I have to admit- I had reservations about going to Granada. It was just such a hassle to have to pre-order tickets for the Alhambra (in retrospect, it really wasn’t a hassle although you only have a 30-minute window to get into the palace at your designated time) and we had yet to take a bus anywhere in Andalusia. Somehow, getting to Granada is more convenient by bus than by train. The train takes nearly four hours due to connections, but the bus only takes two hours and costs about €10 each way. The bus station is roughly 20 minutes away from the city center, so we had to take another bus (linea 3 or 33) to the main street, which is within walking distance of most sights. It just seemed like alot more effort than all the other cities we visited. Sabrina pleaded and pleaded until I relented.
When we arrived, finding the bus to the city center was an issue itself. We weren’t quite sure if we were at the right bus stop, and it was difficult finding someone who spoke English. Eventually I had to use my broken Spanish to converse with a local, but amazingly, he understood me and told us exactly where we needed to get off. Truthfully, getting to Granada is easy as pie and it ended up being my favorite city in Andalusia. The city is huge and bustling with people. The views are just out-of-the world and so picturesque. Definitely plan a visit here and if you’re strapped on time, I’d choose Granada over Cordoba.
Mirador de San Nicolas
Alhambra Churreria Cafeteria
Alhambra Churreria Cafeteria
Phone Number: 41 22 341 03 52
We finally did things the right way- we had our “churros con chocolate” for breakfast (rather than after dinner). We happened upon this place via a hat tip from the guy at the Tourist Information office. I had asked, “Do you know where we can get churros?” To which he responded with, “La iglesia? La iglesia está aqui. [points to map]” We were thoroughly confused. We repeated again. “C H U R R O S!” He finally got it after a few more attempts. “Ohhh! Churros!” He thought we meant “church.”
Like all places in Spain, you can pick any seat while dining al fresco and a server will come right away. There was no breakfast menu, which was fine because we knew what we wanted. We got two orders of each, but what landed on our table looked like at least four orders. There must have been at least fifteen churros on that plate.
Hot chocolate (€2.20)
Hot chocolate in Spain as we’ve come to realize is not the same as in America. It’s thick, it’s gooey and its damn delicious. It’s like licking the fudge batter off the spoon after you’ve shoved the tray of brownie mix into the oven. It’s perfect for dipping because its just so thick and it clings onto the churro with minimal drip-age. Prime dunk-age here.
Trust me, her eyes have never been as wide open as they are pictured here.
Churros (€1.80 per order, pictured above is two orders)
I have mixed feelings about the churros pictured above. I’m not sure if they’re really churros. They’re more like Chinese crullers ( 油条) and the last thing I’d do to a greasy cruller is dunk it into chocolate. Crullers are good when you only have one. Even then, I have to eat it with shaobing (roasted flatbread) to counter the grease. So having like six of these things made me grossly sick from all the grease. Still, can’t let good food go to waste. Sabrina enjoyed these a bit more than I did. I prefer the thinner and less greasy churros that we had back in Malaga to these. But how is it so darn cheap?!
Mirador de San Nicolas
18009 Granada, Spain
“From there I saw the most beautiful sunset in the world.”
– Bill Clinton
There is not much to say about the viewpoint from San Nicholas that hasn’t already been said. Clinton, who had first come here while he was studying Spanish as a student, was so awed by the view that he took his family back decades later. From the viewpoint, you can see (unobstructed) the Alhambra and dangle your legs by the ledge. It’s a bit of a hike to get up with windy cobblestone roads. To make matters worse, the map that the Tourist Information office gave us was pretty lacking (apparently small streets are not worth labeling on the map). When we finally made it, it was noon and the sun shone bright in our face, making for some difficult picture taking. Still, we left with some breathtaking memories. If possible, try to come here for the sunset or at night when the Alhambra becomes illuminated. Best of all, this place is free!
Daytime visit: 13.00 €
Evening or Night time visit to Nasrid Palace: 8.00 €
Evening or Night time visit to Gardens: 5.00 €
Garden visit: 7.00 €
This is one of those places where compulsive planners will win out and those who travel on a whim will sorely miss out. The Alhambra, which is the reason why most tourists come to Granada, only accepts 300 visitors per half hour to the Palacios Nazaries. Tickets are often sold out days in advance, so it’s best to book online weeks before. We booked our tickets about five days in advance, and even then, all the morning spots were taken (you can visit the palace either in the morning or the afternoon). Check out Rick Steve’s site for more information on logistics.
That being said, the Palacios Nazaries (the Moorish royal palace) is truly a gem. The rooms are intricate with carved wood ceilings, meticulously laid tiles and stalactites. The limited traffic helps keep the place preserved but guards are everywhere, making sure that you don’t touch anything. If you can’t score tickets into the palace, you can at least visit the gardens as well as the Alcazaba, which is the fort. The fort offers fantastic panoramic views of the city. It’s simply sublime and worth wandering around if you have the time.
Cale Alamos 18
29012 Malaga, Spain
This is Cristina’s favorite cafe and it has wifi (although for some reason our iPad/iPhone couldn’t log onto the wifi network). It’s a cute, funky but also very modern looking place. I could hang out here all day. The food here is known for its freshness with reasonable prices. Sabrina and I both agreed that the salads we ordered were amongst the best we ever tasted. In fact, we were nearly willing to come back the next day (but we were in the mood for something less healthy). There are a plethora of options and you can create your own salad (all for €8!). Luckily, there’s an English menu for those who are lacking on the language front.
Ensalada Imperio: Lechugas variadas, rucula, picatostes, pollo plancha, pera, pipas y vinagreta cremosa de queso (€8.00)
Imperio Salad: Various lettuce, arugula, croutons, grilled chicken, pear and creamy cheese dressing
As an aside, there are few tapas places where you can score a decent salad like this. Most likely, you’ll be able to find a Russian Salad, which is smothered in mayo. In all the tapas bars we ate at, we couldn’t find any form of raw vegetable. Most of them were fried. After a week, we were craving for something fresh. This really did the trick. I need to figure out a way to replicate this. These salads look small, but they’re the perfect size. We passed out soon after without feeling gross.