Falling in Love With Granada…Again
Time seems to have stood still in this city of Spanish-Moorish fusion. It’s impossible to not be lured in by its tucked-away side-streets, charming shops and pervasive energy. There is something intoxicating about Granada and it engulfs you almost immediately. I knew it as soon as I set my feet upon it’s cobbled streets for the first time last February, and my return trip during a long weekend in December was only a reaffirmation, as the familiar feelings of being here started flooding back in.
Plaza de Toros, Granada
The romance of Granada this time of the year envelops you: Christmas lights are hung in neat rows, gathering in the middle to fashion an ornate centerpiece that illuminates the faces of passers-by. Cozy cafes are full of friends gathering over beers celebrating their team’s successes and cursing their mistakes. There’s a certain magic surrounding you; women are window-shopping, couples are walking hand-in-hand, children’s laughter is piercing the night air; it’s a scene right out of a postcard.
View of Granada from the Alhambra
Granada seamlessly blends the old with the new, the Moorish influence with the Spanish and offers so much more than solely the splendor of it’s crown jewel, the Alhambra. Though the Alhambra is a must-see for first-time visitors to the city, plan to visit for at least 2-3 days to fully appreciate this colorful, sprawling city.
The Majestic Alhambra
One of the unique and must-be-experienced trademarks of Granada is their free-tapas culture. Lively tapas bars are spread throughout the city, but a great spot to start is Calle Navas for famed tapas bar Los Diamantes serving up delicious fried bacalao (salted cod), or the lesser-known and equally tasty El Fogon de Galicia across the street. In case you didn’t catch that, the tapas in Granada are FREE with every drink. Some bars you will get to choose, others you’ll take what is handed to you. This means delicious eating on the cheap as drinks run from about €1,20 upwards.
Free Tapas Culture, Granada
My favorite part of Granada is Albaicín, the time-transporting Moorish quarter that faces the Alhambra. Wander through winding alleyways and side-streets that open into spice markets and colorful shops selling Moroccan wares. Breathe in air seasoned with incense and hookah, or stop for a minty brew in one of the many traditional Moroccan tearooms in the area. Hike to the top of this hilly enclave for a stunning panoramic view of the Alhambra lit up at night. The sights, the sounds, the smells…this is the Granada of the past.
The Moorish Quarter: Albaicín
If you peel away all of it’s exotic charm, Granada is still a place full of life.
It is especially popular with university students and hosts thousands of study abroad students yearly. In Granada, the city never sleeps as young revelers pour out into the streets bar and club-hopping all night.
Especially popular with students and young professionals alike is club Mae West, located near the heart of the city. Hundreds of people pack the place nightly, making it an exciting night out. We reserved a VIP room with friends for the best views, complimentary fresh fruit and champagne toasts:
Dizzingly Busy Mae West Nightclub
Another recommended pit-stop in your Granada itinerary? Try the newly opened Sonrisa Kanaya; uber-hip, yet unpretentious cafe/bar downstairs, funky clothing retailer upstairs, located behind Gran Via.
With something to offer everyone, from the history buff to the cheapskate to the night owl, it’s no wonder why Granada tops most must-see destinations of Spain time and time again, or why I can’t seem to get enough of this city.