After 3 days in Cordoba, I left for Granada, another famous Andalusian town. It is better known than Cordoba due to the majestic Alhambra that overshadows other tourist attractions. I planned to spend 3 days in Granada. Just like in the case of Cordoba, I managed to see almost everything, and I definitely covered the top places to see in Granada.
3 days in Granada
I left Cordoba in the afternoon, and was supposed to arrive at Granada after 6 PM. The bus station of Cordoba deserves some good words: I liked it very much, and I will explain why. It is small, and when you enter the station, you immediately see a big display panel with arrival and departure times. Right in the middle of the station there is an information desk with a lady, who speaks English 🙂 Free Wi-Fi is available, the password is written on a piece of paper glued to the information desk glass panel. Very convenient and easy.
The exit to buses is below the panel. So there I went looking for my bus. It was already there, and I showed my ticket and asked the driver – control freak here, remember 🙂 – if it was the right bus. Luckily, I could say it in Spanish 🙂 He confirmed it, but when I asked if I could go in, he said that it was not the time yet: they usually start boarding 15 minutes before the departure. Well, ok, so I went to wait outside. And what do I see? The driver closes the door and rides off! I just look at this, astonished, while locals show no reaction. I even started thinking that probably it was the wrong bus in the end. I even went back to the station hall to check if I was at the right platform 🙂 And in about 5 minutes I see the same bus coming back to my platform: apparently, it needed to be checked before the departure or something like this.
I took my seat and we left. The road between Cordoba and Granada is very picturesque: in addition to majestic landscape, I saw two castles. Well, the bus did not stop to allow us viewing them properly 🙂
It was drizzling in Cordoba when I left, but when I arrived to Granada, it was raining cats and dogs! I had no umbrella, and, luckily, the bus I needed to get to the center was at the station. It was quite a long ride, so don’t even attempt to do it on foot.
My hostel was close to Paseo de los Tristes, so the nearest station I could get off was at the Cathedral of Granada. From there I had to go on foot, and I looked like a drowned rat when I finally came to the hostel 🙂
How to get to Granada
Just like I mentioned in the Part 1 of my series of posts on solo travel in Spain, I took ALSA bus from Cordoba to Granada. The bus was very comfortable, and it was a ride of less than 3 hours. Free Wi-Fi definitely helps to make the road merrier and less wearisome 🙂
Where to stay in Granada
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Needless to say, Granada is more expensive than Cordoba. If I found a relatively cheap single room in Cordoba, I could not do the same in Granada, so I started looking for beds in hostel rooms. I liked the location of White Nest Hostel (it is really close to Alhambra and other main sights) and the price was reasonable compared to other places. Reluctantly, I booked a bed in a 4-bed female dormitory, and it turned out to be a fantastic experience. In the end, it was a perfect place for 3 days in Granada: I liked the hostel, the ladies and guys at the reception desk, the room with its vivid orange color, the spacious bathroom, and, most of all, my lovely neighbors from Taiwan and South Korea. And, frankly, I loved the hostels I stayed at during these 3 weeks of my solo travel in Spain more than stays at hotels 🙂
How to move around Granada
If you stay in the center of Granada, then almost all tourist attraction are within walkable distance. But, unlike Cordoba, in Granada you will use bus more frequently.
A single bus ticket costs 1,40 EUR. Keep in mind, that there are different types of buses in Granada and they are distinguished by color. You will most likely use the red buses as they will get you to Alhambra, Albaicin and Sacromonte.
The blue buses or LAC (just scroll the page to see the rules) run through the city center, and you will have to take one if you want to go to the Science Museum. Personally, I find the LAC buses confusing: you have to validate your ticket before boarding, and you can’t buy your ticket at the driver. For more information check here.
I took SN1 from the bus station to the Cathedral of Granada, and paid to the driver, and used the same bus on my way back to the station. To get to the Sacromonte Abbey I took C2 minibus not far from my hostel and the same bus to get back. I had to take N7 at the Cartuja Monastery to come back to Gran Via. These are the only 3 buses I took during my 3 days in Granada.
I still am glad that I bought Granada City Pass, which includes 5 bus rides. You will have to go to the Tourist Information Office to collect the tickets, and after that you just hand them one by one to drivers when you get it, and you are done.
What to buy in Granada
You will see lots of souvenir shops at the Cathedral of Granada, in Alcaiceria market, in side streets selling everything imaginable, but I want to mention something special.
It is not that I advise you to buy it, as it is very expensive. I simply liked it 🙂 Have you ever wanted to be King Arthur? Or a Knight Templar? Or, probably, Robb Stark? There is a shop not far from the Cathedral selling replicas of swords and other knightly ammunition. I thought you might like it, and the shop is worth a visit to have some fun 🙂
Where to eat in Granada
After splurging money in Cordoba, it was time to tighten my belt 🙂 I still went to restaurants, but tried to buy sandwiches and pizzas in local bakeries. Let’s start with the restaurants.
The first place I went to in Granada was La Plaza 3 restaurant on Plaza Nueva. As I came late and because of the rain, I did not really have many options, and the guy Luis working there convinced me to go in. The salmon was delicious, but the cheesecake was absolutely yummy! I ordered from the daily menu which includes several dishes, but it was too much for me 🙂 I paid 21 EUR here, but you can end up with a lower amount 🙂
The waiters of La Plaza 3 deserve a special mention. I have to say first that I have heard many stories where restaurants refuse to serve solo visitors. One person occupying the whole table and ordering less than two people would: that’s outrageous (sarcasm)! So here is my story.
