The historic city of Granada is the perfect gateway to the Sierra Nevada. Home to the magical Alhambra palace, the old Moorish quarter with its maze of streets and whitewashed houses and some of the best tapas bars in Spain, it continues to fascinate and enchant visitors from around the world.
Many of Granada’s finest monuments date back to its time under Moorish rule, which lasted from its foundation in the early 11th century until 1492. By far the most famous of these is the spectacular Alhambra, which is the most-visited monument in Spain, but the city is also home to many other beautiful sights.
On the hill opposite the Alhambra, and separated from it by the River Darro, lies the Albaicín, site of the original Moorish settlement. Enjoy losing your way amongst the charming, narrow alleyways and cobbled streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, whose street layout has barely changed since medieval times. At the top of the hill lies the Mirador de San Nicolás, which offers fantastic views of the Alhambra, Generalife and the Sierra Nevada.
If you would like to follow one of our favourite routes through the Albaicín and city centre, our audio tour will guide you safely though the maze of streets while telling you a bit more about Granada’s history and culture.
The old Jewish quarter of Realejo is also fascinating, although its historic character is slightly less well-preserved than the Albaicín. Here remnants of the city’s Muslim and Jewish legacy are intermingled with Christian churches and Renaissance palaces. The district’s pleasant squares are great places to linger over a drink or bite to eat, and if you’re feeling more energetic, you can climb Cuesta de Realejo and continue to the Alhambra or the Carmen de los Martires.
One of the most impressive sights in the city centre is the beautiful Royal Chapel, where Ferdinand II of Aragón and Isabella I of Castile are buried. They paved the way for a united Spain, conquered the Kingdom of Granada from the Moors and sponsored Colombus’ voyages of discovery to the Americas. The Royal Chapel is attached to the vast Renaissance cathedral, which is less interesting than the chapel, but still very much worth a visit. Other important sights include the Carthusian monastery La Cartuja and the Monastery of St. Jerome.
One of the other main attractions of Granada is its lively tapas scene, with almost all bars serving a free tapa with every drink. These range from typical Spanish dishes to Japanese, Moroccan and even Thai cuisine. Realejo offers a particularly eclectic mix of bars, but the areas around Plaza Nueva, the cathedral and Reyes Católicos are all popular with visitors and locals alike.