Granada Backpacking Travel Guide

Information on hostels, transportation, cheap food and drinks, sights to see, activities and more.

Search for Granada hostels at Hostelworld and budget hotels at Agoda.com

About


Granada is a city rich in history and culture and a very worthwhile city to visit. The Alhambra alone makes it worth the effort to get to. Granada has a student-driven nightlife and some of the best tapas culture I have seen in Spain. The best tapas bars in Granada are the ones that serve the tapas dishes for free with each drink purchased. Great places to get well acquainted with if you are a budget traveller.

Alhambra, Granada

Hostels


El Granado

Located right in the center of Granada and a short walk from everything important. The staff are very friendly and helpful providing all the essential information that you may need creating a cozy and nice environment. There is a kitchen also at the hostel which you can use if you want to cook your own food and a good breakfast is provided in the morning for 3€.

Makuto Backpackers Hostel

Friendly, laid-back hostel in the Albayzín neighbourhood. Has a nice outdoor terrace with a bar and a treehouse as well as comfy lounge areas with hammocks, cushions and guitars. Definitely do the free walking tour for the best views and to hangout in the Sacromonte caves. Not a party hostel, but still very social.

Oasis Backpackers Granada

The rooms were great and there is a big kitchen area. A local guy runs tours for the hostel. He was fantastic, he runs both free and planned tours and hikes. The lounge on the roof is the perfect place to be especially during sunset.

Sights and Highlights


Alhambra

The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex. It was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada. It was converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada. After Granada fell in 1492, signalling the end of the Reconquista, the site became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella, and the palaces were partially altered to Renaissance tastes.

After being allowed to fall into disrepair for centuries, the buildings occupied by squatters, Alhambra was rediscovered during the 19th century, who had conducted retaliatory destruction of the site, the re-discoverers were first British intellectuals and then other north European travellers. It is now one of Spain's major tourist attractions, exhibiting the country's most significant and well-known Islamic architecture.

Getting tickets to the Alhambra can be a bit of a pain. It sells out days and sometimes weeks in advance. If you travelling Spain with no fixed itinerary, that can be problematic. Check out Wandertooth.com - Alhambra Palace Guide. It is a really good resource and explains the entire ticketing process. One that thing that article doesn't mention is that even on days where online tickets are sold out, it is possible to turn up early in the morning and buy a ticket. The ticket office opens at 8:30am. If you are trying to buy a ticket on the day, get there as soon as it opens!

Alhambra, Granada

Free Walking Tour

Walk In Granada

These guys run three different free tours. The thee tours take in the historical city centre, Sacromonte and Albayzin respectively. The city centre tour is run daily at 11am from Plaza Nueva. The other two tours take place on alternate days of the weeks at 4pm from the same departure point. Full details at walkingranada.com.

Feel the City Tours

These guys run one single tour called to the Monuments of Granada. The tour runs for 2.5hrs and departs from Plaza Isabel La Catolica. For more details including a list of the monuments you will visit, head to feelthecitytours.com/en/tours-granada.

To Eat


Granada is one of the few remaining cities in Spain still serving tapas the traditional way. That is, as a free portion of food to accompany a drink. As a budget traveller, it is the perfect way to eat and drink your way through Spain and makes Granada one of the best cities to visit.

Bar Avila

An amazing authentic Spanish tapas bar. Small and cosy bar with friendly staff. It's usually fully crowded and you will have to find your place at the bar. A great experience if you wanna try authentic Spanish cuisine and environment.  You receive free tapas with each drink purchased, so after a couple of drinks you will likely be full. A tasty meal.

Chantarela

I visited this place on advice of a local and it was a great surprise. The tapas are elaborate and the taste is amazing. For just a few euro you get a drink and a tapas plate. The place was full of local people. Try and get in by 9pm as it gets crowded later.

El Aviso

The food here is excellent, beautifully presented and delicious. The owner likes to explain what he has for the day, the service is efficient and the owner genuinely wants to know how you enjoyed it. As with the others, the tapas is given for free when ordering drinks.

For Drinking


Checkout some of the tapas bars listed above. They come highly recommended for their food, but are great places to get a drink as well.

Colagallo Cocktail Bar

A tapas bar that gets special mention here because they serve craft beer. It is hard to go past a serving of free tapas with a craft beer. The bartender was vert keen to share his love and knowledge of the region, spanish liquors, and beers.

Amsterdam Cafe Pub

Great variety of beers. Good music in the background and very good service. Good selection of craft beers from Spain and also international.

Transportation


Seville

With no decent direct train, bus is the easiest way to get to between Granada and Seville. The journey takes around 3 hours. If you look carefully on alsa.es/en you can find tickets as low as 10€.

Cordoba

You can travel between Granada and Cordoba by train. It takes 2hr 30min and costs about 30€ for a ticket and involves one change. You should not take the train. By far a better option is to take a bus. Alsa makes this trip in 2hr 45min but is much cheaper. Some tickets are as low as 5€. Go to alsa.es/en.

Valencia

The journey to Valencia is quite a long way. I definitely recommend a night bus for this trip. The most convenient one to catch is the one that departs at 23:30 and arrives at 07:00 in Valencia. It costs a little under 50€ which isn't too bad when you consider the distance covered and that you save a nights accomodation. There are cheaper tickets available for day buses, but they take longer and you will lose an entire day to travel. Head to alsa.es/en for more details.

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