Granada The Alhambra
Granada is well-known for its must-visit – the UNESCO Alhambra Palace, the gorgeous gardens of the Generalife and the Moorish Albaicin. Although they are on two separate hills, they form the medieval part of Granada city but don’t just visit these popular tourists spots, there’s so much more to see.
Must Visit in Granada
The Mirador de San Nicolas is a large square with the most incredible views of The Alhambra, the city and beyond to the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada. It’s a bit of a walk, but an interesting one. Go up through the narrow, windy, cobbled back lanes of the Albaicin, just keep heading uphill! It should be done on foot to discover the charming corners and lovely architecture, but buses and taxis are also an option.
The Baroque and Renaissance Granada Cathedral in the heart of Granada city is Spain’s best example of Renaissance architecture. Started in 1523 it took five years to complete, it was begun by one architect in the Baroque style and completed by another in Renaissance style. A must visit whether churches are your thing or not. Next to the cathedral is the Royal Chapel where the Catholic Kings, the defeaters of the Moors, are laid to rest.
The Hammam Baths, Granada
The Hammam Baths in Granada are a wonderful way to relax especially if you been exploring the city and walking around the Alhambra. Imagine low lights, steam rising, lulling Arabic music. Relax in the warm bath, alternate between cold, warm and hot, take a sauna and if you want book in for a massage too. There’s nothing so spell-binding and evocative. Try and choose a quieter time to visit, the less people the better.
The Alcaiceria – The Moorish Market
The Alcaiceria is a wonderfully busy, bustling bazaar, the ancient Arab market packed with bright baubles and souvenirs, once the marketplace for selling silks, fabrics and herbs. You’ll definitely find keepsakes and presents to take home with you here.
The narrow back streets of the Albaicin will have you dreaming of visiting Morocco or make you believe you are actually there. Oozing with bright colours, leathers goods, colourfully rich clothes and gorgeous rainbow lights you will find it difficult to stop browsing and wanting almost everything on offer.
My Favourite Places in Granada
There are so many fabulous little plazas, tiny nooks and interesting views in Granada, which I’m lucky enough to be able to visit again and again. My favourites are the Corral del Carbon. A beautiful building from the XIV century when it was a corn exchange. It’s the only one remaining from the Nasrid Dynasty on the Iberian Peninsula.
The other is the Museum Fundacion Rodriguez Acosta. A visit on five levels of the building and studio and the gardens of the painter José María Rodríguez-Acosta. With decorative pieces from across the world the garden is mishmash of ponds, Palomino frescoes, statues, carvings and paintings, It also has fabulous views across Granada and tunnels from the Alhambra, which is literally next door.
Granada’s tapas culture is a huge draw and they are served with drinks (not coffee.) It’s possible to eat sufficient for a meal by just ordering drinks, but more fun if you choose what you have! One of the typical dishes is Andalusian gazpacho, habas a la granadina which is baby broad beans with artichokes and piononos which are sponge cakes topped with cream originally from the nearby town of Santa Fe.
The choice of tapas bars is huge so booking a tapas tour is a great idea, you get taken to some of the better bars and can also get loads of recommendations for your own tour later.
Granada province produces some great local wines so rather than asking for a Rioja ask for local wines or vinos de la zona.
Sangria is of course a popular drink especially for tourists and is a tasty long and refreshing drink on the warm balmy nights of summer.
The absolute must stay is the Granada Parador a former monastery built on the site of a Nasrid Palace, the remains are visible in the Nasrid Room. It is actually within the Alhambra complex and the fountains and gardens of the medieval Moorish/Christian fortress.
The most expensive, but probably the most stunning of all the Paradors, expect to pay from 260€ a night, it’s a fabulous place to stay but on top of a hill. There are many lovely hotel options down in the city and one of my centrally located favourites in Boutique Hotel Gar Anat.
Getting To Granada
National and several European companies fly into Granada -Jaen Airport just outside the city and taxis or a bus service will get you into the centre. Malaga’s International airport is an hour or so away by road or buses run fairly frequently and daily from Malaga. It’s possible to go from other cities within Spain by train. Driving in Spain is easy until you get into the cities where parking is always problematical, you can try parking outside the city near the bus station and getting a bus into the city, that’s what we do.
I hope you enjoy Granada as much as I do.
Read some of my other posts about Granada
Or my post about the Hammam Al Andalus in Malaga