Granada is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Spain because of its abundance of historic and cultural landmarks. Churches, monasteries, convents, palaces, and houses from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical periods dot the landscape of this city, which also serve as the city of an archbishop. At the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, a National Park designated Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1986., in the Andalusia region of southern Spain, is the city of Granada. The Alhambra, a masterpiece of medieval architecture from the time of the Moorish occupation, has brought it worldwide recognition. The Nasrid Dynasty's regal residences and tranquil patios and reflecting ponds are all a part of this huge hilltop fortification complex, which also includes the Generalife gardens and their fountains and orchards.
Spain’s Granada has centuries of Moorish and Christian history and is the most compact and walkable city. The Alhambra fortress, the Alcaiceria (marketplace), the Cathedral, and numerous other architectural landmarks are all must-sees in Granada. You can explore the fascinating Albaicin, Granada's maze-like Moorish old quarter, before heading out for a night on the town, where the nightlife is incredibly vibrant.
BEST TIME TO VISIT THE CITY
The best time to visit Granada is in May and June as well as September and October. From May to June, temperatures are cool, flowers are fully bloomed and some of the city's biggest cultural events fill up the calendar.
Click by Sharon Mollerus from Flickr
Alhambra: A Masterpiece of Islamic Architecture
The Alhambra is a fortified mountaintop citadel with the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains as a backdrop. This UNESCO World Heritage site was the home of the Nasrid Dynasty of Moorish monarchs for 250 prosperous years, from the 13th to the 15th centuries. These palaces represented the Moors' final bastion in Spain. The Alhambra, a virtual museum of Islamic architecture, is protected by centuries-old walls and looks like an impregnable castle from a distance. It is a massive architectural complex with four distinct areas separated by beautiful gardens. The Alcazaba, a Moorish stronghold built in the 13th century, is the oldest structure in the Alhambra complex. The Alcazaba's towers and walls are all that remain. The Nasrid Palaces, utilized by the Sultans of the Nasrid Dynasty, are the most impressive structures in the compound. The Nasrid Palaces, as is typical of secular Moorish architecture, had simple exteriors but lavish interiors filled with intricate tilework and quiet courtyards. In the 16th century, following the Moorish conquest, the Spanish ruler Charles V had his summer residence, the Palace of Charles V, constructed. Generalife Palace, a pleasure villa for the sultans of Granada, is surrounded by beautiful and tranquil Moorish gardens. The grounds are beautiful, with flower-covered terraces and patios that provide welcome shade and gaze out over the Alhambra and the surrounding mountains.
Click by Linda from Flickr
Albaicin and Mirador of San Nicolas
Albaicin, a barrio built on a hill opposite the Alhambra, is a sight to behold with its meandering, cobblestone alleyways, flower-covered buildings, and secret tiny plazas. If you want to feel Europe's old-world allure, this is one of the best places to do it. For a taste of Granada's charm, wander the winding streets of the Albaicin which is the medieval Arabic quarter of Granada formerly enclosed by protective walls and has kept its authentic Moorish identity through its charming narrow lanes and plain whitewashed dwellings. From the town's newly constructed gate (Puerta de los Estandartes) to its older, still standing gate (Puerta Monaita), the town's historic ramparts have been very well preserved. The Puerta de Elvira, built in the ninth century, was formerly the town's primary gate, and the Cuesta de la Alhacaba offers the best view of the walls. Views of the Alhambra complex, which is separated from the Albaicin by the dramatic gorge of the Ro Darro, can be had from many vantage points in the neighborhood of the Albaicin. The terrace in front of the 16th-century Church of San Nicolas in the center of the Albaicin is home to the most stunning perspective in the area. Views of the Alhambra Palace and the Sierra Nevada Mountains are frequently depicted in art. The Church of San Salvador, located next to San Nicholas, is a Mudéjar-style landmark that was constructed on the site of a former mosque (Christian architecture influenced by Islamic design). One of the oldest avenues in Granada, Carrera del Darro offers a stunning vantage point of the Alhambra from the river's north bank.
