Sierra Nevada is located in the central part of the Cordillera Penibética. It has one of the most valuable floras across the European continent, and hides a rich cultural and historical heritage accumulated over centuries. Tarshish, Visigoths, Romans ...have left their mark in the Alpujarras region, south of the massif, while the most important cultural heritage comes from the Muslim civilization, which still remain, such as sophisticated irrigation techniques. This huge natural fortress served as a refuge for the Moors until, after numerous revolts and uprisings, were expelled in the mid-sixteenth century.
Sierra Nevada has a considerable area of the provinces of Granada and Almeria. This Natural Reserve has a total surface of 174,849 hectares, among which 85.883 are also National Park, it also includes 60 municipalities of the natural regions of the Marquess of Zenete, Lecrín Valley, western Sierra Nevada, Birth River basin, and finally, the Alpujarra, the most extensive and the last Moorish stronghold in the kingdom of Granada.
Mulhacén Peak with its 3,481 m is the highest peak in the Iberian Peninsula. But there are also more than 20 peaks over 3000 m and are only surpassed in the rest of Europe by the Alps. The nearest one is “Picón de Jeres”. There are numerous lakes scattered among the peaks (Altera, Laguna de Aguas Verdes, ...) as remains of ancient glacial lakes, it also has a special modelled edges, glacial cirques and troughs.
The main plant communities are the holm oak, deciduous chestnut and downy oak, pine and mountain shrub in higher altitudes, where the species take a cushion form to protect themselves from low winter temperatures and icy winds.. Poplar and willow can be found in the numerous river basins which run through Sierra Nevada.Most of the more than 60 species exclusive in Sierra Nevada grow in the "Cascajares", accumulations of loose stones, and the "Borreguiles", high mountain pastures typical of wet soils
Besides there are invertebrates exclusive to Sierra Nevada among which there are over 20 species of butterflies. The mountains provide shelter for numerous species of small birds, a good number of raptors and various species of mammals such as the wild goat which graze on high mountain meadow vegetation. Having obtained permission, amateur hunters flock to the National Game Reserve of Sierra Nevada to get this coveted trophy.
Agriculture is the main resource of the mountains; cereals, vines and olive trees are the most common crops. Cherry, apple, walnuts and hazelnuts abound in those valleys more protected and better watered. There are also magnificent chestnut, adapted and naturalized since the sixteenth century, laying in the wettest headwaters of streams and ravines. Mining has great tradition: deposits of iron have been extracted in Alquife, and copper in Jeres del Marquesado. Old mines in Alquife are now open to public. Other minerals such as lead or silver are found in the area and were formerly used.
Beekeeping ison the increase in Sierra Nevada and more specifically in the Alpujarra. In the village of Trevelez, which is at 1476 m altitude, you can taste the famous and excellent hams.
Cross-country skiing can be practise in La Ragua. In Monachil River basin there is a tourist development around the ski resort.
Other activities that can be practiced in Sierra Nevada are the trout fishing in the park preserves, hiking and mountain climbing, etc.