Granada, Spain

Sitting at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is one of Spain’s premier tourist destinations. This small-ish city has a population of about 240,000 and gets an influx of tourists during the summer months – in part to see the amazing Alhambra!

IMG_3709

By far the most renowned Islamic structure situated in the Andalusia region of Spain (a southwestern province containing Seville and Cordoba), the Alhambra began to flourish during the 13th-century with the arrival of Muhammed l and the beginning of the Nasrid Dynasty.

It became a fortress, citadel and palace – while at the same time showing its strength as a military stronghold in this area dominated by Moors. (muslim inhabitants to the Iberian Peninsula)

IMG_3799IMG_3716IMG_3710

Today, the Alhambra is one of the most visited sites in the world; on par with the Pyramids of Egypt, Taj Mahal in India, and Colosseum in Rome. Amazing!

Admission into the general gardens and front section (below) is free but visitors are required to pay entry to access the different rooms and palaces.

IMG_3934IMG_3936IMG_3963IMG_3924IMG_3929IMG_3940

IMG_3933

As I mentioned, the above section (generalife) is completely free to enter and it will take about an hour or two to fully explore.

I purchased an additional ticket ($15 euros) to the Nasrid Palaces and if you have the chance (book tickets FAR in advance), it is absolutely worth the price of admission!

IMG_3943IMG_3955IMG_3949IMG_3952IMG_3948

These palaces were home to the kings of Granada and construction began in the 14th-century. Comprised of three buildings, the Nasrid Palaces are the most impressive areas of the Alhambra, and even after the Moors were expelled in the late 15th-century, the palaces, and Alhambra as a whole, have been extremely well-maintained!

IMG_3961IMG_3962IMG_3960

Plan on spending another hour to two hours checking out the Nasrid Palaces!

Although the Alhambra is the main reason people come to visit Granada, the city itself is nothing to sneeze at. Clean and well-maintained, Granada contains a number of parks and overall, is a very enjoyable city to explore on foot.

IMG_3693IMG_3705IMG_3664IMG_3698

The city-centre is small and compact, combining cobblestone streets with big-name shopping stores. Especially known for its’ tapas culture, Granada is full of cafés, restaurants and bars.

IMG_3904IMG_3824IMG_3897IMG_3898

The majority of these restaurants offer free tapas with the purchase of any beer or soft drink. Each restaurant offers something different but in general, the tapas are big enough to act as a meal substitute. SO, for the price of 2 – 2.50 euros, you can eat a small dinner and have a drink. Not bad!

And afterwards, continue to explore the awesome streets of Granada..

IMG_3671IMG_3670IMG_3672

IMG_3673IMG_3668IMG_3784

While there aren’t any beaches in the city, Granada is located just 70 kilometers from the coast. It has a hot and dry climate that can get up to 34ºC in July but the January average drops down to 6ºC. Granada is roughly three hours from both Cordoba and Seville and about four hours from Cadiz, Spain.

Along with the Alhambra and the downtown core, the Albaicín is the final ‘must visit’ area. One of the oldest centres of muslim culture in Granada, the Albaicín has retained its narrow, winding streets – common during the Nasrid times.

IMG_3706IMG_3718IMG_3719IMG_3720

This peaceful area sits elevated, alongside the centre of Granada, and contains some beautiful lookout spots to view the Alhambra. All of the houses are painted white, giving the Albaicín a completely different feel from the rest of Granada. It’s a must-see spot!

IMG_3708

Conclusion: 

Granada has a pretty lofty reputation and in my opinion, this reputation is deserved. The Alhambra is incredible, the Albaicín is unique and the charm of the city is hard not to appreciate.

IMG_3700IMG_3667

Additionally, Granada is the home of flamenco dancing and the previously mentioned tapas culture. While you can easily see the main sights in 2-3 days, I’d advise on spending some extra time getting to really know the charm of Granada!

Gracias por leer : )

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s