The ancient Moorish stronghold of Granada is one of Spain’s most scenic cities, with its dramatic setting in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Views of the city are crowned by the graceful Alhambra Palace which is a “must see” for every visitor to the city. Built in the 13th and 14th centuries, the castle and royal palace of the Alhambra and the Generalife gardens were the crown jewels of the Emirate of Granada and are one of the great architectural sights of Europe. The Alhambra covers a vast area but can still get very crowded, despite ticket numbers being tightly controlled. The best time to visit is in the spring, when the crowds are not too large, days are sunny and bright and the smell of orange blossom fills the air.
Granada has many other sights worth seeing, including the Cathedral which has impressive facades and a stunning interior with a grand altar and several chapels. In the burial chamber are the tombs of the Catholic kings. The Royal Chapel is located between Granada Cathedral, the old Fish Market and the Church of Sagrario. The construction of the Royal Chapel was ordered by the Catholic Monarchs in 1504 as a place of burial for their bodies.
The Albacín district is well worth exploring. It rises on a hill north of the Alhambra and is particularly evocative of old Moorish Spain with its sugar-white houses and steep, narrow streets. It was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1994.
The Campo del Principe is one of the main meeting points in Granada. Lined with a handful of bars and restaurants, it also holds the Iglesia de San Cecilio, built on the site of an ancient mosque and named after the city’s patron saint.
For shopping fans, the Gran Via is the place to visit for stylish Spanish fashions. For restaurants, it’s worth tackling the steep streets of the Albacín to unearth the restaurants with the best views of the Alhambra. Here you can try a local dish such as Iberian pork shoulder, washed down by a local wine from the nearby Alpujarra hills.
Granada is not well served by flights from the UK, the only direct flight being from LondonCityAirport. However, there is a very good bus service from Malaga which takes only 2 hours, making this stunning city accessible to tourists from all parts of the UK. Granada can also be combined with Seville and Malaga to make an exciting triple centre holiday, flying in and out of Malaga.