Click by Shadowgate from Flickr
The Bañuelo: Traditional Arab Baths
A tradition of the hammam (Arab Baths) was brought to Andalusia by the Moors from North Africa, and the Bauelo in Granada dates back to the 11th century and is among the oldest and finest maintained in all of Spain. They are one of the earliest Moorish sites still standing in Granada and one of the few bath complexes that survived the Reconquista when most were destroyed by the Catholic rulers who thought the baths were immoral. The Hammam Al Andalus, located close to Plaza Nueva, provides a modern-day alternative to the traditional Arab bathhouse. This hammam is a copy of an authentic Moorish bathhouse, built on ancient foundations and featuring the same elegant arches and superb Islamic-style tile work.
Click by Cristina Valencia from Flickr
Parque de las Ciencias (Science Park)
Traveling families with small children will have a great time exploring the many exhibits and interactive displays at the Science Park, located only a 15-minute stroll from Granada's old district. The Biosphere Pavilion delves into Earth's geology and ecosystem, while the Perception Pavilion focuses on the sense of sight and boasts technologies like a large kaleidoscope. There is also an outdoor display area that explores topics including botany, mechanics, perception, and energy, in addition to a Planetarium that projects 7,000 stars.
Click by Rakbo Team from Flickr
La Alcaicería (Arab Spice Market)
The original Moorish market was destroyed by fire in 1843, and an authentic Arab marketplace stands in its place. From Plaza Alonso Cano, the Alcaicera continues along the Calle de la Alcaicera to the cathedral. Silk and spice merchants once filled the entire Alcaicera district with their stalls and shops. This market is reminiscent of the old souk, but modern-day shoppers are the primary clientele of the shops there. The nearby Plaza Bib Rambla is a large public space that is often bustling with activities. The square is dominated by a beautiful fountain and encircled by ornate ironwork and bright flower stalls.
Click by Pinkitt from Flickr
Malaga is located on the Costa del Sol, although it has little in common with the rest of the coast. It has a lot of local character while being a major metropolitan area. Malaga is not a beach destination, but rather a destination for its huge cathedrals, exquisite architecture, and wonderful, laid-back street-side taverns and cafes serving traditional Spanish fare.
Click by Tobias Franz from Flickr
Marbella is located smack dab in the middle of the lengthy Costa del Sol, a popular tourist destination for Europeans seeking to escape the cold. The resorts in the area aren't convenient for a day trip from Grenada, but the city of Marbella is. There is a pleasant sea breeze along the lengthy avenue. Thanks to the location on the shore !
Click by Frayle from Flickr
El Caminito del Rey
El Caminito del Rey, also known as the King's Little Path, is a recently opened hiking trail for those who are up for more challenging altitudes. The walk winds around the cliffs and boulders of El Chorro Gorge, near Ronda, and is difficult for the faint of heart. Visitors are recommended to be accompanied by a guide and wear safety belts.
Click by Øyvind Holmstad from Flickr
Sacromonte is located on Granada's eastern outskirts, making it a quick and convenient escape from the city. Many of the residents of Sacromonte, however, do not reside in conventional dwellings but rather in natural caverns, making the neighborhood an exceptional oddity. People still live in the area, and the caves have been outfitted with all the amenities of modern life. However, to gain access to one of these out-of-the-way dwellings, you will need to befriend the locals first.
Click by INDIGO WOLFSBANE from Flickr
The Sierra Nevada mountain range, to the south and east of Granada, is so large and beautiful that you will want to come back again and again to explore it. The highest peak is a staggering 3479 meters high, making these mountains a sight to behold. Mount Mulhacen is not just one of Europe's tallest mountains, but also the tallest peak in Spain. Even if you don't feel like hiking to the top of this massive peak on a day trip, there are countless additional peaks and routes to explore. It is a spectacularly wild and beautiful region of the country.