What to do in Granada
What to do in Granada?
The city of Granada is located in the south of Andalusia in the highlands of Sierra Nevada, the highest mountains of continental Spain. Granada is considered one of the most beautiful cities not only in Spain, but also in Europe. The historical monuments of various eras, the hospitality of local residents, the characteristic local customs and traditions, as well as the proximity of the ski resorts of the Sierra Nevada, make this city very attractive for tourists from all over the world.
If really interested in visiting all monuments of Granada, you should buy the Granada Card! It is the most easy and smart way to visit a lot of places about which we will talk here 🙂 The cost of this pass – 49€ and it’s valid for 3 days.
1. The Alhambra
The Alhambra is an impressive architectural and park ensemble, which includes ancient palaces, a fortress and gardens of Muslim rulers and is considered the highest achievement of Moorish architects in Western Europe. The Alhambra is currently a museum of Islamic art and culture. The interior of the complex can be described as harmoniously combining the picturesque gardens of the Alhambra, courtyards and terraces with fountains, water cascades, canals and ponds with many elegant arches, vaults, slender columns or patterned carved windows. All this splendor is decorated with bizarre Arabic scripts, floral ornaments, colorful mosaics, ceramic tiles, carved patterns in wood and stone.
Tips: You must visit the Nasrid Palaces at the time indicated on your ticket. Only 300 people are allowed in every 30 min, so don’t be late or you might not be able to get in.
It’s better to visit the Nasrid Palaces first and then continue with the Generalife and the Alcazaba with no rush.
2. The Albaicin Neighborhood
The ancient Arab quarter, the historical center of Granada. It is located on a hill overlooking the Alhambra and the urban surroundings. Albaicin has existed for more than 700 years, but over the past time it has changed little – all the same white houses, narrow stone streets covered with pavers, and small taverns. The first settlements on the site of Albaicin existed in the antiquity period before the arrival of the Moors.
I recommend to see there the San Nicolas church, the Dar-al-Horra palace and the Puertas de la Murallas
3. Granada Mirador
San Cristóbal: the territory of San Cristobal is one of the favorite places for romantic meetings, photo shoots and field registrations. Here you can not only watch beautiful landscapes, but also relax with a cup of tea or coffee in one of the restaurants located on the San Cristobal site
San Nicolás: mirador de San Nicolas is one of the most famous places in the Albayzin area. It’s known for the fact that here, from a bird’s eye view, you can observe beautiful panoramas of Granada. It is from Mirador de San Nicolas that a good view of the Alhambra fortress opens. Located on the edge of the wall bordering the site, you can admire the magnificent landscape – the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada.
Tips: you should go to the mirador de San Nicolas at sunset. It’s the best place to take amazing pictures of the Alhambra!
4. The Sacromonte
Surprisingly original and vibrant gypsy quarter Sacramonte is the birthplace of flamenco. Incendiary rhythms of castanets and the rustle of skirts excite the blood of tourists. In Sacramont, there are famous cave houses – cuevas, many of which are inhabited and equipped with electricity and Internet.
The Sacromonte district is located in the Valparaiso Valley, where the Darro River flows, outside the city walls of Granada (three kilometers to the northeast). It is here that the steep streets of the ancient Albayzin district descend. Initially, Sacramonte was inhabited by gypsies. The evidence of their stay on the hill dates back to 1532. They are considered the founders of the Spanish passionate dance – flamenco. Even today in the caves of Sacromonte show the most amazing flamenco in Spain.
5. Granada’s Cathedral
Granada Cathedral was built in the XVI-XVII centuries. as the personification of the liberation of the city from the Moors. It stands on the site of a former mosque. The temple was built for a long time, so in its architecture you can see three main styles – Gothic, Baroque and Rococo. Inside you will meet with paintings by Spanish artists, bright retablos, tall columns, a silver altar.
The Cathedral of Granada (La Santa Iglesia Catedral Metropolitana de la Encarnación de Granada) amazes with its scale and magnificent decoration. Today it is an active Catholic church, and the city diocese is also located in it.
