I love outlandish claims – the most beautiful city… cue dramatic music… IN THE WORLD!
After my love affair with Madrid, I was sure that I wasn’t ever going to fall in love with a city again. City-monogamous. Madrid, you and I – no other.
Then I jumped on a 5 hour train ride (god bless ya Renfe) to Granada that I thought would be ‘cute’ far from the most beautiful city IN THE WORLD.
It’s 9pm, it’s dark, I’m cranky (no judgement) and all I want to do is get to the hostel and drop off my 20kg bag – I barely packed anything. Grumpy and cussing, I jump into a cab with my travel partner who organised the hostel but has absolutely no idea where we’re going – nice.
And then I looked up.
And my cranky mood disappeared (sadly not my pack) because the city is just beautiful. It is one of those breath taking beautiful cities – and a little part of it knows it.
Did I mention it was 9pm and it was dark?
Well it was and it was cold enough that I had gloves on but it was still beautiful. And as a trudged (uttering lots of F-words, I may have even dropped a C bomb) up a mini hill to get to our hostel, it was impossible to try and hate the place.
And this beauty was before daylight where you can see Sierra Nevada with its snow caps on one side and the majestic Alhambra on the other.
Nothing I say will ever be able to translate the beauty that I saw to you – nothing.
You’ll just have to go and see it for itself and if you can prove me wrong, I’ll buy you a pack of tim tams.
At White Nest Hostel.
One of the funkiest places I’ve stayed with an Arabic interior and rooms were serviced daily (at a HOSTEL, I know). Our bathroom was the size of our room and this really was more of a hotel than a hostel, minus the cost, mini-shampoos and with the addition of the odd drunken fool here or there.
Copious amounts of beer with free tapas.
Our local quickly became El Minotauro where the beers were 2 euros and the tapas were decent sized bagels.
Given it’s major tourist focus there’s a restaurant, tapas bar on every corner. Go further into the city (in the Albaycin) to experience some local spots. And I dare you to try to order food without ordering a drink, if you succeed I’ll pay for it.
There seems to be a lot of stray animals in Granada, particularly lots of cats in the Alhambra looking for a feed.
The Gypsies of Granada have some of the most amazing music, atmosphere and are super cool. Walk around the city that’s the only way you’ll get a good feel of the place, forget the segways.
Here’s some shabby short videos I took of the buskers – (I only learnt to take good vides after Granada)
Allow a full day for the gorgeous and historic place that is the Alhambra, wear comfortable shoes and walk there. Forget getting the bus to the Alhambra – unless you are not able to walk. It’s a steep walk but you need to burn off those tapas anyway – pack some lunch, it will take most of the day.
Pre-book your Alhambra tickets, go as early in the morning as possible (we went at 8am) and stay until the second session starts – 2pm.
If it’s winter, pack something warm – it’s cold up there!
Try a walking tour that leaves from the Plaza fountain every day at 11am. It’s a historic tour and it will blow you away how amazing the history of the city is. Also give the cave tours a whirl, those caves are amazing!
Visit the flamenco bar (it’s tiny and in a cave) in Carrera Del Daro, you won’t regret it.
Avoid the ‘tapas’ streets, they’re rubbish.
Instead walk around the streets and follow your gut instinct – pun much?
Also try the ‘Menu del Dia’ another option if you just can’t do one more tapa or beer.. it happens.