In case you couldn’t tell from the title of this post, I spent my birthday weekend in Granada this year. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and left on a Sunday afternoon, and a great time was had by all.
I had been desperate to visit Granada for a while, and the beauty of the city definitely did not disappoint in any way. I would say, though, that I didn’t love every aspect of the place. But not everywhere is going to be for everyone, right?
My main ‘complaints’ (if they can even be classed as that), are that Granada was much more expensive than a lot of the other Spanish cities we have visited recently, and also that it was quite difficult and inconvenient to find places for me, the coeliac, to eat. I noticed, and I guess was unimpressed by, these things specifically because the amount of trips we have taken have really taken their toll on my bank account, so affordability is a necessity right now, and I’m a massive foodie as you know, so struggling to find places to eat is so incredibly frustrating.
But of course I was not about to let these two, realistically tiny things ruin my 22nd birthday weekend, and overall I had a really wonderful time. So, now that my little bit of negativity is out of the way, let’s get into the good stuff.
Firstly, the view of the Alhambra from the Mirador (viewpoint) de San Nicolas. It is amazing. We unfortunately couldn’t visit the Alhambra because it was fully booked for the weekend (if you want to go, book way in advance because as we found out too late, that place books up fast), but we could see it from a viewpoint opposite (despite some serious fog on Friday afternoon) and I can confirm what everybody had told me, it is stunning.
My favourite part of Granada is the array of Moroccan-style tearooms and shops that are dotted in and around the city centre. We enjoyed an incredible lunch here, and I also treated myself to a new leather backpack, which I am so pleased with. But honestly I could have bought it all. If I ever do go back, I will be taking a half empty, full-sized suitcase that I can fill with all the pretty things.
I never realised how big Granada is; I think I thought that it was just like a lot of the other cities that we have spent time in, which are relatively easy to walk around. The city is huge, though, so I’m sure that there is so much more than we were able to see or do during our stay. I was pretty happy with the things that we did get up to, though.
If you do ever find yourself in Granada the Paseo de las Tristes, which is a path that runs beneath the Alhambra and along the side of a canal, is definitely worth a wander. It’s not too long, and it’s lined with some really cute cafes, ice cream parlours, bars and shops. It also ends up in a very pretty square which also offers some beautiful views of the Royal Palace, so it’s a walk suitable for anyone.
I would say that if you do the walk, please watch out for the taxis. The road and path that make up the Paseo are not exactly built with cars and tourists being there at the same time in mind, so you might find yourself having to be prepared to squish up against a wall for a moment or two, to avoid being knocked by a wing mirror!
Although rain was predicted for the entire weekend, that forecast turned out to be wrong and so we enjoyed a Saturday full of sunshine, which I was so happy about. I returned to the Mirador for the second time on Saturday so that I could see the view of the Alhambra again, but this time in the sunshine. The view was definitely worth the very steep walk up to it in the heat, but the Mirador was so much busier than the day before that getting photos without random people’s heads in them was a tough task!
The streets leading up to the Mirador make for some gorgeous photos themselves, as they’re a mixture between lovely little cobbled streets lined by tall buildings and some great, eye-catching street art. I do love some artistic graffiti.
We found another (surprisingly) gorgeous, and completely unobstructed, view of the Alhambra from the Palacio de los Olvidados, Granada’s Museum of Torture and the Spanish Inquisition. Only half of us (out of six) went to the Museum which, as I’m sure you can imagine, will not be to everyone’s taste at all.
I liked it, though, and I will let you take from that what you like. The Museum is intense, none of the information is even slightly sugar-coated, but it covered a period of history that I am so interested in. The Museum is set in a huge four storey house, with different artefacts and displays on every floor, and so was without a doubt worth the 5€ student entry fee. If you fancy a different, and maybe slightly creepy, experience, or maybe if you’re just looking to avoid the rain that has been pouring here in Andalucía every freaking day, I highly recommend Palacio de los Olvidados. It’s certainly a place that you won’t forget in a hurry!
Unfortunately, although not so bad for my bank account, Granada was my last trip away for a while (and when I say a while, I mean a month). In early May I am finally heading to Valencia for the first time, which I cannot wait for, and then we won’t go into my plans after that because it’s just too close to the end of my year abroad for me to process right now.