Home to one of the most prestigious universities in Spain, Granada caters to its 60,000-strong student population with cheap tapas bars, excellent nightlife and endless cultural and sporting pastimes. Among its attractions include the world-famous Alhambra, and the nightclub Mae West nightclub. It is a must-visit on any trip to the south of Spain, and this student travel guide to Granada will show you how to see it all on a shoestring budget.
How to get to Granada
Airports: Granada is served by its very own airstrip, the Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén Airport, located a short bus ride from the city. It primarily serves domestic routes, however it does offer some routes to major European capitals. Alternatively, the nearby Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport is the busiest in the region, with dirt-cheap arrivals from all over Europe. Buses from both airports arrive into Granada bus station.
Bus: The cheapest way to travel around Spain, there are bus routes from most major cities to Granada. A ticket from Seville, for example, costs around 18 euros. Granada bus station is located in the northwest of the city, a short metro journey from the city centre.
Train: If you prefer to travel in greater comfort, you can take the more expensive and slightly more limited option of travelling by rail. Like the bus station, Granada train station is located on the metro route, making it easily accessible from the city centre.
Private car: The popular ride share app BlaBlaCar is widely used throughout Spain, and offers flexible journeys to Granada at convenient hours of the day and night.
Where to stay in Granada
Hostels: The cheapest and best option for making new friends and getting to know the city and its people. Granada is a popular backpacking destination, and is therefore packed with vibrant hostels in historic buildings. El Granado is an Arab-style Riyad just round the corner from the University of Granada’s botanic garden, which is surrounded by tapas bars frequented by the student population. If you’re looking for a short walk back from a night out, Old Town Hostel is just a stone throw from Calle Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, the city’s main party artery.
Other options: While not quite as amenable to a student budget, other accommodation options in Granada include its diverse range of hotels, Airbnb and couch surfing.
What to visit
Alhmabra: It goes without saying that this incredible palace of the Moorish sultans is an absolute must-visit. Find out everything you need to know about it in our guide to the Alhambra.
Granada Cathedral: While it remains unfinished after centuries in the works, Granada Cathedral is still a formidable presence on the city’s skyline. Tickets are available for just a few euros, so make sure to pay a visit to its magnificent interior.
Centro Federico García Lorca: Granada is the birthplace of this famous Civil War era poet, and the city pays homage to its favourite son with the compact but fascinating museum dedicated to exhibiting different aspects of his life and work. Find out more about the centre here.
Parks and green spaces: Granada is home to a number of very different but equally impressive outdoor spaces, perfect for a picnic on warm days or a bit of exercise in the fresh air. We have compiled a list of our favourites here, among them the Parque Federico García Lorca, home to the poet’s cottage, and the spectacular Dehesa del Generalife.
Viewpoints: Known as Miradors, Granada offers a few incredible viewpoints from which you can enjoy the city’s spectacular sunsets year round. You’ll never be alone at a mirador, as they are always packed out by locals on any night of the year, who gather to enjoy the show as the sound of guitars fills the air. Here is a guide to the best viewpoints in Granada.
Where to eat
Granada is the birthplace of tapas, a proud tradition which is still going strong today. Order a Cerveza Alhambra (the city’s local beer), a tinto de verano (red wine and lemonade), or a coke in any tapas bar and you’ll be treated to a complimentary dish. The portion sizes and types of cuisine vary wildly, from a burger and chips to seafood dishes and everything in between. In some places you will be given a choice of tapas, while in others you will just be surprised. It’s unpredictable, but it adds to the charm of the city and is what sets it apart from anywhere else in the world.
Some of our favourite tapas bars include La Buena Vida, a truly authentic Andalusian experience, and Restobar La Fábrica, a student hangout with cheap drinks and generous portion sizes. Find our full list here.
Lastly, no student travel guide to Granada would be complete without talking about nightlife.
Once you’ve had your fill of tapas, its time to head out for the night. To indulge in some student nightlife, head to Calle Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, where you’ll find a wide range of bars offering music genres from rock to reggaetón. We recommend 17 Copas for cheap drinks and a vibrant atmosphere. Alternatively head to Calle Ángel Ganivet in the city’s Realejo district for a slightly more upmarket bar scene.
When you’re in the mood for some proper dancing, its a straight choice between the famous Mae West and Forum, the two mainstays of Granada’s clubbing scene. Both offer quintessential Spanish nights out, with plenty of reggaetón, so try them both out if you have the time.
If reggaetón isn’t your scene, make the trip to Efecto Club in the Albayzin district for a night of techno and electronica.
This Studiberia student travel guide to Granada provides you with all you need to know to experience this incredible city in all its glory. Be sure to do some exploring yourself, to discover some of its hidden gems.