Tag Archives: Spain

rio genil, granada, spain

The Cost of Living in Granada (on my budget)

A lot of people who contact me through this blog do so because they are thinking of coming to live in Granada. This means I am reaching my intended audience (woo!) and I always answer each enquiry as best I can, but there is one question I am asked time again: How much does it cost to live in Granada?

I thought it was about time to answer this properly by way of blog post, but I want to make it clear that this is a rough guide and based on my own personal spending habits (and I spend more than I save!)

I (like most guiris in Granada) earn a living by teaching English, which– give or take a couple of hundred –generally yields around €1,000 per month, post tax. In my experience, this is enough to pay the rent, pay the bills, buy your essentials, go out about three times a week, splurge every now and again and keep a bit back, but it is of course all relative. I earn a bit more money through blogging and DJing so perhaps I spend a bit more than the average, English-teaching guiri in Granada. I don’t know, but if I earned less, I would spend less; If I earned more, I would spend more, etc.

Monthly Budget

To fully enjoy Granada you really need at least €700 p/m– any less than this and you’ll almost certainly find yourself scrimping desperately come the end of the month. If you earn more than €1,200 p/m you’re generally pretty well off! (Though if you’ve got mouths to feed then you’re probably at your limit).

That’s a general overview, but this is what it looks like if we break down my monthly budget:

Groceries: €50

I tend to ‘buy as I go’ when it comes to basic essentials, which probably leads to spending more money than is necessary. Occasionally– when my housemate and I are trying our best to be organised –we might buy in bulk, which consequently saves us a few pennies. We use Mercadona’s delivery service (we live far away from our nearest store), which, sadly, doesn’t come for free but does save you a hell of a lot of time! Here is a fantastic, up-to-date prices list for a few standard items at Mercadona, posted by Marianne on East Of Malaga.

469984295 64353ce107 b The Cost of Living in Granada (on my budget)

Rent/Bills: €310

I pay above average to live where I live, so (try to) cut down in my spending in other ways, but for €220p/m you can expect to find a more than adequate shared apartment. Geneally speaking, the more people you share with, the lower the cost of the bills, which tend to arrive bimonthly.

Going Out: €320

This is a very rough estimate, but either way could be dramatically reduced if I didn’t have such a fondness for gorging myself on tapas and either the beer or wine that comes with them. One tapa sets you back about €2; I have three or four tapas per session; I might go out for tapas three or four times a week. You do the maths!

Al Sur de Granada The Cost of Living in Granada (on my budget)

Tapas at Al Sur de Granada, C/ Elvira (Source)

Phone Bill: €15

For years I’ve avoided a contract deal for my phone since I can never be sure when I will be leaving the country for good. Instead I use Pay As You Go + 500MB internet bundle with Yoigo, who, to be fair, have always been very reliable. The main advantage to using pay as you go is that you don’t have to continue paying when back in your home country.

Splurging: €150

At least twice a month I will find a good reason to part with a hefty sum of money, be it for new clothes, an expensive restaurant meal, a ticket for a concert/live event or a trip to another part of Spain. It’s money I don’t need to spend but what would be the point of living in Spain if I didn’t push the boat out from time to time?

IMG 2867 The Cost of Living in Granada (on my budget)

Best steak ever had in Spain at El Castaño, Pampaneira

Transport: €20

The new bus system in Granada has confused many of the city’s inhabitants. We’ve only just come to terms with it, realising that it is in fact much better than the previous one, despite having to take two buses to the bus station from the centre (there are still a few unconvinced abuelas). A bus card, which can be easily topped up at the brand spanking new swipe machines at every stop, costs €5. Each trip costs €0,79. However, taxis (for when you’re running late) trains, coaches and Blablacar rides to other parts of Spain all add up.

lac granada The Cost of Living in Granada (on my budget)

The new and much talked about LAC bus of Granada!

Other: €100

Of course there are always little things here and there that we can’t account for and change gets frittered away in no time. I try to keep receipts for everything but they are all ultimately lost or accidentally left in jeans’ pockets and thus destroyed in the washing machine. Spanish Classes and flights to and from the UK and other countries fall under this category too.

Total Average Expenditure: €995

Leftover: €250

img 1120 copy The Cost of Living in Granada (on my budget)

This makes me happy.

