Next stop – Granada! Got to the bus station to catch our bus, the platform for which was only displayed 5min before the actual departure and the bus was at a different platform anyway…..Somehow we managed to find it and boarded successfully. The ride was very comfortable and was only 18 euros each for 2.5 hours.
The city of Granada is absolutely stunning! A great deal of history, including being ruled under Romans, Moors and so-called “Catholic kings”. Arab influence can be seen everywhere from architecture and language to food and varios forms of art. When Arabs first came and took over a great deal of nowadays Spain, they had to “justify” their importance to the general population. During that time, Alhambra was erected on the hill overlooking the whole Granada, many schools were built and lots of books were translated for education purposes.
The marriage between Ferdinand and Isabella marks the start of the rule under Catholic kings, who were smart enough not to destroy all the mosques. Instead, they changed only the interior leaving the churches looking the same as mosques, hence it was easier for the locals to switch from one religion to another as the buildings would look the same.
Catholic kings connected all the different provinces of Spain together and Spain became one of the most powerful nations of that time.
Granada is famous for its flamenco. An incredible expressive dance of “field workers”, it combines the elements from both Arab and gypsy culture. We saw flamenco 4 years ago in Valencia and absolutely loved it!
The flamenco show in Granada is typically more intimate, with dancers performing really close to the audience and sometimes not wearing any shoes.
We went to a flamenco show while we were in Granada and were hugely disappointed. The show itself wasn’t near as good as the one we saw in Valencia and they were so many Chinese tourists that I felt like we were victims of a massive tourist scam. They were talking (or more like yelling) to each other the whole show even after continuous shooing from performers themselves!
The show was at La Canastera …….. and we paid 20 euros each. Strongly recommend not going there.
Granada is also famous for its tapas. If you buy any drinks at any bar, be assured that you will get some free food (tapas) 🙂 It’s pretty convenient since we are not spending much on food here at all.
Overall, Granada is amazing and if you get a chance to visit, please come for at least 2-3 days as there is a lot to see.
Tip #1 Try and buy your Alhambra tickets in advance as it’s usually not possible to buy them on the same day of visit.
Tip #2 Carry a water bottle everywhere you go as lots of places, like Sacromonte and Alhambra are located on the hills, which mean lots and lots of climbing up – so having good shoes and a water bottle that you can refill at numerous drinking fountains – is a must.
Tip #3 Stay away from main plazas and streets as the prices for food are higher and the food is not great at these places. Instead, try to find a small alley that will take you to a nice selection of bars/restaurants, where locals eat for a truly authentic experience.
Tip #4 Brush up on your Spanish. Even though Granada is a very touristic place, it’s amazing that not a lot of people/business owners speak English. However, they are very friendly and always happy to help and even provide some local advice.
Tip #5 Please try churros for breakfast. For the best taste (as advised by a local), dip your churro in sugar or marmalade.