The Best Places to Go Skiing in Spain

Backcountry skiers looking at the mountains
aluxum / Getty Images

Spain isn't most people's first choice when it comes to skiing, especially not with Switzerland so close. But with ski resorts in five distinct regions of the country, skiing in Spain is hot stuff. 

To get a high-class skiing experience in Spain, you can't beat the Pyrenees. The mountain range straddles the Spanish/French border and there is a variety of gorgeous ski resorts throughout. To have the truly novel experiences of lounging on a beach and skiing in the south of Spain on the same day, be sure to spend time in the Sierra Nevada. There are also ski resorts near Madrid (if you want to hit the slopes on a day trip), in the north-west of Spain (specifically in Galicia, Leon, and Cantabria), as well as La Rioja and Teruel.

Why Ski in Spain?

Hardcore skiers in Europe will always head to the Alps to hit the slopes, but ski resorts in Spain have several advantages over their more famous cousins in Switzerland and Austria:

  • Skiing in Spain is cheaper compared to European resorts in more popular areas.
  • You can combine culture and skiing in one trip by visiting a resort close to one of Spain's most popular cities.
  • With numerous budget airlines flying to Spain, it is often more convenient to get to a Spanish ski station than to resorts in other countries
01 of 06


Skiing in Candanchu, Spain
Mikel Ortega/Creative Commons

The Pyrenees are second only to the Alps for good skiing in Europe. Though it's technically possible to hit the slopes on a day trip from Barcelona, the journey will take around 2 hours each way, depending on the resort you visit, and you'd be missing out by only spending a few hours in the Pyrenees.

The mountain range can be divided into several regions but we're focusing on three: Aragonese Pyrenees, Catalan Pyrenees, and Andorran Pyrenees.

There are too many ski resorts to go into full details on them all here, but here's a comprehensive list of the resorts in those three regions.

Ski Resorts in Aragonese Pyrenees

  • Astún: Nestled in the Aragon Valley near Jaca, this resort has a unique location and over 30 miles of skiable area.
  • Candanchu: First opened in 1928, this is the oldest ski resort in Spain and it offers joint passes with Astún.
  • Cerler: Surrounded by gorgeous peaks Cerler treats skiers to stunning views and thrilling slopes. It is the highest resort in the Aragonese Pyrenees and boasts the largest descent in the mountain range.
  • Formigal: This sprawling resort boasts slopes for all skill levels spread across four valleys
  • Panticosa: A part of the same resort as Formigal, Panticosa is a family-friendly resort with a snow garden, spa, and well-maintained slopes.

Ski Resorts in Catalan Pyrenees

  • Vallter 2000: Perched 6,561 feet (2000 meters) high, Vallter offers skiers breathtaking views as they explore the 9.3-mile ski area. The resort also caters to families.
  • Baqueira-Beret: This resort has three skiable areas—Baqueira, Beret and Bonaigua—with options for all skill levels.
  • Boí-Taüll: Sitting in the Boí valley, this resort boasts the highest skiable area in the Pyrenees.
  • La Molina: La Molina is one of the oldest ski resorts in Spain and offers 44 miles (71 kilometers) of skiing spread across 68 pistes.
  • Tavascan: This smaller resorts can accommodate a variety of ski styles including Alpine, Nordic, and cross-country.
  • Port-Ainé: Located close to Alt Pirineu Natural Park, Port-Ainé is a family-friendly resort with 18.6 miles (30 kilometers) of slopes.
  • Espot: If you want to ski away from the crowds while still having slopes for all skill levels, Espot is the resort for you.
  • Masella: Surrounded by pine trees and with a vast majority of slopes facing north, Masella has one of the longest ski seasons in the Pyrenees.
  • Vall de Núria: Requiring a funicular ride to access the slopes, Vall de Núria is a small resort with stunning views and high-altitude skiing.

Ski Resorts in Andorran Pyrenees

  • Pas de la Casa-Grau Roig: This combo resort offers a whopping 115.6 miles (186 km) of slopes, putting it in the same league as resorts like Les Deux Alpes.
  • Ordino Arcalis: Its remote location and high altitude mean that you can get great snow without the crowds here. And there are courses for all skill levels.
  • Soldeu el Tarter: This resort boasts north-facing slopes, reliable snow, and a healthy variety of options for all levels. Absolute beginners can also take English-language lessons.
  • Arinsal: Arinsal is an ideal resort for beginners, though intermediate skiers will still find plenty of options.
  • Encamp: This is a small resort with 14 slopes for all levels.

Nearest Airports to the Pyrenees

In most cases, you're best off flying into Pau or Lourdes in France to get to the slopes. However, if you're visiting Masella or Vall de Nuria in the Catalan Pyrenees, Perpignan or Girona are the closest airports.

For visits to Andorra, Perpignan or Carcassonne are your best bets.

02 of 06


Skiing in the Sierra Nevada in Spain
Nacho Castejón Martínez/Creative Commons

Since Granada is home to Europe's southernmost ski resort and to Spain's highest mountains, towards the end of the season it is possible to ski in the morning and sunbathe in the afternoon on the Costa del Sol.

