Granada - Sierra Nevada Hiking + Tapas [Day 1]
Granada is my favorite city in Spain
I've heard great things about Granada from many people so I went to the city with pretty high expectations. And let me tell you, expectations exceeded. It is definitely my favorite city in Spain, hands-down, no questions asked. If I hadn't already secured volunteering positions in Malaga, I would love to move to Granada and finish out my time in Spain here.
The city has Alhambra, the number one visited attraction in all of Spain, free tapas with every drink order, right next to Sierra Nevada, which means amazing hikes and ski season, and beautiful architecture that ranges from the city center to Moorish to caves. Every part of the city is different from the other, which makes it a quite place to be and gives it a unique charm.
I got off work at 7am and met my BlaBlaCar driver at 7:30am in Plaza de Merced. The drive there is about 1.5hrs and I slept the entire way because I was exhausted and 8am is my normal sleep time. I got to the hostel around 9/9:15am and it costed about $10. I couldn't check in yet so I slept on the couch in the main room. When I woke up, everyone around me said "you looked so comfortable and peaceful sleeping even when everyone was talking loudly." I guess that's why being a heavy sleeper makes it easy to travel - I can sleep anywhere!
Sierra Nevada Hike
Sierra Nevada mountains/park is the 2nd highest mountain ranges in Europe and only a 30 minutes bus ride from Granada. It has a ton of hikes and during the winter is a great ski resort. I was planning to do this on my own but the hostel hosted its own waterfall hike so I decided to pay a bit more and go with them. For 15 euros, we got a guide, bus tickets there and back, water, sandwiches, and tapas + drink at the end. It would definitely have been cheaper if I did it on my own but it was a great way to meet other travelers staying at the hostel, which turned out to be a great plan. Since we all hung out for about 6 hours that day on the hike, we all got to talking and I ended up hanging out with a lot of them the rest of the trip. I definitely think one of the main factors of why my trip to Granada was so great was because of the friends I made on there. Some of them, I felt like I had known them for years and not just meeting them for the first time earlier that day.
The hike wasn't strenuous at all - pretty easy so every fitness level will be fine doing the hike. We went across a few suspension bridges and saw a waterfall, which was pretty small, but we still saw one. Two girls decided to go into the water but one slipped on the rock and hurt it toes pretty badly. I think she might have broken them but she was a trooper and continued the entire hike without complaining. I guess there wasn't anything she could have done... We made a stop half way through to have lunch with some sandwiches and fruits. We lucked out and it was a really nice day (aka not raining) so everything was really beautiful. The park should definitely be on your list if you are visiting Granada. The whole hike was about 3-4 hours, I think... When we got back down, we had drinks and tapas at a restaurant by the bus stop. I honestly don't know how I made through it on literally only 3 hours of sleep.
Tapas + Bars
I took a quick nap after the hike even though the room was freezing and I had to literally wear every article of clothing I owned. Then I meet the rest of the group from the hike for dinner. Nothing opens until 8pm - very Spanish. We went to Los Diamantes first and got a drink which came with from fried calamari and shrimp. The place was really busy so we could only stand at the bar. Next we made our way to Casa Lopez Correa (yes would recommend!). We were a pretty big group, about 10 people and this place had a separate room where we were all about to sit together. The sangria here is a MUST!! It was huge and really delicious for 5 euros. The food that we all had was really good as well. They have both meat and vegetarian options so everyone was very happy. We stayed here for awhile since the place has a great atmosphere, live music, and somewhere to sit for all of us to hangout. We got to talking about the strangest things, such as "forking" (go read the definition on Urban Dictionary and you will have a good laugh). We all had 2 rounds of drinks and food.
Around 1am, we decided to find a bar to continue the night. Who would have though a casual Monday night would turn into something pretty rowdy. I blame the 2 big sangrias we each had... that definitely did the trick to get us all in the mood. But in Spanish customary, nothing is open on Monday so the only bar we found that opened late was an Irish pub with British and German bartenders. Now this was where things got real because they were serving shots for 2 euros each. It started with 1 shot, then 2, then... We met these guys at the bar and they kept buying all of us rounds of drinks. Like I said, things escalated very quickly, especially for a Monday night. The only bad thing that happened was my friend handed her phone to a guy and he dropped her brand new iPhone 7 and the entire screen shattered... She didn't have a case or screen protector so I definitely saw this coming... We all headed home around 3am but I had to be up at 8:30am for Alhambra. In the next post I'll go more into how difficult my morning was.
Overall, it was a really good first day in Granada! Being outside of city to go on a hike was such a great change, meeting cool people, and eating tapas made it a great start to my trip.