Granada (250,000 inhabitants) is famous for its beautiful Alhambra. You would almost forget, but Granada offers so much more. It is really a lively, atmospheric city with a lot of culture and history and, above all, an impressive location on a plateau in the Sierra Nevada mountains. As everywhere in the interior, it is hot in the summer and quite cold in the winter. The ski resort Sol y Nieve with permanently snow-covered glaciers lies just behind the city, which provides beautiful pictures.
Palace complex Alhambra
A visit to this fairytale ‘red’ palace complex in 1001-night style should not be missing from your to-do list when you visit Andalusia. The Alhambra has even been nominated as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. It is a walled palace complex consisting of a succession of different buildings in which the Moorish rulers used to live with their harem. The detailed decoration of the walls of the Alhambra, the carefully landscaped gardens and beautiful vistas are stunning. Unfortunately, during the Inquisition, the Spas left very little of the cultural heritage of their Arab rulers. It is extremely popular but small so always have reserved tickets. Otherwise, only the Alhambra gardens are an option.
Ski area Sol & Nieve
Sol y Nieve is truly a serious and well-attended ski resort and it is a special experience to be on the ski slope with the sunny coast in the background. There are even days when you ski in a bikini. From the village of Pradollano you can go up by cable car and then you can go up the slopes with tow lifts. The ski area is very busy, especially on weekends due to the local Granadeños who escape town for some outdoor sport. Championships are held regularly.
The center and district of Albaicin
You can enjoy shopping and eating out in the center. To remember: in Granada you have free tapas by the way! The old center consists of 2 parts: on the one hand a spaciously designed center with large historic buildings and many shops or chain stores. On the other hand there is the even older Moorish center with small winding streets – the Albaicín – which is built against the hill of the Alhambra. In the narrow cobblestone streets, which you really have to explore on foot, you will find many (tapas) bars, Arabic tea houses and restaurants. The Albaicín district, like the Alhambra, is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Mirador del Alhambra
Start at the Plaza Nueva with the Santa Anna church and if you are willing to climb a bit up to the Mirador del Alhambra, you will be treated to a breathtaking view of the Alhambra! With a little luck, you´ll enjoy live flamenco music on the square. When the warm sunlight shines on the Alhambra at sunset, it takes on a red glow. Hence the nickname ‘the red palace‘.
Many gypsies, or ‘gitanos’, live in Granada, who still uphold their century old culture. So there is no shortage of flamenco music in this city, both classical as modern in form of flamenco rap. In the ‘casas cuevas’ (cave houses) in Sacromonte there are regular traditional flamenco concerts for tourists with singing and dancing. One family has even participated in a reality soap on TV “The Gypsy Kings” and is now a national celebrity.
Parque de las ciencias
It is highly recommended for young and old
science museum ‘Parque de las Ciencias‘ close to Granada center. Besides the fact that this park is very educational and versatile, it is actually a lot of fun! There is so much to see and experience that you can easily spend two days in this museum.
In Parque de las Ciencias you will find temporary exhibitions of, for example, Escher, the human body, or of almost lifelike dinosaurs. There is also a discovery corner for small children, a viewing tower, a wild bird show and almost every educational theme has been made interactive in some creative way. Surprising and always worth repeating! All descriptions are also in English.
Hammam & teterias
For an authentic Moorish feel, visit an Arabian bathhouse (close to Plaza Nueva is the bathhouse “Hammam” www.hammamspain.com/granada) and another recommendation is said to be Aljibe de San Miguel, www.aljibesanmiguel.es).
Another way to taste the Arab influence on the city is to visit a tea house, a tetería. They are of course mainly found in the Moorish quarter el Albaicín.
Another place to retreat is the park. The park is close to the Alhambra. There are many animals and beautiful plants to see. For example, there are many squirrels around and sometimes you are lucky enough to spot a stray peacock. The park offers beautiful fountains and large statues. The park consists of several ‘floors’ and carries the name Carmen de Los Martires.
Another place you really should visit to relax and unwind is the Granada Cathedral. The cathedral is one of the largest Renaissance buildings in Spain and is breathtaking. Outside you´ll have all kinds of options to buy souvenirs, herbs and tea.
- The Granada market is on Thursday morning, Saturday morning (Plaza Larga) and Sunday morning.
- Granada also has a beautiful Santa Clara Golf course
- Feria Granada: mid-May