Keeping yourself and your stuff safe is something most travelers read about before arriving. However it's easy to let your guard down when your checking out the sights or relaxing at a café/bar after a long day. Unfortunately there may be someone out there keeping an eye on you and your bag, and they've likely practiced enough to know just the right moment to take advantage of you. While petty theft can be a problem in Granada, you can better your chances of avoiding it by using common sense and being aware of your surroundings. It is not something to be paranoid about. Just use a little common sense and remember you aren't in your home town.

Topics: Granada

Granada is a fairly safe city and there are hardly any worries of violent or major crime. Petty theft is the general proble, if there is one. As with most cities you should be more careful in train and bus stations and around toursit attractions. Two areas where there is more petty theft would be the Albaicin and Sacromonte, and as with any places the chances are generallt greater at night. Still, I would guess that 99.9% of you will be fine! Just be aware of what you are doing so you won't be the 0.1%.


If you are staying in a hotel and it has a safe for valuables use it. Stash your passport and maybe one extra credit card in there in case you lose your wallet while your out.


If you plan to use it keep your wallet in your front pocket and not your back. I've heard of some carrying a dummy wallet in their back pocket, but must ask why? Unless your idea of a good time is attracting the local pickpockets. Although I don't personally like them I do recommend using a money belt. Always have a back-up plan so you have a credit card or traveler's checks located in another place - be it your bag, your hotel safe or someone else traveling with you.


Keep a small lock on any pockets of your backpack with valuables. Decide whether locking every pocket or zipper is wise - would it really be the end of the world if someone stole your sweatshirt or a pair of socks? These locks are easy enough to cut if you lose the key, but think about keeping an extra one in your hotel room or apartment.


When at a cafe or bar on the street with your camera (or other) bag try placing one leg of your chair through the strap. Now anyone taking of with it has to drag you and your chair with them. Keep you bags on your lap, or in your direct line of sight while you are sitting. Try keeping at least an arm or something through a strap on the bag.


Take a glance around you before taking out money, and put it away safely at the ATM, not as you are walking away. Don't withdraw a lot of money from an ATM at night. If you need to take money out at night have a friend accompany you or just be aware of who is around you when make the transaction. Choose a location on a main street with a lot of light.


Don't carry your passport with you at all times. Do take it with you if you need to exchange money. Carry a copy of it with you in your wallet when not exchanging money. When using a credit card almost all establishments will accept a driver's license or other form of ID in place of a passport.


Many visitors are tempted to take advantage of the siesta to take photos or see more of the city. But why not relax and eat lunch, take a nap and then head out at 5pm with everyone else. Some streets are desserted during these hours which make you an easier target. Remember most thieves prefer not to draw attention to themselves and the less people, the less witnesses.

Cars and Taxis:

Never, ever leave anything in your car whether it is the trunk, glove box or under the seat. Taxi drivers are generally nice folks but to be safe remember you don't have to put your camera or computer bag in the trunk. You're camera will thank you for not being jostled around in the back, your hard drive will thank you for not having to withstand jolts of the cobblestone streets, and any driver who insists on putting either in the trunk can be politely ignored.

Variations exist of the examples below.


A common theft involves 1 or 2 people on a scooter who target the bag hanging over your shoulder. They zip by and one grabs your bag and then they race off. This is common in the smaller and winding streets where they can easily get away. I was witness to one in Seville during the month of July where the victim lost everything except her passport. I was witness to another in November where the person lost only come cash and a few personal items. Wear both straps on your backpack and keep your purse or camera straps over the shoulder and around your neck. If you do carry a bag on one shoulder try making it the shoulder which is opposite the road.

Cafe/restaurant table

Especially in tourist areas keep your hands on your bags. A camera in the seat next to you or on the table is an easy target. If you must place a bag on the ground try lifting up your seat and placing the strap underneath one of the legs of the chair and then sit down. It's much harder for the thief to drag the bag with you and the chair holding it down.


Especially for women, keep an eye on your purse. Keep it over on your shoulder and around your neck. Be aware of people quickly making friends with you, too. One student met four "friends" and had a good amount to drink with them. After heading to another bar the four decided they liked his expensive watch and fought him until they could take it along with his wallet.


