Nightlife in Granada & the Costa Tropical
Spain comes to life when the rest of Europe is getting ready for bed!
Spaniards are famous for being nighthawks; and "nightlife" in Spain is only getting underway when the clubs, bars and other entertainment venues in many other countries are closing their doors and locking up for the night. In Granada - as in the rest of Spain - most people don't go out until 11pm or later. Clubs stay open until 6am during the week, and until 7am on Friday and Saturday.
The Costa Tropical buzzes with activity at night, especially during the summer months when beach parties, funfairs, circuses, open-air cinemas, firework displays, street festivals, rock concerts, al fresco restaurants, barbecues, late-night markets and various other outdoor nocturnal events take place along the coast and in the city of Granada itself. One complaint you will never hear in the Granada region is that there is nothing to do, or nowhere to go at night!
Granada has more bars per inhabitant and square kilometre than any other city in Spain, according to government statistics. Late bars open at around 9pm, and close at 3am on weekdays and at 4am on weekends. A popular Granada custom is ‘el tapeo’, which consists of going from bar to bar and savouring the different tapas (snack meals) served free with drinks. Spaniards often visit several bars, one after another, in small groups, before then proceeding to nightclubs. See our Pub Guide page for a rundown on the bar situation in the Granada region, and for specific recommendations.
The mountains run right down to the sea along the Costa Tropical, creating a series of small, isolated sandy coves that are ideal for holding “private” beach parties. There are parties almost every night during the summer months, some better organised than others. In general they go on until 7 or 8am. They are usually only announced by word of mouth, in bars, clubs and so on. The main beaches are listed on our Costa Tropical Beaches page.
Most restaurants in the south of Spain open at around 9pm and close at midnight. For visitors to Spain who are accustomed to having dinner at around 6 or 7pm in their own country, waiting for the restaurants to open at 9pm can be a bit irksome. However, there are restaurants that stay open until 3-4am. See our Restaurants page for more information about eating out in the Granada region.
Granada is the home of the International Jazz Festival, and jazz is perhaps more popular in Spain than in any other European country. There are numerous jazz bars and clubs in the Granada region, the most popular being:
- Eshavira Club. Calle Postigo de la Cuna, 2, Granada
- Bohemia Jazz Café, Plaza de los Lobos 11, Granada
- Jazz en la Plaza (summer months). Fundación Caja Granada. Every thursday at 22:00.· Plaza de las Culturas
Almuñécar Jazz Festival
Every mid-July the “Jazz en la Costa” festival is held in the tropical botanical park of El Majuelo, Almuñécar. The festival has featured many world-famous jazz musicians, including Mike Mainieri, Johnny Griffin and Benny Golson (pictured, left). The stage is set below a flood-lit Moorish castle, and the bar and seating areas are surrounded by palm trees. Click here for further information.
There is some debate among scholars and aficionados as to which city is the true birthplace of Flamenco: Sevilla, Jerez de la Frontera, or Granada. Whatever the truth about that, it is certain that Flamenco originated in Andalucia, and that Granada – and in particular the district of Sacromonte, the Gypsy quarter of the city – has become most closely identified with this art form. There are a number of famous flamenco Tablaos (places where flamenco is performed) in this area. The main Flamenco venues are:
- The Zambra de María La Canastera is one of the classic flamenco cave venues. Location: Camino del Sacromonte, 89.
- Zambra Gitana La Rocio. Location: Camino de Sacramonte, 70. The floodlit Alhambra Palace can be seen in the background.
- Zambra Gitana de Los Tarantos. Location: Camino del Sacromonte, 9.
- Tablao Flamenco Jardines de Zoraya. Location: Calle Panaderos, 32.
- Tablao Flamenco La Alboreá. Location: Calle Pan, 3.
- Cueva Flamenca La Comino. Location: Carrera del Darro, 7.
- The Alhambra itself is a Flamenco venue. The central courtyard of the Carlos V Palace now acts as an atmospheric open-air stage for Flamenco performances during the summer months. Tel: 902441221 for details.
- Venta Luciano – is located 3 km from Almuñécar on the old Granada road. Location: Ctra. del Suspiro, 18. Almuñécar. Visit website.
Theatre-going is a popular pastime in Granada and the Costa Tropical. The two principal theatres in Granada city are the Isabel la Católica Theatre (pictured, left) and the Alhambra Theatre, both of which offer a regular calendar of live productions with a selection of classic and modern drama.