6. Carmen de los Martires garden
Carmen de los Martires is a manor surrounded by gardens filled with the spirit of romanticism, there is an intricate fountain in the form of a shell, a grotto tightly adjacent to an arch decorated with arabesques, sculptures of Greek gods surround the fountain in the garden above, peacocks are important to walk in the park.
A walk in the Carmen de los Martires garden . You can admire several styles of gardens:
– The French garden and its pond
– The English garden with its 3-story fountain
– The Nasrid patio and its labyrinth
It is a very beautiful park, well maintained and relaxing with its fountains and patios. You can even picnic there with your children.
Admission is free, but beware the garden closes every day from 2 p.m. and does not reopen until 6 p.m. Except for the weekend when it remains open continuously.
7. Granada ancient Arab baths
Arab baths (El Bañuelo de Granada), created in the XI century under the rule of Badis ibn Khabas from the ruling Zirid family, are considered the oldest in Spain. This is a high stone structure with arches in the form of domes, as was the case with the Arabs and Moors. Inside the bathhouse there are many columns in the Visigoth and Romanesque style, crowned with large capitals.
Traditionally, the Moorish and Arab baths consist of three or four rooms. In El Bañuelo, in the first rectangular hall there were fonts with cold water, then visitors went into the second huge square room, where baths with warm water were prepared. And at the end – the third hall, like the first, of a rectangular shape. In fact, it was the main bathing area, in which there were fonts with hot water.
Tips: the visit is really quick (just 10 minutes) but your admission ticket to the baths also gives you the right to visit 2 other places in addition: the Dar-al-Horra palace and the Casa Horno de Oro . All 3 are in the Albaicin neighborhood.
8. San Juan de Dios Basílica
This is one of the most beautiful and stunning churches of Granada! The chic facade with two paired towers and an unusual white-green dome is striking, but an unrivaled interior makes even more impression. Dazzling magnificence!
The Basilica de San Juan de Dios in Granada is the spiritual center of the Order of Hospitallers. The relics of the saint are stored here. The interior is made in the Andalusian Baroque style: a lot of mirrors, gilding and silver, marble and ceramic finishes.
The construction of the Basílica San Juan de Dios church began in 1737. The initiator of the construction was Prior Alonso de Jesus and Ortega. The temple was built on the money allocated by the Strange Acceptance Order, the founder of which was St. John of God. The church was designed by Jose de Bad, who was the main architect of Malaga and Granada.
Tips: after the Basilica, pass by the Monastery of San Jeronimo , which is only a hundred meters away. It would be a shame not to go there, the entry is included in the Granada Card.
9. Cartuja Monastery
Outside, the Carthusian monastery looks modest. But what a luxury inside! Particularly impressive is the internal painting of the domes. The interior is one of the best examples of Spanish Baroque.
The Cartesian monastery – La Cartuja (Monasterio de la Cartuja) or the Monastery of the Assumption of Our Lady (Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción) is considered the fundamental and most striking monastery in Granada. It rises on a low hill in the open.
Tips: to get to the Cartuja monastery from the center of Granada, take the bus , this is the most convenient way.
10. Sierra Nevada
The unique ski resort of Sierra Nevada is located just 80 km from the fashionable resorts of the Costa del Sol and 33 km from the pearl of the Moorish architecture of Granada. The highest alpine track in Europe leads to the ski resort (maximum height of 3398 meters – Veleta peak). Part of the mountain system is allocated to the Sierra Nevada National Park, which has the status of an international biosphere reserve. In addition to skiers and snowboarders, these regions are very popular with climbers and fans of eco-tourism (especially in summer).
Sierra Nevada, the southernmost resort in Europe, has an ultramodern infrastructure that allows holding international competitions of the highest rank on its routes. The ski season in Sierra Nevada begins in November and, thanks to the country’s climatic conditions, lasts until April.