These spontaneous street and plaza parties are where a lot of alcohol is consumed make for easy prey. Watch your bags and other valuables.


Many variations on this tactic. A person may come up to you in the street to ask you a question or for directions while another is behind ready to take something from you. I've even heard of a water pistol being used to squirt a tourist with water. It took them by surprise, and as they looked to see where it came from another person quickly grabbed the person's bag and ran off.


Thriving in crowded areas the old bump and grab the wallet is common. Especially during Semana Santa when you have little choice but to wedge yourself between people to get to your destination. On a crowded bus beware of people looking for wallets or putting their hands in purses. Also beware of hanging your jacket over a chair if you have anything valuable in it.

Sometimes avoiding trouble means disguising yourself a bit from the people who prey on tourists. What I'm not saying here is that you should avoid walking the streets doing these things, change your hair color or height, and buy new shoes. What I am saying is in the list below are several things which, to varying degrees, can make you stand-out from sevillanos. Some of them are in conjunction with others. Example: wearing shorts does not always make you stand out, but shorts with blonde hair and a baseball cap will make you an obvious foreigner. One small recommendation - if you can stand a day without your camera, your day-pack and water bottle you can sometimes enjoy yourself more. Take a day off from taking pictures and just wander around feeling "light" and see what you may encounter.
  • baseball caps, especially if worn backwards, in different languages or one recently purchased with something about Granada, toros, etc. Ok, I guess that's just about any baseball hat.
  • tourist t-shirts (similar to above baseball hat types)
  • shorts
  • Nike (or other popular brands) cross-trainers, running shoes, hiking boots, Teva-type sandals and sometimes flip flops when worn outside of summer months.
  • city maps and big guidebooks
  • fanny packs
  • camera bags
  • large backpacks with the ever popular wear the smaller backpack on your chest.
  • constantly staring up at everything that amazes you (i.e.: not keeping your eye on the people around you in "touristy" areas.)
  • height - sorry for the taller travelers, but they will notice a 6' 6" person every place you go.
  • blonde hair
  • speaking loudly in English or other foreign languages
  • behaving too carefree, as in being drunk and not paying attention to your surroundings
  • eating, drinking and shopping in the "touristy" places

If you have been the victim of a crime the first thing you should do is contact the local police. You can do so by calling the number 092 from any phone. You will be required to make a denuncia, or an official police report about the crime. If your car has been broken into it is wise to call and wait for the police to arrive on the scene. If you have been robbed and are unharmed you should visit the nearest local police office to file a report. If you do not speak Spanish there is normally a telephone line in the office where you can give your report over the phone in English and a few other languages. Or you may be lucky and there may be someone there who speaks your language and can take the report. The report may then be given to an officer and you will confirm the details. The latter is more difficult as the officer may not speak much English. You will need a copy of the report to make any kind of insurance claim (travel, auto, etc.) or to receive a new passport in the case that it was stolen. For U.S. and many other citizens replacing a passport means a trip to Madrid. They will not be able to replace the passport at the consulate in other cities if you are a U.S. citizen. The wait in Madrid could be several weeks, so this can really ruin a trip, especially if you are without financial resources. To limit the damage to your vacation follow these three simple rules:

  • Passport: Avoid carrying your original passport with you unless you need it to exchange money or for proof of ID. Carry a copy with you instead. If you need to have your passport with you store the copy in another location. Always keep them separate.
  • Credit Card: Keep one credit card in a separate location. If possible make sure you have a sufficient amount of credit to last you a week or more. Make sure you have a PIN for the credit card so you can withdraw cash from a machine without needing to provide identification in a bank (they may not accept a copy of your passport as ID).
  • Telephone numbers: Always keep handy the numbers to call your bank and cancel your ATM or other credit cards.

If you don't have the numbers to call your specific bank to cancel credit cards you can use the numbers below. Don't worry too much about whether you bought into that credit card protection plan: in almost all cases you will only be responsible for up to $50 of fraudulent charges, then the bank covers the rest. This is why I never pay the fraud protection my credit card companies offer. It doesn't do much to protect me and the cost will quickly be higher than the amount I would be responsible for if my card were stolen and used.

