posted by Guest blogger - Nellie Huang | 0 Comments
Our latest guest blogger is Nellie Huang who writes about Spain travel for WhyGoSpain, BootsnAll’s comprehensive Spain travel guide. She currently calls Granada home, and shares her Spain travel tips and anecdotes on Twitter.
Forget the crowded and expensive hostels in Madrid or the touristy restaurants of Barcelona. With the euro rising and flocks of tourists flooding in all-year-round, major cities in Spain are wearing out the pockets of budget-conscious travellers.
Head down south to the province of Andalusia instead, and you might just find a city that’s right up your alley. Granada, tucked at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, is a labyrinth of hilltop houses, Arabic-influenced teahouses and flamenco caves. As a university city, its youthful vibes are contagious and its tapas culture – outrageous! If you’re looking to backpack Spain, here are some good reasons why you ought to make Granada your first (and last) stop.
Free tapas means lower food expenditure
There is a massive tapas-bar-hopping culture in Granada, and most importantly – tapas are given free with each drink order – in almost any bar in town. Think platters of jamón sandwich or tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette) washed down with refreshing tinto de verano (a local version of sangria). You can easily fill up your stomach with just 3 tapas, a total expenditure of 6€ (most bars charge 2€ per drink)!
International students’ playground
With University of Granada’s excellent reputation and relationship with other institutions, Erasmus students (exchange students from all over Europe) roam around the city in herds. You can easily feel the energy and vibrancy especially when night falls. There is always a party going on or fellow travellers to hang out with; so put on your party hat and prepare for a fiesta!
Bohemian atmosphere and hippy hangouts
In Granada’s old town, Albayzín, there is an air of languid, bohemian charm. Through the labyrinth, melancholic tunes resonate while flamenco claps abound. Street artists and guitarists strut their stuff at squares and street corners. There is a hint of unpretentious authenticity left in Granada. Backpackers would enjoy wandering around and getting lost within its atmospheric grounds.
A plethora of attractions with free entry
For the first-time visitor, you’ll be spoilt for choice by the amount of free attractions to see: Wander around the gypsy caves in Sacromonte or see the Arabic baths at El Bañuelo and even attend a mass in the Cathedral. The Alhambra Palace entrance fee might be pricey, but there is a small area that is free to enter and offers a million-dollar-view.
Proximity to off-the-tourist-trail sites
Granada is definitely a popular travel destination, but within kilometres from the city, you’ll find yourself veering off the tourist trail, into tranquil mountains and rural villages with not a single foreigner in sight. Head up to the Alpujarras and hike through the entrenched valleys to get to charming white towns. A public bus takes you from Granada to Lanjaron, the main gateway to the region.
How to Get to Granada: Domestic flights in Spain are affordable and convenient. You can easily find return airfares from Madrid to Granada as low as 50€. Alternatively, a bus ride from Madrid to Granada takes 5hours.