When deciding where to spend your winter break, the places that spring to mind include the Alps in France or Switzerland, or perhaps the north of Italy. Naturally, Austria is always an option but few think of the south of Spain for anything other than sun, sea and sand.
Well think again. The idyllic mountain range of Sierra Nevada provides an opportunity to wax those skis or snowboards, dust down your boots and reach the heady heights as you arrive at the peaks of some of the best ski slopes Europe has on offer.
For beginners there are numerous ski schools to join, to help even the complete novice.
Check out the British Ski Centre for decent prices, as well as experienced instructors.
For the more advanced skier, Sierra Nevada is equally appropriate, with almost half the runs designated for knowledgeable skiers.
From no frills to daredevil, Sierra Nevada does not disappoint.
Whether you are looking to freestyle or just go for the pistes, you will be well looked after.
One of the best aspects to boarding here is the weather, it can be sunny, almost beach weather, yet it has no adverse affect on the slopes.
Granada, the principal city near to Sierra Nevada, and the surrounding area is a hot spot for paragliding. So much so that it is not unknown to host the odd competition or two.
There are a number of different options regarding paragliding in Sierra Nevada, such as high mountain cross country, flatlands and ridge soaring. You can also do acro.
Flying is possible throughout the year, but particularly spectacular in winter and makes a nice addition to a traditional winter sport holiday.
From the finest steak at La Antorcha to the unique atmosphere at the Snowpeople restaurant that provides the perfect ambience for the winter season, you will not be disappointed with eating out in Sierra Nevada.
Indeed, there are plenty of fish and tapas options on offer too.
On occasion, prices may be high but there are some excellent value possibilities too, particularly for a slice of pizza or other Italian dishes.
A trip out to Granada
A popular choice for visitors to the region is to take a day trip to Granada, enjoy free tapas with your beer (yes, FREE!), or head to the legendary Alhambra.
The Alhambra is the place where most people flock when visiting this idyllic Andalusian city. Why? Well, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to AD889. Little wonder it achieves this status as you marvel at the palace, stare at the fortress and savour the atmosphere provoked by the gardens and history on view.
It was rebuilt in the 13th century and then converted into a Palace by the Moors in 1333.
Where to stay in Sierra Nevada
The Nevasur Hotel
Offering pleasant panoramic views of the slopes, the valleys and of the mountains, the Nevasur Hotel is a popular choice amongst those wishing to travel on a slightly tighter budget.
The amenities that it has are all you would expect from a three star hotel, including breakfast and dinner service, wifi etc.
The rooms are all fitted with a telephone, hairdryer, bathtub and satellite television.
If you are looking to save your money on accommodation this is the perfect option for you.
Apartamentos Boabdil (Sierra Nevada)
Rated at 86% on all the top travel websites, the Sierra Nevada Boabdil Apartamentos are the best value for money option in this part of Spain.
This fantastic accommodation is situated at the Ski Station and Sierra Nevada Mountain and will set you back a mere €150 (£110 per night) for a double room, depending on the exact time of year.
The peaks of Veleta and Mulhacen are on the doorstep with the latter being the highest on the Iberian Peninsular, standing at an incredible 3482 metres.
The apartments themselves have a typically warm feel to them as you would expect from most ski chalets and they can cater from two to eight people.
They come with a fully equipped kitchen, including microwave, a toaster, a coffee maker and luxury furniture.
The place will feel like a home from home that will make it difficult to leave.
The Melia Sol y Nieve
Translated into English as the Melia Sun and Snow, the Melia Sol y Nieve is the ideal place to stay for those looking for the best place to stay within Sierra Nevada.
Pick here and you will be right at the base of the slopes in the ski resort. In addition, the hotel is located in Plaza de Pradollano, the shopping and leisure area just a few minutes away from the ski lifts.
This Melia hotel has a 2500m squared spa in which to relax after a long day’s skiing or boarding.
Finally, the rooms offer magnificent views of the mountains that will simply take your breath away.
For all of these reasons and so much more, it is unsurprisingly rated as the most popular hotel in the area.
How to get to Sierra Nevada
Getting to Sierra Nevada could not be easier thanks to Shuttle Direct’s excellent door to door service.
Whether you a flying to Granda, lying less than an hour away from the magnificent mountain range, or to Malaga, around two hours away, make sure you use Shuttle Direct. They will ensure your journey from plane to accommodation is as seamless as possible, leaving you to relax so you that are in the best possible shape to attack the mountains.
The Malaga Costa Del Sol Airport is the third busiest on the Iberian Peninsular, after Barcelona and Madrid, and, as a result, offers so much more than somewhere to just pass through.
From shopping to cuisine, this airport is a pleasure to fly from.
In a addition, Shuttle Direct can pick you up from directly outside the terminal building and get you to Sierra Nevada in less than two hours.
Let one of their experienced drivers pick you up in one of their many luxury vehicles, and sweep you off your feet, getting you to your accommodation in style, as well as comfort.
Somewhat smaller than its Andalusian neighbour, Granada Airport does offer the convenience of being on the doorstep of Sierra Nevada.
Moreover, it receives flights from all over Spain, as well as the French capital, Paris.