Advantages Beautiful city, good transport links.
Disadvantages Not much English spoken by locals
To get to Granada in Andalucia, the cheapest thing to do is score a cheap flight off the internet to traditional loud-mouthed Brit destination, Malaga ;-) and then hop on a cheap as cheap can be coach down to Granada for just eight euros. To do this, simply get on the number 19 bus at Malaga airport, which will take you to the bus station, then ask at the ticket office for Granada. Very easy.Once in Granada, a number of options are open to you. Sta travel (evil swines) will tell you there are no hostels in Granada, and will sell you one for Madrid (thanks guys). Run a mile, and when you get to Granada, just hop in a taxi and say "una hostal, por favor". They will cost around fifteen euros per night and are sufficient for your needs.
You'll need to eat once there, so the first thing I recommend is wandering over to the plaza behind the Cathedral (which you can find on your map, which you can get for free from a nice lady in a booth at the bus station). Pizzas here are delicious and home made, as are churros and chocolate, which you'll need to pronounce "choco- latté".Tapas in Granada, I proudly boast are the best in Spain. Go out on an empty stomach at 9pm and all will be satisfied. Many many bars do them, all that is needed is to order a drink (I recommend "vino tinto de verano" - very like sangria) and await the food. For a drink costing about 1euro 50, you can expect chips, a mini hamburger, a bagel with cheese and ham with chips... the list is endless and particularly generous down here. Lonely Planet whines on about how you have to pay extra for tapas blah blah blah, but it's all illconceived lies ;-) and I have not yet found a bar that charges extra. Sure, some places´ tapas is vile, but that's the luck of the draw, and well.. it was free! (Don't get me wrong, you do have to pay for tapas in t'north, either that or the free stuff isn't very generous)
For partying, I recommend the absolutely beautiful Granada 10 ("dee-eth") which is a converted theatre, and you will need smart shoes to get in. It's situated on Gran Via de Colon, the big main street. Otherwise, you could go up to the more trainer friendly Camborio - but I recommend a taxi ride for this, though it does command beautiful views of the Alhambra.Speaking of the Alhambra, do not miss it. You can walk up the huge hill and wander around admiring the views, or you can get the bus for 80 cents. It's caught from Plaza Nueva and is marked "Alhambra Bus". Admission for the palace is 9 euros and tickets should ideally be bought a couple of days before. They're available most easily from the BBVA bank everywhere in Granada.
Once there, an audioguide is 3 euros, and is worth it, giving a history etc, as audioguides tend to do, given by a disembodied voice that doesn't sound human (hey that's mean - I've been one of those voices before, you know! Everbody's gotta make a living.)The top of this moorish palace gives a wonderfull view over the whole city and Albaicin (old and posh area of houses, all whitewashed in the traditional style) and then you turn around, and Bang! There's the snow capped Sierra Nevada mountain, looking stunning against the blue sky. Incidentally, a bus up there runs from the bus station, and you can ski or toboggan. Yay!
Down in the city itself, the weather remains on the whole temperate and is currently about 16 degrees Centigrade - and it's the middle of January!Buses also crawl all over andalucia (and further) and a ride of more than 2 hours (Seville, for example) will include a film showing - so take your own headphones to plug in. Oh you don't speak spanish? Well then don't plug in, and lip-read instead ;-)
Internet cafés are everywhere, and can be as cheap as 60cents per hour.The Centro de Lenguas Modernas is perfect for perfecting your Spanish but you do have to pay. I recently finished my course with a "notable" - 7, 5. That's a B, or 75%. Woohoo!
One thing you can't get away from here is Jamon, (ham - some poor pig's whole leg - trotter included, smoked and strung up like a great Christmas decoration) and just to initiate yourself, I recommend you rent Jamón Jamón with Penelope Cruz before your visit. Under 18s - ignore that remark ;-)Having mentioned Christmas there, it's lovely in Granada, a very Catholic town with nativities popping up in shop windows everywhere, and chestnuts being roasted and sold on street corners for 2 euros.
Well, that's all I have to say on that, and if you liked it and found it useful, check out my other reviews :-)Sugarlily x
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