So it is now Sunday, 3 full days past when I had planned to leave Granada – yet, somehow I am still here. That makes it sound like I got stuck here against my free will, but the reality is I just could not bring myself to leave! What makes Granada so great you may ask? Well…
I know I wrote about tapas in my Seville post, but I feel the need to mention them once again because tapas in Granada are not like your typical tapas around Spain – they are free!
The way it works is you go to a tapas bar, buy a drink for around 2 Euros, and then you receive a plate of random tapas for free. Pretty good deal right? The best part is you really never know what you are going to get. I went out twice for tapas during my time in Granada and got a potato sandwich and deep fried dogfish – both very tasty.
Another thing I love about Granada is just how beautiful and unique the city is. It almost reminds me of Italy in a weird way – with its confusing narrow cobble stone streets and flowers hanging from all the window ledges. Also, the sunsets from the top of the mountain side are positively stunning.
Although Granada itself is not a very large city, only about 250,000 people, there is still a lot of activities available. For example, my hostel offers a day hiking trip to the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains once a week which I decided to try out yesterday. The hike itself was a little over 8 miles across rivers, up hills, and through prairies. The whole thing took us about 6 hours to complete and by the end we were exhausted, covered in dirt, and ready for some free tapas.
Besides hiking, the main attraction in Granada is the Alhambra an ancient castle built in the 13th century. It is so popular of an attraction, that if you do not book your tickets very far in advance, it is very unlikely that you will be able to get in. As yours truly is not always the best at thoroughly researching city attractions, I was not able to get tickets. The bright side is that even if you cannot get tickets, there is a free area which tourists are allowed to walk around and get a taste of the Alhambra’s greatness.
If you are still itching for more to do, I would recommend taking a stroll though the Alabacin region to check out the Moroccan inspired shops, exploring the downtown markets, or even taking a short 45 minute bus ride to the coast to enjoy some beautiful beaches.
Although not generally known for its party scene, I found Granada nightlife to be quite enjoyable. The fun part about staying in a hostel is that there is always someone to go out with. Last night was one of the hostel workers final shift, so almost the entire hostel (20 + people) all went out to celebrate. We went to a local Spanish bar that played Spanish reggae music and had a great time getting to know each other better. To end the night we went to a kebab shop and feasted on some of the best falafel I have had in my entire life.
Other than bars, Granada is also known for Flamenco, a traditional type of dancing Spain is known for. I never went to a show, but Heather did and said she loved it.
Most of all I think what made Granada so hard to leave was the people. From the hostel workers and occupants, to the Moroccan store owners, the Senegalese cavemen, and even just general people on the street. I experienced nothing but kindness during my stay in Granada and will always look back on my time here with very fond memories.
Tonight Heather and I will be taking a 13 hour bus ride from Granada to Barcelona. We had planned to stop halfway in Valencia for a day to make the trip shorter, but because we ended up staying in Granada so long that doesn’t seem to be an option anymore. So the rest of this day will be spent packing, relaxing, and finding a really good book to occupy myself on the bus.
In other cool news, I will now be partnering with Souvenirs Madison, an online magazine run by undergraduates at UW Madison which showcases student travels. To check out my bio and the website click here