Card type Telephone
American Express 915 720 303
Master Card 900 971 231
Visa 900 974 445


Like any hospital in the U.S. or other parts of the world every hospital in Granada also has an emergency room for urgent care needs. An alternative to public hospitals are the private clinics, or clínicas. Most of these are for specific private insruance providers - a hospital or clinic for those who have contracted medical insurance through the provider. There are also some separate emergency care facilities or centros de urgencias, in the city. The address and telephone for the four largest hospital facilities are below. These are the most likely destinations for urgent medical care in the city of Granada.

Main hospitals in Granada

Hospital Clínico Universitario San Cecilio

Tel: 958 023 259
Address: Avenida Doctor Oloriz, 16

Hospital Nuestra Señora de la Salud

Tel: 958 808 880
Address: Avenida Nuestra Señora de la Salud

Hospital San Juan de Dios

Tel: 958 022 904
Address: calle San Juan de Dios

Hospital Universitario Vírgen de las Nieves

Tel: 958 020 002
Address: Avenida Fuerza de las Armadas, 2

Knowing where to pick up a prescription after a doctor's visit or when you are suffering from the flu is of course very important. It's not always as easy as the U.S., where you can head out to the local drugstore or even a 24 hour pharmacy. What the farmacias can do better (in most cases) in Spain is give more advice than the pharmacy back home. They do a good job making sure you get what you need and don't start taking something that can do you harm. Many over the counter medications in the U.S. and other countries will only be found in a farmacia or a parafarmacia. A parafarmacia offers these over the counter drugs, but no prescription drugs, along with a lot of the basics like shampoo, soap, etc..

Most farmacia locations in Granada are open on the regular business schedule of mornings, then a break for lunch and then open again in the afternoons. If you are looking for something between 2-5pm or after 8:30pm you may need to take a map with you. In this case each neighborhood has a rotating system of Farmacia de Guardias, where each pharmacy location within a region of the city takes on the responsibility of being the all-night or all-day pharmacy. A list of these by date and neighborhood is provided on the front window of every pharmacy or in local newspapers. It's important you know your location (i.e. - what neighborhood you're in) to determine the nearest one. When you arrive be prepared to ring the bell and do business from the street through a gate or window, as these locations generally keep their doors locked for security reasons.

There are some farmacias which are always open (24 hours) as well as some which are 12 hour pharamcies (ie: 10-20:00 pm). Below a list of extra hours farmacias

Calle Reyes Católicos, 5
Tel: 958 262 664

Puerta Real, 2
Tel: 958 263 113

Calle Recogidas, 48
Tel: 958 251 290

Avenida Dílar, 16
Tel: 958 811 806

Calle Periodista José Mª Carulla, 8
Tel: 958 154 949

Safety and health also means access to social services for emergencies, counseling and other assistance. Below are two telephone numbers for organizations which can help with specific issues. I hope to add more in the near future.

Who/What Telephone
Child abuse hotline 900 210 966
Women's abuse hotline 900 100 009


Unfortunately most travelers need to contact their consulate only in the case of a lost or stolen passport. Your consulate can of course be of help for visa or legal issues as well. In Granada there are very few, and for many courntries the closest consultae may be in Seville or Malaga. If you want to locate any embassy/consulate anywhere in the world then I recommend you visit Embassyworld.com

Country Address Telephone
Belgium Neptuno 6 958 251 631
France Carlos Pareja, 5, bajo 958 521 037
Italy San Matías, 15 958 224 861


The numbers below are helpful in emergency situations or when you have been a victim of crime. With all of these numbers it can get quite confusing about who to call. The first three numbers are the most important. If you have an emergency situation and are not sure which to call use the 112 number.

Who/What What for... Telephone
Emergency (as in 911) any emergency 112
National Police major crime 091
Ambulance medical emergency 061
Fire (Bomberos) in case of fire 080
Municipal/Local Police minor crime; city traffic 092
Guardia Civil accidents outside of cities 092
Red Cross (Cruz Roja) humanitarian 958 137 336‎
Farmacia de Guardia locate 24 hr. pharmacy/chemist 900 171 727
American Express lost or stolen card 915 720 303
Master Card lost or stolen card 900 971 231
Visa lost or stolen card 900 974 445



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