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Just a 90-minute drive away from CLC Club La Costa World, Granada boasts a wealth of historical attractions, including the jewel in the city’s crown – the Alhambra Palace.
Without doubt one of Spain’s most photographed cities, Granada and the Alhambra Palace attract over 3 million visitors each year.
One of the best-preserved monuments in Spain and amazingly intricate and beautiful, the Alhambra deserves its status as a World Heritage Site. Both the home and the fortress of the Nasrid Sultans, 23 of whom ruled during Spain’s last Moorish dynasty between 1212 and 1492, the name ‘Alhambra’ derives from the Arabic ‘al-qala’at al-hamra’ which means ‘red castle’ – a fitting description of the sandstone buildings that appear to glow red in the late afternoon sunshine.
Set high on a hilltop overlooking the sprawling city below, the Alhambra is stunningly-romantic and a lasting testament to the genius of the Moorish engineers, who ensured the fresh water running from the melting snows of the Sierra Nevada was channelled through the palace to provide a cooling effect against the stifling summer heat.
Such is the popularity of the Alhambra Palace as a tourist venue, daily entrance numbers are limited so tickets are best bought online in advance to avoid the long queues. Your tickets will also be strictly timed, so make sure you arrive on time so as not to miss your allotted slot.
History every step of the way in Granada
Spain is steeped in history, but nowhere more so than in Granada, a city with more heritage on offer than almost any other in the country.
Granada’s stunning cathedral, commissioned by Queen Isabella following the recapture of the city by the Catholic Monarchs, was the first Renaissance church built in Spain and had its foundation stone laid on the site of the ancient mosque in 1523.
The resplendent Royal Chapel, Capilla Real, is almost adjacent to the Cathedral and is where the remains of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were laid to rest.
The Bañuelo is the best-preserved bath-house in Spain and the oldest Moorish work still standing in Granada. This marvel of Arabic ingenuity, built over 1000 years ago, is open to the public and entrance is free. The seemingly ‘other-worldly’ district of Albaicin, with its old, whitewashed Arab Quarter is a maze of narrow streets, tiny houses and quirky shops. The area was once home to 40,000 people and 30 mosques.
Take your time to explore, chill out, sip a cool drink at one of the atmospheric pavement cafes or enjoy the sunset over the Alhambra from a rooftop restaurant.
If you can drag yourself away from the historic sites in Granada, the modern city offers a wealth of fun attractions, unusual shops and tea houses ‘teterias’ where you can sample deliciously refreshing Moroccan mint tea.
A mecca for shopaholics, Granada is home to shops selling everything from funky hand-made jewellery and Moroccan fabric to stained glass lamps and a wide choice of perfumes, therapeutic oils and herbal concoctions. Sample the local Jamon Iberico, Iberian Ham, with a glass of fino, dry sherry, for a real ‘taste of Andalucia.’
Despite its name, the Plaza Nueva is the oldest square in Granada. Bursting with colourful shops and vibrant bars, where free tapas are served with drinks and musicians entertain the crowds, this lively square is a great place to start your tour of the city.
No holiday in southern Spain is complete without a trip to the mystical and stunning city of Granada, where free tapas and history meet – a town that rewards aimless, leisurely exploration.
Ask at CLC Club La Costa World reception for details of luxury coach tours, excursions and exclusive car hire member discounts.