Day 8: Granada
We left Seville for Granada in the morning. We had not planned in advance how to get to there, however, our hostel managers recommended that we use BlaBlaCar (there was no Uber or Lyft), which is a long distance carpooling service that connects drivers with empty seats to people traveling in their same direction. Co-travellers pay car owners a contribution to help offset their costs of the trip.
We were a little apprehensive about using the service at first, so we booked a ride with a female driver. It turned out to be a great trip and, we would totally use this ride-share again! We met the drive at an agreed-upon location, which we planned through the online private-messaging service, and she and her brother took us to Granada. We got to see the Sierra Nevada mountain range on the way!
PRO TIP: Did you know that the city of Granada has the same name as the Pomegranate!?! The Spanish word for the fruit is Granada and therefore the symbol of the city. The pomegranate and pomegranate tree appears throughout the streets as you wander around the city.
After about a 3 hour drive, we arrived at our hostel in Granada: Makuto House Hostel. We then set out on our own to explore the streets and different neighborhoods of Granada! We explored the Alcaiceria, which is an Arabic-style market with narrow street, trinkets, and Arabic ceramic tiles.
Our hostel also offered a free walking tour of Granada, which was AMAZING! The highlights were seeing the gypsy caves in Sacromonte and viewing the Alhambra from afar at sunset.
In the hills above Granada lie the gypsy cave community of Sacromonte. After the Moorish empire fell in the 1500s, the Roma came and carved out little cave homes which is now a Gypsy neighborhood (and also a tourist spot). The caves were originally inhabited by people of Romani or Gitano descent. Now, they are inhabited by “modern gypsies”, as in nomads, free-spirited travelers, foreign refugees, etc. Most of the caves have electricity, running water, outhouse-style toilets, and some have TVs.
PRO TIP: For the best view of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, go to the Mirador de San Nicolas. Walk up from Plaza Nueva through the Albaicin and find a spot on the wall. Enjoy the sunset over the Alhambra palace, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and on the city below. The Andalusian sunset in Granada is spectacular!
Day 9: Granada
Today we visited the Alhambra, which is a giant palace and fortress built in the mid-13th century. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Granada. To plan your trip to the Alhambra, it is best to buy your tickets well in advance. They offer audio guides and guided tours. We opted for the audio guide so we could go at our own pace and bought tickets for a 3pm entrance. Plan to be in the Alhambra for several hours and bring fans to combat the heat!
After visiting the Alhambra, we went back into town and explored the streets of Granada. We stopped to watch a jam session that we randomly came across, explored more of the Arab markets, and got tapas and drinks!
PRO TIP: In Granada, you can get free tapas when you order a drink!
Day 10: Granada to Barcelona
Today we flew back to Barcelona on Vueling airline at 7:30pm. The flight back is only about an hour and a half. Once we arrived, we checked into our hostel Ideal Youth Hostel. We didn’t make any plans for Barcelona tonight because we had an early morning flight home the next day. We walked around the famous Las Ramblas street and found a place to eat for dinner.
PRO TIP: Granada was once a Muslim kingdom, so much of the city has been built in a style of Islamic architecture. Granada is the capital of Andalusia, a large autonomous region in Southern Spain.