Road trip! We recently decided to hit the road for a few days to check out the city of Granada, about 2.5 hours from our home in Seville. We went with our friend Pepe, who’s always down for an adventure.
While we had no doubts about seeing the famous UNESCO site of the Alhambra, for which Granada is most famous, there were plenty of other things to see and do in the city besides wander around a fortress all day.
If you want to read about that, check out or post dedicated specifically to our visit of the grandiose marvel right here.
Pepe manned the wheel and we played navigators-slash-entertainers while Louis mostly just slept in the car the whole way there.
After a few hours of jokes – there are always plenty when we’re with Pepe – and views of the countryside, we arrived in the city, which is stuck in a valley and surrounded by mountains.
Our flat for the week was a nice, historic one in the heart of the ancient Albaicín neighborhood.
While it’s always very interesting to be in the thick of it, amongst buildings far older than the country from which we originate, being in the Albaicín also meant being on the side of a mountain.
The neighborhood itself is one of the oldest in the city, mostly filled with terrifyingly graded streets that are barely wider than I am tall.
This means there are barely any passages for cars, which meant we had to park far away and make our way with our luggage up and down, and up and down, all sorts of hills and winding passageways.
Being from flat-as-a-pancake Seville, this provided us with innumerable opportunities for free – and forced – exercise.
We made it work, as we usually do, and left all our things to go out and explore the city. We headed out to find some nourishment in the form of beer and tapas – which come free with every drink! – and got our fill at a few bars rather quickly.
After fueling up, we headed through the center of the city, checking out the sights.
Eventually, we made our way to the barrio of Sacromonte.
Another of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, it might even be hillier than the Albaicín. Its winding and climbing streets swerve all about the mountainside, inside which are hidden cave homes and tons of little flamenco bars.
The climb through the neighborhood is worth it, though, as the vistas of the Alhambra and the city itself are some of the best.
After that hike, we needed more food and drink to keep us going, naturally.
That day and all of its hills wiped us out rather proper, but we still managed to meet up with Jed from Bucking the Trend. He lives in the city with his family, and does a great job of documenting life in the Albaicín over at his blog.
We had plenty of drinks, laughs, and more climbing of hills in our neighborhood.
We arose at the crack of dawn the next morning, and made our way up to the Alhambra for our day-long guided tour. You can read a detailed account of that day over in this post on our blog.
After a rest and refuel from that grueling day in the fortress, Pepe figured it was time for a haircut as Jed had told him about a top-class barber in the neighborhood. Here’s Aladin giving Pepe the goods.
Later on, we walked around the city at night and got to checkout some of its other sites. Namely, the cathedral.
While we didn’t go in, we were downright fascinated by what appears to be some very old, Latin writing all over the side of the church.
I have no idea why it was there or what it’s from – maybe some of you can chime in down in the comments – but it was surreal to see what appeared to be hundreds-year-old graffiti on the side of the city’s massive cathedral.
Walking around a bit more, we landed at a delicious restaurant called El Quinteto. Word from a local was that the place was average, but we were delighted by the quality of the food and loved every single dish we had.
We can’t recommend this family-run joint enough. Head over there and devour some of these delicious treats.
We slept in a bit the following day, which is no surprise given the amount we walked during our visit to the Alhambra. Pepe had to leave early as he had business to attend to in Seville, so we headed out to meet up with Molly from Piccavey.com / Molly in Granada.
She’s been in the city for years, and has a special, local and expat insight into the culture here. If you want to know anything about Granada, you should read her blog in addition to Jed’s.
She suggested we lunch at a fantastic Italian restaurant, which we did with gusto, because…good food.
After talking a while about the city and what Molly was up to, she dragged us – as much as you can drag someone to an ice cream shop – over to Heladería los Italianos.
This place is a Granada institution, serving up some of the best gelato and frozen treats we think we’ve ever had. Check this out!
After hanging out with Molly for a while, we parted ways and went on the hunt for some Granada street art.
We’re told that Granada aims to be the “Street Art Capital of Europe,” which is quite a lofty goal given that we mostly had to search for art instead of randomly running into it on the street during our time here.
The most well-known artist in Granada is El Niño de las Pinturas, whose skill level is matched only by the best. He has tons of work all over the Realejo neighborhood – among other places – and we enjoyed ducking around corners, looking for that goodness.
There are other impressive artists in Granada as well, but the entire city is going to have to step up its embrace of street art if it wants to be any sort of art capital of Europe, let alone Spain.
Exhausted once again from a day on the street, we retreated back to our lovely apartment to rest and relax with our patio views of the Alhambra.
The following morning, we checked out of our flat and headed down the side of the mountain to catch a cab to the bus station, where we made our way back to Seville a few hours later.
While Granada is basically the polar opposite of Seville, it’s a city that should draw you to visit for more than just the Alhambra.
The sites, smells, and sounds of this historic town nestled in the mountains are a treat for everyone. Just be sure to bring your walking shoes!
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Have you ever been to Granada? If so, what’d you think and what was your experience? If not, what say ye? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!