June 14, 2016

Arabs, gypsies and free tapas: Granada

By macu In Andalusia, Europe

Granada was definitely the highlight of my trip in Andalusia. A city with big contrasts: visit a massive cathedral on the Christian area, then walk 10 minutes and you will be lost in the Arab part of the city, a unique maze of streets. Welcome to Albaicín.

Muslims living in Granada knew how to make the most out of the natural hot springs in the city, building beatiful Arab baths. Most of them were destroyed by the Catholic invaders, thinking they were brothels. Find one of the remaining ones and relax during your stay.

Granada also provides the cheapest tapas in Spain. Get a beer (caña) and wait for the generous free tapas. Get two or three more and call it a dinner. It is as simple as walking around the tapas streets and look for bars packed of locals.

Fried fish tapas

Fried fish tapas

Alhambra (meaning the red fortress) is a complex containing a few palaces and a fortress, full of history. A must-see. Book weeks in advance as it gets very busy. If you cannot find tickets online, try to phone local hotels as they have access to last minute tours. Finally, try to arrive early unless you enjoy queuing with 25 kids followed by 30 Chinese tourists armed with selfie sticks.

Another highlight of my stay was the visit to Sacromonte. Legend says this area was full of treasures hidden by the arabs when they had to escape Granada. Many of their slaves were given freedom. They quickly went to Sacromonte and start digging, trying to find these treasures. They couldn’t find anything but these holes ended up being their homes. Today, Sacromonte is still full of caves and has an undeserved dodgy reputation. Join this tour and you will find a mix of gypsy families and people from all around the world enjoying their caves and alternative way of life. Don’t miss the best mirador of Granada, el Mirador de San Miguel.

View of Granada from Sacromonte

View of Granada from Sacromonte

My new friends in Granada:

Matías (Sacromonte, Granada)

Caterina (Granada)

Paula (Sacromonte, Granada)


Places I liked:

  • Tetería el bañuelo has a peaceful terrace to drink a tea while looking to La Alhambra.
  • Café 4 Gatos is a nice bar with good WiFi in Alhabicín. No free tapas though.
  • Casa Torcuato is a traditional fish tapas bar. The best way to finish your walk in Albaicín.
  • Hotel Shine Albaycin has a very pricey bar but they server amazing coffee.
  • Abaco Te is a beatiful place to drink a tea or coffee and enjoy the Alhambra view.
  • Bodegas Castañeda is a traditional bar. Get a wine or beer and enjoy their free tasty tapas.



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