There are certain places in the world that are unbelievably beautiful and alluring, yet for some reason they do not draw the attention of the same number of tourists as other destinations. One of those places is Granada, Spain, and I can say that based on a day I randomly got to spend there recently. I will be back in the future based on what I experienced that day, but I’m still trying to figure out why people are not flocking there in droves relative to some of the better-known areas in Spain. Regardless, the only problem I encountered – and it really wasn’t a problem as it turned out – was that I found out at the last minute that I’d have a day in Granada if I wanted, which meant that I only had a few minutes to find a hotel room in Granada. I needed help to make this happen.
I grabbed my phone and looked for last-minute hotel apps. I found one called HotelTonight and decided to open it to see what happened. I searched for Granada hotels and was quite pleasantly surprised when I saw several choices available. I picked one that I thought would work best for me based on its look and its location. I was concerned, based on experience with other forms of technology, that booking the room would be a hassle. It was anything but difficult with HotelTonight. Within a handful of clicks, I had my room reserved and confirmed. It’s nice to have something like that out of the way, and it’s even nicer to arrive at your destination and open the door to a lovely hotel room.
El Centro, as anyone could guess, is in the middle of town. What you notice immediately when you’re here is that this is a historic place. The influence of North Africa is present from the days of hundreds of years ago when the Moors occupied the area. The Alhambra is here, and it’s stunning. I spent some time walking around and looking at all of the different buildings and pieces of history. I was far from alone, as if there is a tourist area in Granada this is it. I tried to recognize the different languages that people were speaking before I moved on to my next stop.
When you build something like the Moors did with the Alhambra, you would think that you’d build around it to feature it as well. That’s what happened with El Albaicin, which sits on a slope facing the Alhambra. It’s clear that this very old barrio was built before mapping and grids were the way things were done, as the narrow streets wind around like a maze. You need to keep track of where you’re going somehow, as you will get lost if you are distracted by the beautiful architecture. This is exactly what happened to me, but fortunately I ran into a very nice local lady who helped me get back onto the beaten path.
If there is such a thing as a Spanish melting pot, and there is, El Realejo is the neighborhood that personifies it. Perhaps that’s why there are so many artists here displaying their work, and you can see the differing cultural influences in what they are trying to sell. There were also some local restaurants nearby, which was becoming increasingly important because it was the middle of the day and I was starving. I found a place that served tapas, and it was the perfect way to do lunch for me at the time. I got to try several different and delicious items without ever feeling like I was getting too full. It was wonderful. It was also time to move on into the afternoon.
Bola de Oro, or golden ball as it translates to English, is almost the opposite of what I had seen so far that day in Granada. It is not at all busy or bustling. Instead, it’s quiet, peaceful and largely residential. It was a nice way to look at life for people who live in Granada, as families went about their days and others simply did their things. I was also happy to find some stores nearby, as I needed to purchase some gifts for the people in my life. I found several unique items that I was sure people would appreciate. It was good to have that done so I could make my last stop of the day.
It seems that for my last stop of the day, I wound up in a neighborhood that is dominated by students. The University of Granada is nearby, and it’s enormous, as 80,000 students are enrolled here. It’s also old, as it was founded by Emperor Charles V in 1531. The campus was quite beautiful, and I was happy to see so many different options for dinner in the area. I stopped at one that also served tapas, since I enjoyed my lunch so much and really like eating this way. Once again, the meal was spectacular and I was more than satisfied.
It was time to head back to my hotel. I reflected on the day as I did so, and I realized that none of this might have been possible without HotelTonight. It helped me find a great hotel room in Granada in minutes. I would come back here someday, and I would do so with the help of HotelTonight.