the second most mountainous country in Europe, which surprises most people.
The most/best ski resorts in Spain are located in the Pyrenees on the border with France.
Nevertheless it is even possible to ski in Spain on the Southern coast – the Costa del Sol – in the Sierra Nevada resort close to Granada.
Other ski resorts are located near the major Spanish cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia.
The cost of skiing in Spain is relatively high when compared to many other resorts in Northern Europe, both for ski hire and for lift passes.
In some resorts a day’s lift pass can be as high as 40 euros.
Below we have our ultimate guide on where to ski in Spain.
As you can see there are many ski resorts to choose from no matter what area of Spain you live in or intend to visit.
Ski Resorts Near Madrid
Most people would not associate Madrid with skiing, yet just 1 hour’s drive from Madrid in the Central Mountains are three small ski resorts that offer a breath of fresh air (literally) from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Access to these ski resorts is easy from Madrid. The ski resorts are small so each of them are really just suitable for a day’s skiing. The pistes are best suited to beginners and intermediates, not so much for expert skiers.
Valdesqui – Just 79 kilometres from Madrid. At a height of 1860 metres (rising to 2280 metres) Valdesqui has 20 kilometres of pistes. Comprises 27 runs – 9 greens, 15 blue and 3 red.
Puerto de Navacerrada – Small ski resort only 52 kilometres from Madrid with just over 10 kilometres of skiing at a height of 1850 metres rising to 2179 metres. Artificial snowmaking cannons ensure guaranteed snow.
La Pinilla – La Pinilla is in the Sierra de Ayllón Mountains massif, in the municipal district of Cerezo de Arriba (Segovia). Because it is 115 kilometres from Madrid it is the quieter of the three ski resorts near to Madrid. It has 20 kilometres of skiing at a high altitude of 1500 metres rising to a maximum of 2274 metres.
Sierra de Bejar – La Covatilla – This ski resort is 205 kilometres west of Madrid in the south of Salamanca province in the Western Central Mountains. Over 19 kilometres of skiing at a high altitude of 1990 metres rising to a maximum of 2369 metres.
Ski Resorts Near Barcelona (Pyrenees – Catalonia)
This ski area of Spain is probably the best. This is in the very north of Spain bordering France and Andorra. The major city of Barcelona is close by. This area is very mountainous and scenic, snow conditions are good and there are loads of different ski resosrts to choose from.
Boi Taull – Highest ski resort in the Pyrenees at an attitude of 2,020 metres rising to a maximum of 2,751 metres. Consequently snow record is good and consistent. Plenty of skiing with 49 pistes covering a distance of 44 km.
Baqueira/Beret – Perhaps Spain’s most famous ski resort due to the patronage by King Juan Carlos and many other celebrities. Situated in the region of Catalonia 200 kilometres from Barcelona in the beautiful Valle de Aran. Baquera/Beret is huge with 72 runs covering 104 kilometres.
Espot Esqui – Family friendly ski resort close to Andorra with 23.5 km of pistes. Low attitude of altitude 1500 metres rising to 2500 metres.
Masella – Large resort 137 kilometres from Barcelona. This is a very scenic ski resort with many runs through pine forests. It has 68 skiable kilometres with the Dues Estacions plus La Plana run being the longest run in the Eastern Pyrenees at 7km.
La Molina – Near to Masella although much smaller. This is Spain’s oldest ski resort with skiing known to date back to 1909. La Molina is located in the region of Catalonia 175 kilometres from Barcelona. Very attractive and scenic with 40 runs covering 50 kilometres of skiing.
Port del Comte – 40 kilometres of skiing located in the region of Lleida in the Pyrenean foothills of Catalonia. Exceptionally pretty as Port del Comte is surrounded by a huge black pine forest that covers the whole mountainside. This is a friendly ski resort with wide pistes and slopes to suit all levels.
Port Aine – Another fine resort in the Lleida region of Spain. A relatively new ski resort that has grown to 33 pistes covering a skiable area of 44 kilometres. 240 kilometres from Barcelona.
Vall de Nuria – A very unusual ski resort in that you can only get to it by taking a railway from Ribes de Freser. Truly a get-away-from-it-all ski resort although only 7.5 km of pistes.
Vallter 2000 – Small, quiet ski resort at an attitude of 1959 metres rising to a maximum of 2535 metres. Near the town of Setcases, 156 km to Barcelona.
While writing about this ski region we should mention Andorra which borders this region of Spain. Andorra is a duty free country set high up in the Pyrenees between Spain and France with great skiing and low prices.
Ski resorts in Andorra are Pas de la Casa/Grau Roig (right on the border with France), Pal Arinsal and Soldeu el Tarter. Previously separated, these ski resorts are now interconnected giving a massive combined ski area.
