Rising above the modern city of Granada, is one of Andalusia´s most impressive monuments: Alhambra. It was built in 1238 by order of Muhammad I Ibn al-Ahmar but took more than a hundred years to be completed. Alhambra means ´red castle´ The Alhambra functioned as a fortress, a palace and a small medina (city) at the same time. Originally built only for military purposes, it has high walls and a strategic location overlooking the city and surrounding areas. All of its spectacular views, palaces, gardens and art pieces make Alhambra a must-see while in Andalusia.
The Generalife sits on the slopes of Cerro del Sol (Hill of the Sun) overlooking the entire city of Granada. The palace was used as a quiet resort for the kings of Granada that wanted to get away from the official affairs at the Alhambra. Even though the complexes are very close to one another, the Generalife feels like a woldd apart. Nowadays the palace still exudes the calmth those kings must have felt while staying here. The architecture is less decorative than the nearby-located Alhambra, but stylish and beautiful nonetheless.
Albaícin is Granada´s oldest neighborhood. So not surprisingly, the barrio is completely packed with culture history. The neighborhood was rewarded with a UNESCO world heritage site status for its well-preserved Hispano-Muslim architecture. Have a walk around the neighborhood and be amazed by the old architecture and beautiful viewpoints you can find.
The cathedral of Granada was the very first Renaissance cathedral in Spain, and the country’s second largest cathedral. The cathedral is located in the centre of the Muslim area and dates back to 1523. Granada was the last territory under Muslim rule. When the Christians took Granada from the Muslims, they built this impressive cathedral on top of a mosque to show their victory to the world. From the walls to the ceilings everything is decorated to demonstrate the power of the Church.
A trip to Granada wouldn’t be complete without some delicious tapas. This can not be too hard, as you can get tapas on every street corner in Granada. Especially in the neighborhood of Realejo where you can find Calle Navas, or better known as Calle de Tapas. This street is home to about 30 tapas bars. Granada is one of the only cities left in Spain that still serves tapas for free with each drink purchased. Some typical tapas in Granada are remojón (cod, orange and olives) and la bomba (baked potato stuffed with spicy minced meat)
The Sacromonte neighborhood is known as the gypsy quarter of Granada. Flamenco is very much alive on the hills of this neighborhood, it’s even the birthplace of Zambra, a specific type of flamenco with more arabic influences and where the singer also dances. Every day there are dramatic flamenco shows to watch in typical Sacromonte cave houses. There’s also a cave museum where you can learn more about the people that have inhabited Sacromonte since the 15th century.
Miradores de Granada
In order to really experience a city, you have to see it from every angle. Granada is blessed with some incredible viewpoints that allow you to see the city from above.The view from the Mirador de San Nicolás, with the Alhambra in the background, is found on hundreds of postcards. Other viewpoints give you spectacular panoramas of the city´s domes and towers, snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the old city walls.
Carmen de los Mártires
Carmen de los Mártires is a 19th century palace with a set of vast, romantic gardens. The English,Spanish and French Baroque gardens are all decorated with ponds, statues, fountains and of course many plants and trees. To the delight of the locals and tourists, the entry to the gardens is free! The gardens can also be used for wedding receptions, celebrations and other events.