From the Albaicín neighbourhood, to the inhabited caves (some almost 800 years old), to the remarkable and must-see Alhambra; I was faced with Granada’s historical past everywhere I turned.
After exploring Granada, I found that its streets were the blueprint of its history. Returning back to this city was refreshing because I had thoroughly enjoyed it the first time I was there by myself almost two years ago. From the bus station, getting to the hostel was simple. For 1,40 EUR I took the SN1 to the Cathedral stop and going off memory alone, found my way through the Moroccan inspired streets to reach my Famous Hostels safe haven – Oasis Backpackers Hostel Granada.
I hit the ground running in Granada (like I did in Madrid) and went from checking in, to changing into sports gear as I waited with the others from the hostel to go on the Los Cahorros Waterfall hike with Mika.
At the start of our trip, we all got to know each other as we made our way to the bus that would take us to Monachil (the ride was included in the cost). Turns out we had people from Canada, Denmark, England, Germany and Poland all embarking on the adventure! We had an amazing hike with beautiful weather! Mika, our expert guide, was so helpful. He explained to us the itinerary, assisted us through the difficult portions of the hike where we had to crawl, sit or shimmy our way to the other side and provided some great anecdotes, like how the drought in the past years in Granada affected the water amount in the waterfalls and how Los Cahorros would be a great set location for Game of Thrones!
We came out of the hike with new friends and a quick tapa at a local restaurant in the town of Monachil before we headed back to the hostel (also included in the price)!
The Cahorros Waterfall hike was 15 EUR but the best value for the experience of visiting such a beautiful spot. It covered transportation, water, lunch on the hike, and a tapa after we finished the hike! I’m am not a hiker and I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed it! The scenery was breathtaking as we walked past the the greenery, large rocks and flowing waterfalls. Also just the sheer size of the mountains and the area was awe-inspiring! It was a great start to my visit to Granada and definitely unforgettable.
After we got back and freshened up, the hiking tour group and some more new friends relaxed on the rooftop patio watching the sun set. One of my favourite parts of the Oasis Backpackers Hostel Granada was that the patio allowed for easy relaxing and was a great place to converse, but more importantly, to meet people from all around the world, to unwind and have engaging conversations.
Once we mustered up an appetite, we went to a Moroccan Tapas Bar named Omka-Kool that had amazing tapas! I shared a jar of beer and 4 different tapas with a German and a fellow Canadian for only 6 EUR each! The remarkable thing about the trip was that even though I was travelling solo, I never spent much time alone. Every hostel I went to, I managed to meet people with a similar mindset and taste for adventure as myself. From tapas we ventured to a shots bar and promptly afterward a few of my hostel-mates and I called it a night. Although it was before midnight, all of the activities we participated in that day left us exhausted and made it feel like 4 A.M.!
I dedicated the next day to relaxing and did some writing on the rooftop patio. In the evening, I went to a Flamenco show at La Alborea. Since we all bought our tickets with the hostel we were able to get a discount, we paid 18 EUR each and received a free sangria with the ticket. The dancers had me at the edge of my seat as I admired their impressive footwork that would strike the ground faster than the beats of the Spanish guitar. They captured our attention with their claps and arm movements that entranced us to the rhythm of ‘Las Palmas’ and the Spanish guitar. Once we finished, we returned back to the hostel to relax at our favourite place…the rooftop!
When I first researched the activities of the hostel I saw that the title for their post was Bar Crawl of the Damned and now that I have lived it, I understand why!
Once the rooftop closed, some of us joined in on the pub crawl and had way too much fun! The bar crawl at Oasis Backpackers Hostel Granada is called ‘Pub-crawl: Disco is dead’. It costed 10 EUR and I got one hour of unlimited drinks at the hostel, access to three bars, and one club but we only crawled as far as the third bar. We played foosball at Chaplin, drank out of ‘Porrones’ at Hamelin and danced to great music at Tantra Bar…where I had lost my phone.
I spent the next morning waiting for the bar to open at 3 P.M. to see if my phone was gone forever. In the meantime, I stuck to my schedule and I did a thorough tour of Albaicín.
As I got closer to the Mirador San Nicolas, I stopped and enjoyed the music buskers on the street.
The sound of the spanish guitar seemed to take my worries away as I sat smiling in the sun.
It was very refreshing to see my busker friend Dario playing for his enjoyment and not playing for money. He told me that he prefers it when it is quiet in the small streets because when there is a big group coming through the street he can’t hear himself play! Luckily there are many buskers in the small winding streets of Albaicín and it was worth it to just sit and take in the beautiful sounds. It definitely added a musical element to my Spanish holiday!
If you decide to visit I strongly recommend you book your tickets in advance. If not, you can admire the Alhambra from afar like I did this time around by venturing to the Mirador San Nicolas.
After listening to Dario, I continued to walk towards the Mirador San Nicolas and just sat and took in the impressive views of the Alhambra! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Alhambra, it was once a fortress and a palace from the last Moorish Kingdom that ruled in Spain. Once the Kingdom fell in 1492, it became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella. I visited the Alhambra almost two years ago and to this day it has been one of the most impressive historical buildings I have ever seen. From the intricate details, to the flourishing gardens of Generalife, and golden accents, it was definitely a site not to be missed. I booked my ticket with ease through Oasis Backpackers Hostel Granada, about a month before my holiday.
In the plaza in front of the Mirador San Nicolas there were people singing and kids playing around. It was a lovely sight to see. After I killed time until 3 P.M., I went to Tantra Bar and let them know I had lost my phone and asked if there were any phones that got turned in. He held up my phone and I was in disbelief! My jaw was on the floor. He handed my phone back to me and let me know that one of his regulars found it and returned it to the bar. The moment of relief was incredible. I floated on cloud nine back to the hostel to report the good news.
The hostel had Paella night on Saturday like a big family dinner!
My day was turned right back around and there were no sad faces anywhere to be seen! It was literally the only way I would have wanted to finish my last day in Granada, having found my phone and with a Paella night! Masterchef Sandra got to work on the beautiful paella and it was quite the sight to watch her prepare the famous dish. I had never seen a Paella pan that big!
The Paella hit the spot and as a last night tradition, we all went up to the rooftop patio to digest and chitchat one last time before many of us left the following day. For me it was the perfect end of my three day stay in Granada. I love Granada even more now after having had quite the experience.
It felt like home from the moment I arrived at the hostel. I was welcomed with open arms thanks to Leticia, made friends that I felt like I knew forever and was given so much assistance from the hostel staff when I lost my phone. I left Granada with an amazing impression, and it easily became one of the highlights of my trip. Granada is a must visit if you get the chance to go! You will enjoy the scenery and breathtaking moorish architecture, the food, the tapas, the drinks, but most importantly the people!
Recommendations for Granada
Hands down stay at Oasis Backpackers Hostel Granada
Experience the ‘Street Art and The Caves’ Walking Tour
Enjoy the Los Cahorros Waterfall Hike with Mika
Have too much fun on the ‘Disco is Dead’ Bar Crawl
Visit La Alhambra
Buy tickets in advance
Explore the Albaicín neighbourhood
Visit the Cathedral of Granada
Food + Drinks:
Join in on the Paella Dinner night Saturdays at Oasis Backpackers Hostel Granada
Also try their Vegan Curry on Thursday nights
Looking for Tapas?
Enjoy Moroccan tapas at Omka-Kool
Indulge in International Tapas at Bar Poë
For seafood tapas go to Bar Los Diamantes