In this post, you will not find a single mention of the Alhambra. Don’t expect tips for tapas bars or routes to explore in the Albaicín. There are no viewpoints or clichés about the city of Granada.
Granada is much more than the classic city that everyone wants to visit. Granada is a lively, cultured and constantly evolving city. In this post, I’ll bring a different view: a choice of activities and experiences that showcase another side of my city that you may have not even known about.
This is the other Granada. If you really want to be a traveler, not a tourist, follow my 9 experiences to discover the alternative side of Granada.
Discover the Realejo neighborhood
Beyond the Alhambra, the Albaicín, and the historic center stands Realejo- the alternative downtown area. You’ll find a good selection of monuments in this Jewish section of Granada. A very original point of interest is the Rodríguez-Acosta Foundation, an eclectic nineteenth century carmen with wonderful views over the city.
You will also come across the Cuarto Real de Santo Domingo (Royal Hall of Santo Domingo) which houses not only the Arabic Qubba (dome) of the twelfth century but also has an exhibition hall where they display emerging artists from the city.
Follow the path of graffiti
Whenever I go to a new city, I love discovering street art. Granada is one of the capitals of this type of artistic expression. While the most visible of all graffiti artists from Granada is El niño de las pinturas, there are others, like Sex, that already have international fame.The cuesta Escoriaza (Escoriaza Hill), Calle Molinos (Molinos Street), Calle Vistilla de los Angeles (Vistilla of the Angels Street) and walls of other unique buildings, such as the Santo Domingo de Guzmán school, are places where one can view and admire the most famous pieces of urban art in Granada.
Shopping in the Magdalena neighborhood
Between Calle Alhóndiga (Alhóndiga Street), Recogidas and Plaza de Gracia, you’ll discover what the world is starting to see as the “Granada Malasaña”. The Magdalena neighborhood has seen dozens of alternative shops flourish of all kinds in recent years: decor, vintage clothing, games, bookstores, barbershops, art galleries, coworking …A walk through these streets from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is the perfect getaway from the large chain stores and allows you to dive into a more local environment. This kind of trade is what gives true life to a city.
Dancing through Granada City of Rock route
They say that Granada is the city with more rock and pop bands per capita in all of Spain and it can easily be noticed through the streets of Granada. The route Granada Ciudad del Rock (Granada City of Rock) brings together locals, clubs and concert halls to enjoy concerts throughout the year in Granada. It also indicates the bars and restaurants where you can rub shoulders with other fans of music in the city. Some Rock n Roll tapas are always something different to try.Under the direction of Granada City of Rock, you’ll find featured spaces such as Rincones de Rock (Rock Spots) with concerts and special activities for all music lovers. In Spring, neighborhoods vibrate to the sound of the concert series Distrito Sonoro.
Enjoy alternative cinema
Granada is one of the Andalusian capitals of alternative cinema. Your «permanent headquarters»
is located at Madrigal: the last space to enjoy the seventh art in the center of the city. Throughout the year, this cinema shows a wide selection of European and independent movies. The only fault is that the projections are dubbed over in Spanish, but at least it is an option to acculturate ourselves in a different way.
In addition to this permanent cinema, Granada has several cinematographic cycles throughout the year that bring the cinema closer to home such as the Young Filmmakers Festival in April, the Festival Cinemas of the South in June or Granada Paradiso in October.
Encourage yourself to learn flamenco
If you want to be a tourist, ask around where to see flamenco. If you want to be different, find out where to learn flamenco. You will probably not become a professional dancer during your time in Granada. You will probably not even become close to it but the experience will be very memorable if you dive right into the «spirit» of flamenco.
Remember, flamenco in Granada is different from other Andalusian cities. Here, Sacromonte Zambra takes a variant much more intimate and close to this ancestral dance. More than dance… it’s a lifestyle. Check out the list of Flamenco Schools in Granada .
Get to know the Japanese side of Granada
You may not know it, but Japan and Granada have a very close and special relationship. Granada is the third favorite destination for Japanese tourists when they come to Spain and the culture of Granada remains a strong magnet for our friends from the Far East. The feeling is mutual. Japanese culture in Granada is very present and proof of this is Japan Week in Granada, which takes place in March, or Japanese Tapas Week, also around that time. It is the best way to check out how the East and West find a connection in Granada.
The city also has a series of Japanese restaurants that are finger-lickin’ good. Among them include Masae; be sure to try the okonomiyaki, my favorite dish of Japanese cuisine.
Rediscover the pleasure of theater in the Creative Spaces of Granada
Beyond the classic theatrical circuits on the big stage, Granada also has a number of small and local creative spaces. They show an alternative side of theater throughout the city.
Almost every week you’ll find a wide selection of plays and “micro-theaters”. These types of activities give strength to the motto «Granada is culture». Spaces like La Expository, La Estupenda or Microteatro are ideal places to start a cultural night in Granada.
Get away from traditional guided tours
Eight hundred years of Muslim domination full of intriguing plots, palace raids and dynastic struggles followed by another few centuries of rigid Christian discipline have left the streets and corners of Granada full of secrets and mysteries. For this reason, if you want to know the city in depth, the best thing is to look for guided tours to show you things you may have missed. There are several companies that lead us to discover the secrets stored throughout the centuries in the pavements of Granada, including Granada Secreta and Granada A Través. Both have different routes through the Historical Center, the Albaicín, Sacromonte, and Realejo. In the summertime, you can also discover everything that hides within the wonderful, monumental cemetery of San José; located on the same hill as the Alhambra.
Have I forgotten something?
Can you think of something else alternative to do or see in Granada that I have not included in this list? Help me complete this post by adding it in the comments!
Translation: Layne Ivy