Monday, March 16, 2015

Hiking in Granada

Ok, so no surprise I have more love coming from Granada, Spain.  You can catch up on our favorite places to eat and tour, and a quick guide to the Alhambra palace here.  But if you find yourself with an extra day in southern Spain, don't miss the chance to really enjoy the incredible scenery by escaping the beaten path.  For amazing views of the Sierra Nevada along an old shepherd's path that winds through countryside, olive tree fields, and rolling farmland where cows graze with bells on the hillside, you have to take this hike from Beas de Granada back into the city.  The Trek Sierra Nevada website really gives you the nuts and bolts of the hike, so it's the only guide you will need.  The descriptions are detailed, right down to what bus you need to take to get to Beas de Granada.

This is the sign at the trail head as you leave Beas de Granada.  Don't expect any markers along the way either.  Just print out your directions from Trek Sierra Nevada if you need a quick guide (we did!), but basically just keep heading west if you get confused because that's the general direction towards Granada proper.

Except for a few areas where the trial was washed out from significant rain, this was the general going.  Not much to climb, just a steady slope but no shade!

Olive tree farms surround you for most of the hike

Wild aloe vera is legit -not just a house plant.

Definitely pack water and some snacks (we packed apples and the requisite bocadillos -- the staple of Spanish dining) because once you are on the trail there is nowhere to stop or get water.  Expect the first part to be a bit of a climb; mostly uphill until you get into the mountainsides and well outside of the town of Beas de Granada.  From there the trail got a little messy -- we were there in March and a few weeks before Granada had gotten massive rainfall and the trail had flooded.  Luckily we avoided the fiasco that these bloggers faced where they basically waded a few streams to get back to the Alhambra, but the trail was muddy and not well maintained.  Luckily with these type of shepherd's paths if you lose one, you will pick up another because all roads are going towards Granada from here.  The hike itself takes about five to six hours, so wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen and sunglasses (the sun is brutal up there -- no trees and no cover!) and take a camera because you are in for some of the best views of your life.  My husband agreed that this was hands down our favorite part of our honeymoon in Spain, and you will work up a great appetite for all of those great tapas bars when you get back to Granada.  The end of the trail kicks you out in the parking lot of the Alhambra palace, so you still have a good walk to get back down into the city of Granada, even when you feel like you have "reached the end." Treat this like a full day event because you probably won't want to do much more walking when you get back to your hotel except towards food and a good bar.

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