1. Parque Federico García Lorca (00:00-00:57)
This park is ONE of a kind in Granada. Beautifully laid out with gardens, benches, and ample open space, it’s a great go-to spot for an impromptu picnic, to do work outside when the weather starts to get nice, to go for a run (though Parque Tico Medina might be a better option for those who prefer a less-crowded path), or my favorite—to just relax. Whatever time of day, the park is comfortably full of joggers, dog-walkers, mothers and kids, young couples, etc. It’s a community park. There’s a duck pond, little fountains, a playground, an exercise area, a dog-park, a cafe that opens on the weekends—in short, everything you could want. In May the large rose gardens go into bloom, and as the sun sets over the tall palm trees with a view of the Sierra Nevada in the distance you’ll swear you’ve found the perfect urban paradise.
2. Plaza Trinidad (00:57-1:18)
Though Granada is blessed with many beautiful little plazas, this one has a special place in my heart. Tucked right alongside the university neighborhood of Granada, it is two minutes away from trendy tapas spots like Bar Eric, Bella Kurva, El Laurel, and Bar de Fede, as well as fun spots like Lemon Rock or Bohemian Jazz Café. It also sits a three-minute walk from Sala PlantaBaja and a handful of great thrift stores and record shops. In itself the plaza is perfect for people-watching, has a great kiosk that sells artisan bags and local art, and another one that sells amazing, cheap, delicious bread (the kiosk in Plaza Nueva is also AMAZING for bread). The fountain and bright green fronds offer shade, peace, and respite from the city—as long as you can snag a spot on a bench!
3. Carmen de la Victoria (1:18-1:40)
A gem I discovered later in the semester, Carmen de la Victoria is a beautiful garden space owned by the University of Granada. Accessed through an intimidating black gate on the road that leads up to Sacromonte (Cuesta del Chapiz), like many things in Granada it hides a secret paradise inside. Hours can be checked on their website, but if the garden is open all you have to do is ring the doorbell to be let in. The garden has UGR wifi and the cafe of the attached hotel serves delicious (and cheap!) coffee in a terrace with a stunning view of la Alhambra.
4. Cafe 4 Gatos (1:40-1:50)
I LOVE this café. Located just a short walk up from the IES Abroad Center, it is tucked in its own little plaza area in the lower Albayzín. Delicious food, gigantic tostadas, extremely fresh orange juice, great coffee, and super friendly waiters make this a place I want to go back to again and again. Both welcoming to locals and tourists, Cafe 4 Gatos is the spot to be on a sunny afternoon. It has wifi, a beautiful view of la Alhambra, and despite its small number of tables many customers are willing to share (a great way tomake friends!).
5. Carmen de los Mártires (1:50-2:57)
An honest paradise within the Alhambra complex, Carmen de los Martires has long been an important zone in Granada, though its breath-taking gardens date to around the 19th century. A place that is a testament to the beauty, pain, and romanticism that often hang heavy in Granada’s air, it is not to be missed. With amazing near-360 views of the entire city, extensive gardens, and enough tiny private corners so that somehow all visitors still manage to find their own space, this garden is the perfect place for solitude. It is without a doubt one of the most special places in Granada. Completely free to enter, it is one of the spots I will miss the most.
6. Plaza Nueva [2:57-3:02]
A common IES Abroad favorite, somewhere as a student you will no doubt pass through multiple times each day, Plaza Nueva is not to be overlooked. Flanked by great cafés (Pilar del Toro with its amazing inner courtyard and Café Lisboa with its unbelievable coffee), buzzing consistently with flamenco dancers and street performers, and the site of social activist protests, Plaza Nueva is an important heart of the city, yet still manages to be a place of great use. The Iglesia de Santa Ana—a beautiful example of Mudejar architecture—and a direct view of la torre de la vela of the Alhambra don’t hurt either.
7. Sala Planta Baja [check out my post on music in Granada!]
One of the places where I most came to feel like a regular, PlantaBaja is one of my absolute favorite spots in Granada. A concert venue with a routine schedule of touring bands, local groups, and exciting genres, it plays a significant role in the music scene of Granada and has for years. On any given night a mix of younger and older people can be found, hanging out, listening to DJs, or mixed in amongst each other in an eagerly listening live audience. Friendly, affordable, and very cool without being unfriendly, PlantaBaja is a gem of the local scene.