Ski Resorts Near Valencia
Considering it’s southern location in Spain and apparent lack of a major mountain range most people are amazed when told that there is skiing in this region close to the Costa Blanca coast – a major tourist srea for sun lovers.
Nevertheless the height of the mountains near Teruel is above 2,000 metres although do note that these ski resorts are very, very small and do rely heavily on artificial snow-making machines.
Javalambre – Just 1 hour drive west of Valencia towards Teruel is this tiny ski resort with 6.9 kilometres of runs. A very open ski resort – few trees and wide runs mean this is ideal for beginners.
Valdelinares – Also just 1 hour drive west of Valencia in the direction of Teruel is this tiny Spanish ski resort. There are only 7.5 kilometres of runs. Mainly set in trees this ski resort has a real alpine feel to it and some good red runs.
Ski Resorts in Pyrenees – Aragón
This ski area is approximately in the middle of the border with France. Nearby towns of note are Jaca and Huesca. This is a very mountainous area with good snow conditions, very high altitude ski resorts with some of the very best skiing in Spain.
Formigal – With 25 km of new pistes added for the 2007/2008 ski season, Formigal has now become the largest ski resort in the whole of Spain offering 137 kilometres of skiing with 93 runs suiting both beginners and expert skiers.
This video shows the resort of Formigal:
Panticosa – A hidden gem, close to Formigal, once a mountain retreat for Spain’s rich and famous, the village has a grand feel. Panticosa ski resort has 34 km of skiing with 38 runs.
Candanchu – One of Spain’s oldest established ski resorts dating back to 1928. Right on the border with France. Good size with 39.5 kilometres of pistes. Many people stay in the nearby town of Jaca (28 km away).
Astun – Sister ski resort to Candanchu, it is right next to it, there is little accommodation, nevertheless it has a good 39 kilometres of skiing.
Cerler – Cerler ski resort is the highest resort in the Spanish Pyrenees. The views are stunning, the skiing excellent especially for the expert and experienced skier. There are 61 runs over 73 kilometres with many very long descents.
Ski Resorts in Cantabria
To give you a very rough idea of where these Spanish ski resorts are – the Cantabrian mountains are set in the north-west of Spain towards the border with Portugal.
Valgrande-Pajares – Decent sized ski resort with 25 km of pistes set in Cantabria and close to the major towns of Oviedo, León and Gijón, all about an hours drive away. Mainly blue and red runs so not so good for absolute beginners.
Alto Campo – Really good Spanish ski resort. A decent size with over 27 km of pistes and good facilities. 4 green runs, 9 blue runs and 10 red runs giving excellent variety for all levels of skiers. High altitude from 1650 to 2125 metres. 90 km from Santander.
Manzaneda – Small ski resort with approx. 11 km of alpine skiing. Mainly for beginners with a mix mainly of green and blue runs, also has 4 red runs. Height is from 1,500 metres up to 1,800 metres.
Leitariegos – Very small and quiet Spanish ski resort in the northwest of León province. Only 7 km of runs so very limited skiing obviously. 1 green run, 4 blue runs and 5 red runs. Attitude is 1,513 up to 1,800 metres, this isn’t very high so do check the snow conditions before you set off.
San Isidro – Ski resort set in the north of Spain in the Cantabrian mountains, in the northeast of León province. A decent sized ski resort with just over 24 km of runs. Height is from 1,500 metres up to 2,030 metres.
Fuentes de Invierno – Located in the region of Asturias. Major cities in this area are Gijon (95 km) and Santander. A very small alpine ski resort with just 8.7 km of pistes and an attitude of 1490 metres rising to 1950 metres. Can suffer from lack of snow so do check the snow conditions before you set off.
Skiing in the Iberian Mountains
Valdezcaray – A great ski resort for nature lovers. 22 kilometres of skiing in an area covered with forests in the region that produces the famous Rioja wine of Spain. Height is 1530 up to 2125 metres.
Skiing in the South of Spain
There is just one ski resort in the very south of Spain and you might expect this ski resort to be small and with a very short season – not so – this is a major ski resort by any standards. Set very high giving a very long ski season this is a very large resort with plenty of runs for all levels and it has even hosted World Cup skiing events.
Sierra Nevada – Europe’s most southern ski resort situated on the Costa del Sol famous for it’s sunshine and hot climate! It literally is possible to ski in the morning and in the afternoon be sunbathing on the beach. Set high up at 2100 to 3300 metres in the Penibetico range and 32 km from the historic city of Granada. Seriously good skiing with 87 kilometres of pistes.
Video of Sierra Nevada:
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