Reflecting on My Weekend in Granada

Audrey Bailey
July 9, 2022
Audrey and Caroline at Mirador de San Nicolás

This past weekend, my roommate and I took a short but much-needed trip to Granada. Living in Barcelona for the past six weeks has been a blast. There is never a shortage of restaurants to try, places to shop, and sights to see. Despite all the fun I’m having here, I still miss the quiet of a small town, and living in a fast-paced city can get a bit overwhelming at times. Granada seemed like the perfect place to take a break from the city, and it didn’t disappoint.

My roommate and I had reserved our hostel and flight a few weeks in advance, so we only had to worry about the activities in the days leading up to our getaway. We chose to stay at Eco Hostel, which I would highly recommend to anyone seeking an inexpensive, clean, and safe place to stay in Granada. If you stay at Eco Hostel, you’ll always have people to meet and activities to join in on. Some of the activities on the chalkboard were free sangria night, a free walking tour, and a guided hike. Aside from the events at the hostel, we weren’t quite sure what we’d do with our free time. Luckily, my sister studied abroad in Granada and had plenty of recommendations for us. Since we only had two full days there, we picked a couple of touristy spots to accompany the aimless wandering we always like to do.

On Saturday morning, I awoke in my unexpectedly comfy hostel bed to a room of 10 or so other young travelers, all sleeping deeply. The fun part about staying in a hostel is that you never know who you’ll meet. The guy in the bed next to mine, for instance, tended to mumble in his sleep and even once danced beside his friend’s bed when he returned from a night out. Even though 7 a.m. was pretty early to start my day, I couldn’t fall back asleep (partially due to the mumbling man), so I decided to get dressed and head downstairs for some breakfast. 

Eco Hostel has a cute café on the first floor (or I guess, the 0th floor since this is Spain) where you can get a small but tasty breakfast for 4 euros. Mine consisted of toast with hummus, coffee with soymilk, and some juice. After my snack, my roommate and I went to a used bookstore where I found a murder mystery in the English section. We found a cozy cafe where I ate my first vegan arepa. We then spent the afternoon walking up to Mirador de San Nicolás and around the Albaicín neighborhood. The views were breathtaking, and the shops were filled with beautifully painted ceramics and trinkets. When we got tired, we escaped the heat and got a lunch of falafel salads and hummus.

That evening, we enjoyed a free glass of sangria at the hostel and socialized a bit with other travelers. We didn’t stay for the paella night, since we had made reservations at the Hammam Al Ándalus baths. If you go to Granada and you have the budget to treat yourself, don’t miss out on this! These Turkish Baths were exactly what we needed after walking all day in the sun. The atmosphere is like nothing I’ve ever experienced, with intricate mosaic walls, dim candlelight, meditative music, scented oils, and hot tea. You’re able to move freely between cold, warm, and hot baths which feel so relaxing at the end of the day. I also booked a short massage and Kessa, which is an exfoliating body scrub. Writing about it already makes me want to go back!

On Sunday, we checked out of our room at 11 a.m. and rushed to our scheduled entry at La Alhambra after a quick breakfast. There is so much to see at La Alhambra, so we bought tickets in advance to see the Nasrid Palaces, which was definitely worth it. The pictures I took of the palaces don’t do it justice. It’s one of those things you need to see with your own eyes to appreciate its complexity.

Sunday was hot and I was a bit tired, so I took some time to rest under the trees while my roommate walked around a bit more. Even though there was still more to see, I’m glad I found places in Granada to relax and just take in the scenery. After reading in the hostel lobby for a couple of hours, it was time to catch the bus to the airport. I was sad to leave Granada behind after only getting a glimpse of the city, but I’m happy to have found a place I’ll want to visit again in the future.

Here are some tips for anyone taking a weekend trip to Granada (or any other city outside of your study abroad location):

  1. Pack light.

I only brought a medium-sized backpack on this trip, and I didn’t need anything more. I actually brought a couple more clothing items than I needed and bought a couple of souvenirs, but I still returned with one bag.

  1. Wear comfortable shoes.

My feet were aching by the end of Saturday, which was my fault because I wore some new sneakers. On the bright side, I definitely broke them in. But don’t do what I did. Wear your comfiest shoes.

  1. Plan a few places to see ahead of time, but leave room for spontaneity.

I was glad that we had planned to see El Mirador de San Nicolás, Hammam Al Ándalus, and La Alhambra so that we didn’t have to plan much when we got there. But it was also nice to have free time outside those activities to wander around and relax at the hostel.

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Audrey Bailey

<p>I am a recent graduate from Lake Forest College with a bachelor's in Environmental Studies and Spanish. I am passionate about environmental justice and sustainable living, so I am thrilled to be interning at REVOLVE Mediterraneo in Barcelona this summer. During college, I had fun being involved in the environmental club and Campus Sustainability Committee. In my free time, I love being outdoors, crocheting, and cooking new recipes.</p>

2022 Summer 1, 2022 Summer 2
Home University:
Lake Forest College
Monterey, CA
Environmental Studies
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