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SPAIN

THOUGHT southern Spain was all about sun, sea and sand? Think again. The Sierra Nevada mountains &ndash; which you can see from the beaches of the Costa del Sol &ndash;&nbsp;provide Europe&rsquo;s most southernly ski resort. Overlooking the city of Granada, the location means you&rsquo;re practically guaranteed sunshine, and in late season you can split your time on the piste with sunbathing on a Mediterranean beach.<br /><br />The ski terrain is high up and snow conditions very reliable (supplemented by 320 snow cannons), and the slopes are very well maintained, with 48 pistes providing 70km of runs. It&rsquo;s particularly good for beginners and intermediate skiers, and also provides some exhilarating free skiing and off-piste routes on its wide open expanses. There&rsquo;s also a special park for snowboarders with lots of jumps and half-pipes.&nbsp; <br /><br />This being southern Spain, the nightlife is extremely lively, with bars open all night long, and a profusion of good tapas restaurants. While you&rsquo;re there, sparing a bit of time to look around Granada, one of Europe&rsquo;s great historic cities, is a must.<br /><br />Where to stay: with views of the slopes from its swimming pool, Melia Sierra Nevada is an excellent four star hotel in the centre of the resort, with traditional alpine-style rooms. Rooms from &euro;155 per night; www.solmelia.com.