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Climbing Pico Veleta: Routes and how to get to the Sierra Nevada’s second highest peak

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At a cool 3,398m, Pico Veleta is the 3rd highest mountain in the Iberian Peninsula, and boasts the highest paved road in Europe. Additionally, it is host to Europe’s most southerly ski resort, the impressive Sierra Nevada Ski Station. The summit offers incredible views of the surrounding Sierra Nevada and the city of Granada, making this route a must during your time in Andalusia. Here is everything you need to know before climbing Pico Veleta.

How to get there

If you’re based in Granada city, Pico Veleta is extremely accessible. The walk starts from the Sierra Nevada Ski Station, and a coach service runs from Granada bus station to the University’s residence at the top of the town. Outside the ski season there is one bus a day, leaving at 9am and departing the resort at 5pm, giving you plenty of time to complete the route while taking in the views and stopping for lunch. A return ticket costs 9€, and can be purchased online here, or from the ticket office at the station prior to departure. The journey takes approximately an hour.

The route

When climbing Pico Veleta, you have two options. The first is the road, which winds its way up the mountainside and is advisable if you are a less experienced walker or want to walk on an easier surface. The second is the footpath, which heads straight up, crossing over the road at intervals. The second option is quicker, as it is more direct.

About halfway up, you reach the main part of the ski resort, and from then on you will be walking on the runs. Therefore, the second part of the walk is very straightforward.

The ascent takes up to 3 hours, and the descent no more than 2, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy a drink as a reward at one of the several bars at the foot of the hiking trail. (Hint: head to the University of Granada hostal, beside the bus stop, to get your drinks at student rates).

For those who enjoy a different challenge, the road is also a popular cycling route, which can be done as a day trip from Granada!

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