Our visit was prompted by our niece graduating from a
student exchange program here in
Most of the tourists to Granada come to see the
Alahambra, but there are also other
things to do here: city walking,
hiking in the nearby national park, downhill skiing, and tapas bar hoping.
A 1 1/2 city walking tour starts at 10:30 AM
at Plaza del Carmen (10 Euros in 2005).
The main theme of the walk is the period of history when Granada transformed
from Moorish to Christianity. BTW, another chapter in Granada history is
the meeting of Columbus and Queen Isabel (or Isabella if you are Italian)
... and you know the rest. BTW 2, in Spain Columbus is known as "Cristóbal
Colón." Thus the main drag in Granada is Via Colon. At the end of
the avenue is a large monument of guess who.
The Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada, 20 km from
Granada, has great possibilities for hiking and other outdoors activities. We
did a moderate hike on the trails along or the River Genil gorge, near the town of Guejar
Sierra. (Finding the River Genil road is a bit tricky.
From Granada drive/take bus to Guejar Sierra. In Guejar Sierra town center ask for directions to the
River Genil road (which they also know as the old tramway), or the Casa Chiquito restaurant, which is on that road,
or the Barranco San Juan, at the end of the road. We got there
escorted by the friendly National Guard!) There are several
trailheads from the road. One is at the very end of the road, next to the
parking lot of the Barranco San Juan (a family restaurant).
On the trail there are numerous glimpses of the Sierra Nevada ski area -
Spain's largest (only?) ski area.
the hike we feasted at the very friendly family restaurant
Casa Chiquito, which celebrates the
historic tram that used to run along the River Genil. Even if you
don't have time for a hike, this restaurant is worth a detour.
Another road from Granada takes you to the Sierra
Nevada ski area. Although
there was not much natural snow on the ground when we
were there, we did have one great day of skiing thanks to snow making machines. The base
resort has numerous outfitters that will get you into skis, boots, ski
jacket, and even gloves for about 25 or 30 Euros. At that price why schlep
the stuff all the way from home?
Finally, Granada is the city of Tapas
bars which open at 8 pm. (Spaniards like late dinner.) One way
to do the bar scene is to settle in one place for an evening of wine tasting,
assortment of tapas, and conversation. Another way is to bar-hop, doing one wine glass
and plate at each stop. On one night we did the 3-tapas-bar-hop in the around
Plaza Nueva ... Bodega Castaneda, Taberna Salinas, and Al Pie de la
Torre. All three are highly recommended. The last is the fanciest.