Off to Granada on Monday/Tuesday for the Louis Round Wilson Knowledge Trust meetings. Jonathan Riehl sends these tips (Please add yours to the comments):
–The heart of the city is Plaza Nueva, at the foot of the hill leading up the Alhambra. Be sure to spend some time there at the outdoor cafes. The best place to get some really tasty food is, however, not outdoors. (Stick to beverages on the Plaza itself!) The street immediately *behind* the plaza (behind meaning away from the hill leading up to the Alhambra, which the plaza faces) features several restaurants that have great, cheap food. Look for the place with the huge barrels of sherry behind the bar…their assortments of tapas are hard to beat.
–When you tour the Alhambra, save some time to also walk further up the hill beyond the castle. There is only one road leading up, so you’ll see what I mean. Proceed on this road past the castle entrance and you’ll arrive (after no more than 10 minutes walking, steeply uphill) into an olive grove which abuts a small condo complex and–to your right–a phenomal overlook of the entire city; to your left the Sierra Nevada. There’s never anyone up there–could be trespassing, who knows; I’ve never run in to trouble…there is a very municipal-looking arboretum on the overlook, though come to think of it it’s always deserted…
–I’d advise you don’t bother with any tour groups going up into the Sacramonte, the “gypsy” part of town. Nowadays it’s mostly tourist traps and worse. Authentic flamenco is hard to come by, but one place I’d really recommend is the jazz club “Eshavira,” located just a few blocks from Plaza Nueva. Anyone around there will be able to direct you and it appears in some travel books. Local jazz artists and flamenco performers routinely stop in at all hours (mostly after midnight) — it’s hit or miss, but worth the shot.
–If you’re game for a formal Spanish meal (rabo de toro and such) the best place in town is the Rincon de Espana–also a few blocks from Pl. Nueva, on the street immediately behind the square housing the city municipal offices. Ask for it by name; it’s well known by the locals. No seatings before 9pm!
–There is a wonderful little wine bar also near Pl. Nueva–if you spot the car rental shot on the side of the plaza, the street leading up the hill from there leads to a small plaza where you’ll see a statue of a Moorish explorer. The wine bar is just a tad further up the hill and to the left from there. If you ask for the bar de vino, people will know where you’re headed. They have dozens of Spanish wines by the glass and, of course, tapas.
–If you continue up that street, you’ll eventually reach the Andalusian/Granada ministry of culture building, the ‘Casa de los Tiros’. The first floor of the building is a public (e.g. free) art gallery that features shows by local artists. I’ve seen some amazing exhibits there. Worth a visit.
–On the other side of town from Pl. Nueva and the Alhambra (all of a 20-30 minute walk) is the parque Garcia Lorca, a rather dull park, but Garcia Lorca’s house is worth the trip. Full of interesting relics.