Granada is an historical city located in the southern region of Andalucia, in Spain. This city is an ideal backpacking destination, offering beaches, mountains and plenty of tapas in the city center.
Royal Gate in Puerta Real (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Backpacking in Granada
The city’s main landmark is the Alhambra, an ancient Moorish fortress. The ancient fortress and palace, built by the moors, is one of the city’s symbols. Guided tours are available around the palace and its many gardens. The Patio of the Lions is one of its main features, a patio decorated with many carved columns and a fountain of several lions.
The Generalife is one of the palaces located in this complex and is known for its many fountains and gardens. This palace is located near the Sierra Nevada, the mountain range that has views towards the city.
Visiting a city on a budget does not mean that visitors will have to limit their dinners to some supermarket food. Granada is a city of tapas. Tapas are complimentary appetizers that are served with every drink. Most of the city’s bars offer traditional tapas, and the more drinks visitors buy, the more the variety of appetizers served. Granada’s tapas are larger than the tapas in other cities of Spain. Typical tapas include slices of cured ham, tortilla de patatas omelet and patatas bravas potatoes served with alioli sauce and spicy sauce. Many restaurants offer authentic Andalusian gazpacho, a cold vegetable soup.
The Albaicin is one of the city’s most ancient quarters. This quarter has traditional whitewashed houses and some of the city’s most popular tapas bars are located here. The ancient gypsy district has many flamenco bars and clubs where visitors can party until dawn. There are many hostels and hotels in this part of the city, and most of the white houses have large tiled patios.
The Mirador San Nicolás is a large observation deck located on the hill opposite the Alhambra. This observation deck has views towards the city, its many traditional buildings and the mountains.
Another one of the city’s main landmarks is the Cathedral, built in a Renaissance style and located on the border of this historical district. The adjoining Royal Chapel is where the bodies of the catholic Kings, Fernando and Isabel, are buried. The nearby Cartuja is an ancient monastery where visitors will be able to explore the church, the chapels and the cloister.
Another landmark in the city are the Arab baths. This ancient hammam can be visited. A short walk away from the Arab baths visitors will find the Archaeological Museum, which has many ancient Moorish and Roman ruins.
A short distance away from this historical city visitors will find many beach towns. The traditional Andalusian towns of Almuñecar, Motril and Salobrena offer pristine beaches and water activities. The towns are connected to the city by several buses.