WEEKEND GETAWAYS

Weekend Getaway: Gorgeous Granada

Granada gobsmacked us. It is a gorgeous and unique city with incredible history and impressive architecture. A weekend was not enough time with all of the wonderful options of things to do, but it was a great starting point! We decided (before we even left Granada) that we must visit again, which is definitely a good sign. 

We drove to Granada from another holiday spot in Spain, and it was a breathtaking journey with The Sierra Nevada mountains ahead of us. Their snow covered tops (in April) peeking above the roads lined by desert cactuses, olive orchards, and pink blossoming trees. Climates and seasons colliding. And when you arrive, the streets in Granada are lined with orange trees — can anything be better?

Speaking of weather, Granada is often described as having bright blue skies year round. It’s very hot in the summertime and every travel tip we read warned us of the heat. (Sunscreen! water! hats!) However, when we arrived, we were greeted by very English weather — grey, cold, and rainy. But not even the unfortunate weather could detract from the energy and beauty of Granada. Actually the skies were epic.  And we did get sun… eventually!

We focussed on visiting sights and walking! A wonderful place to explore, easy to navigate,  inexpensive taxis if you tire of walking, and accessible buses.

With so many cultural gems it was hard to narrow down our list, but hopefully our travel tips and recommendations will help you enjoy a family holiday to the gorgeous Granada.

Pre-trip planning:

  • Plan ahead. If you want to visit the Alhambra, which we highly recommend (more on that soon),  then book online weeks in advance. During popular times, tickets often are sold out months in advance. And you can’t purchase tickets any longer at the actual entrance despite being able to a few years ago. 
  • Get a Granada Card. It will take out the hassle and provides you with three days of sights and museums. Plus some free transportation. It made life so much easier. 
  • Buggies and baby carriers. It’s very hilly, cobble stone city in areas (i.e bumpy). I’d bring both depending on your kids age, what area you plan to visit, etc. We didn’t bring our buggy to the Alhambra for instance — just the baby carrier. 
  • Spain and siestas. Business hours vary greatly and many places are closed from 1.30 – 8pm…or somewhere in between there. Just check opening times, plan ahead with snacks if you are having a late dinner, and make sure you are flexible.

Visit:

Granada Cathedral — a great example of architecture and one of the largest cathedrals in all of Europe. There are children’s hand held audio guides, which Beatrice loved. It is an impressive space filled with art and history!

San Augustin Market or Mercado de San Agustin Granada which is an indoor market right next to the Granada Cathedral. Worth a quick visit.

Science Museum Park — or Parque de las Ciencas is wonderful! We went after the Cathedral and it was a great juxtaposition to the architecture. It is pure modern, bright, and the most intelligent use of interactive space and design we have ever seen! There is something for everyone. Camera Obscura, Black Holes, Aviary shows, interactive energy displays, climbing nets, the list goes on and on… we loved it! A park and museum all in one. 

Patio Perfume Shop & Museum — we stopped in originally to avoid the rain then we realised it was a lovely unexpected find. It was fascinating with ways to test your aroma skills(!), and their outdoor courtyard is the oldest one in Granada. It is a good stopping point to literally take a breathe of fresh air.

Alhambra — this is a whole day excursion, so relax before or after and plan little else that day. And it is absolutely incredible! We were gobsmacked by the whole visit. You will need to choose which parts are best for you and your group, because there is so very much to see. And it isn’t just about the palace we really loved the fortress and the gardens too! We enjoyed this article before arriving.

Flamenco Show — it isn’t easy to go to most Flamenco shows with children under 8 years old or before 10pm. Which is a bit late even for us in holiday mode! After I did a great deal of research (our daughter loves to see dance!) I ‘settled’ on this early flamenco show for dinner and dance (our children are 5 and 2 years old), but I was a bit worried it would be very touristy place. It was great thou! The staff were lovely, the food was delicious, and the dancing was fabulous. Plus there were more locals from Granada so I thought that was a good sign. This activity was one of our highlights and a great way to start off the weekend. t gives us all so much energy we danced our way home.

Neighbourhoods:

  • No visit to Granada would be complete without a few hours exploring the neighbourhood of Alabaicín. This tightly squashed-together network of winding cobbled streets, whitewashed old houses and jasmine-scented squares perches on the hillside the other side of the Darro river from the Alhambra and used to be Granada’s Arabic quarter. 
  • Carrera del Darro. Begin from the Plaza Nueva which winds down towards Albaicín alongside the Darro River. It is noteworthy, a beautiful walkway featured on about 80% of the postcards in Granada.
  • Realejo is a must see neighbourhood with colourful graffiti, interesting history and beautiful little winding streets.

Food:

  • Tapas are simply fun to eat! Order a lot, share as a family, and if you have been walking all day treat yourself to a parent sized sangria. With a drink, you get free tapas. So that can be a good reason to just take a break from the walking. And to watch the locals. I love the old men of Mediterranean towns, like pensive Grandfathers.
  • Calle Navas or the “tapas street” is always a great place to visit, which is especially popular with locals and offers seafood specialities such as clams, squid and prawns!
  • The produce is so fresh and delicious that we packed homemade jamon sandwiches on fresh bread with manchego each day! And we indulged in mandarinas and fresh potato crisps. What is better than a picnic lunch each day?

Stay:

We opted for an Air B&B instead of a hotel to easily cook and relax, but there are endless options for places to stay. 

Fascinated by locks, doors, or water fountains then this is your city! 🙂 (toddlers!) Counting steps. Do games of I Spy to find the hundreds of pomegranates, a symbol of the city. And enjoy exploring the details of the city.

Finally, everyone in your group will love the use of colour, the richness of history, the beauty of architecture, the stunning views, and the kindness of the locals. Enjoy Granada, we definitely did.

Lara

x

ps If you have any tips from your trip to Granada, we would love to hear them! And if you are looking for other fun weekend getaways, I have these on my list of places to travel with the family: Rome, Copenhagen, and Istanbul … so many places to explore!


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Comments (1)

Lisa
April 23, 2018

Looks fab. I thought about Granada as add on few days for Spanish holiday but thought it might be not as kid friendly – you have painted a wonderful picture of your weekend for young families – many thanks for the detail and pictures . I will definitely try and go now !


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