The SIERRA NEVADA is the cold, mysterious waters of the Vacares lagoon, enchanted Camarate woodland, the IBEX silhouetted against a vermilion sky, the magical tinkling of the Chorreras Negras during the thaw.
The bright green of early Summer "borreguiles" (wet grassland), the almost perennial snowfields of Corral del Veleta, the Summer song of the golden oriole, the Autumn hues of the Guarnon oak woods, the view from the ALHAMBRA PALACE, this is the SIERRA NEVADA and much, much, more.
The shepherds of the SIERRA NEVADA say when there are storms in the MEDITERRANEAN the waters of the LAGOON turn choppy and make sounds like the beating of waves against cliffs. They say their depth is unfathomable and that they run down to the sea.
There are around 40 lagoons and small pools throughout the Sierra - "eyes of the sea" according to the legend quoted by GERALD BRENNAN.
The SIERRA NEVADA, Europe's highest mountain range after the Alps, towers above, almost protecting, the beautiful Moorish city of GRANADA, with the MULHACEN peak at 3480 meters above sea level the highest in the Iberian Peninsula.
From the top of the MULHACEN the view stretches as far as the eye can see and offers spectacular 360 degree vista that literally takes in half of ANDALUSIA.
To the north-west the urban sprawl of GRANADA is spread out like marbles emptied from a bag, while to the south the distant peaks of Morocco’s RIF MOUNTAINS were betrayed.
The imposing 3,482 m peak lies at the western end of the Sierra Nevada National Park and takes its name from Abu I-Hasan Ali (Muley Hacen in Spanish), the penultimate Muslim King of Granada in the 15th century, who, according to legend, was buried at the summit.
The MULHACEN can be climbed in one day by taking the shuttle bus which runs as far as Mirador de Trevelez. If you have more time a two day trip means staying a night in the refuge at POQUEIRA and using the services of a qualified guide. The final ascent is the toughest part and takes around one hour, but the summit is worthwhile, a view truly fit for a King.
The SIERRA NEVADA NATIONAL PARK covers over 8,600,000 sq m2 and has a number of access routes, each opening onto scenery so breathtaking and spectacular you are literally spell bound.
From Motril head to LANJARON and into the ALPUJARRA, the last Moorish stronghold, from Almeria take the N340 and stop at the wine-making ALPUJARRA ORIENTAL (ALTOS ANDRAX), the last dwelling place of KING BOABDIL, the A337 leads up to the Ragua Pass in the heart of the Sierra Nevada and from the West the mountain road takes you up to exceptional landscape such as Vereda de la Estrella in Guejar-Sierra or Trevenque in Monachil.
Fauna and flora abound with the SPANISH IBEX being the undisputed star, and carnivores like the fox, badger,wild cat, stone marten and polecat, along with golden eagles, numerous birds, small mammals and fish plentiful. Over 2,000 plant species around 80 of them exclusive, inhabit the park with Holm Oak predominant.
The village of PRADALLANO, at the base of the ski areas, has 84 kms of ski slopes with many bars, restaurants, hotels,shops - a great place to sit back in the sunshine and enjoy the mountain view whether skiing or not. There are 6 main ski areas, snowmobiling, night skiing, ice skating and dog sledging. The SIERRA NEVADA is truly imposing, magical and exciting place to spend many a day.
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