Granada Life and Visitor Travel Tips
(Granada, Andalucia, Spain)
The city of Granada is famous throughout Spain for its hills of white-washed houses, historic buildings, mazes of narrow streets, spacious plazas and ancient Alhambra fortress, which comprises a number of palaces and gardens, and offers spectacular views of the Granada area.
Many tourists choose to visit Granada each year and the tourism industry here is thriving, with a wealth of travel tips available throughout the city, in numerous tourist information offices. The Internet is also a good source for both travel tips and cheap accommodation in Granada.
With a strong Moorish heritage and numerous historical remains around the city, many of Granada's buildings feature Mudéjar-style architecture and contrast with more contemporary structures nearby. Locals in Granada are friendly and always welcome visitors, with a fairly relaxed pace of life and plenty of celebrations throughout the year, including carnival parades, fiestas and parties.
Tourism and Tourist Information (Oficinas de Turismo)
There are three main tourist information centres in the city of Granada, together with a good selection of kiosks and useful leaflets. Providing a range of attractions leaflets, maps of the area, travel tips and accommodation booking, the Provincial Tourist Office is located close to Puerta Real, and Granada's Regional Tourist Offices can be found along the Calle Santa Ana and at the Alhambra.
Also, with around 60,000 students located in and around Granada, there are a wealth of Internet and Cyber cafés throughout the city, providing extremely cheap hourly access and the perfect places to send holiday emails.
Provincial Tourist Office
Address: Plaza de Mariana Pineda 10, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
Tel: +34 958 247 128
Open hours: May to September, Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 21:00, Saturday - 10:00 to 13:00, Sunday - 10:00 to 15:00; November to April, Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 20:00, Saturday - 10:00 to 13:00, Sunday - 10:00 to 15:00
Plaza Nueva Regional Tourist Office
Address: Plaza Nueva, Calle Santa Ana 1, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
Tel: +34 958 221 022
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 19:00, Sunday - 10:00 to 14:00
Alhambra Regional Tourist Office
Address: Avenida del Generalife, Real de la Alhambra, Granada, 18009, Andalucia, Spain
Tel: +34 958 229 575
Open hours: March to October, Monday to Friday - 08:00 to 19:30, Saturday and Sunday - 08:00 to 14:30 and 16:00 to 19:30; November to February, Monday to Friday - 08:00 to 18:00, Saturday and Sunday - 08:00 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 18:00
Spanish is the third most widely spoken language in the world, after Chinese and English. Although Spanish is the main language in Granada, English, French and German are usually spoken and understood at most attractions, museums, hotels and restaurants that cater for visitors. Castilian Spanish is the official language in the city of Granada, although nearby towns and villages may speak Basque, Catalan and Galician versions. In smaller towns and villages away from the city, a phrase book is often helpful.
Tipping is quite discretionary in Granada, with taxi drivers usually being given a 5 to 10% tip or similar amount, although this is by no means imperative. Restaurants always include service charges by law, and these should be clearly displayed on all menus, although a small tip will still be expected and very much appreciated. Hotel staff, such as luggage handlers, happily accept a simple tip of just a Euro or two. Generally, no other public service workers in Granada expect to be tipped.
Places of Worship
The national religion of Granada and throughout Spain is Roman Catholic, although many other faiths and major religions are also represented in Granada, including Protestants and Muslims, amongst others. There are many appealing chapels and churches that welcome visitors to the city and often hold services during the morning and evenings. Granada's most important church is the striking 16th-century Santa Maria Cathedral (Catedral de Santa Maria de la Encarnación), which dominates the city centre.
As from January 2006, many public buildings, offices and methods of public transport in Granada are now smoke-free, with rules restricting smoking and prominent no-smoking symbols, although some designated smoking areas may exist. Harsh fines are enforced for those found to be smoking in no-smoking zones, particularly where food is being served and in children's attractions. Smokers in Granada often choose to simply smoke outside, or where other people are already smoking.
Tips for Using the Euro
The Euro is made up of eight coins and seven paper notes and was introduced on January 1, 2002. The 12 original members of the European Union - Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal
, and Spain - planned the event for many years in advance, deciding upon a specific conversion rate for each country's national currency. The colourful Euro bills, which include holograms and shades of green, yellow, blue, mauve, and orange, are identical throughout Europe. Coins have one common and one national side, but they can be used in any of the member countries, regardless of the country of issue. Old currencies are no longer accepted as legal tender, although major banks will happily convert them into Euros.
Telephones and Emergency Numbers
- Emergencies in Granada - for police dial 091 (national) or 092 (local)
- For fire emergencies in Granada - dial 080 or 085 and for an ambulance dial 409 5530
- To call from one city code to another in Granada- first dial '0' followed by the Spanish city code and the main telephone number
As with all big cities in the world, one of the main threats in Granada is by bag snatchers and pickpockets. Be conscious of your belongings if people 'accidentally' bump into you or brush past, consider wearing bags across your body and wear discreet money belts. When parking cars in Granada, never leave valuables on show and if possible, use well-lit parking areas and hotel car parks.
VAT (IVA) is always included in the price and refunds are unusual in Granada and throughout Spain. Tourists visiting this busy city from countries outside of the EU may claim tax refunds when the item was bought for personal use and cost more than a certain amount. Shopkeepers in Granada will usually be able to provide further tax information if necessary.