Skiing in Spain sounds unconventional. With French Alps, Zermatt in Switzerland, St. Anton in Austria or the Monterosa in Italy, why would anyone choose to go to Spain? While not as common as its European counterparts, Spain can offer memorable skiing experiences, with its unique Spanish lifestyle, culture, dining. Most noteworthy, one can enjoy the beauty of the sun while going through the usual adrenalin rush that one may expect from skiing.
First of all, there are the Spanish Pyrenees Mountains, which feature more than 30 different areas for skiing. The Baqueira/Beret resort may seem strange for many skiers outside Europe. However, those who are familiar with the place consider it to be one of the best options when skiing in Spain. The Pyrenees divide France from Spain.
The range of the Pyrenees itself is some 270 miles long across the northern region of Spain and the southern border of France. The highest point of Pyrenees is the Aneto Peak, at 11,169 feet or 3,404 meters. Aneto is in the Maladeta massif of the Central Pyrenees.
Baquiera/Beret Ski Resort: Skiing in Spain Made More Unique
As one of the largest resorts in Spain, Baqueira/Beret has a variety of slopes ranging from beginner to expert levels. In fact, it has 146 kilometers of marked pistes, 7 kilometers of marked off-piste, and 7 kilometers of cross-county ski. There are 5.5 kilometers of ski routes available.
Also, the total ski area is about 2,166 hectares or 5,450 acres. It stretches across Baquiera, Beret, and Bonaigua. Skiers can find the winter sports area between the elevations of 1,471 and 2,510 meters. The slopes of Baquiera/Beret are mainly accessed with around 30 ski lifts. The ski season usually starts in November and ends until the end of April.
In addition, just a fun trivia, for those who are into all things royalty, there is a great chance that travelers will run into members of the Spanish royal family or aristocracy. They have been known to ski at this resort.
Baqueira/Beret Resort Activities
Speaking of the term “family,” Baqueira/Beret is a great location for families to travel together. The Beret has easier slopes for new and intermediate skiers. Baqueira, which is a separate base, is more for the advanced skiers who like challenges. The resort also welcomes children, because they have activities for them as well. Examples of fun activities for kids include wave running, children’s lifts, swimming, workshops, and childcare.
The Beret area is the best skiing area for families who are just learning how to ski. This area also offers all kinds of services, from ski equipment hire to ski school to children’s playschool.
The more exciting activities include climbing, canyoning, and rafting. Furthermore, travelers can ride on horse-pulled sleighs, mountain hike, go snowshoeing, and even try heli-skiing. This is where a person or people are taken up a mountain by a helicopter to ski. Sounds like a great way to experience skiing in Spain!
Where to Stay in Baquiera/Beret
Depending on the date of your trip, headcount and budget, there is a wide variety of accommodation options near Baquiera. Casa Irene is one of the most popular lodging options, with locals and Catalans recommending the place. They have big rooms and offer food choices as well with their incredible menu. Those who have been coming to Baquiera for a long time can attest to the exceptional service Casa Irene offers.
Hotel YOY Tredos
One can also check-in at Hotel YOY Tredos, which offers very comfortable family rooms, convenient parking (underground and free outdoor parking) and nice breakfast. Or rent their modern ski lockers to keep ski equipment in perfect condition before the adventure begins. In addition, they have a convenient coach service that takes travelers up to Baquiera. Most noteworthy to mention, it runs nearly all the time. The drivers are also helpful and courteous. Hotel is only 1.5 kilometers from Baquiera.
Aneto’s view from the Seixes Hotel is quite amazing. For big groups, they offer apartment and duplex options, with independent kitchen. Expect very polite and friendly personnel to greet and assist travelers for a memorable stay. Their optional services include free buffet breakfast, dinner, covered garage and bike storage. Hotel is 2.4 kilometers from Baquiera.
Parador de Arties
For those comfortable staying a bit farther from Baquiera, Parador de Arties is 5 kilometers away. While reviews are mixed for this hotel, it stands right by the mountains and is good for lovely walks. It is a wooden mountain chalet, and parking is comfortable as well.
