A fascinating and rich history, a stunning interplay of different architectural styles, beautiful natural landscape, and lovely weather are only some of the reasons why you would want to visit Granada, in the charming southern Spanish Andalucia region, now.
Granada has and always will have a special place in my heart. I’ve visited this amazing city seven times in the past few years. It’s still my favourite city in the world even after visiting 17 countries.
Here are my top 10 reasons why you NEED to visit Granada
1. Strangers treat you like family
I’ve never felt so welcome in a city before. On one trip, I was wandering through the Albayzín neighbourhood alone. I stopped to eat at Arrayenes, a Moroccan-style restaurant. The doors were open but the seats were empty and the lights were off. I peeked inside and shouted “Hola?”. The owner greeted me to say they were closed for Siesta. I never expected what would happen next.
This absolute stranger brought me to sit down and eat with his colleagues. They poured me Moroccan lemonade and fed me couscous. And they refused to let me pay anything! I was blown away.
Normally, business owners only care about making money. Yet, this guy was happy to feed me for nothing. I’ll never forget that kind gesture. I even returned on my last visit to eat in the same restaurant with my boyfriend. When the owner realised who I was, he brought us complimentary tea and dessert.
Don’t be surprised to meet these sort of people in Granada. Another time, I met three people from Granada in Morocco who hosted my friend and me in their home for nothing in return. Another time, a man who lives in the Sacromonte caves bought me a drink even though he had very little money.
It’s true that the people make the place. When I think of all the amazing people I’ve met in different countries, a lot of them are from Granada.
2. The architecture
The bright white houses, potted flowers and windy cobbled streets in the Albayzín are beautiful and make it for one of the reasons to visit Granada. You feel like a child again exploring the city and discovering hidden gems. It gives you an insight into Andalusian culture too.
3. Home to a UNESCO world heritage site
The Alhambra is a 1,530,000 square foot Arabic palace and fortress. You can admire it from afar with a backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Or you can stroll around the palaces and gardens for hours to witness its beauty up close.
4. The atmosphere
The magic of Granada is indescribable. It’s vibrant, open-minded, fun, relaxed and non-judgemental. People tend to see beyond race or social class. Everyone does their own thing and everyone accepts that. You don’t really tend to see the police about and it feels like a really safe place.
5. The cheap food
In Granada, the restaurants tend to be cheap anyway. Even better though, since it’s located in Andalusia, most places will give you free tapas when you buy a drink. At my favourite tapas bar, La Riviera, you can buy a beer or glass of wine for €2 and get a decent portion of food for free. I’ve had dinner there countless times for only €4 or €6!
6. The street art
Granada is full of creative people who love to make art. The famous Grenadian muralist, El Niño de las Pinturas has street art scattered all over the city. You can see it by taking a tour or searching for an online map.
7. It’s ridiculously photogenic
Normally, you have to put effort into getting somewhere to get a nice view. Not in Granada. There are easily accessible lookout spots all around the city where the views are breathtaking. Even the doorways are worth taking photos of.
8. You can’t be underwhelmed
You could stay in Granada for weeks and still not have seen everything. There is so much variety. Each bustling neighbourhood offers an alternative side to Granada. Different styles of buildings, monuments, plazas, and markets.
9. You can sunbathe at the beach and go skiing on the same day
Granada has it all. And if it doesn’t, it’s only a short drive away. I’ve taken day trips to the natural hot springs, the beach, to snowboard, chill by a lake, hike in the mountains and see waterfalls.
Within the same day, you can ski in the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains and drive a couple of hours to beaches on the Southern coast!
10. It will bring you back to reality
This small city of 234,000 inhabitants brings you back down to earth. Even compared to other cities in Spain, Granada has a unique way of life. People are real to you. There’s no sugar coating or facade. It’s the best place to clear your mind from any stress you’re carrying around. Talking from experience, if you’re really open to it, Granada can even help you to discover yourself.
One thing is for sure, you won’t be able to help to fall in love with Granada as I have.
Not convinced? Read my in-depth travel guide to Granada and I’m sure you will be looking at flights to Granada by the time you finish reading!
Author Bio: Chloe is a travel and mindfulness blogger from Journey with Chloe who offers travel guides, tips, itineraries incorporated with veganism and mindfulness