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 the early 8th century until 1492. By far the most famous of these is the spectacular Alhambra, or “red palace”, which served as a fortified citadel and palace for the Nasrid dynasty from the 13th to 15th centuries. Set on a hill that dominates the modern city, its intricately ornate decoration, peaceful patios and delightful gardens are a must-see for any visitor.
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 its charming, narrow alleyways and cobbled streets. At the top of the hill lies the Mirador de San Nicolás, which offers fantastic views of the Alhambra, Generalife and the Sierra Nevada.
Other places of interest include the Royal Chapel, the burial place of Ferdinand and Isabella, the King and Queen who united Spain and reconquered Granada from the Moors. It is attached to the vast Renaissance cathedral, which in spite of its size is not one of the most interesting sights of Granada.
One of the other 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. The old Jewish quarter of 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.