Five ways to keep cool with the kids during a hot Granada summer
It’s what we long for all winter.
We imagine the long hazy days, the balmy nights, no school, staying up late and sleeping with the windows open (nets up of course). And then comes the heat and cries of ay qué calor from people you pass in the street. We wilt, and the children wilt along with us. So, to survive the long Andalucían summer you need to have some strategies for combatting el calor.
Of course it goes without saying that you should treat the kids to plenty of ice creams and yourselves to lashings of Tinto de Verano, a refreshing mix of chilled red wine and lemonade, which perhaps doesn’t sound good on paper, but is actually quite delicious and thirst quenching.
Here are some further tips on places to go to keep it cool this summer.
1. Beach days
Granada has a beautiful coastline with so many great beaches that it’s hard to pick just three of the best, but when asked these are the ones that I recommend to anyone looking for somewhere to take the kids.
La Cabria – Relatively quiet with two fabulous restaurants to choose from – Tito Yayo and Casa Antonio – Cabria beach is a great choice. There is also a nice walk round the headland heading east onto Curumbico beach where, you should be warned, clothes are optional.
La Herradura – This beach is a hands-down favourite with my family and has everything you need: great swimming and water activities, shops, restaurants, hotels and playgrounds on the beach. There are plenty of Chiringuitos to choose from and I can recommend a seafood lunch or sundowners at La Sardina or El Bambú.
El Tesorillo – Only recently added to my favourite beaches list and well worth a visit, El Tesorillo has a slightly sheltered feel to it. The Chiringuito, which shares the same name, offers great food and service. Legend has it that there is treasure buried at Tesorillo, hence the name, so you can tell the kids to get digging!
Staying on the coast or taking a day trip to the beach is unsurprisingly top of the list for cooling down, but do be aware that the beaches get incredibly busy in Spain during the month of August. You will also notice that the locals tend to stay off the beach during the hottest hours of the day and with good reason – you can roast out there. Don’t forget your suncream and umbrellas and if you are having lunch on the beach remember to book a table as soon as you get there.
For more on the best beaches that Granada has to offer: www.granadaspain.co.uk/what-to-do/best-beaches-costa-tropical-granada/
2. Pool days
If you are staying in Granada City during July and August then you’ll need to find somewhere to cool off. There are plenty of hotels and Apartments with pools to choose from.
If you want to be near the Alhambra, Hotel Alixares couldn’t be any closer and has a great pool that the kids will love to jump straight into after any amount of mid-summer sightseeing. You may, on the other hand, be looking for something a bit more sophisticated if you are travelling without kids. If so check out the stylish Granada Five Senses which boasts a roof terrace with pool right in the heart of the city centre.
For more hotels with pools check out this post: www.granadaspain.co.uk/hotels-with-pools-granada/
If you are outside the city and in search of pools you can always check-out local restaurants and hotels to see if they offer ‘lunch and swim’ to visitors. Here are some suggestions: Hotel Andalucia in Lanjaron does a good value inclusive deal in the summer and Restaurant Mesón JR in Ambroz, Vegas del Genil offers pool access to patrons.
And there are various campsites that welcome non-residents, including the following in stunning locations: Camping Órgiva, Balcón de Pitres in the high Alpujarras and Camping Las Lomas in Guejar Sierra.
And finally, if you need to get really wet there are two aqua parks which open from June to September. Aquaola is just outside Granada and ideal if you are based in the city and the kids need an antidote to hot city traipsing. You can catch the number SN1 bus to Cenes de la Vega from Puerta de Real or Paseo de Salon. The second option is the more environmentally friendly Aqua Tropic down on the coast in Almuñécar, the only saltwater park in Spain.
3. Mountain days
For lower temperatures you can always head for higher altitudes but do remember that the sun is just as fierce, if not fiercer the higher you go.
With an average temperature of 20ºC, the Sierra Nevada Ski and Mountain resort, which remains open during the summer, is a great place to go to escape the heat. There you can find a range of sporting and outdoor activities for all ages. The cable car and chair lift operate throughout the season and the recreational area Mirlo Blanco offers the roller-sled, bike slalom, slides, children’s park, trampolines, zip-lining, and even skating!
You can also head for the picturesque high village of Las Alpujarras, the southern foothills of the Sierra Nevada, such as Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira. Here you will find the air a little cooler and there are lots of opportunities for shopping, and tapas bar-hopping. You could also combine some sightseeing with a pool trip in the sleepy village of Pitres (see above #2).
4. Going underground at the Nerja Caves
Málaga Province’s famous Nerja Caves are not strictly a Granada destination, but they are definitely a comfortable distance from the city for a day trip. And you could of course combine a visit with a beach day or even a trip to Aqua Tropic in Almuñeca (see above #2).
These fascinating caves are located on the outskirts of Maro, a small village 5 km from Nerja. The site is made up of a series of enormous and beautifully lit caverns stretching for almost five kilometres underground. To get an idea of what to expect, check out the following link for a great virtual tour of the caves: www.cuevadenerja.es/visitavirtual/galeriasturisticas.html
The caves are open for visitors every day of the year, except 1 January and 15 May, from 09:00 to 16:00 (last entry at 15:00). For more information and details on how to get there visit: www.cuevadenerja.es/index.php
5. Fresh water fun
There are so many fantastic walks to do all over Granada, but in the summer when you want a change from the beach, but are still in search of water to cool-off, a river walk is the answer. Make sure you take some sensible shoes and be aware that you are going to get your feet wet!
There is a stunning river walk up the Rio Chillar, Nerja. It’s popular and I would recommend an early start. The walk takes you up river through Natural Park where you eventually reach some refreshing waterfalls – if you make it that far. There is plenty of shade along the way and the abundant butterflies and wild flowers make it quite a magical experience. It’s great fun for the family, but be sure to let little ones take it at their own pace.
For a great post on the Rio Chillar walk and some detailed directions go here: https://eastofmalaga.net/2014/06/28/river-walk-up-the-rio-chillar-nerja/
Similar but perhaps a little more challenging is the river walk through Los Cahorros Gorge, Monachil, which is an easy distance from the city of Granada. With hanging bridges, natural tunnels and caves to explore it is an exciting day out for the kids.
Head for the old pueblo of Monachil and follow signs for Los Cahorros for about 2km up into the hills. If you want to save yourselves some walking at the beginning keep going until you get to Restaurante El Puntarrón where you can park and also go for a nice cold drink and tapas after your walk.
And finally don’t forget the golden rules for dealing with the hot weather with kids: sun protection, hats, hydration, and doing what the Spanish do, which is to avoid being out during the hottest times of day.
Enjoy the summer and stay cool!
Sophie Russell Ross blogs about motherhood and expat life in Granada