At the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is a mystical city that was the capital of a Moorish kingdom for over 200 years.
Granada remained the last foothold of the Moors in Spain following the Catholic Kings’ ‘reclamation’ of Spain for Christianity. However, the Jewish, Gypsy and Islamic influences have remained, creating a city rich in experiences.
Here are our top 5 places to visit in Granada.
Majestic on a hilltop is the fortified palace and awe-inspiring architectural beauty that is the Alhambra. With the Sierra Nevada providing an equally breath-taking backdrop, people flock to Granada to visit the jewel in the city’s crown.
Consisting of four groups of buildings – 13th century fortress of the Alcazaba, the Nasrid palace, Renaissance Palace of Charles V and the summer palace, Generalife, with its beautiful Moorish gardens – the Alhambra will leave you an indelible memory.
The Gypsy Quarter of Sacromonte is atmospheric with houses decorated with colourful ceramics and flowers. The Gypsies settled in the caves of Sacromonte in the 18th century and some of the caves are now venues for traditional flamenco shows.
Some of the best views of Granada can be enjoyed from Sacromonte – to the Alhambra Palace and Albaicín, or across the ravines and Valparaiso valley.
The Museo Cuevas del Sacromonte, located in the Barranco de los Negros, is in the heart of Sacromonte and gives a valuable insight into the culture, nature and history of the area. Recreating life in the caves and the inhabitants’ trades, you can also learn about the history of flamenco.
The Royal Chapel (Capilla Real) encapsulates the grandeur of the Catholic Kings which houses the tombs of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Attached to the Cathedral, but with a separate entrance, the chapel is built in late Gothic style and features beautiful stained-glass windows.
The sacristy is home to an incredible collection of art including Botticelli’s Christ on the Mount of Olives and Rogier van de Weyden’s Pietá.
The hillside neighbourhood of Albaicín with its winding lanes weaving between white-washed houses that open out into picture-perfect plazas, is reminiscent of the Moorish character.
A UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site, it offers incredible views especially from the Plaza de San Nicolas which directly faces the Alhambra. At night, when there’s music playing and the drink is flowing, the atmosphere is special with the Alhambra beautifully lit up in the distance.
Cathedral Santa Maria de la Encarnación
The first Renaissance church in Spain, though it began life in the Gothic style, the Cathedral stands on the site of a former mosque and was Queen Isabella’s monument to the vanquishing of the Moors.
Construction started in 1523 but it was not finished until 1704. A domed ceiling with wonderful stained-glass windows lights up the interior. The Cathedral Museum is located on the ground floor of the tower.
If you’re spending time in Andalucía or staying at one of CLC World’s Costa del Sol resorts, a trip to Granada is worthwhile.