The Alhambra Theatre puts on an enormously varied programme of events throughout the year, including flamenco, modern drama, classic theatre, contemporary dance, musicals, comedy, puppet theatre and more. Contact the Granada tourist office or the theatre itself for further details. Address: Molinos, 56, Realejo, Granada. Tel: 958220447 Email: email@example.com
The Isabel la Católica Theatre is located right in the centre of Granada, and puts on a wide range of dramatic productions. Contact the box office for further information. Address: Acera del Darro, Granada. Tel: 958221514.
There is a vibrant dance club scene in Granada and the Costa Tropical, but without the bawdiness or crass commercialism of Benidorm or Ibiza. The clubs close late, usually around 6 or 7am. Some clubs do not have an admission charge during weekdays; but in any event the admission charge usually includes a drink (keep your entry ticket and present it at the bar). The most popular clubs are:
- Mae West. Centro Comercial Neptuno, Arabial, s/n
- Discoteca Aliatar. Calle Recogidas, 2
- Discoteca Backstage. Calle Moras, 2
- Calle Almona de San Juan de Dios, 20
- The Big Bang Ocean Club. Bajos del P.º del Altillo, 7,
- Torero, P.º del Altillo, 1
- Kasbah Discoteca. Calle Alcazaba 3
The reliably good weather makes the Costa Tropical area a favourite location for circuses, and hardly a week goes by without one circus or another coming to town in Granada, Salobreña, Motril or Almuñécar. Granada, in particular, has for many years had a strong affinity with the circus world, and is regarded by many as the focal point of circus performance arts in Spain. The circus is very much a part of life for Granadinos.
Again, the reliably good weather makes the Costa Tropical a popular location for funfairs, and there are possibly more funfairs operating in this area than anywhere else in the world. The biggest and best is the “recinto ferial”, held just outside Granada city as part of the Corpus festival (in May or early June). For 8 days the party is non-stop, and the massive fairgound – which, in addition to the usual fairground rides, comprises numerous bars, discos, refreshment marquees, stalls, shops, restaurants, live entertainment and various other events – is open all night. There are also seemingly endless rows of “casetas”, or house tents (see photo), which are like private parties for families, work groups, social clubs and so on. Some casetas are public.
In addition to the many traditional and religious fiestas that take place in Granada throughout the year, the calendars of cinemas, theatres and exhibition halls fill up with the many academic and commercial festivals that have chosen Granada to host their events. These include the International Jazz Festival, the Tango Festival, the International Festival of Music & Dance, the Festival of Books, the Festival of Magic – and others. There is a festival of some kind taking place somewhere in the Granada/Costa Tropical area almost every day. Go to our Festivals page for further information on Granada’s main festivals.
You can’t have a fiesta without fireworks – not in Spain, anyway. The Spanish love their fireworks, and wherever there’s a festival going on, there is bound to be a fireworks display. Fireworks displays in Spain tend to be more “up close and personal” – or just plain insanely dangerous! – than fireworks displays anywhere else in the world. .
Open Air Markets
Most markets in the south of Spain are only open during the morning or afternoon, but night-time markets are not uncommon in the summer months, and are often held as part of local fiestas.
Alcaiceria – The Arabic market, close to the Cathedral, opens late in the summer season. Goods on sale include jewellery, tables, lamps, Arabic-style clothing, hand-crafted Moroccan ceramics, rugs etc. You can also buy Flamenco dresses here. Location: c/ Alcaiceria (between Gran Via and the Cathedral).
Calderería -arab shops market.
Granada Book Fairs – Open-air book market held several times during the year at the Puerta Real in the centre of Granada. Check with tourist office for dates.
Made In Granada – Open from 11:00 a 19:00 on the last weekend of every month at Plaza de la Romanilla. Visit website.
Ecological Fruits & Ecoemercado (Vegetables Market – Held on the first saturday of every month form 10 to 15:00 in Ribera del Genil (beside Palacio de Congresos) and third sunday of each month in North area ( Avenida Luís Miranda Dávalos near bus station). Visit website.
Ceramics Fair – An occasional large outdoor market, open until late, stretching from the Puerta Real to the Plaza de Mariana Pineda. Check tourist office for dates.
Night Market – Every Friday evening from 8pm onwards (during summer months) there is a night-time market next to the Paseo Maritimo.