What anyone can benefit from its location is it is just a short distance from the town. One can see the bell towers of the two churches that stand out above the trees. The town center of Arties has all the charm of a mountain village. The hotel offers complimentary bus service to the ski slopes, but space is quite limited. Thus, those who are planning a trip should ask the reception in advance for schedule information.
Dining in Baquiera/Beret
Depending on where visitors stay, dining alternatives vary. Booking an apartment, for example, will also allow an opportunity to cook for oneself. Or they can also visit some of the restaurants that are in the resorts. Another option is to travel to town to dine. From Baqueira/Beret, Barcelona is just about three and a half hours away and Huesca is about two and a half hours away.
The food is not your typical fast food or snacks to tide one over. Get full course meals and enjoy regular or exotic foods such as caviar, trout, cured sausage, and cheeses. In addition, there are available fresh bread, local fruits, stews, lamb, fine wine and much more.
La Borda Labato Restaurant
Borda Lobato is a restaurant in the valley of the resort. It is the oldest building there and is famous for its Aranese cooking. Many skiers have frequented this restaurant for their Olha Aranese. This is the signature dish of the region. It consists of beans, noodles, potatoes, and vegetables in a meaty broth. Diners can also opt for their beef and lamb dishes and ask for a glass of wine. This sounds like a nice warm meal after skiing.
Another area with restaurants is Vielha. It is about 30 minutes within the valley from the slopes. On Tuesdays, the bars in the area have Pintxo Pote. The bar in the area serves a pintxo of the day with a zurito, which is a small beer for only three euros.
Meson Casa Benito is a good place as well to have dinner. The décor is cozy, and this will really get anyone feel the reality of being in the mountains. Aside from excellent food, diners rave about the restaurant’s competent and friendly service. A good choice if one is not looking to be disappointed.
Eth Bistro Gastro Espai is a small but cute restaurant that offers outstanding food and service. Expect typical cuisine at a very good price. Just a note though, remember to make a reservation prior to visiting. Your skiing in Spain experience is about to get better, and that extra effort will be worth it in the end.
Finally, REFU Birreria Vielha serves very good craft beer. Dine with your family or hang out with friends. They serve a variety of dishes, from burgers to Asian food to Mexican dishes. Just a tip, seek inputs from the nice staff if trying something unfamiliar to make sure the restaurant perfectly serves a satisfying meal.
La Molina Resort
Another slope along the Pyrenees Mountains is the La Molina. La Molina is said it to have the oldest ski slopes in Spain. It has 63 slopes, designed for all levels, from beginner to expert. The resort holds a modern and sportive spirit. Skiing in Spain is made more alive in this skiing haven. Beginners can enjoy its blue and green runs. For the more experienced skiers, the resort also has competitive black and red runs. Snow conditions tend to be worse, though, so skiers should make sure to prepare for such.
La Molina has other activities such as snow tubing, snowshoeing, bowling, ice skating, snowmobiling and winter Segway touring. They also have an adventure park with activities for children and adults. The activities are just as diverse as the slopes. Consequently, this would be a great place for a family or a ski getaway with friends.
Ever heard of adaptive skiing? La Molina has adaptive equipment and accommodations for anyone who needs those services. They would be able to experience what it is like to ski and if able, could learn how to ski in the adaptive service facility.
Masella Ski Resort
La Molina connects to Masella. Masella is only 10 minutes away from La Molina. It has 65 slopes of its own. Add that to the slopes of La Molina and the possibilities are quite endless. They offer an ALP 2500 pass to allow access to La Molina and Masella. Masella, however, offers skiing at night. The mountains are lit with floodlights for 2 to 3 hours on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and during the holidays. Night passes are available for those that are interested.
La Molina and Masella are very sunny resorts during the day. In fact, they are said to be the sunniest ski resorts in Europe.
Masella has two hotels and apartments on its resort. For bigger groups, La Molina offers more rooms. Other alternatives include the Sercotel Hotel & Spa La Collada, the Xalet Refugi Pere Carne, and the Niu dels Falcons. For those looking for apartments, try checking out Apartmentos Solineu.
