I spent the last few days of 2015 exploring Granada in glorious sunshine. It’s difficult to believe that this city is the same size as Edinburgh, it has such a switched on urban feel to it. I visited it once before, back in my broke student days, and while I really made the most of the little time and money I had to see most sights, it felt like there was so much more to discover.
Locals warn you that living in Granada is nothing like visiting it, and they’re probably right, buy it’s still a fantastic place to vacay in. The Albaycín, Sacromonte and the Alhambra are all places that you will never set foot in on your day-to-day, but to loose yourself in these historic parts of town as a tourist is about the best holiday experience you can wish for.
Albaycín is the historic old town, well back from Southern Spain’s moorish era. Granada was the very last town to be re-captured during the last leg of the 770 year Reconquista, in 1492. For days you could roam these quaint little streets, lined by whitewashed houses with stunning tilework, and you’ll still keep discovering tiny little squares that you haven’t seen before. I could also spend more time trodding the steep cobbled streets of Sacromonte, a sort of rough-and-ready cave-town on the next hill over from Albaycín. Such beauty.
We had the best times however while eating and drinking. In Granada you get served a plate of food along with every drink you order, and if you play it the right way, you can have dinner sorted just by bar-hopping a few places. In fact, the best bars just keep bringing you food with every order until you’ve had your fill, no need to move. And it’s not just any odd crisps and peanuts either.
You could walk past Bar Trastienda (below) and think it’s a mere hole-in-the-wall charcuterie shop. But oh no, Sir! The magic door behind the till opens up to a large room of tables and chairs, the fare being epic plates of embutidos, more types of cheese than you can count, and the best tinto and local beer you could wish for.
Another worthy mention is Bar Saint Germain, very much along the same lines, with an epic selection of tapas and wine. Sadly I have no photos of this little gem but if you absolutely must go if you ever visit – the owners are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met, and they make it their business to get you well fed and watered.
Although we spent New Year’s Eve in Granada, it wasn’t really the mad affair we originally set out to make it, as by that point all the hill-climbing and wine-drinking had us thoroughly exhausted. We did head out to the Ayuntamiento (City Hall) to ring in the new year, and even managed to stuff the required twelve grapes into our mouths in time with the midnight bell’s tolls.
All that was left to do on New Year’s Day was to get breakfast (which we sat down for in the sunniest corner of the nicest little square, with only granadinos around), driving back to the coast and taking a big long walk along the local beach.
I’m finishing up this post from back in Scotland and all that’s left are these sunny photos to keep me warm in the ugly weather… Good times though… Good times.