Granada’s Alhambra is one of Spain’s greatest attractions and was nominated on the shortlist of “New Wonders of the World” by the New7Wonders Foundation. Your visit will undoubtedly be focused on the palaces and gardens of this quite stunning monument. However, the city has plenty more to offer including the cathedral where the Catholic Kings, Fernando and Isabella, are buried and a delightful Moorish quarter known as the Albaicín where there are some charming small hotels and authentic tapas bars.
Alhambra PalaceThis palace-fortress of the rulers of the last Spanish Moorish kingdom is one of Europe’s most important monuments. It consists of three distinct groups of buildings: the Palacios Nazaríes (Royal Palace, or Nasrid Palaces), the palace gardens of the Generalife, and the Alcazaba. See Alhambra Palace for more information.
Albaicín and around
The Albaicín is the largest and most characteristic Moorish quarter that survives in Spain. It contains minor Moorish sites as well as the city’s later Christian monuments. Highlights include the following:
Moorish public baths (Carrera del Darro, 31). Tiny baths just along from Plaza Nueva which most visitors tend to miss. Well worth a visit. (Tues-Sat 10am-2pm)
Archeological Museum (Casa de Castril, 43). A Renaissance mansion houses this museum. (Tues 3-8pm, Wed-Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 9am-2.30pm)
Mirador de San Nicolás. At the side of the Archaelogical museum a road climbs steeply into the Albaicin where this viewing point offers the best view of the Alhambra in the whole city. To avoid the walk just take a bus or taxi up there. This is an absolute must.
The Royal Chapel (April-Sept Mon-Sat 10.30am-1pm & 4-7pm, Sun 11am-1pm & 4-7pm; Oct-March Mon-Fri 10.30am-1pm, Sat & Sun 11am-1pm) is the city’s most impressive Christian building. It contains the tombs of Fernando and Isabella ( Los Reyes Católicos).
Granada’s Cathedral adjoins the Capilla Real (April-Sept Mon-Sat 10.45am-1.30pm & 4-7pm, Sun 4-7pm; Oct-March Mon-Sat 10.30am-1.30pm, Sun 4-7pm). It was begun in 1521, just as the chapel was finished, but was then left incomplete well into the eighteenth century.
Other Suggested Activities
Granada still has a large gypsy population from which many of Spain’s best flamenco guitarists, dancers and singers have emerged. Traditionally the gypsies inhabit cave homes on the Sacromonte hill. You’ll find various flamenco shows on offer at your hotel reception.
Arab Baths and Tea rooms
Just off Plaza Nueva behind the church of Santa Ana, the Baños Arabes Al Andalus, c/Santa Ana 16 (reservation required on 958 229 978) is a modern version of a Moorish bathhouse. Take your swimming gear down with you and relax after your long journey then have a cup of tea in the tetería (tea room) upstairs.
Bullfights are held in season (March to November) at the Plaza de Toros on Avenida del Doctor Olóriz 25. The bullring’s ticket office (tel 958 271 950) or any of the tourist offices has details of upcoming corridas.
If you’re in Granada in the summer you might want to head out to the Piscina Miami (tel 958 250 031), junction c/Arabial and c/Virgen Blanca (west of the centre) which has has an Olympic-size pool and a kids’ pool.