What’s cheap?

Generally, basic supplies are much cheaper than they are in the UK. Household items from Chinese-run convenience stores (‘chinos‘) are especially low-cost. And then there is tapas, which comes free with any drink in most bars!

What’s expensive?

Designer clothes and electronic equipment. When it comes to buying luxury items I either wait until I am back in the UK or order online and pay the relatively inexpensive postage fee.

One word of advice?

Get drunk less, travel more icon smile The Cost of Living in Granada (on my budget)

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torre de la vela, alhambra, granada, spain

My Top Places to Visit in Granada

Granada offers visitors a wealth of attractions, through culture, entertainment, architecture and its renowned tapas scene. I have picked out a few of my favourite spots around town and pinned them on the map below so you that know exactly where to find them.

This map will be permanently pinned to the site’s homepage from now on, so if you ever want to come back for another look it will be very easy to find…

Explore and enjoy Granada!

This map was made with the help of Eurobreakdown.com, who provide specialist insurance for taking your own vehicle to Europe with you, so that you can enjoy more of beautiful Spain!

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Eat-Guides-Cover-Barcelona-2014-cropped

Barcelona Guidebook Giveaway!

Each year, something between seven and eight million people visit Barcelona, the world’s eleventh most visited city, ahead of the Spanish capital, Madrid.

It has everything, from old world charm and dazzling Gaudi architecture to contemporary swagger, vivacious nightlife and footballing brilliance.

And then there is of course the food!

Naturally, one is overwhelmed with choice, and often inclined to stick to La Rambla, the lively focus of Barcelona’s tourist circuit, for fear of getting lost or wasting time in other, less glamorous parts of the city. Yet there are so many authentic tapas and wine bars out there waiting to be discovered, which is where The Spain Scoop‘s new and exhaustive guidebook ‘Eat Guides: Barcelona‘ comes in.

Eat Guides Cover Barcelona 2014 Barcelona Guidebook Giveaway!

Co-authored by The Scoop’s co-founder and editor Regina Winkle-Bryan and her Catalan-cuisine-mad companion Adrián Benítez MartosEat Guides: Barcelona presents a meticulous list of personally tried and tested eateries and bars, covering high-end to budget venues and a wide range of cuisines.

The guide is informal with a distinct personal touch, offering more than just the usual blurb and street address and/or anonymous TripAdvisor reviews…

“Too often travellers in Barcelona end up at mediocre restaurants eating overpriced meals. As locals living in the city, we’ve been there, and wanted to do something about it. We’re not food snobs. We’re not chefs. We’re two people who love to eat and drink, whose aim is to offer a little something for everyone, though sharing our own experiences and stories from chowing down in Barcelona.” –Regina Winkle-Bryan.

slider 2014 eat guides 6 Barcelona Guidebook Giveaway!

This week I am running a giveaway of the guidebook, usually costing $4.99. There are two copies up for grabs and all you need to do to enter is follow the link below and enter into the raffle, which will last one week only.

Click here to enter

This is a great resource for those who plan to visit the Catalan capital or for anyone already living within the region. You will not find a more exhaustive nor passionately/honestly written guide!

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blow your own trumpet

Burrup! Trump! Parp! Rootle- tootle!

No, I’ve not gone mad. Based on the top four results on Google, that was the onomatopoeic sound of me blowing my own trumpet. The blog’s not quite two years deep yet but evidently I must be doing something right; I was just named runner up of MyCurrencyTransfer.com’s Expat Star Awards 2014– another accolade to add to my collection! So thank you guys! (See shiny badge to left ;))

In the grand scheme of things, there’s probably a lot I’m doing wrong too, but we’ll get to that.

According to My Currency Transfer– a great money transfer comparison site for expats –the Expat Star Awards recognises, rewards and celebrates expats of all ages and stages who’ve either picked up their lives and moved to Spain or decided to dedicate their working life towards expats in Spain.

Since I don’t earn much out of blogging, I hardly think it fitting to say that I dedicate my working life towards expats in Spain. So I guess that means I fall into the first category, except when I moved to Spain I really didn’t have much of a life to pick up; it was more like a degree, a TEFL certificate, 12 t-shirts, 4 pairs of shorts, sunglasses, flip-flops and a snowboard.

