I recently went on an incredible trip to Spain, stopping in Barcelona, Madrid, and Granada. The highlight of the trip though, was definitely Granada. That and the fact that I was travelling with one of my best friends, of course! We explored the city (and melted in the 40 degree heat), ate tonnes of amazing food (free tapas anyone?), and visited the famous Alhambra fortress. Today I want to highlight some of my favourite things about Granada, and hopefully I can convince you to take a trip very soon. Curious about the tastiest tapas andd most majestic view of the Alhambra? Here is an essential guide to visiting Granada!
Where to Find the Best Tapas in Granada
One of the most amazing things about Granada is the tapas! Every place we went, with every drink we bought, we received a complementary tapa. We were given a range of different dishes, depending on the type of bar we went to. Here’s a list of the best tapas places we visited and examples of the type of food you may receive:
- Diamantes – this is a popular chain which predominately serves seafood. We were given fried fish bites, mushrooms cooked in garlic, fried sardines, clams, and calamari.
- Tinta Fina – this place is slightly more fancy looking, but the drinks are just as cheap as everywhere else…don’t be fooled by their appearance. We were given some fresh fried fish and some flavoursome ham with bread.
- La Riviera – this place allows you to choose from a tapas menu. They have everything from mini burgers and sandwiches to seafood. We ordered the octopus and fried fish. Both were delicious.
- La Tana – this bar is more rustic and rather small. We tried pieces of sausage and bread with tomatoes and a generous glug of this amazing olive oil. It was so yummy!
Not only do you always get a free tapa with each drink, but the drinks themselves are super cheap. A glass of good quality wine can set you back €3, and a beer is even cheaper. I don’t drink beer or wine, but I discovered tinto de verano. It’s essentially wine mixed with either soda or lemonade, and it’s delicious. It’s a very popular drink and very cheap. On average, I paid €2.30 for a large glass of the stuff, and with a free tapa thrown in, you can’t really get a better deal than that!
Stunning Stained Glass at the Granada Cathedral
Do not be mistaken though, Granada is more than just cheap drinks and free food. It’s a city rich in history and culture. My friend and I visited Granada Cathedral, which is located just behind the main square. It’s a huge and impressive structure; you really can’t miss it. Students can pay €3.50 for a tour which includes an audio guide that tells you more about the history of the cathedral and information about some of the artwork, like the incredible altar area with the stunning stained glass. The whole tour takes about an hour and it’s definitely a worthwhile activity.
The Most Amazing Views in Sacremonte and Albaicin
Sacremonte once housed the Granadian Gypsies. The area is full of cave houses that have been cut into the hills.
When visiting Granada, you should definitely head to the Sacremonte and Albaicin areas. Sacremonte once housed the Granadian Gypsies who settled in the area after the Christian conquest in 1492. The area is full of cave houses that have been cut into the hills, and it’s also believed that flamenco was started here so there are loads of shows available if that takes your fancy. Take a stroll up to the monastery for the most amazing view of Granada and the Alhambra.
Rooftop Vibes in Albaicin
Albaicin is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a maze of beautiful Moor-influenced houses. Historically, it was an area that was populated by the Muslim Moors, and was later the origin site for the rebellion in 1499 when the Muslim population were forced to convert to Christianity. Walking around Albaicin is a treat. If you need a rest, pop into “Abacus”, an adorable cafe selling refreshing smoothies and great crepes, with spectacular views of the city from their rooftop terrace.
The Alhambra: Islamic Architecture at its Finest
Finally, there’s the Alhambra. I think that most people visit Granada just to see the Alhambra, which makes total sense because it’s incredible! The entire complex boasts the finest Islamic art, beautiful carvings, colourful tiles, and intricate gardens. The Alhambra (meaning “The Red One” in Arabic because of the red brick that was used to build it) was originally built as a small fortress in AD 889, but was later rebuilt as a palace in 1333. Today, it stands as a marvel of Islamic architecture and is honestly a sight to behold.
Top Tips for Visiting the Alhambra
Here are some top tips for visiting the Alhambra:
- Book your tickets way in advance! You need specific time slot to visit the Nazrid Palaces (where most of the impressive carvings and tiles are) and tickets sell out rather quickly.
- The best place to collect your pre-paid tickets is the office at Corral del Carbón en Calle Reyes Católicos, which you will find inside the city. Don’t forget to bring the card that you used for the initial purchase.
- Give yourself enough time to visit the entire complex. As well as the Nazrid Palaces, there’s also the Alcazaba (the battlements), the Generalife Palace, and the spectacular gardens.
- Bring enough water and sunscreen! It was around 40 degrees when we visited…so hot!
Give yourself enough time to visit the entire complex. As well as the Nazrid Palaces, there is the Alcazaba, the Generalife Palace, and the spectacular gardens.
My trip to Grenada was simply great. I enjoyed exploring the city and soaking in the lively atmosphere and rich culture that Granada has to offer. I hope my article has convinced you to discover this Spanish treasure for yourself. As you can see, it’s definitely worth a visit!
I have the travel bug! I like nothing better than planning my next trip and then heading there to submerge myself in the local culture, using the sentences of a language I learnt on the plane over, and discovering the area through my stomach. Travelling, for me, is so much more than just visiting a new country. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn, to feel inspired and to meet people you wouldn’t have met just sitting on your sofa. As well as travelling, I’m a big reader and a science devotee. I write about my literary adventures and scientific understanding on my own blog, ‘When Literature and Science Collide’, so you’re welcome to visit me there too!