Staying at the Oasis Hostel: Granada’s Best Hostel
Over the past ten years I have stayed in a countless number of hostels. They have varied from exotically beautiful and luxurious; to smelly and cramped with VERY questionable hygiene policies.
Luckily for their guests, the Oasis Hostel, the best hostel in Granada, falls into the beautiful and clean category. It may not be surprising then that this sociable little hostel has been ranked among the best top 10 small hostels worldwide (award won at the 2010 ‘Hoscars’, yes that really exists).
Long gone are the days that you could get a hostel in Europe for €5 a night (although it is still possible in Asia) but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still very good value for money. A bed in one of the dorm rooms at Oasis start from €13 although they are higher on weekends and peak season. But however much you pay to stay in this exciting and busy hostel, you know that their rates are competitive with the local area, it’s how they remain such good value for money.
If you have never stayed in a hostel before it is understandable to be wary of them. The hostels that are featured on TV are always of the very gross variety, with pictures of grime and bacteria lurking on every surface ready to infect you. However, if you stay at the Oasis Hostel the only things you are likely to pick up is a whole group of new international friends, although on second thoughts they might be even harder to eventually get rid of.
The other thing you might catch is a hangover or three, but hey, that’s all part of the fun right. Fortunately for you, at Oasis you can relax on their gorgeous rooftop terrace overlooking the mountains sipping sangria, which I can assure you is a certified hangover cure.
I stayed in the Oasis Hostel for a month in January, and I can tell you that this part of Spain does get cold in winter. Believe it or not, the Sierra Nevada mountain is only an hour away from Granada city centre and it is one of the best places to ski in all of Spain.
There are only dorm rooms at this hostel there are no private rooms, and they range from 4 beds to 10 beds to a dorm, all bunk-beds. Every single room was well maintained and cleaned every single day. There was lockers for every person and ample space in the kitchen for people to store their food. The rooms are light and airy with big windows, but like all residential places in Spain they have shutters on to stop the light coming in each morning.
The hostel itself had free use of internet, free computers, and free organised activities every day and evening, but what I loved the most about this hostel was the people who I met staying there. Granada is easily one of the best places to visit in the whole of Spain, I would even go as far as to say the whole of Europe so it attracted travellers and holiday makers from all around. I made friends with a married couple in their 30’s from the United States who were on a year-long honeymoon, as well as an older gentleman in his 60’s who stayed for several months. You could class this hostel as an infamous ‘party hostel’ although I feel that this name puts some people off unnecessarily.
The Oasis Hostel has its own bar which is staffed by one of the amazing members of the Oasis hostel team. It is open every day from 6pm until midnight and there are reasonably priced beers and cocktails. Like all bars it also has a happy hour so drinking here definitely doesn’t break the bank. But unlike some other hostels who are just out to make money, the Oasis hostel allows you to bring your own booze, and you can drink in any area until midnight when the hostel is a quiet zone.
Granada is well known for having a fantastic nightlife, and like everywhere else in Spain the Spanish start late at night. Restaurants get busy from 10pm onwards, and clubs don’t even open until 12pm. The weekends at the Oasis hostel were busy and full even on the weekends so pre-booking is a must, and most of the hostel would gather together in the kitchen or bar to drink together before heading out for the evening.
But what was so wonderful about this hostel, and what has made it unique for me in the hundreds that I have stayed in previously, is how inclusive it was of everyone’s tastes. On one night I would drink with my new friends and stumble in at 6am a bit worse for wear. The next night when I wanted to stay in I would just chat and cook with other guests and share our travel stories.
Granada itself has a very good music and arts University and it is well known for having a very eclectic art scene. Thanks to this it attracts jugglers, musicians and nomads from all over Europe. And the hostel was no different. One night the people that had brought instruments gathered together and we had a music session.
Whatever you enjoy doing, you will find someone else at the Oasis hostel that likes doing that too.
Food and Drinks
No article about Granada can be written that does not include a whole section on tapas. You may know tapas as a type of Spanish meal where you order several small dishes, and share them. This is technically correct, but a Spaniard might die of shock to know that you are paying for tapas as that is certainly not the Spanish way.
In Granada, you get a free piece of tapas with every drinks order. A middle-sized beer is usually €2 but with that you will get a small dish of tasty food. The examples of tapas range from pieces of squid, to patatas bravas (potato covered in hot sauce), to pieces of serrano ham. Granada is famous all over Spain for having the best tapas in the country. Spain’s tourism has boomed over the past 25years and it has learned that tourists will pay for tapas. Granada is one of the few cities in Spain where tapas is still tapas like it was years ago. Bars and restaurants actually compete to see who can be known as the best tapas in Granada, so the quality of food and drink is high. For €10 you can get 5 drinks and a whole meal’s worth of tasty foods.
I am not going to talk too much about all the amazing things to do in the city of Granada in Anadalucia, Spain, because if you don’t already know that then shame on you. There are so many resources available on the internet, and you can even check out Oasis Hostel’s website for a handy City guide. Granada is easily one of my favourite places in Spain, and is absolutely perfect for a long weekend away at any time of year. Whether you want to visit in January and head off to the Sierra Nevada mountain for skiing, or visit in August and hide from the burning sun with an ice cold beer enjoying the free tapas that is served at every bar: Granada is a year-round tourist destination.
The hostel itself is situated in the vibrant and energetic Moorish district of Albaicin, which is as close to the centre of Granada as you could possibly be. Everything worth doing in Granada happens in Albaicin so as for as location goes the hostel is absolutely perfect.
The city of Granada is well known as being the last stronghold of the Moors before they were evicted from Spain 500 years ago. The story goes that the Catholic army surrounded the city of Granada, giving the Moors, the Muslim population of Spain who had been in the country nearly 800 years, only 48 hours notice to collect their belongings and return by sea to Morocco and Africa.
Almost the whole population of Granada’s Moors left after Muhammad XII of Granada (King Boabdil) succeeded to the new King of Queen of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella who’s rein of exiling all non-Catholic religions is infamous in all of Europe. The legend goes that as Boaobdil, known as the last Muslim king of Spain, was leaving Granada in exile he is said to have turned back for one last look of his beloved Granada, and burst into tears. His unwavering Mother who was by his side but unsympathetic to her Son’s cries, turned to him and said “You do well, my son, to cry like a woman for what you couldn’t defend like a man.”
While this is a story well rumoured and does make fun of poor King Boabdil, it does not take into account the difficult decision he had to make in order to save the lives of all of his people who would have undoubtedly been massacred by the new and powerful King and Queen of Spain. After handing back the keys of Granada to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Boabdil is said to have declared them the keys to paradise, and as a tourist 500 years later it is not hard to see why.
Thankfully, much of the Moorish architecture is still ingrained in the streets, buildings and architecture of Granada. The city seeps of history and culture with something new to discover around every corner.
La Alhambra is one of the most popular muslim palace’s in all the world. People visit Granada just to view this beautiful piece of architecture. Because of this, tickets sell out months in advance. But it is well worth visiting and a must-see for every visitor. If you really can’t book tickets, try and get there early in the morning to see if there are any left for that day, or ask your hostel to get you a ticket. The Oasis hostel was always helping guests get tickets while I was there.
Guest Rating 10/10
I could write pages about all the wonderful experiences I had whilst staying at the Oasis hostel. I have literally stayed at hundreds of hostels and it is easily one of the best. The friends I made will be lifelong acquaintances, from all over the world.
I can’t wait for the day when I get to go back and make even more memories, and maybe I will even see you there for a beer at the bar.