It was raining when I came to the restaurant and it was dinnertime. When I went in, it was full except one table for two right at the entrance door, a table for four in the corner and a huge barrel with bar stools around it. Well, I chose the table for four, as it was the most comfortable place to sit. I made my order and the waiter brought me ‘the compliment from the chef’. And in this precise moment 4(!) people come in and ask for a table. I had only one thought: ‘They will ask me to move to the table at the door.’ I was sure they would do it, and, to my surprise, the waiter told them that only the barrel with stools was available. That was the moment I wanted to give them a gold medal 🙂 And this group sat at the barrel 🙂
When I was around the Cathedral, I could not find a place that suited my taste so I ended up at the terrace of Siloe restaurant. They took my order very quickly and brought the food quickly as well, but when the time for bill came, there was no one I could address and no one paid attention to me. Well, I could get up and leave but being a nice girl 🙂 I went in to the restaurant to find the waiter and pay for the meal. The place is, naturally, expensive: for 19 EUR I got tea and fish stew, which was good, by the way 🙂 The breakfasts are cheaper, less than 10 EUR per person.
A nice place for breakfast is Minotauro Bar. In addition to the traditional breakfast consisting of coffee and bread with butter and marmalade, they offer eggs as well with prices between 3,5 and 4,5 EUR. And they have a long list of tapas, which are mostly served later in the day.
I passed many times by Teteria Marrakech, as it was close to my hostel, thinking I would definitely go there, and did it in my last day in Granada. The prices here are more reasonable, they have many options, so I ended up paying 13,20 EUR for a plate of kebab with vegetables and a milkshake. There are lots of similar restaurants in the tourist area, so if you are short of money, they are a nice option.
Just to note: the prices I mention include tips as well, usually around 10%.
La Plaza 3 and Siloe are very expensive and I still regret I did not walk along calle Elvira that is parallel to Gran Via de Colon: I am pretty sure the restaurants there are much cheaper. And I saw a cheap place – La Bodega de Gran Via – that offered 10 tapas and 2 beers for 13 EUR.
When I was really keen to save money, I went to a bakery not far from the crossroads of Calle Colcha and Calle Reyes Catolicos (I do not know the exact address). It is La Paloma Blanca and they sell coffee, beverages, sandwiches, paninis, croissants, and many other pies. The price of a panini is 2.5 EUR, croissants are around 1 EUR.
Not far from La Paloma Blanca, right at the beginning of Calle Elvira, there is Papizza where they sell pizza slices for a reasonable price. Another bakery is not far from the Basilica of San Juan de Dios, somewhere between the cathedral and Gran Via.
What to see and do in Granada
Rest assured that Granada will not disappoint you. When it comes to monumentality, Granada definitely is a winner. I still vividly remember the magnificent cathedral, the Cartuja Monastery, and Alhambra, of course.
I wrote a separate post listing the best places to visit in Granada, and will write a post specifically on Alhambra, as I found it quite difficult to buy tickets online, so keep your eye on my blog 🙂
Weather. I arrived at Granada on October 18 and left October 21. Except my arrival day, when I was greeted by a heavy rain, the weather was amazing. It was warm and sunny every day, nearly 30 degrees Celsius.
Supermarkets. I did not see many supermarkets in the area where I stayed. There is a minimarket at Carrera del Darro 14, but, honestly, I could not figure out its opening times: whenever I passed by, it was closed, except one evening, when I did not need anything 🙂 Relatively nor far from the Cathedral at Calle Párraga, 18 you will find a Carrefour Express. Another Carrefour Express is at Calle San Juan de Dios, 24. At Calle Elvira 3 there is a small supermarket.
Pharmacies. There is a 24/7 pharmacy Miguel Martín Valverde at Calle Reyes Católicos, 5, and not far from it at Puerta Real de España, 2 there is another pharmacy Zarco Rios. If you come late at night, make sure to ring the bell.
English. The situation with English is better in Granada than in Cordoba, and I met much more people speaking English here.
Public toilets. I saw two public toilets: one at the Plaza Nueva at the corner with Calle Elvira, and the other one behind the monument to Isabel La Católica y Colón at the beginning of Gran Vía de Colón. You will have to pay 0,30 EUR to have the pleasure of using these toilets 🙂 I still remember that while I was thoroughly examining the toilet cabin from outside searching for price, a guy came to me and offered to use his card to get in 🙂 Not sure, if it is appropriate to say it in this case, but it was very kind and sweet 🙂
Crowds. Granada is full of tourists! Honestly, it was the most crowded town of all the seven places that I visited in Spain. If you stay not far from Carrera del Darro, which runs along Alhambra, you will definitely notice it. It is a narrow street, and imagine hundreds of tourists, taxis, local buses there. This street was my personal nightmare 🙂
Bus from Cordoba to Granada – 7,28 EUR
Local bus from the station to the center – 1,40 EUR
White Nest Hostel – 54 EUR
Food (restaurants, supermarket, occasional snacks) – 71 EUR
Granada Card – 37 EUR
Entrance fees to touristic sights – 17 EUR
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