Most of my adult life has taken place in Spain, and is now so different than what it once was that if I were to actually pick up my life and move back to the UK, I really would be in disarray. Yet that thought is still never far from my mind; I am still young(ish) and I have ambitions to fulfill, most of which necessitate earning more money!

In the meantime I am still full of love for blogging and have started to see the hard work pay off. My other blog is more of a slow-burner, since I tend to concentrate more on this one and other projects, but I know it will come good. There is plenty of room for improvement across both blogs and any feedback from anyone out there reading this would be greatly appreciated!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had been accepted onto a new digital marketing course developed by Google called We Are Squared. This, I hope, will help hone my skills and guide me towards the career path I crave. The course is now well underway and I’m already learning heaps about innovative marketing strategies, groundbreaking technology and how consumer behaviour either influences or is influenced by it. It’s all very fascinating, and although utterly self-absorbed and non-Spain related (much like this post), I will be sharing my experiences from time to time here on the blog.

So with these recent successes in mind, I’ll leave you on a note of gratitude: to all my readers– whether regular, accidental, one-offs or sporadic at best –thanks for being here and finding the time to indulge me. You’re all stars icon wink Burrup! Trump! Parp! Rootle  tootle!

That’s better.

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Chiringuito3

Hometown Hidden Gems Granada: El Chiringuito

Hidden high up in the hillside bario of Sacromonte, you’ll find one of Granada’s best kept secrets: El Chiringuito.

Traditionally, chiringuitos are small, makeshift, unlicensed (and unchecked) enterprises, often run by families on beaches across coastal Spain, which sell cheap drinks and tapas. In fact they are more like shacks than bars. Sometimes it’s just a bloke, a cooler full of beer, a chair and a table, and he makes a killing. At least in the summer and spring time he does; these beach-side chiringuitos are seasonal, and in the cold, rainy autumns and winters, business stops dead.

Granada’s is a one-off; it’s often just €1 bottles of cold beer or coke on offer but the walk up, beginning from Plaza Larga in the historic Albaicín bario, is well worth the effort for those who like neither. There’s probably bottled mineral water anyway.


granada Hometown Hidden Gems Granada: El Chiringuito

The bar sits on a most dramatic platform, facing the Sacromonte valley with the Alhambra on one side, the Albaicín on the other and the city of Granada and mountains beyond. It is without doubt the best view in town– the sort that would usually yield crazy prices just to be able to sit down with a beer and gaze at. The cost of a tubo (a bit more than half a litre of beer) and tapa at the bar directly beneath El Mirador de San Nicolas (Granada’s most famous viewpoint) for example, beggars belief; I paid €6– an outrageous figure in Andalucía, which, needless to say, I won’t be paying again!

IMAG1011 1 Hometown Hidden Gems Granada: El Chiringuito

On a clear day, you can see right out to the horizon, and if it’s Spring, then there will almost certainly be a sprinkling of snow left on top of the Sierra Nevada mountain range over your left shoulder.

What’s more, authentic flamenco guitarists regularly come here to practice– not busk–and local gitana ladies might occasionally join in with the crooning. This quiet corner sums up flamenco-historic Sacromonte perfectly, yet, bewilderingly, guidebooks tend not to mention it. If you’ll excuse the cliché, it really is a hidden gem.

IMAG1009 Hometown Hidden Gems Granada: El Chiringuito

Getting There

From Plaza Larga in El Albaicín, take C/ Panaderos, then a right onto Plaza del Salvador. Continue straight until Cuesta de Los Chinos on the left and follow this all the way until you find the chiringuito. There will be white, plastic furniture outside so you should know when you are there.

If you have a car it’s best to park on Cuesta del Chapiz and walk up but to be honest you won’t want to take a car anywhere near the Albaicín, lest you become stuck or very, very lost.

*This post was written in collaboration with US-based RelayRides, a hidden gem itself in the rental car industry, whose goal is to make traveling easier, more personable and more affordable via their unique peer-to-peer service. I received no monetary compensation for this post. All thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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rio verde, granada, spain, junta de los rios, andalucia, lagoon, waterfall, otivar

Day Trip to Rio Verde, Granada

It’s summer. It’s hot, sticky, sweaty and insufferable. It’s hitting 45ºC almost every day and nearly impossible to sleep. It’s not even August yet. So thank God that I am not in Spain.

