Spanish winter: where to see snow in Spain

Discover the best places to visit to find snow in Spain / Photo by Guillaume Groult on Unsplash
Discover the best places to visit to find snow in Spain / Photo by Guillaume Groult on Unsplash
30 November 2020, Redaction

When you think of Spain, sunny beaches and seaside holidays probably spring to mind. However, Spain is actually a country that is home to an extremely varied geographical landscape, with beautiful lakes, extensive plains and impressive mountain ranges, and there’s even a chance of snow in the winter months.

From Spanish ski resorts to isolated mountaintops, which are perfect for hiking or a day trip with children, you can’t afford to miss the best of Spain in the winter. It's time to begin our tour of the best snowy destinations in Spain; featuring the best walking routes, skiing locations and snowy landscapes. While a trip to Spain might not be an option in 2020 due to the coronavirus health crisis, there's nothing to stop us dreaming of a Spanish white Christmas and planning a trip to see the snowfall in Spain in the future.

Sierra de Gredos, Ávila

Snow in the Sierra de Gredos / flickr.com/photos/vm_ramos/
Snow in the Sierra de Gredos / flickr.com/photos/vm_ramos/

The Sierra de Gredos, located in the province of Ávila is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places in Spain. While this is a spectacular place to visit at any time of the year, Gredos is particularly beautiful in winter and needs to be added to your bucket list of winter destinations to visit in Spain.

Many of the tourists who visit in winter go to Navarredonda de Gredos and Hoyos del Espino, where most of the easiest hiking trails usually depart. If you already have some experience with hiking and mountain routes, then we recommend a visit to the Laguna Grande de Gredos. From the "platform of Gredos" (a car park in Hoyos del Espino), it’s about a 2-hour walk to the lagoon. In winter it is totally frozen, making for a breathtaking winter landscape.

If you have an advanced hiking level, then your goal should definitely be to reach Almanzor in the Sierra de Gredos which is 2,591 metres (8,500 feet) above sea level.

Valle de Arán, Lleida

The Valle de Arán, covered in snow / flickr.com/photos/soniapereda/
The Valle de Arán, covered in snow / flickr.com/photos/soniapereda/

The Aran Valley offers a whole range of possibilitiesin winter, especially when it snows: skiing in Baqueira, plus via ferrata (a protected climbing route), hiking and a varied artistic heritage of Romanesque and Gothic architecture in the local area. The best way to fully enjoy this Catalonian valley is to combine these different activities with a visit to a thermal spa and enjoy dinner in a local restaurant to discover the best of the local Aranese cuisine.

The tradition of natural hot springs in this area of the region of Catalonia comes from the Romans, and there are many spas nearby that are worth checking out, such as the Termas de la Baronia in the town of Les.

After all of this you'll definitely have worked up an appetite and will have to discover the fine gastronomic offer of the Aran Valley. Make sre to try the ‘olla aranesa’, a hearty, stewed mixture of sausages, beans and vegetables.

Comarca del Sobrarbe, Huesca

Hiking in the Comarca del Sobrarbe / flickr.com/photos/aka1936/
Hiking in the Comarca del Sobrarbe / flickr.com/photos/aka1936/

Sobrarbe in the region of Aragón is famous for the spectacular valleys of Ordesa and Pineta, and is popular thanks to its photogenic peaks like Monte Perdido. The area is a must visit for lovers of nature and rural tourism alike.

The region is normally associated with hiking, but when there is enough snowfall during the winter months, several companies offer visitors the chance to hire snowshoes and walk along snowy forest paths and wintery trails.

Finally, if you're lucky enough to visit the area during the winter, make sure you don’t miss Aínsa, one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Spain, which is even more spectacular when covered in snow, a sight that is sure to treat your Instagram followers.

Sierra de las Nieves, Malaga

Snow in Malaga / flickr.com/photos/caminosdemalaga/
Snow in Malaga / flickr.com/photos/caminosdemalaga/

It doesn't seem believable that a Natural Park called "Sierra de las Nieves", which literally means “Snowy Mountain Range”, is not found somewhere in the north of Spain, like Huesca or Lleida, but rather in the southern province of Malaga in the region of Andalusia. The area was declared a "Biosphere Reserve" by UNESCO and while it’s beautiful in the summer, seeing it snowed under is a truly unforgettable experience.

The best way to get to the Park is through the towns of Yunquera or Tolox, and while you’re there you should also make sure to go on a day trip to the unique town of Ronda.

Rascafría, Madrid

Rascafría in the mountains around Madrid / flickr.com/photos/45264235@N06/
Rascafría in the mountains around Madrid / flickr.com/photos/45264235@N06/

You'll even be able to find some snow in Madrid if you take a trip to the mountains! If you fancy taking a little break in the Spanish snow with your children, for example, we recommend the town of Rascafría in the region of Madrid, especially the route to the Cascada del Purgatorio waterfall. The trail is fairly straightforward, is very well signposted and doesn’t get too crowded in winter. You can choose to stay in Rascafría or easily travel from the city of Madrid by bus, and once you get to Rascafría, look for the Las Presillas car park and go from there to begin this snowy trail.

If you haven’t been there already, then get ready to fall in love with Rascafría, which for many is like a piece of Switzerland in the Community of Madrid. You will adore the history the area has to offer, its bridges and its wonderful, hearty food. 

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