“Granada, I’m Falling Under Your Spell”

I’ve dreamt about Granada for years. After countless songs, movies, and stories, featuring this southern area of Spain, I had high expectations (which can be a dangerous thing when traveling). However, Granada not only met, but far exceeded my expectations. I absolutely loved it! Definitely one of my favorite European cities.
Here’s why Granada was so great:
  1. We stayed in the ‘old city’ versus the newer part
  2. The Mirador San Nicolás square
  3. Granada’s hidden alternative culture and Moroccan influence

As a relatively small city, hostel options were limited. We wanted the cheapest option possible, and luckily, that ended up coinciding with the best. We stayed at a small, cozy hostel for 11 euros per night: the Flophouse Vegetarian Backpackers hostel. A small old house turned hostel, this place had a local, Granadan vibe. Located on the hills of the old city it was an ideal location for a fantastic price. The older part of Granada is beautiful and peaceful; cobbled footpaths, meandering cats, elderly Spaniards who seemed to be from generations and generations ago.

The Mirador San Nicolás square was a 30 second walk from the hostel, and is arguably the best thing about Granada. This small plaza is next to a church and overlooks the Alhambra palace, the single most visited site in all of Spain. I have never been to a calmer, more romantic location than this.

View of the Alhambra from the Mirador San Nicolás Square

The square hovers over the old city and gives a breathtaking view of Granada. Couples, old and young, children, families, and all kinds of people fill the square at dusk to listen to musicians play and watch the sun set. All hours of the night and into morning, the square is vibrant with people enjoying the city. I can’t imagine a better way to end each day than an hour or so, enjoying the music, air, and the serenity of Granada.

A surprising aspect of Granada was the alternative, hippy influence that permeated the city. Dreads, instruments, and graffiti were anything but rare. There was even a street completely dedicated to Moroccan cafes, hookah bars, and shops selling lanterns, evil eye pendants, and assortments of incense.

Amazing Moroccan restaurant

We spent our days (in outrageous heat) walking up and down the windy, cobbled hills; admiring their seclusion from the rest of the world. We ate delicious tapas, drank sangria, and wandered the ‘gypsy’ territory above Granada’s old city.

View from the ‘gypsy’ hills of Granada

Churros with Warm Chocolate

Absolutely amazing Paella from ‘Bar Reina Moníca’

^ This tapa needs a special mention. It was unbelievable! At the tapas bar, Buena Vida, when you buy a drink, you get a complementary tapa of your choice. I landed on the baguette baked with goat cheese and honey, also known as Rulo de Cabro Con Miel. When heated, the honey soaks into the goat cheese, creating one of the most delicious flavor combinations I have ever had. Put this on top of a crispy, soft baguette and you get a little taste of heaven!

As Frank Sinatra once sang, ‘Granada, I’m falling under your spell.’ I couldn’t have said it better myself. This magical city captured my heart and I can’t wait to return, and once again, soak in the romance and serenity emanating from the entire city.

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