Restaurants to visit while at La Molina or Masella are Croco Brasa which is on the sloping site and La Cava Taverna, which is about 6 miles away. Both offer traditional food, with warm customer service and an atmosphere that one can only get while skiing in Spain.
Traveling to the southernmost part of Spain is the Sierra Nevada. Popular for its beaches and tourism, Sierra Nevada is another skiing and winter sports destination. In fact, it is considered by many to be one of the best destinations in the south when skiing in Spain.
Like other resorts, Sierra Nevada offers skiing opportunities for all levels. They have an additional area, Sulayr Terrain Park, with 110 different kinds of ramps and rails. They also have the largest ski jump in Europe for skiers and snowboarders.
There is also a place for children. Alpine Gardens and Dreamland is an area for infants. For older kids, they have tobogganing, bike-skiing, and a magic carpet lift. There is also an activity called gymkhana. This is where the kids and adults can get together to race and compete while horse riding. The day includes Birangle, pole bending, Figure 8 stake racing, barrel racing, and the Annual Gummy Worm Race.
The Sierra Nevada is also different from the other resorts. This is because one can ski in the morning and be on the beach in the evening. Imagine racing down incredibly high slopes of 1,200 vertical meters during one part of the day and watching the sunset by the sea later that same day. Yes, it is possible. They also have night skiing from 9 am to 9 pm on weekends and late at night on Thursdays.
Where to Stay When Skiing in the Sierra Nevada
La Almunia del Valle
With Certificate of Excellence on its belt, La Almunia del Valle has beautiful surroundings, lovely rooms, and excellent staff to cater to a traveler’s every need. One can enjoy dinner on the terrace overlooking the Sierra Nevada mountains. No one can get wrong with this hotel when looking for the perfect location and views. It also features a garden and a swimming pool – perfect after a tiring day. Travelers are raving about the hotel’s buffet breakfast.
Huerta del Laurel
Rooms are comfortable and clean at Huerta del Laurel. There is also free parking and they serve tasty and plentiful breakfast. The hotel boasts of lovely views of the mountains and the village. For those planning to visit Monachil on Sundays, note that most bars and restaurants are closed in the evening.
Hotel Granada Palace
One thing to love about this place is the excellent service of their staff. They serve buffet breakfast and a la carte lunch or dinner. There is no blanket but sheets in the room. Travelers may also end up using a limited number of towels. For a small fee, one can get a comfortable parking space. Modern rooms are huge, certainly, great value for money. Of course, a traveler’s experience varies from one time to another. The best way to experience an exemplary service is communicating properly with the staff. No one will go wrong with that.
Dining in the Sierra Nevada
Titos Tapas and Swell are two restaurants within the Sierra Nevada National park. As with the other restaurants in Spain, they both offer authentic meals for reasonable prices and are good choices. The Sierra Nevada is close to Granada and Madrid, so if one wants to travel into either one of those cities for food and dancing one can.
Other popular restaurants in the area include Vivac, Restaurante Ci Vediamo, and La Muralla Steakhouse. Go for Vivac if you are craving Spanish or Mediterranean dishes. They also serve vegetarian friend and gluten-free options. La Muralla serves Spanish, Mediterranean and international dishes. If you are craving for signature European dishes, Ci Vediamo may be the best place to visit.
Skiing in Spain: Planning an Itinerary
Sounds like a lot to do. How can anyone do it all? A typical day would consist of the locals making their way up to the mountains between 10 to 11 am. For early risers, they could have the slopes to themselves for a little while. Skiing takes place until about 3 pm. Then it’s time for lunch Spanish-style.
After lunch, visitors then go back to skiing before closing and then heading to their respective residences to sleep. In Spanish terms, they call this a siesta. At about 10 in the evening, the people head out for dinner and dancing. Yes, this is a typical day that one should expect. While it may be an adjustment for individuals who are not into partying, enjoying a bit of another culture could very well allow an opportunity to enjoy finer things in life.
When it comes to skiing in Spain it is cheaper than the other more popular resorts throughout Europe. During the holidays, prices will be higher and the resorts will be more crowded. Going during the offseason or after the holidays will allow fewer crowds, more slopes, and savings of a few dollars or euros.