Exploring, Eating and Weekend Excursions in Granada

Exploring, Eating and Weekend Excursions in Granada

by Cindy Chan, Greenheart Travel Language Exchange Homestay Participant in Granada, Spain

One of my favorite areas in Granada is the Arab quarter called the Albayzin (or Albaicin). The Albayzin is an older neighborhood on a hill that is beside the center of the city. There are cute white houses and narrow winding cobblestone streets. Since all the houses look the same, it´s an easy place to get lost, but somehow I’ve managed not to!

Exploring Granada

With a bit of a trek, you can see amazing views of the city from different miradores or ¨viewpoints¨. This past weekend I went to El Mirador de San Cristobal. The walk up was quite steep and the stones were bumpy, I was glad I wore some good shoes! The picture above is actually not from San Cristobal, but a secret lookout a local showed me that I´d be lucky if I could ever find again, haha. The picture below with the three random tourists is from San Cristobal though!

Read more about Cindy’s favorite area in Granada and check out her photos!

photo by Cindy Chan

photo by Cindy Chan

Eating in Granada

The Albayzin has a few popular squares or ¨plazas¨ with restaurants and nice patios, perfect for the sunny weather. The most popular plaza is probably Plaza Larga which is nice but I´ve yet to eat there. I´ve only eaten in the Albayzin twice so far and both times were in Plaza Aliatar which has pretty trees with little pink flowers. Also, there´s often street musicians (usually playing flamenco music on the guitar) adding to the ambiance.

In plaza Aliatar I ate some typical Andalusian (the South of Spain is known as Andalusia) dishes. Unfortunately, I can´t remember the name of the first restaurant so I´ll have to check and report back, At this restaurant I tried their gambas al pil-pil which was a spicy garlicky shrimp dish that came sizzling hot to the table. This dish is SO good! I love garlic and this dish is super garlicky. Rosa (my host) & I happily mopped up the oil with our crusty bread. Btw, ¨gambas¨ means ¨shrimps¨ in Spanish. 😉

Check out photos of the local cuisine Cindy has tried so far during her program.

Weekend Excursions around Granada

My LEH (Language Exchange Homestay) host is really flexible so on some weekends I like to take trips to other cities nearby. On my first weekend trip I went to Malaga which is only about an hour and a half South-West of Granada. Malaga is located on the Costa del Sol – the ¨coast of the sun¨ which runs along the Mediterranean Sea. Aside from its beaches, Malaga´s other claim to fame is that it´s the birthplace of Picasso. I took an inexpensive coach bus from a company called ALSA that travels around Spain. (It´s the same bus company I used for travelling from Madrid to Granada.) I also happened to meet a cool girl named Becky at the bus station and we ended up exploring most of Malaga together.

One of the places I visited during my trip was the Castillo de Gibralfaro, a castle that sits on a high hill. From the top of the castle you can see a great view of the city. It´s a bit of a trek going up but it´s definitely worth it. The castle itself doesn´t offer too much too look at though. Also, if it´s a hot day, I´d recommend bringing a bottle of water for the walk up since there is hardly any shade to cool down in. There´s a convenience store type kiosk at the top of the castle though and a cafe once you´re inside.

Read more about Cindy’s weekend trip to Malaga and check out her photos on her blog.

photo from Cindy Chan

photo from Cindy Chan

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