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Sierra Nevada (Spain)

Sierra Nevada
View of the Sierra Nevada
Highest point
Peak Mulhacén
Elevation 3,478 m (11,411 ft)
Sierra Nevada (Spain) is located in Spain
Location in Spain
Location Provinces of Granada and Almería
Country Spain
State/Province Andalusia
Parent range Penibaetic System

The Sierra Nevada (meaning "snowy range" in Spanish) is a mountain range in the region of Andalucia, provinces of Granada and Almería in Spain. It contains the highest point of continental Spain, Mulhacén at 3,478 metres (11,411 ft) above sea level.

It is a popular tourist destination, as its high peaks make skiing possible in one of Europe's most southerly ski resorts, in an area along the Mediterranean Sea predominantly known for its warm temperatures and abundant sunshine. At its foothills is found the city of Granada and, a little further, Almería and Málaga.

Parts of the range have been included in the Sierra Nevada National Park. The range has also been declared a biosphere reserve. The Sierra Nevada Observatory and the IRAM radiotelescope are located on the northern slopes at an elevation of 2,800 metres (9,200 ft).


  • Formation 1
  • Geography 2
    • Highest peaks 2.1
    • Climate 2.2
  • Sport 3
  • Gallery 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
    • Bibliography 6.1
    • Further reading 6.2
  • External links 7


The Sierra Nevada was formed during the Alpine Orogeny, a mountain-building event that also formed the European Alps to the east and the Atlas Mountains of northern Africa across the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The Sierra as observed today formed during the Paleogene and Neogene Periods (66 to 1.8 million years ago) from the collision of the African and Eurasian continental plates.


Sierra Nevada from Alquería de Fargue near Granada

Central to the mountain range is a ridge running broadly west-south-west - east-north-east. For a substantial distance, the watershed stays consistently above 3,000 metres (9,800 ft).

On the southern side of the range, several long but narrow river valleys lead off towards the south-west, separated by a number of subsidiary ridges.

On the steeper and craggier northern side, the valleys have less regular orientations. This side is dominated by the Rio Genil which starts near Mulhacén and into which many of the other rivers flow.

Highest peaks

Highest peaks of Sierra Nevada
Peak (> 3,000m) Height (m)
Mulhacén 3,480
Veleta 3,393
Alcazaba 3,371
Cerro los Machos 3,324
Puntal de Siete Lagunas 3,248
Puntal de la Caldera 3,226
Pico de Elorrieta 3,206
Crestones Río Seco 3,198
Loma Pelada 3,187
Cerro Pelado 3,179
Tajos de la Virgen 3,160
Tosal del Cartujo 3,152
Pico de La Atalaya 3,148
Puntal de Vacares 3,143
Cerro Rasero 3,139
Tajos del Nevero 3,120
Raspones Río Seco 3,120
Tajos Altos 3,111
Picón de Jeres 3,090
Tajo de los Machos 3,088
Cerrillo Redondo 3,058
Juego de Bolos 3,018
Pico del Caballo 3,013


According to the Köppen climate classification, Sierra Nevada has Mediterranean Subarctic climate (Dsc), due to the location's high elevation.

Pradollano (2,507 m)[1]
1975-1989 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
Temp. max °C (°F) 0.3 (32.5) -0.9 (30.4) 0.6 (33.1) 3.2 (37.8) 4.6 (40.3) 14.2 (57.6) 21.6 (70.9) 19.8 (67.6) 14.2 (57.6) 10.4 (50.7) 3.5 (38.3) 2.6 (36.7) 7.8 (46.0)
Temp. min °C (°F) -6.1 (21.0) -7.9 (17.8) -7.5 (18.5) -4.3 (24.3) -2.9 (26.8) 5.6 (42.1) 11.9 (53.4) 10.6 (51.1) 5.7 (42.3) 2.2 (36.0) -3.3 (26.1) -4.0 (24.8) 0.0 (32.0)
Temp. avg °C (°F) -2.9 (26.8) -4.4 (24.1) -3.4 (25.9) -0.6 (30.9 0.9 (33.6) 9.9 (49.8) 16.6 (61.9) 15.2 (59.4) 9.9 (49.8) 6.3 (43.3) 0.1 (32.2) -0.7 (30.7) 3.9 (39.0)
Precip. mm (in) 86.7 (3.41) 91.2 (3.59) 78.8 (3.10) 53.8 (2.12) 53.6 (2.11) 29.7 (1.17) 6.1 (0.24) 11.7 (0.46) 33.7 (1.33) 69.0 (2.72) 85.2 (3.35) 93.1 (3.67) 692 (27.24)



See also


  1. ^ "Datos climátológicos de Sierra Nevada" (in Spanish). Phytosociological Research Center. 


  • Francisco Pérez Raya, Joaquín Molero Mesa, Francisco Valle Tendero, 1992: "Parque Natural de Sierra Nevada. Paisaje, fauna, flora, itinerarios". Ed. Rueda. Madrid. ISBN 84-7207-067-0 (Spanish)
  • "Flora de la Tundra de Sierra Nevada". Pablo Prieto Fernández, Ed. Universidad de Granada. ISBN ISBN 84-600-1810-5 (Spanish)
  • "Sierra Nevada: Guía de Montaña". Aurelio del Castillo y Antonio del Castillo. Ed. Penibética, 2003. ISBN 84-932022-3-1 (Spanish)

Further reading

  • "Sierra Nevada, Spain".  
  • English language magazine for the region

External links

  • Google Maps - Satellite Photo
  • (Spanish) Sierra Nevada Ski Resort - official site
  • Sierra Nevada ski resort - trail map
  • Maps of the Sierra Nevada
  • - XVII sport week - Old Pictures
  • (Spanish) Natural Park Sierra Nevada
  • Costa Tropical - English language magazine for the region
  • (Spanish) Sulayr
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