Spanish winter: where to see snow in Spain

Discover the best places to visit to find snow in Spain / pixabay.com/es/users/olichel-529835/
Discover the best places to visit to find snow in Spain / pixabay.com/es/users/olichel-529835/
8 January 2020, Redaction

When we think of Spain, we normally think of sunny beaches and seaside holidays, but Spain is actually a country of extremely varied geographical landscapes. There are lakes, plains and mountain ranges, and there’s even snow in the winter months.

From the Spanish ski resorts to the isolated mountaintops perfect for hiking or a child's first contact with snow, you can’t afford to miss the best of Spain in winter, so check out these snowy spots; the best routes, skiing locations and snowy landscapes in Spain to visit this winter.

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 is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places in Spain. Many of the tourists who visit in winter go to Navarredonda de Gredos and Hoyos del Espino, where most simpler hiking trails depart from.

If you already have some experience with hiking and mountain routes, 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 reach the lagoon. In winter it is totally frozen, providing a stunningly beautiful winterscape.

If you have a very advanced hiking level, your goal should undoubtedly be to reach Almanzor, 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 possibilities 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 other areas. 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 get to know the best of the Aranese cuisine.

The tradition of natural hot springs in this area of Catalonia comes from the Romans, and there are many spas nearby, such as the Termas de la Baronia in the town of Les, which are well worth a try.

For the gastronomic route, there are more than 180 restaurants at your disposal distributed throughout the region, with exquisite cuisine, with the ‘olla aranesa’ standing out above the rest with its 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 is famous for the spectacular valleys of Ordesa and Pineta, popular for its photogenic peaks like Monte Perdido, and adored by lovers of nature and rural tourism alike.

The region is normally associated with hiking activity, but when there is enough snowfall several companies offer the chance to put on snowshoes and walk along snowy forest paths and wintery trails.

Finally, be sure that when you’re in the area you don’t miss Aínsa, one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Spain, which is even more spectacular covered with snow and sure to provide photos to delight your Instagram followers.

Sierra de las Nieves, Malaga

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

It seems like a joke that a Natural Park called "Sierra de las Nieves", or “Snowy Mountain Range”, is not somewhere in the north of Spain like Huesca or Lleida, but rather in the southern province of Malaga. The area was declared a "Biosphere Reserve" by UNESCO and if 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 take a trip to enjoy the beauty and magnitude 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/

If you fancy taking a little break to the Spanish snow with your children, we recommend the town of Rascafría in the region of Madrid and especially the route to the Cascada del Purgatorio waterfall. The trail is not too complicated, but is very well signposted and doesn’t get too crowded in winter. To start it, once you get to Rascafría, look for the Las Presillas car park and go from there.

If you haven’t been there already, get ready to fall in love with Rascafría, which for many is like a piece of Switzerland in the middle of the Community of Madrid. You will just adore its history, its bridges and its wonderful food. There's no better way to begin 2020!

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