I love the heat, but perspire even at the thought of such insane temperatures. No, Spanish summertime is not for me. Instead, I retreat to the cooler shores of the UK, where, in Oxford, I teach English to Chinese and Japanese undergraduates who don’t find Alan Partridge funny.

alanpartridge Day Trip to Rio Verde, Granada

Alan

But if you are in Spain, and looking for a way to escape the heat that doesn’t involve crowded beaches or public swimming pools, then my advice is to grab as much food and beer as possible,  jump in a car, drive or be driven out to the sticks and find either a fresh water lake or lagoon, preferably with a waterfall. Then stay there until you’ve finished all your food and beer (and get someone else to drive back).

It’s actually a lot easier than you think to find one of these nirvanas. A few weeks ago I posted about Lake Bermejales– an enormous, emerald-blue fresh water lake near Alhama de Granada. It’s perfect for a summer day trip and a hundred times better than the sandy (or pebbly) and salty beach.

Our original plan that weekend, however, had been to go to another idyllic spot on the radar: Rio Verde. I say ‘spot’, but a river is of course much bigger/longer than a spot. What I actually mean is a secret and isolated lagoon with waterfalls you can jump from, like that scene in The Beach only a little less terrifying.

beach waterfall Day Trip to Rio Verde, Granada

The waterfall where Leo and French pals jumped from in The Beach. Ballsy.

So we went next weekend instead.

The drive from Granada to Otívar, the nearest village to the river, takes about an hour and 15 minutes, but finding the turn-off to Palacete de Cazulas was another matter entirely. When we eventually did manage to find it (SatNav hasn’t got a clue out here) and started to creep our way down, the road became extremely narrow and quite disconcerting. In fact, were it not for the fact we were in a 4×4 I doubt we’d have made it. If you don’t have a 4×4 you’d be better off parking sooner rather than later, lest you can’t get back up again.

Before we left our vehicle we loaded up on water and sun cream– very important in this heat –and then made our way along the river bank on foot for twenty minutes, picking avocados and fresh figs as we went, until we came upon a large, stone dam. On the other side was pure bliss: a turquoise blue lagoon, fed by two waterfalls that had formed through the dam wall.

RioVerde01 Day Trip to Rio Verde, Granada

The River Walk

RioVerde25 Day Trip to Rio Verde, Granada

There was nothing else; just us, the lagoon and nature. However, it quickly dawned on us that we hadn’t actually found the lagoon we’d been looking for– La Junta de los Rios –but we couldn’t have cared less; this was perfect and there was no-one else around to share it with. Just as well, since there is only space for about six people to sit on the facing rocks.

We strayed a little further down the river later on, where we found more avocado and fig trees, but couldn’t bare the thought of leaving our find behind. We stayed all afternoon, some of us posing elegantly beneath the waterfalls (see below), and we never saw another soul.

RioVerde07 Day Trip to Rio Verde, Granada

The Lagoon

RioVerde20 Day Trip to Rio Verde, Granada

The Climb…

The Dive!

 

Later research revealed that we should have continued past the exit we took and taken the next one just beyond it, where there is apparently a ticket booth and a safe place to park. From here it’s a 6km walk to La Junta de los Rios, but you need to be in good shape and have your wits about you since the ground is not even and previous flash floods have caused severe erosion. There are some tour companies based in Granada who offer adventure-style excursions– rafting, canyoning, climbing and so on –and will take care of all the navigation for you, not to mention provide you with a surely unforgettable experience!

Rio Verde is an exceptionally beautiful area and perfect for a day trip and escaping the crowds. Just go prepared and be extra careful with those rocky roads…

RioVerde14 Day Trip to Rio Verde, Granada

Did I not mention I do casual work for Herbal Essences?

Getting there

From Granada, there are two possible routes to Otívar. The easiest is probably taking the E-902/A44 towards Motril, then, exiting from the A7, follow the SO-22, SO-14 and SO-02 to Otívar. This last leg of the journey takes you right through the heart of rugged, rural Andalucían countryside. It’s incredible.

Have you been anywhere like this in Spain? What other alternatives to the beach are out there? Let’s hear your suggestions!

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