Cheap flights to Granada, Spain
Cheap flights to Granada do so much more than bring you to one of Spain’s most visited cities inexpensively: they transport you to an intimate, multicultural haven where the trendiest of tapas bars share a city block with ancient ruins of the former Moorish stronghold. Before King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella sponsored Columbus’ voyage to the Americas, they took Granada back from the Moors and converted their hilltop fortress and palace, the Alhambra, into the summer residence of the Reyes Católicos. The Alhambra and the Generalife, the royal gardens of the palace, are now the crown jewels of Granada’s tourist trade, and they’ll most likely be the first stops you’ll hit on your trip after the landing of your Granada flight.
The view of Granada from the grounds of the Alhambra is intimidating in that an expansive urban landscape sprawls beneath you, but don’t be fooled: Granada is a fraction of the size of Madrid, and the center of the small city makes for fantastic walking tours and hours of spontaneous sidewalk exploration. Plaza Nueva is a good place to start: follow Calle de Las Lagrimas out of the Plaza and up to the Albaicín, the whitewashed quarter of the city where flamenco strains echo off the cobblestone streets, or look shop along Avenida Reyes Católicos, where you can blow the cash you saved on your cheap flight to Granada at one of the avenues chic boutiques. If your Granada cheap flight featured some less than stellar cuisine, wander through the alleys off the major avenues to discover some family owned tapas bars. Most Spanish cities will give you a small bowl of olives or some bread and cheese with a glass of wine, but Granada is gastronomically unique in that it serves up complimentary small plates with every drink you order: sample some grilled chorizo (sausage) or salmorejo (a cold tomato, ham and egg soup).
After whetting your appetite and catching up on Spanish time after a siesta, hit the streets with the rest of the city and spend the night on the town. Head up to Sacromonte, the gypsy neighborhood famous for its hillside cave dwellings, for a mesmerizing flamenco show, or dance ‘til dawn in one of the discotécas favored by the University students who flock downtown on the weekends. Old and young, trendy and traditional, artsy and sporty types alike all agree that Granada caters to its diverse population and international visitors. Granada is melting pot of Spain, where Spanish, Arabic, and English can be heard on the street at all times, and where cultures collide to satiate the senses.
Located in Andalucía, Spain’s southern-most province, Granada is a city with mild winters at the foot of the Sierra Nevada and stifling, sultry summers. Granada’s proximity to the mountains makes for chilly nights and morning, however, so be sure to pack layers that’ll keep you comfortable with the fluctuating temperatures.
Best Time to Fly to Granada
Travelers looking for an Andalucian experience they’ll never forget are sure to book their flights to Granada long before their stay throughout Semana Santa. During Semana Santa, or Holy Week, visitors will witness Granada at the peak of its seasonal popularity: The streets teem with enthusiastic onlookers who are out to see the processions that pass through the city. Floats devoted to the Virgin Mary, the Stations of the Cross, and Jesús de los Gitanos pass through the major avenues on the shoulders of hooded men with live musical accompaniment, and the spectacle is a captivating display for locals and visitors alike.
Due to Granada’s famed customs when it comes to celebrating Semana Santa, booking Granada flights and lodging should take place months in advance.
After Semana Santa, the best time to find cheap flights to Granada would be just after New Years in order to take advantage of prime skiing time in the Sierra Nevadas. The looming white peaks seen from any point in Granada provide fantastic skiing and winter sport conditions, and busses depart regularly from the Estación de Autobuses de Granada to the mountains throughout the year.
The dry, hot weather that plagues Andalucía during the summertime tips the temperature upwards of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, the streets are bare during siesta as Granada’s residents try to beat the heat by sleeping through it. Cheap flights to Granada may be easier to come by during this period, and day trips to the beach towns of Almeria, Almuñecar and Málaga will give you an opportunity to soak up the sunshine on the seashore instead of roasting on Granada’s city sidewalks.
Getting around Granada
Buses are the most common way to get around in Granada. They’re also the most efficient. You’ll be glad you’re sitting in a bus when it starts chugging up the steep hills of the Albaicín. Once there you can see the Alhambra from the Plaza San Nícolas. The buses run until 11pm and you can catch most of them on the Granada’s main street, Gran Vía. You can also rely on taxis to get around, which are fairly cheap. Rates are a bit higher after the sun sets.
Granada Travel Information
- If you’re puzzled by the stumpy, wrought iron poles that line the sidewalks, look closer: the sculpted tops of these structures are granadas, or pomegranates, the abundantly-growing local fruit for which the city is named. These poles line the streets for safety reasons to prevent street traffic from making its way up onto the sidewalk. Be mindful of them when you’re walking: a granada to the knee is a lot more painful than it sounds.
- A hefty portion of Granada’s population is of Northern African descent due to Andalucía’s position just above the Strait of Gibraltar. The hookah bars, teterías (tea houses) and Moroccan tapas bars of Granada are some of the most popular nightlife spots in the city, and imported Moroccan tea sets and hookahs are sold alongside the more traditional Spanish souvenirs of bullfight posters and polka-dot flamenco dresses. A trip to the tetería before you board your Granada cheap flight is a necessary addition to your itinerary: Moroccan mint tea is a sweeter, herbal alternative to the Spanish favorite, café con leche, and the tetería’s homey atmosphere is a great spot to top off an afternoon spent exploring the Albaicín. Some of Granada’s best teterías are located just a stone’s throw from Plaza Nueva; walk down Calle Elvira and turn onto Candeleta Vieja for some tea and street sale treasure hunting.
- Looking to pack a book or two to read on your flight to Granada? Federico García Lorca is granadino (a Granada native), and his works are celebrated throughout the year in several presentations and readings. Washington Irving, most famous for his ill-fated Ichabod Crane in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, was so entranced by his visit to Granada that he eventually served as Minister to Spain and penned Tales of the Alhambra, a haunting, visceral collection of essays and short stories revolving around the former Moorish stronghold.
- Granada embraces its gypsy population, as those who take a stroll through Sacromonte will see. With that said, it’s wise to be wary of the gypsies who set up shop in front of the Cathedral: they’re the women with fistfuls of rosemary and thyme who’ll try to sell their herbs to you, and the crowd that gathers at the entrance to the cathedral is the perfect setting for a pickpocket to prey on unsuspecting tourists.
- Take advantage of siesta, which takes place anywhere from two o’clock in the afternoon to 7 p.m. During this time, everything shuts down: banks, grocery stores, pharmacies, specialty shops and restaurants are all closed to the public. The only commercial establishment open during siesta is El Corte Inglés, Spain’s all-inclusive department store, which has a grocery store and pharmacy inside its doors.
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