Granada, Spain: Siestas, Sangria and Free Tapas

A guide to where to get free tapas with sangria in Granada, Spain.

A two hour siesta and a free tapa with every glass of sangria? Yup, Granada, Spain is a pretty perfect place for this girl.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy my time in Granada as much as I did. In fact, we even ended up booking an extra night at our hostel! But pretty much all we did was participate in siesta and the free tapas with sangria.

Where to Stay

Our hostel, White Nest Hostel, was right at the base of El Albaicin, the old part of the city. It was in prime location to “the sights” but this of course also went the most expensive restaurants and shops around us.

What to Do

We tried to buy tickets to La Alhambra for the next day but unfortunately there was only one ticket left and two of us. We did finally get tickets though. You can read about our tour and see photos here.

It was around 1:30 p.m. and we hadn’t eaten yet that day so we headed to a tapas place called Babel, a world fusion restaurant. You got a free tapa with every beer or sangria you ordered but we had a late night so we stuck with water.

You could get Mexican style tacos, Indian curry dishes, chicken wings and empanadas to name a few. Our first two dishes, Mexican tacos and a queso type dip were amazing (I love cheese so anything with it is to die for to me!), but our next two tapas, vegetable samosas and a chicken curry were not as good.

It felt like nothing was every open in Barcelona, Alicante and Granada. You would walk through the streets at 10 a.m. and there would be closed doors and gates over shops. At noon, you’d see Closed signs and pitch black windows. I know that siesta from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. exists in Spain but it just seemed like nothing opened until about 6 p.m.

I was also shocked to see how much Muslim influence there is in Granada. Walking back from lunch, we walked through a Muslim market.

After a bit of a nap, we headed out in search of flamenco tickets. Unfortunately, the cheapest one in town (8 Euro for standing or 10 Euro for seats) was full for the night so we ate some more instead!

By this time, the Plaza Nueva and surrounding streets were packed with people. Each restaurant was filled with boisterous conversation and hurried waiters.

We decided on a cool looking Indian restaurant where we felt like we were in a completely different country! Remember when I said we were going to pick somewhere with actual Spanish food? Oops! But Granada has such a heavy influence of Arabic culture, I’m going to say it was a traditional dinner!

A guide to where to get free tapas with sangria in Granada, Spain.

As Mel and I were deciding on what to order, we agreed that we both dislike hummus so we wouldn’t be ordering it. Side note – I’ve never met a girl who doesn’t like hummus! I knew we were a good match.

We ordered Moroccan bread and some falafel to start.

“Hummus?” the waiter asked.

“No!” we exclaimed in unison.

Our falafel came (my first time trying this! It wasn’t bad but I probably wouldn’t order it again) and it was sitting on large piles of what else? Hummus.

We got a bit of a taste since it was touching the bottom of our falafel. Neither of us wanted to admit it but it was actually so good! It didn’t taste like hummus from the grocery store in the States.

The next day we did a free walking tour of the El Albaicin area and the famous caves. Our tour guide was a very charismatic British dude. He gave us a great mix of fun trivia and Spanish history.

A few shots from our tour:

A guide to where to get free tapas with sangria in Granada, Spain.

A guide to where to get free tapas with sangria in Granada, Spain.

A guide to where to get free tapas with sangria in Granada, Spain.

A guide to where to get free tapas with sangria in Granada, Spain.

We also had a quick tour of the caves in the hills of Granada. It used to be very cheap housing but as they became a tourist attraction, of course they became more of a hot commodity. Today, most families build walls around the outside of their cave so they look like real houses. And unfortunately, we did not get to go in one.

After the walking tour, it was time for more eating! It was about 1:30 p.m. and like the day before, we hadn’t eaten yet. We found a restaurant called Taberna Salinas on a side street near the Muslim markets that had a lot of people milling about so we figured it had to be pretty decent. Plus there were chicken and bacon croquettes on the menu and my stomach loves anything with bacon!

The sangria was the best that I’ve had in Spain. It was so refreshing on the hot August day (it was at or close to 90 degrees every day in Spain) and the food was delicious as well. And it was finally some Spanish-style food!

A guide to where to get free tapas with sangria in Granada, Spain.

Time for siesta again! We need to bring this to the States like ASAP.

We took part in siesta so long we ended up missing the flamenco show we booked as well as the free flamenco show at our hostel.

Our last day in Granada, we did a little souvenir shopping and toured the famous La Alhambra.

Overall, we didn’t really do MUCH in Granada. But we had a very enjoyable three days of exploring the cobblestone streets and Muslim markets and taking advantage of the free tapas.