Happy Friday, everyone!!
I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for the next city guide, so here we go…
[The above photo is a picture of a building within the Alhambra in Granada. I highly recommend that you visit.]
Here are some answers to some questions you may have:
HOW DID YOU GET THERE? We drove to Granada from Tarifa. Originally, we were supposed to go from Tarifa to Ronda to Granada (a whole day trip), but we had a change of plans. We rented a car from Europcar and we drove from the Gibraltar airport to our Granada Airbnb; the ride was roughly 3 hours. I’ve outlined some of the Driving in Spain Tips and Facts here.
The Europcar office in Granada is located at the train station, which about a 12 minute drive to where we were staying (right next to the Alhambra!). For this location you have to drop your car off in the same dirt lot that Hertz has their drop off cars and then head to office back at the train station to fill out paperwork. Don’t worry, they are right next to each other. P.S. The Europcar employee looked like Peter Serafinowicz in a green suit.
P.P.S. Driving in Granada is no joke. The one way streets are NARROW. When there are no cars present, pedestrians walk the road. When a car passes through, everyone literally squeezes off to the sides of walls and buildings to make room for the car. No one gets upset. It’s the way of life there!
SLEEP. We were crazy lucky that all of the locations/neighborhoods during our trip where we chose our Airbnb’s were within walking distance to amazing sights, sounds, and eats. Granada’s Airbnb spot was no exception. I highly recommend staying as close as possible to the Alhambra. Not only will it be walking distance, but you can easily walk to the Albaycin and the caves. You’re also closer to the historic core of the city so you get more of an Arabic flavor. The downtown area of Granada has plazas which are a bit more modern and cosmopolitan, if that’s your flavor.
This was the view RIGHT OUTSIDE OUR WINDOW.
GELATO!! Heladeria de Los Italianos
Crowded, but good seafood tapas. Los Diamantes
An old-school tapas place. Gran Taberna
Our last meal in Granada with the traditional pan con tomate breakfast. Cafe 4 Gatos
DO. If you have the time, explore the Albaycin and get lost. You’re going to get lost! Seriously. The streets are windy and some streets are stair streets. Oh boy. You’ll figure it out! =)
Go visit the Alhambra. Because of the high demand of tickets, annoyingly, you have to really plan out your visit here. There are several types of tickets which allow different access to the grounds. They also have two different times which you can visit (morning/afternoon and afternoon/evening). You have to buy tickets through Ticketmaster Spain.
Watch live music and impromptu flamenco performances.
WOULD YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY? Yes! We would have stayed here longer. This was our favorite city stop in our honeymoon. That’s not to say that we didn’t love exploring the other cities because they were all great, but Granada wasn’t just charming; it was magical. It was truly like being in another country and being far removed from home. It was seeing the long history of Europe, and in particular, the way Spain has been influenced by Arab and African culture because of its physical proximity to Africa. The next time we go to Spain, we will definitely be staying in Andalucia. And we will stay in Granada for at least 4 days. We wanted to (but didn’t have the time) to go all the way up to the Sacramonte caves, explore the Albaycin a bit more, and watch a flamenco show up and close and personal in a cave (flamenco was born in Granada). This is one of the learning lessons from our trip. Since this was our first taste of Europe, we didn’t know what to expect, but now we know what we’d do
if when we go back. No regrets, though!
ETC. Granada has a special place in my heart, so this is somewhat of a more personal post. Not only did we fall in love with this city (one of the LAST cities in Spain to get free tapas, amazing live music, fairy tale cobbled streets, super friendly locals), but we also met up with my friend Aeri from my trip to Korea in 2009. We met through a mutual friend who was an exchange student that lived down the hall from me in college, and when he went back to Seoul, I visited him (and a few other Korean friends) a few years later. He introduced me to Aeri and we became fast friends. Though we kept in touch through Facebook, I didn’t know when I’d ever see her again, but she recently moved to Granada to complete some PhD research. What amazing timing! She was our unofficial host and it was really good for the soul to reconnect with an honest-to-goodness Friend. After going through some recent Friend shakeups, it was exactly what I needed.
Anyway, you didn’t come here for the TMI, so here come the pictures!