My selection of some of the best things to see and do in Granada, including the unmissable Royal Alhambra Palace.
Noticeably different than either Barcelona or Madrid, the cities of Southern Spain retain a legacy of 700 years of Islamic rule. During this time the Moors built spectacular palaces and gardens as are evident in the Royal Alhambra Palace palace.
Granada is also appealing not only for the Alhambra, but its enticing Albayzín Arab Quarter full of tapas bars and shops selling colourful lanterns and artisan goods. You won’t be short of things to do in Granada.
Home to one of Spain’s largest and most respected universities, Granada has a youthful vibe that makes the city buzz throughout the school year.
As far as nightlife is concerned the Sacromonte district of the city is said to be the birthplace of flamenco and has clubs built into the hillside caves where gipsies settled after the Reconquista in 1492.
The Royal Alhambra Palace
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alhambra palace was originally a small fort built on the remains of Roman fortifications. Centuries later, Nasrid emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar added to it in the mid-13th century. Beautifully stunning and architecturally perfect with its flowing arches, mosaic tiles and Islamic scripts, the Alhambra palace Granada should be on everyone’s itinerary of best places to see when visiting Southern Spain.
With a strict limit of only 6,600 visitors per day the Alhambra palace gets booked up weeks in advance. To avoid disappointment buy your ticket online and plan your trip to Granada around it.
After exploring Alhambra you have the opportunity to visit the Generalife Gardens. The garden consists of a long pool framed by flowerbeds, fountains, colonnades and pavilions and is the best preserved Moorish garden in the world.
Along with the neighbouring Sacromonte district of the city, the Albayzín Arab Quarter is the main tourist destination. A maze of narrow streets built on a steep hillside, it is in the Albayzín where you will find the best restaurants and tapas bars.
Mirador de San Nicolás
To capture that awe-inspiring photo of the Alhambra, you need to walk to the top of the Albayzín to the Church of San Nicolas. From this vantage point, the Alhambra looks stunning. It’s especially photogenic at sunset and at night, because the palace gets illuminated.
Relax at the Arab Baths in Granada
After all that walking, why not pamper yourself in the Hammam Al Andalus Arab Baths. Built over what remained of the original baths the new facility has the look and feel of a Sultans Palace with five pools all set at a different temperature. If you want to get a massage you have to book in advance.
Dinner and a Flamenco show
No trip to Granada would be complete without experiencing Flamenco first hand. For dinner, head up to Sacromonte and select a one of the many club’s that takes your fancy.
Getting to Granada
Conveniently Easyjet now has flights to Granada from Manchester and Gatwick. However, most people visit as a day trip while staying in Malaga. Getting from Malaga to Granada is easier now with regular buses departing from the main bus station in Malaga with a journey time of just over two hours. Alternatively, you can book a private taxi to Granada from Malaga if you want a more direct trip.
Where to Stay in Granada
If you plan on staying overnight or for a couple of days try and get a hotel near the Plaza Nueva. All the things you will want to see and do are within walking distance plus if you don’t fancy walking up the steep hills you can catch a local bus in the main square.