If Santa is part of your plans for Granada with your kids, then you had better visit at Semana Santa, because the big guy in the red suit is not really seen here in Spain. It’s not that the kids are really naughty, but more due to the fact that Spanish kids wait until January for their gift wish-list to come true.
Cabalgata and the Three Kings
Christmas is just around the corner and here, it’s all about the Three Kings and the Cabalgata.
The Three Wise Men – Reyes Magos – arrive in Granada on January 5th, resplendent in their costumes and crowns. They come bearing gifts for all, and the parade for them will line the busy and brightly lit streets. The Kings throw hard-boiled sweets for the kids to fight over and gather up (fearless Granada Grannies will carry umbrellas to ward off not the unlikely chance of rain, but the assault of sweets, and to keep the kids in line).
Join in with the fun starting around 6 pm in Gran Capitán, and ending in Plaza del Carmen. Best of all – it’s free!
Snow and fun with Winter sports in Granada
If your toe-loop, flip and lutz are in need of some practice then get your skates on, and head over to the Alameda Shopping Centre in the Pulianas area of Granada. The best place for ice skating for all the family is Igloo Granada, where you can go skating and have winter fun in an igloo setting. There are also ice hockey games played here, and schools also like to use it, but there are special public hours too.
Alternatively, get out of the city for a day away from the Christmas crowds and find some real snow – it’s laid down pretty thick already with the recent rainfall – by taking the children up into the mountains. Sierra Nevada is a breathtaking location, and there are different runs to suit all levels and skills – or you can watch from the warmth and safety of the restaurant with a glass of something bubbly!
Well, it is Christmas! Even just window-shopping for toys in Granada is a fun affair. Here are four of the best toy shops and their locations: Supermercado de Juguete on Calle Gracia, 12, Toy Planet on Avenida de America, 42, and of course Toys ‘R’ Us located in Armilla.
You’ll find Libreria de Alhambra in the Alhambra Palace itself (which of course you will also want to visit) and also on Plaza Nueva – yes, it’s a bookshop, but they have a great selection of children’s books that would make lovely Christmas gifts, as well as cuddly Lion toys just like the lions in the Alhambra that younger ones will love.
Christmas sweet treats
Chocolate and Churros are a must for Christmas in Granada, the long, freshly fried doughnuts are all the better dipped in rib-sticking chocolate and perfect for stoking up the kids’ energy levels prior to a long day walking and shopping in the city centre, or some of the aforementioned sporting activities. For real chocolate lovers, head straight to the renowned
Abuela Ili chocolate shop in the city where you can taste all manner of hand-made chocolate. They wrap and present the goods beautifully too so these are ideal for gifts if you can bear to part with them, especially the chocolate covered figs, they will have to be a gift from your kids to you!
While in Granada, the whole family must all try the Christmas/Three Kings cake, or Roscon de Reyes, a sponge affair with candied fruits and sweets and icing sugar… sometimes a little bit dry but made better by dipping into a café con leche…delicious!
The BioDomo Science Park in Granada is in its third year, and it’s great fun with loads of animals to get close too – so a winner with the whole family as a day out. There are three areas, Madagascar, Indo-Pacific and the Amazon Rainforest. The biggest message the kids will bring away with them is conservation, and although it’s a learning environment it’s pure fun too.
To get there on foot it’s only about 15 mins from the city centre and the shops. Find the BioDomo at Avenida de Ciencias, or hop on the metro and get off at Alcazar de Genil. The 5, 11 or C5 buses will also take you right to the door of this other nature-filled world. The kids will thank you!
Getting around with fun transport
Granada is essentially a walkable city, and quite safe too. The weather is usually good, and even if it’s a cold day the kids will love the top deck of the open-topped tourist bus munching hot chestnuts from a paper cone and seeing the sights, you can hop on and off at your leisure.
The newish metro is good too, transversing the city from Armilla to Albolote. It’s clean and cheap and easy to use. You might prefer to attempt a Segway tour, pick them up at Plaza Nueva and take a guided ride around the city, older or teenage kids will enjoy the experience.