When it comes to skiing in Europe, the Alps has long dominated the conversation, but there’s more to Europe than fondue and rando racing. Today, I’m talking about a place where the tinto flows like wine, the crowds don’t show up ’til noon, and the skiing ain’t bad, either. I’m talking about a little place called Spain.
In addition to being the sunniest country in Europe, Spain is also one of the most mountainous, and is higher, on average, than every other country on the continent, save for Switzerland. That equates to a surprising amount of quality skiing, something often lost in the Eurotrip blogs touting Mediterranean beaches, tapas, and bullfighting. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also cheap, with the average lift ticket ringing in at $40.
But where exactly is the skiing in the Land of the Setting Sun? Below is a quick guide to the ranges and resorts of Spain’s quiet ski scene, and a friendly reminder that when the rest of Europe gets tracked out, you can always point it south.
When people think of esquí in España, this border range between Spain and France immediately comes to mind, and for good reason. Older than the Alps, the Pyrenees play host to a variety of ski terrain ranging from the ski bus crowd an hour outside Barcelona at La Molina to the steeps of Candanchú and the Pyrenees of Aragon.
But the crowned jewel of the Pyrenees and all of Spanish skiing is without a doubt Baqueira-Beret. This mega resort is so regal, in fact, that the King of Spain makes sure to bless its pistes with a few royal turns every winter.
With over 3,000 vertical feet across more than 2,000 acres, Baqueira-Beret skis as big as it looks. Locked into its own snow globe, the resort and the surrounding Val D’ran is cut off from the world by mountains, save for a tunnel on the Spanish side, and features some the best consistent snow anywhere in Europe.
Baqueira Baret Ticket Price: $60
What Spain lacks in name brand mountain ranges, it makes up for in mountain variety, and nowhere is that more present than the Cordillera Cantabrica along Spain’s northern coastline. Hidden an hour and a half from pumping winter surf in Asturias and Cantabria, the range has a handful of ski areas that range from beginner to downright sendy fun. Fuentes de Invierno features an armada of traverse-able side country that…