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:
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: Sacramonte, 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: Sacramonte, 9.
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. Tel: 958631379 for further information/reservations. 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
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, and sometimes as late as 11am or 12 noon. 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:
Camborio - An authentic meandering cave built into the hillside of the famous Sacromonte district, this three-level disco has a unique atmosphere. It has two outdoor terraces offering superb views of the floodlit Alhambra.|
Granada 10 - This is the city's most established disco (you will hear it referred to as "Granada diez").
It opens every night (late) and stays open all night. The special character of the place comes from its location in an old 1930s theatre whose elaborate décor has been preserved. During the day it is a cinema. Location: Cárcel Baja 3 (just off c/ Elvira), Granada.
Club Zoo - Straight-friendly gay disco located in the cellar of a building in the centre of Granada; mixed, primarily young crowd. The dance floor is usually packed by 3am, after the bars have closed (admission is free until then). Zoo is open from Thursday to Sunday, midnight to 6am. Location: Calle Moras 2 (close to Melia Hotel). Tel: 659760391
Vogue - Popular dance club in the centre of Granada. Mixed crowd, with a substantial gay contingent, especially midweek. The Spanish pronunciation of vogue is "bó-gay", so if you go there by taxi, that's the way you have to pronounce it to the driver. Location: c/ Duquesa.
BoogaClub - Groove dance club, open 7 nights a week until 7am. Two bars. Hip Hop, funk, jazz, reggae. Cover charge includes first drink. Location: Calle Santa Bárbara 3 (down steps opposite Triumfo Park). BoogaClub also puts on live music sessions. .
Planta Baja - Live bands from Spain and all over the world play at this techno dance club. Live music from 10pm; DJ from midnight.
€5 cover charge includes first drink. Open Thursday to Saturday from 10pm to 6am; closed July and August. Location: Calle del Horno de Abad 11, Granada. Tel: 958253509. Visit website
Quilombo - Location: Carril de San Cecilio, 21, Realejo.
El Tren - Carretera Antigua de Málaga, 136 Nave 7.
Mae West - c/ La Paz 7, Granada. Visit website
Upper Club Serrallo - c/ La Paz 7, Granada.
- C.C. Serrallo Plaza, Paseo Laguna de Cameros, 1, 18008 Granada Telephone: 958 16 44 66 Visit website
Polaroid Club - Gran Capitan 25, Granada. Email: email@example.com
Taberna Underground - Open Friday and Saturday nights 23pm - late. Location: c/ Canas 18600 Motril.|
Sumo - Beach bar/disco. Open till dawn. Location: Playa del Poniente 18600 Motril.
El Modjo - A beach bar/disco serving drinks until the early hours. Location: Paseo Maritimo 18680, Salobrena.
Check the local newspapers for up-to-date cinema listings.
Aliatar Cinemas - 3 cinemas. c/ Recogidas, No.2
18002 Granada. Tel: 958261984|
Cine Madrigal - c/ Carrera del Genil, Granada. Tel: 958224349.
Cinemas Alhambra 15 - 15 cinemas. Centro Comercial Alcampo, Carretera Jaén.
Cinema Neptuno 2000 - 15 cinemas. Centro Comercial Neptuno, c/ Arabial. Tel: 958522848
Cine de Verano Los Vergeles - 4 open-air cinemas. c/ Avenida America, Zaidin. Open June-September, with performances at 10pm and 12pm.
Kinépolis Granada - Boulevard Billy Wilder s/n
18197 Pulianas, Granada. Fifteen cinemas, seating up to 4,600 people
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). From Thursday to Sunday 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. Watch video clip.
Open Air Music Festivals
Creamfields - The Playa de Villaricos in Almeria throbs to the sounds of the hottest DJs during this British clubbing festival, which takes place in mid August. Go to the Creamfields website for more information.
The Rocket Festival - A three-day festival of contemporary and traditional music, performance, and sculpture set in a beautiful setting just outside the city of Granada. The aim of the festival is to bring together as diverse a range of entertainment as possible, with performers from Malaga, Granada and Antequera sharing the stage with artists from Britain, Germany, Ireland, Austria, France and elsewhere in Europe. Musical styles range from traditional and modern Andalucian music through blues, jazz, rock, reggae to the best live dance music and DJs. For further information, visit the Rocket Festival website.
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).|
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 sunday of every month at Campo del Príncipe (Realejo).
Ecological Fruits & Vegetables Market - Held on the first saturday of every month form 10 to 15:00 in Ribera del Genil (beside Palacio de Congresos). 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 Tuesday and Saturday evening from 8pm onwards (during summer months) there is a night-time market next to the Paseo Maritimo.