Everytime I meet a Spanish person I ask them where I should go in Spain... Granada was on everyones list. No matter what other cities they listed along with it, Granada was always their favorite, or "the one you really have to go to."
One string of boring weekends was all I needed to inspire me to make another spontaneous trip. My only goal was to get out of the city and drive, so we did and we ended up 4.5 hours South, in Granada.
Driving was the best decision we could have made when going to Granada. All the travel sites will tell you not to drive there because of the tiny roads and trouble parking, but if you aren't afraid to navigate the small roads, finding parking is pretty easy and moderately priced.
Strolling through all the tiny cobblestoned streets amongst the pale white buildings you could really feel the muslim influence in the city. The side streets are small and very steep, filled with markets and free tapas. The buildings are all white or pale and situated on a mountain (so it is a good idea to prepare for that). Once you enter Calle Gran Via the street is similar to marble, impecably clean (besides the dog poop which is inevitable in Europe) and welcoming. If you get a chance, you must try to make it through the buildings to the top of the mountain to get stunning views. I went at sunset, perfect timing.
Luckily we had a car so we were able to easily road trip through the Sierra Nevada mountain range, stopping at every pull off we could find. The drive is about 45 minutes but it is worth it, there are views the whole way up and down. There are also many small cafes on top of the mountain, perfect for some mid day drinks and free tapas.
The free tapas were more than I could have imagined. Granada is one of the last cities in Spain to still give out free tapas with the purchase of a drink. I was expecting reused peanuts or chips but the selection was more than I have seen in Madrid. For my first tapa I got guacamole, and the second I got a mini chicken sandwhich. I bought two drinks and the tapas came free with it!
The Spaniards don't have to tell me twice, I experienced the hype of Granada first hand and can see why it's everyones favorite. Granada has surely earned its spot up on my list of favorite places in Spain.