I’d like to share our recent trip to Granada in southern Spain.
What a breath of fresh year to have a new year with a vaccine and hope on the horizon! Spain’s tourism sector is so excited to get moving again.
My family always takes a short break around January 6th, Spanish Christmas. Since we don’t celebrate 3 Kings Day like the Spaniards, a trip is a fun way to enjoy the last of the Christmas holiday and give the kids something different to do. This year, we decided on a trip to Granada.
- Leaving Andalucía was out of the question, so we could choose from a trip to Granada, Sevilla or Cádiz, etc.
- Social distancing and wearing masks the entire trip was in the plan.
- We would have to order dinner in our hotel each night as restaurants closed at 6 pm.
So with these two things in mind, we packed our bags, left the dog with her carer and picked up my husband’s mom. On our first day, we went straight to Sierra Nevada with our sleds. This is the only spot in Andalucía where you get regular snow throughout the winter. I love seeing how subtropical my children are (they think jeans are ok snow apparel and that snow is soft – haha!). Since we were on a budget, we bypassed the huge ski resort and went a bit further up the mountain. Our drive through pine trees sprinkled with snow was breathtaking. Jorge got the sleds and we spent the entire morning laughing, running, sledding and having a great time!
As lunchtime rolled around, we loaded the kids back up into the van and drove down to a ski lodge-style hotel. We had hot garlic soup, chorizo and potato platters and creamy natillas for dessert.
I was pleasantly surprised by the extremely low rate we got for our hotel (Catalonia Granada). It fit our list perfectly: 4 stars, just on the outskirts of the city center, breakfast included, gym and spa that allows children. When we arrived, I realized why. The hotel barely had a 10% occupancy rate. Our receptionist was doubling as barwoman and general maintenance. We were glad to be able to invest in the local economy and maybe keep that hotel afloat a bit longer.
Dinner was a series of stops at bars. Granada enjoys the old-fashioned tapas tradition. Anytime you stop to get a drink, the server will bring you a free tapa. You don’t get to choose the tapa, but it is always something creative and delicious. Cafés and bars vie to have the “best” tapa around.
The next day we started with the spa (all to ourselves due to COVID restrictions, yay!). Next we headed out on the town to do the touristy walking bit. Past the Cathedral, up in the Albayzin then back down to the Realejo. We stopped below the Alhambra to pay our respects to my husband’s grandmother, whose ashes were scattered near Washington Irving’s statue. The kids and I took a detour into the FREE archaeological museum. The ancient Iberian golden coins, Roman statues, and Phoenician mosaics really left me feeling amazed.
On our last day, we took the children to Granada’s Science Park. While it wasn’t fully open we did have a great time at the small zoo, space exhibit, body exhibit and more.
During our trip to Granada, I have to say that we weren’t bothered by the masks. It was cold and you really wanted your face covered. It was easy to stay away from others and keep your hands clean. We carried hand sanitizer and took advantage of restrooms with soap as often as possible. Travelling with children, it was nice to have to return to the hotel at 6 pm, order in and catch a movie. We actually spent a lot less on this trip than we have other years.
So my advice is, don’t let restrictions discourage you. The destinations are still there, beautiful, cultural and less-crowded. Find a way to see the positive of everything and KEEP TRAVELLING!