This Andalucian pearl will blow your mind with its history, mystery, romance, and drama.
Granada, the jewel of Andalusia, has a rich and diverse past. From the flourishing of its Jewish community in the 11th century to the glorious reign of the Moors in the 13th and 14th centuries, the city has been a centre of culture, science, and art.
But it has also faced wars, invasions, and persecutions, culminating in the fall of the last Muslim kingdom in Spain in 1492. The Alhambra, a magnificent Nasrid palace and fortress, symbolises Granada's heritage and beauty.
It sits at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, the highest mountain range in mainland Spain, and is surrounded by nature. Enjoy Granada's natural beauty by hiking, skiing, biking in the mountains, or relaxing in the city's gardens, fountains, and parks. Here are nine must-sees and do in Grenada:
Visit the Alhambra Palace
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This is the most iconic attraction in Granada and for a good reason. The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases the splendour of Moorish architecture and art. Admire the intricate carvings, colourful tiles, and serene gardens that make up this complex of palaces and fortresses. Book your tickets in advance, as they sell out quickly.
Explore the Albaicín
Albaicín is the old Moorish quarter of Granada, where you can wander through narrow streets, whitewashed houses, and hidden courtyards. You can also enjoy some of the best views of the Alhambra from the Mirador de San Nicolás, a popular lookout point.
Visit the Granada Cathedral
This majestic building represents the transition from Gothic to Renaissance style. It was built on the site of a former mosque and houses the tombs of the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, who conquered Granada from the Moors in 1492. You can admire the impressive facade, the ornate interior, and the Capilla Real, where the royal chapel is located.
Admire the Generalife
The Generalife is a palace and garden complex used as a summer residence by the Moorish rulers of Granada. It is next to the Alhambra, offering a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Visitors can stroll through the lush gardens, fountains, and pavilions and enjoy views of the city and the mountains.
Discover the Sacromonte
The Sacromonte is a hillside neighbourhood in Granada home to the gipsy community. It is known for its cave houses, where people live and perform flamenco shows. You can visit the Sacromonte Museum, which showcases the history and culture of the gipsies, or join a guided tour that takes you inside some of the caves.
Shop at the Alcaicería
The Alcaicería is a bazaar that dates back to the Moorish era when it was the main silk market of Granada. Today, it is a tourist attraction that sells souvenirs, handicrafts, and spices. You can browse the colourful stalls, haggle with the vendors, and buy unique gifts.
Learn about the Parque de las Ciencias
Parque de las Ciencias is a museum and cultural centre that offers interactive exhibits and activities for all ages. You can learn about astronomy, biology, physics, and more and enjoy the planetarium, the butterfly house, and the observation tower. The Science Park is a fun and educational way to spend a few hours in Granada.
Hike in the Sierra Nevada
The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range just south of Granada. It is one of Europe's highest and most diverse, with peaks, valleys, forests, and lakes. The Sierra Nevada is also a national park and a biosphere reserve, where many species of plants and animals live. Depending on the season and your preference, you can hike, ski, or bike in the Sierra Nevada.
Where to Stay in Granada
This is a historic and charming area of Granada, where you can experience the Moorish atmosphere and enjoy views of the Alhambra. It is also close to many attractions, such as the Granada Cathedral and the Sacromonte.
The modern and commercial area of Granada, where you can find many shops, restaurants, and bars. It is close to the train and bus stations.
The former Jewish quarter of Granada is where you can find some of the best tapas, bars, and nightlife venues. It is also a lively and artistic area with many graffiti and street art.
How to Get to Granada
Granada is well-connected by different modes of transportation, such as air, train, bus, and car. Here are some of the ways you can get to Granada from different parts of Spain and Europe:
Granada has a small airport, called Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén Airport, that serves domestic and some international flights. It is about 15 km from the city centre. Some airlines that fly to Granada are Iberia, Vueling, EasyJet, and Ryanair. You can also fly to Malaga Airport, about 125 km from Granada, which has more connections.
Granada Railway Station connects to other cities in Spain, such as Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and Malaga.