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Thawing snow gushes down the mountains in Granada's Sierra Nevada. Pepe Marín
Photo special: These are the best places to see the snow thawing on Granada's famous Sierra Nevada mountain range
Nature

Photo special: These are the best places to see the snow thawing on Granada's famous Sierra Nevada mountain range

It happens every spring and each year is different, but there are a number of places that perfect to witness the incredible sight

Javier F. Barrera

Granada

Friday, 7 June 2024, 17:50

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The thawing snow on Granada's Sierra Nevada is an incredible sight. The only noise is the trickling sound of water slowly making its way down the mountains. Each spring locals head to three places that offer the best seats to enjoy the phenomenon.

Some make the excursion to the Lavaderos de la Reina, which starts in Güéjar Sierra. This twenty-kilometre circular route is stunning, but with a nine-hundred-metre climb that takes an average of eight hours to cover, it's hard work. However, the reward is well worth the effort.

Another good spot is the mountains that slope down towards the Marquesado de Guadix area. The third option is to climb up to Hoya de la Mora past the Sierra Nevada ski resort, where it is possible to park and start walking with the Veleta peak as a reference point in the direction of Borreguiles, located at an altitude of 2,500 metres.

Pepe Marín
Imagen principal - Photo special: These are the best places to see the snow thawing on Granada's famous Sierra Nevada mountain range
Imagen secundaria 1 - Photo special: These are the best places to see the snow thawing on Granada's famous Sierra Nevada mountain range
Imagen secundaria 2 - Photo special: These are the best places to see the snow thawing on Granada's famous Sierra Nevada mountain range

Once past the Virgen de las Nieves sculpture, you reach Borreguiles, where the frenetic activity of Cetursa can be seen. From this point, you have to climb towards the Laguna de las Yeguas. The winding route presents the first snowdrifts, streams, torrents and snowdrifts. There are cows grazing in the fields, giving a bucolic aspect to a wild and treeless mountain range.

The spectacle of the thaw in Laguna de las Yeguas.
The spectacle of the thaw in Laguna de las Yeguas. Pepe Marín

Mountain goat

Antonio Domingo, a keen nature photographer, takes photographs at the Laguna de las Yeguas. "We are in this lagoon with the Tajos de la Virgen behind us. It's a fabulous day in June. It's wonderful to be here. The feeling of the thaw is like we are in another world," he describes.

"We've been coming to see it for years and years. We take the same pictures every year but they always tell us something different. It's wonderful. I love it," he says. Suddenly, in the distance on one of the peaks, the silhouette of a mountain goat comes into view. He takes his camera, adjusts the lens and shoots. Antonio then says: "I don't know if I have a thousand or ten thousand photos of that same goat, but it doesn't matter."

Pepe Marín
Imagen principal - Photo special: These are the best places to see the snow thawing on Granada's famous Sierra Nevada mountain range
Imagen secundaria 1 - Photo special: These are the best places to see the snow thawing on Granada's famous Sierra Nevada mountain range
Imagen secundaria 2 - Photo special: These are the best places to see the snow thawing on Granada's famous Sierra Nevada mountain range

José Antonio Mesa, a retired teacher in his seventies, also loves this time of year in the Sierra Nevada. "I love coming here. This is the sweetest time in the Sierra Nevada. The thaw forms extraordinary figures. They are a play of textures and colours where we see the blues, the greens, the browns of the haze, of the wind that comes from the Sahara."

The accumulated snow masses show the trace of the Saharan dust 'calima' haze.
The accumulated snow masses show the trace of the Saharan dust 'calima' haze. Pepe Marín

Magical places

On this same route, in addition to the Laguna de las Yeguas, the sierra has a number of enchanting places. "They are smaller, more natural places than the Laguna de las Yeguas itself," explains José Antonio Mesa. "It's a delight to come here to spend the day and let time pass by."

"The best places are right here. For example, the Lagunillos de la Virgen, then the Lagunillos de la Ermita," he says, adding: "There is a place I love, Siete Lagunas. It is marvellous. Two of them must already be thawing and the other five must still be covered with snow. In a few days they will gradually begin to be covered with islets like igloos, which looks like the North Pole." He adds, "There are still plenty of places to go to witness the thaw, for example, "towards Mulhacén there is still a lot of snow, and at the foot of La Veleta too".

A gondola and chairlift to enhance the summer experience

From 13 July the ski resort's ski lifts will be operating to reach the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada more easily. Climbing from 2,100 metres from the Pradollano resort to 3,000 metres above sea level near La Veleta's peak, will be possible with the opening of two ski lifts. A cable car and a chairlift. The dates of the summer season are from 13 July to 25 August. The Al-Andalus gondola lift opens at 9.30am and the last ascent is at 6pm. The last descent at 6.15pm. La Veleta chairlift will open from 9.45am. The last ascent is at 5.45pm and the last descent at 6pm. The idea of the service is to shorten the uphill and downhill sections and improve the visit. Another option is to drive up to Hoya de la Mora, park the car and walk up the path to the summits. Both options are wonderful.

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