Monday, July 2, 2012

GUEST POST FROM JOE JOHNSON

A guest post by Joe Johnson, a fan of Spain and all it has to offer the tourist of today.  More great reasons to visit wonderful Andalucía in 2012!
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Ski, Beach and City all in One Holiday? Look No Further Than The Sierra Nevada!

When it comes to holidays, there are many misconceptions about certain destinations, for example many people from outside the UK are under the impression that it always rains there; completely inaccurate of course!  

While some of these misconceptions may simply be the result of misguided folklore, there are other widely held beliefs that can be put down to a lack of local knowledge, for example, did you know you can ski in Spain? That’s right, the country famed for hot weather, beaches and blue sea has it’s very own snow-covered peaks.

But where? We all know the Alps nestle in the heart of Europe, but it’s certainly less clear where exactly in Spain you can go hurtling down a glistening piste; enter the Sierra Nevada, this mountain range is located in South Eastern Spain and houses one of Europe’s most southerly ski resorts. 

Spain of course has always boasted this and other resorts, including the Pyrenees, but only recently has the country’s ski resorts re-entered the favour of tour operators alongside it’s already length repertoire of tourist attractions.
So what can the Sierra Nevada offer?

·         Over 100km of slopes
·         20 lifts
·         Facilities that cater for every ability level
·         Modern stylish hotels and chalets
·         Numerous restaurants and bars

Clearly the Sierra Nevada is well equipped to please ski buffs, complete beginners, and those just tagging along for the booze. Well established resorts in France, Austria or Switzerland are often quite specialised, meaning they only suit near Olympic-level pros, or young revellers for whom skiing itself is a minor concern, but because the Sierra Nevada is fairly isolated then it caters for everyone, meaning if you have a group with different needs, Spain is the obvious clear choice.

It’s not just the Sierra Nevada that offers variety however, the entire region around the mountain is perfect for tourists, with a number of cities a short drive away, and the coast just a little further.

Granada
The city of Granada is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and offers a unique experience in that it is one of the few Spanish cities that enjoys a backdrop of beautiful snow-capped peaks. It has more than just great to offer however, most notably The Alhambra, a vast, exquisitely crafted fortress built in 1492 with Arab influences. Other popular attractions in Granada include...

·         Numerous Moroccan coffee shops complete with Shisa Pipes
·         Enjoy Free Tapas (as long as you buy a drink!)
·         The Hammam baths where you take a relaxing dip
·         The Albayzín, an open air museum

Not being content with having an exciting, multicultural on its doorstep, the Sierra Nevada region is perhaps one of the few places in the world where you can make the transition from ski gear, log cabins and crisp white snow, to sun, sea and sand in less than an hour.

Venture south from the mountains and be greeted by the Costa Tropical, officially the joint sunniest coastal area of Spain (along with the Costa Almería), enjoying 320 days of sunshine every year. This area is relatively untouched by tourists, at least compared to resorts further west along the like Málaga and Marbella, smaller costal towns like Motril and Almunécar offer beach living at a slower pace.

This region of Spain really does offer up some incredible variety and makes the ideal location for a ski holiday with a difference. Visit at the end of the Ski season if you want to maximise your chances of sunning yourself on the beach.
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Joe is a quarter Spanish and loves going south east to Spain on holiday

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