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When visiting Spain, Granada is a must! The people of Granada pride themselves of carrying on the tradition of Tapas in the way that they were originally meant to be enjoyed, which is as simple as this: you order an alcoholic beverage, you get a small plate of something to eat. Keep drinking and they will keep coming, I am a HUGE fan of this concept and we took full advantage of it, too. You’ll find based on my restaurant recommendations in this Granada Travel Guide I have many places to recommend and we only spent 2 days here. This is because we got a little bit of food in many places the true Spanish way…what a delight!
Okay, so let’s start with a little breakdown of WHAT WE DID during our 2-night stay in Granada. At the bottom of this post, you can find a quick breakdown.
First off, we didn’t arrive in Granada until about 3pm on Day 1 because we took the train from Sevilla to Granada and that is the earliest time we could arrive. We checked into our Hotel, Hospes Palacio de los Patos, and hit the town immediately! We immediately walked towards the center of the town towards the Cathedral, took a quick walk around of the Cathedral and then walked down the street of the nearest silk market, or the Alcaiceria. These streets are filled with Moroccan looking goods and trinkets and are fun for a quick walk down even if, like us, you don’t feel like purchasing anything!
We hadn’t had lunch yet and we were ready for a beer and some food at this time but here is the catch…its 4pm and pretty much all the good spots close around this time. We ended up eating at the plaza right there nearby the silk market that was filled with, well frankly, pretty crappy touristy lunch spots. I didn’t even write down the name of the restaurant, it was that bad. Left unsatisfied and bummed we couldn’t go to a delicious lunch spot, we then booked it for a beer to make us feel better. Clayton remembered Calle Navas being a fun street to drink and eat and he was correct! We had one of the most memorable experiences at the most unassuming bar and its a story I must tell you now and one that I will probably tell until the day that I die.
So here we are walking down Calle Navas in search of a funky bar and a cold beer. Let me let you in on the biggest secret about Spain that you must remember when you are there: walk around and look for a place packed with locals and standing room only. You know its going to be good! With this in mind, we walked into the unglamorous little gem we found at Casa Fernando (Calle Navas 28). We walk in, ordered a round of drinks and to our surprise Fernando, the owner, plopped down a delicious tapa. We noticed when we walked in that the locals seemed, well, a bit “borracho” (drunk). As we were enjoying our first round, an older man in the back corner started to sing a beautiful, traditional flamenco ballad in an attempt to serenade the young girl from Juarez sitting at the bar. They all began to clap and sing and then, the girl from Juarez hops up out of her seat and began to dance in traditional Flamenco style. If that wasn’t good enough, the most “borracho” of them all walks in from the outside seating and chimes in by singing his own, more comical, rendition of a Flamenco song. We were in awe and no joke, this continued for about an hour and half on and off. It was absolutely wonderful and an experience you can’t even pay for as a tourist! Casa Fernando wasn’t open at night when we were there and I am unsure of the hours but, if you are in need to sit and relax after a day of sightseeing, go to Casa Fernando. I can’t guarantee the show that we enjoyed, but I can guarantee a wonderful spot to enjoy a cold beer and a good tapa in an authentic, unassuming little local bar.
We then went back to the hotel, got dressed and took a cab up to St. Nicolas Viewpoint, a lookout with breathtaking views of Al Alhambra, the Sierra Nevada, and the city of Granada. This is a must! We took in the view for a bit and walked down the steps to El Huerto de Juan Ranas, a beautiful restaurant with more beautiful views. We enjoyed a few drinks here and ordered a few appetizers to kick off the night. We didn’t have dinner here, but I wish we would have!
We took a taxi back down into town and went to finish off the night with drinks at El Tabernaculo, the most wonderfully bizarre bar you’ll probably ever step into. The walls of this tapas bar in Granada are covered from ceiling to floor in an awesomely gaudy display of photos of Semana Santa (Holy Week in Spain) and religious trinkets. I saw this bar on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown and knew I had to take a visit. Its quite the experience and again, the tapas will continue to roll out as you order drinks.
The morning of our second day in Granada was filled with a tour of Al Alhambra. which is the biggest must-see when visiting Granada. Clayton and I had both been to the Alhambra before and we wanted to learn more about it this time so we hired a tour guide, which was wonderful!
If you take the back exit of the Alhambra and walk straight down, it will take you to Plaza Nueva where we enjoyed some much needed post tour beers and, you guessed it, some tapas. Our first, and favorite, stop was Los Diamantes. Here we enjoyed some Tinto de Veranos, Cervesas, and absolutely delicious seafood tapas. I would recommend just having lunch here after you enjoy a few free tapas if you are still hungry. We walked to Los Manueles down the street (per our tour guides recommendation) and it was good, not great.
We then took a big siesta back at our hotel, had some pre-drinks at our hotel bar, and then went to enjoy dinner at Tuntun, a new modern tapas spot. Although they served us delicious, free tapas with our drinks, we also ordered dinner here. It was all great! We had been in Spain for about 7 days now and were growing a little tired of traditional Tapas, so this was a great change of pace for us.
Lastly, we walked back over to Calle Navas for some glasses of wine over at La Tana, a wine bar with great complimentary tapas served with your drinks. The wine was great, the tapas were great but I have to tell you one thing about it: its a tourist hot spot. This didn’t bother us too much but just fair warning.
SIGHTS TO SEE:
- La Alhambra — purchase your tickets for this in advance!
- St. Nicolas Viewpoint
- Capilla Real
- the Alcaiceria
- Basilica San Juan de Dios
TO EAT AND DRINK (read above for more details on these spots):