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Spain 2023 Part 2: Not for Nada, Granada
It was a short 1 to 1.5-hour flight from Barcelona to Granada. From the airport, I took a shuttle bus called ALSA to downtown Granada for just 3 euros. It’s pretty easy to find the buses. You just walk out of the airport, and you’ll see them across the way, usually with an accompanying line of people waiting to get on.
The trip into Granada isn’t much to see, but once you start going further into town, you can see where it starts to change and look more alive.
I took an early flight, which meant I couldn’t check into my hostel for like 4-5 hours, but they were nice enough to let me store my backpack there in the meantime. This hostel was hands-down way better than my Barcelona one for several reasons. One, it was more chill. Even though they have social activities, it’s not a party hostel, which meant that it was also much easier to get a good night’s sleep there. Two, the service was better. While I didn’t have any problems with the staff at the one I stayed at in Barcelona, I just felt that the people who worked at the Granada one were much more welcoming. I’ll also provide full-length reviews of each hostel I stay at so I can provide more details if you’re interested in staying at any in the future. Lastly, the other guests were much more friendly and willing to say “hi.” Granda is much smaller than Barcelona, so maybe it’s a small-town thing. Who knows?
My first Granada adventure was walking along the Carrera del Darro, a beautiful and well-known street here in Granada where you can find some neat historic buildings and get a view of the Alhambra at the top of the hill. I wandered into the Granada Archaeological Museum, which is 100% free! I definitely recommend checking it out since this city has lots of history.
From there, I ventured over to the Royal Chapel. Keep in mind all these spots are within walking distance of each other, so it’s easy to get around. The Royal Chapel was 5 euros to enter, and it’s where Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, arguably Spain’s most famous monarchs, are buried. They also have personal artifacts from the king and queen, such as their robes and the queen’s scepter and crown. To be fair, that crown didn’t look super comfy, so here’s hoping she didn’t have to wear it all the time.
One thing to note if you visit the area near the Royal Chapel is that there’s a group of women standing around there trying to scam people for money. They’ll give you a little plant, say it’s a gift, and then ask for money. They also get really close, so I don’t know if they just want money or are trying to pickpocket as well. Either way, just firmly say no, and they’ll stop. They may push a little, but be firm, and you should be fine.
My first day in Granada also included randomly catching an Easter procession. It was fascinating, and they definitely go all out. Kind of intimidating if you're not Catholic; all I kept thinking was how it reminded me of a scene in The Godfather Part II.
On my second day in Granada, I went to the famous Alhambra, a historic palace and fortress that boasts beautiful Islamic architecture and incredible views of the city. The Alhambra sits at the top of a hill, so it’s a trek to get up there. You can take the Carrera del Darro to make your way there, turning right and crossing the stream when you see the path going uphill.
I recommend buying your tickets ahead of time since this is Granada’s biggest attraction. Also, spring for the extra cost of seeing the Palacio Nazaries there. It’s totally worth it! Even though you’ll be milling about with a bunch of other tourists, you’ll be amazed at how stunning these buildings are. What I hadn’t realized, though, is that animals live at the Alhambra, well, cats specifically. Yep. When you visit, you’ll notice cats walking along the grounds. The cats are taken care of, and it’s enforced that people don’t try to touch them.
One thing to remember when visiting Granada is that while it’s hot during the day, it’s still very chilly in the morning and at night. This may not be the case in summer, but at least in April, you’ll want to bring a warm coat for the mornings and then a t-shirt for the daytime. That being said, you may start working up a sweat anyway trying to climb that hill up to the Alhambra…
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About the author
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer and comedian who has been featured on Amazon, truTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Sleep Advisor, Tiplr, ARTRPRNR Magazine, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com