Southern Spain isn't normally associated with snow, but the combination of the Sierra Nevada's altitude (it is the highest part of Spain) and proximity to the Mediterranean means a good combination of snow and relatively warm weather. In recent years, however, snow machines have had to be brought in to guarantee snow throughout the season.

Pradollano, Sierra Nevada Skiing At a Glance

  • Altitude: 6,889 feet (2,100 meters)
  • Nearest City: Granada (23 miles/37 kilometers)
  • Nearest Airport: Granada is an hour away, though there are more flights to Malaga which is two hours away.
  • How to Get There: There are a couple of buses from Granada bus station to Pradollano, the ski village in the Sierra Nevada. Check at the bus station to verify departure times haven't changed. The journey takes around an hour and a round trip costs around 10 euros. Buy tickets from the ALSA window at the station (you can't buy on board).
  • Season Length: December - April
  • Number & Types of Slopes:
  • Green ski runs: 19
  • Blue ski runs: 45
  • Red ski runs: 53
  • Black ski runs: 4
  • Night Skiing?: Yes
  • Other features: Halfpipe for snowboarding,
  • Website: ​Sierra Nevada Ski Resort Website
03 of 06

North-West Spain

Skiing at San Isidro, Leon, Spain
Viktoria Urbanek/Creative Commons

The north-west of Spain is more known for rain than snow, but with a number of mountainous regions, there is usually some potential for skiing in winter. We wouldn't advise planning your vacation around skiing here. Instead, check when you are in the area if there is going to be snow, but plan a vacation around the wonderful sights of Leon, Oviedo, and the Galicia region.

San Isidro, Leon Skiing at a Glance

  • Nearest City: Oviedo and Leon
  • Number & Types of Slopes:
  • Green ski runs: 6
  • Blue ski runs: 8
  • Red ski runs: 13
  • Black ski runs: 4
  • Night Skiing?: No
  • Other features: Snowboarding.

Skiing in Alto Campoo, Cantabria

  • Nearest City: Santander
  • Number & Types of Slopes:
  • Green ski runs: 4
  • Blue ski runs: 10
  • Red ski runs: 9
  • Black ski runs: 0
  • Night Skiing?: No
  • Cost: full day - 34 euros; season pass- 125 euros
  • Other features: Ski school, medical center, equipment rental, restaurants, cafeterias.

Skiing in Manzaneda, Galicia

  • Number & Types of Slopes:
  • Green ski runs: 1
  • Blue ski runs: 13
  • Red ski runs: 8
  • Black ski runs: 1
  • Night Skiing?: No
  • Cost: Half day - 21 euros ;full day - 26.5 euros
  • Other features: Swimming pool, nightclub, equipment rental, teleski, cafeterias, and restaurants.
04 of 06


Indoor skiing near Madrid Commons

Ski near the Spanish capital! As if there wasn't already plenty to do in Madrid, you can hit the slopes too at one of three resorts in the area! Plus, with an indoor ski center in the Xanadu shopping center, called ​​SnowZone, you can ski all year round. The resorts near Madrid are: Navacerrada, Valdesquí, La Pinilla.

Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06

Teruel, Aragon

Skiing fresh corduroy
Telluride Ski Resort

The least iconic name of all the places on this list, in fact, Teruel's ideal location between Spain's three biggest cities (Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia), makes it an ideal destination for a spot of skiing. 

The nearest airports to these ski resorts are in Valencia or Zaragoza.

Skiing near Valdelinares, Teruel

  • Nearest City: Teruel (41 miles), though Valencia isn't too far (91 miles). Nearest villages for cheap accommodation are Valdelinares and Alcala de la Selva
  • Number & Types of Slopes:
  • Green ski runs: 6
  • Blue ski runs: 4
  • Red ski runs: 4
  • Black ski runs: 0
  • Night Skiing?: No
  • Other features: Snow cannons to guarantee snow throughout the season. Cheap accommodation in nearby towns and villages.
  • Web:

Skiing near Javalambre, Teruel

  • Nearest City: Teruel and Valencia isn't far. The nearest town (where you can get cheap accommodation) is Camarena de la Sierra.
  • Number & Types of Slopes:
  • Green ski runs: 5
  • Blue ski runs: 9
  • Red ski runs: 1
  • Black ski runs: 0
  • Night Skiing?: No
  • Other features: Snow cannons to guarantee snow throughout the season. Ski School Cheap accommodation in nearby towns and villages.
  • Web:
06 of 06

La Rioja

Skiing in La Rioja, Spain
Zaloa Etxaniz/Creative Commons

La Rioja is most famous for its wine (and more recently for emerging as one of the best cities in Spain for tapas). But who knew you could ski there?  

Skiing in Valdezcaray, La Rioja

  • Nearest City: Logroño
  • Number & Types of Slopes:
    Green ski runs: 6
  • Blue ski runs: 6
  • Red ski runs: 10
  • Black ski runs: 2
  • Prices: 25 euros per day (high season)
  • Night Skiing?: No
  • Other features: Snowboarding, ski school, restaurants, and cafeterias at three altitudes.
  • Web: