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Granada, Spain Adventure Travel Guide

Like most places in Spain, Granada has a broad range of outdoors sports and activities to suit the needs of pretty much any adventure lover. It’s home to the southernmost ski hill in Europe. Granada has an abnormally long ski and snowboard season. Hiking and walking in Granada and the nearby Sierra Nevada are fantastic. There is also fantastic camping in Granada, as well as spectacular paragliding, hang-gliding, and climbing.

Province of Granada Location

Granada is a province in southern spain. It’s flanked by Almeria in the east and Malaga in the West, and has a coastline on the Mediterranean Sea.

Major Cities in Granada

The province’s capital city, Granada, is by far the most populous with over 240,000 residents (it should be noted that as a university city the population fluctuates greatly at different times of the school year). The next largest city is Motril with just over 50,000.

Geography of Granada

The province of Granada in southern Spain covers 12,635 square kilometres and is home to less than 1 million people. The province has a diverse geography including plains, beaches, as well as a chunk of Spain’s famous Sierra Nevada mountains that includes the tallest mountain on the Iberian Peninsula, Mulhacén (3,479 m). Other notable mountains include Veleta at 3,396 m and Alcazaba at 3,371 m. All of them are climbable.

Granada is part mountains, part plains, and part coastline. Much of the region, including the scenic mountains and valleys, were formed by glacial movement. Its isolation and unique formation resulted in a variety of unique flora and fuana, including 116 threatened and 60 endemic plant species. Spanish ibex, wild boar, wildcats, Golden Eagle’s, the Eurasian Eagle-owl, Serin, and Ortolan, among many others can also be seen here.

Part of Sierra Nevada National Park is located in the province of Granada (the other part is in Almeria to the east). The Sierra de Baza mountain range also runs through the area. The coast in the south is referred to as the Costa Tropical. Although its not the most popular spot for sun-seeking tourists in Spain, it attracts a large number of tourists.

Granada Weather and Climate

Because of the wide range of terrain and altitude in the province, the weather and climate in Granada can very widely from place to place on any given day. The province mostly has a mild Mediterranean climate with hot summers, a short cold winter, and moderate precipitation.

The city of Granada, which is located at an altitude of 738 m (2,421 ft), reaches an average low of around 1°C (34°F) in the winter, and average high of around 33°C (92°F)in the summer.

Granada Description

Between the Costa Tropical, the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site Alhambra, and the capital Granada, which is also famous for its historic moorish architecture, the province of Granada draws a great deal of tourists from around Europe, and the world. Alhambra alone receives 2 million visitors each year (around 8500 each day).

Europe’s most southerly ski resort, the Sierra Nevada Ski Station, is also located here. Because of the high altitude the resort enjoys long seasons, starting as early as November and ending as late as May. The Alpujarras and Lecrin Valleys are popular areas for eco-tourism, hiking, and mountain biking. The mountains of the Sierra Nevada are dotted with refugios (cabins) for hikers to use, some of which charge a small fee, and some of which are free.

The area is best visited in spring and fall, as the summers can be extremely hot, and the winters a bit chilly (but even they are not too bad).

Granada Highlights

• The hiking and walking in historic Granada city, Alhambra, and the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains cannot be beat.
Camping in Granada is affordable and abundant, and the climate is perfect for it nine months of the year.
Hang-gliding and paragliding are popular in Granda, so schools and sites are plentiful and convenient.
• The rock climbing near Granada in the Sierra Nevada mountains is outstanding.

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Granada Outdoor Adventure Activities

• Surfing
• Stand-up paddle boarding
• Scuba diving (cave, reef)
• Snorkeling
• Surfing (all levels)
• Sailing
• Kitesurfing
• Windsurfing
• Paragliding
• Hang gliding
• Sky diving
• Bungee jumping
• Hot air ballooning
• Whitewater rafting
• Kayaking (river and lake)
• Canoeing
• Caving and spelunking
• Hiking/trekking (all levels)
• Via Ferrata
• Canyoning
• Rock climbing (all levels)
• Ice climbing
• Abseiling/rappelling
• Mountain Biking (novice to expert)
• Horseback Riding
• Skiing and snowboarding
• Cross-country skiing

Budget Travel in Granada

• Campsites around Granada generally costs around $7 – 10 USD per tent, plus about the same amount for each adult on the site.
• The most inexpensive hostels around Granada, such as Posada Jose Bocanegra and Meridiano range from $12 USD to $17 USD per night for a bed in a shared room. 
More information about hostels in Spain can be found here.
• Granada is one of the few places in Spain where tapas are served free with drinks. Therefore the cheapest way to eat is to drink. The more excessively you drink, the better you will eat (though that may not equate to a better performance on the slopes in the morning).

Granada Travel Insurance

I like to use World Nomads. It’s not too expensive and signing up is fast and straightforward. They also have pretty good coverage for sports equipment like surf and snowboards, but it varies depending on your country of origin, so be sure double check. You can get a free quote on their website.

Granada Photos

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Images (in order) courtesy J.A. AlcaiderodcasroChodaboyLandahlautsWarhanekPapeMartinLuis MarínhazelowendmcGastevjuanpgalfonsator, and alfonsator on Flickr.

Granada Map

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Disclosure: If you purchase insurance, book a hostel, or purchase one of the recommended books on this page using the links provided, I will receive a small commission. I do not, however, recommend these products simply to make money. I recommend World Nomads travel insurance because I use it myself and feel that they offer a good product that suits my needs at a fair price. I recommend Hostelbookers.com because they have the cheapest booking prices that I have seen online and a large selection, and I recommend the selected books from Amazon.com because they have reputations for quality information and were up to date at the time of writing.
If you have found my blog useful I hope that you will consider purchasing some of these products using the links on this page to help me to continue providing free information about adventure travel around the world.

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6 Responses to Granada, Spain Adventure Travel Guide

  1. Duncan March 12, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    Hi Matt,

    The pictures keep me coming back to this blog.. The picture of the horse riding in Granada has to be my favourite for the time being :-)

    Keep it up!

    Duncan

  2. Kate October 9, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Love the blog.

    Quick question.

    Did you find anywhere to Paddle Board around Granada?

    • Matt Gibson October 9, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      Hi Kate,

      Really sorry, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been to Granada. Although I’ve listed the sport as available, it means that it can be done there (but you may need your own equipment).

      I’m afraid that I don’t know of any place around there renting paddle boards. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

      ~Matt

  3. tommy Quinn October 19, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    Hi Matt, love the site – a great job. However, I’m a frequent visitor to Almeria and know Granada reasonably well and i think it’s fair to say that there’s not much by way of surf in the area – Correct me if I’m wrong because i’d love to find some good spots, but havn’t come across anything remotely decent so far.

    • Matt Gibson October 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      Hey Tommy. I definitely agree that there’s not much in the area. But, I think there is some surf (which is why it’s listed here). The map at wannasurf.com shows a few spots nearby. I can’t vouch for their quality tho.
      http://www.wannasurf.com/spot/Europe/Spain/

  4. Tyler Muse October 31, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    Great tips. Good to know you can get free tapas too! This sounds like a really great ski destination.

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