Would You Live Like This? Meet Spain’s Nomadic Cave Gypsies

Sorina the Gypsy in Spain
Sorina from Romania prepares dinner
Granada, Spain

There is a fascinating community of people living in Spain who make their homes out of abandoned caves. Join me on a photo tour through Sacromonte’s gypsy neighborhood.

In the hills above the beautiful Spanish city of Granada lies the Roma/Gitano/Gypsy cave community of Sacromonte. After the fall of the Moorish empire in the 1500’s, the Roma arrived and carved cave homes into the hillside. These days much of Sacromonte has become a tourist spot.

Visitors flock here to watch the famous Gitano Flamenco dancing shows.

But if you hike above the visible neighborhood of Sacromonte, you’ll discover a slightly different community made up of nomads, hippies, and modern gypsies who now live in the previously abandoned caves. There are about 30-40 who live here full-time, with many others passing through, staying for a few months before moving on.

It’s an eclectic mix of people from all over the world.

Most of the caves have electricity, either from solar panels or grid power wired in from outside. Some have TVs. Running water and outhouse-style toilets are often shared between a few neighbors.

I spent a couple days hanging out, taking photos of and learning about the community. Even spending one night in a cave. Please enjoy this rare glimpse into the life of a wandering cave gypsy.

Sacromonte Cave Home in Spain
A colorful gypsy cave home
Luis is a Gypsy in Spain
Luis is from the Canary Islands
Sacromonte Cave Community Spain
The hills above Granada are covered in caves
Sacromonte Cave Kitchen Spain
Cave kitchen with electricity and appliances!
Anais lives in caves in Spain
Anais from Germany is just passing through

Who Are The Gypsies?

Ok, due to the increased popularity of this post combined with random commenters claiming I don’t know what a Gypsy is, I’ve decided to go into more detail here. The neighborhood of Sacromonte in the city of Granada is a Gypsy neighborhood. Gypsy with a capital “G”.

These are people from Romani or Gitano decent. The english word “Gypsy” comes from “Egyptian,” based on a false believe they came from Egypt (they came from Northern India).

The caves above Sacromonte were originally inhabited by these people (Gypsy/Roma/Gitano).

Now, the caves are being used by modern gypsies (with a lowercase G). As in free-spirited travelers, hippies, and foreign refugees.

The neighborhood of Sacromonte and the old caves above it are two separate things. However there are also cave homes within Sacromonte owned by actual Gitanos/Roma/Gypsies. I think this is where some of the confusion comes from.

The people in my photos here are not Gitanos/Roma.

Granada Spain Views
The best views of Granada & Alhambra Palace
Tania Gypsy in Spain
Tania from Spain and her dog Wanda help plant a garden
Inside Sacromonte Cave in Spain
The view from inside a cave
Sacromonte Gypsy from Senegal
Ella is one of many cave gypsies from Senegal
Sacromonte Gypsy Cave Spain
This cave has a solar panel above the door
Irit the Gypsy Sacromonte Spain
Irit moved from New York City into a gypsy cave
Gypsy Pony in Spain
Some of the gypsies own horses and ponies
Sacromonte Gypsy Iwan in Spain
Iwan from Romania studied film in college
Sacromonte Community Toilet Spain
Saved the best for last: overflowing outdoor community toilet!

READ MORE SPAIN TRAVEL TIPS

I hope you enjoyed my story about Spain’s Nomadic Cave Gypsies! Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

Would you be able to live like this? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

THANKS FOR READING

Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 9 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel with crazy stories, photography, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
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