Set against the beautiful mountain backdrop of the Sierra Nevada is the lively university city of Granada, which boasts many significant attractions.
The main attraction is of course the Alhambra fortress, it is unmissable and majestically perched on top of a hill. To visit the Alhambra it is necessary to book online and buy a ticket in advance. For this also an official identity card is necessary, sounds unusual, this is examined however in fact locally also and serves then partly even as entrance ticket.
You can take a cab from the city or use the public bus to get there. But it is even more beautiful to make the short ascent on foot. From the Plaza Nueva leads the Cta. de Comerez, pass several stores and restaurants and then go through an imposing gate through a beautiful wooded park up to the Alhambra.
Up to the Alhambra
We started our exploration of the Alhambra from the Torre de la Justicia, from here it is only a few meters to the palaces and the Alcazaba, the fortification and city wall around the Alhambra.
The fortified tower at the western tip of the entire complex, the Torre de la Vela, can be climbed and offers a beautiful view of the city of Granada and the surrounding area. From here you can also see very well the remains of the former structural arrangement as well as the mighty masonries.
The absolute highlight is, of course, the opulent palace complex. For the visit you have to book a time slot in advance, only then you get access to the Alhambra.
After the quite strict entrance control with identity card one enters first the Comares palace with its impressive ornaments and wall mosaics. In the long inner courtyard, the water basin and the garden-like, accurately trimmed low hedge plants create a relaxed and calm atmosphere.
The tour continues through magnificent rooms to the Lion Palace, the showpiece of the palace complex.
The courtyard with a marble floor and lion fountain is framed by elaborately decorated porticoes, during a tour you will really be amazed. It is said that this is a masterpiece of Nasrid art, the work of the last Muslim-Moorish dynasty of the Emirate of Granada in the 13th century. to 15. Century.
From this courtyard you can access several stately halls, the former private rooms of the royal family. These are hard to beat in opulence.
Of the various rooms, the Stalactite Hall and the King's Hall are certainly the most impressive. Splendor from floor to ceiling .
The royal halls
Through a beautiful courtyard with orange trees, tall cedars and cypresses, you leave the palaces.
At the exit one has again a good view on the mighty palace wall and along this the way leads to the gardens of Partal.
Palacio Partal and gardens
Next to the palaces are the Partal Gardens, a terraced garden complex. The center is the Palacio of the same name with a pond, ideal for relaxing after the many impressions from the palaces.
In the background the church of Santa Maria de la Alhambra from the 16th century. Century. It was built on the ruins of a royal mosque.
Jardines del Partal
Explore the rest of the castle
Now it is time to explore the rest of the Alhambra.
Along the Paseo de las Torres, one can take a walk to visit the mighty defensive walls as well as numerous watchtowers, parks, remains of former baths and cysterns and the Convento de San Fransisco. The latter, however, is nowadays a Parador – luxury hotel, which is unfortunately reserved for hotel guests.
Basically, you should plan enough time for the visit of the Alhambra, because the complex measures a length of about 750 meters and after leaving the actual castle complex, it goes even further.
Along the fortress walls
If you now leave the Alhambra at the eastern end and follow the path north, you will arrive at the Generalife, the summer palace of the Sultans of Granada.
First you walk through a wonderfully designed and maintained garden with water features, flower beds and colonnades, which was built on a slope and offers a beautiful view of the Alhambra, the valley in between and the city of Granada. This garden is considered to be one of the oldest Moorish gardens.
The gardens of Generalife
At the end of these gardens is the 13th century church. The Palacio de Generalife, which was built in the 17th century, is rather simple compared to the palaces of the Alhambra.
Nevertheless, you can also find the filigree worked decorative elements on the walls and ceilings here. It should also always be a place of rest and relaxation for the monarchs of the time, here in the Generalife they have recovered. Only a limited number of visitors are allowed into the palace at any one time, which means that the relaxing atmosphere can still be felt today.
Palace of Generalife
Alhambra and Generalife are of course not the only sights of Granada, so now we go down to the city again. But before we went on, we needed some refreshment.
Right next to the Plaza Nueva is the Restaurante Los Manueles, which we visited twice.
For more than 100 years typical Andalusian dishes are served here in a simple down-to-earth atmosphere. One stands or sits at bar tables or in the rear part at covered tables. Absolutely authentic, delicious tapas, fast and friendly service and always well attended.
San Pedro district
From the central Plaza Nueva, the oldest square in Granada with the magnificent building of the Royal Chancery – today the Supreme Court – we walked along the Darro River into the popular San Pedro neighborhood.
It is a very nice walk through a historical quarter, on one side the cliff with the Alhambra enthroned on it and on the other side the beautiful old houses with numerous bars and restaurants. Here you also come to El Banuelo, an Arab bathhouse from the 11th century. Century past. After about 800 meters you reach Placa al Padre Manjon with several restaurants.
On the way back we made a short stop at the Plaza Nueva at the Iglesia San Gil y Santa Ana, because here, as almost everywhere in Andalusia, flamenco dancers showed their skills.
Another special sight is the Cathedral of Granada. As you can see on the following aerial view – taken from the Alhambra – it is the dominating building in the middle of the densely built city center.
Already in the 16. Century this church waits with an imposing height and mighty columns on. In its entirety, the cathedral is kept in light color with a lot of stucco, only the magnificent altar and the large organs stand out with a lot of gold and splendor from the other colorful simplicity. Very beautiful.
Royal burial place
Right next to it is the Capilla Real, the burial place of catholic kings.
The entrance is a bit hard to find, it is a bit hidden on Calle Oficios. After paying a small entrance fee, a nave with a magnificent choir loft awaits the visitor. At the end is the main chapel with the very elaborate sacrophages made of Carrara marble. The crypt below was unfortunately closed because of Corona.
Granada can of course offer many other places of worship, but two of them should not be missed.
From the cathedral it is only a short walk to the Monasterio de San Jeronimo. About halfway through, you pass through the small botanical garden of the University of Granada.
Monasterio de San Jeronimo
This Augustinian monastery from the 16. The first way to enter the nineteenth century is through a beautiful courtyard with orange trees, which you walk around a cloister.
Through a rather inconspicuous door you enter the interior of the nave with Gothic vaults, side chapels as well as a raised chancel. As it is appropriate for a monastery, there is complete silence here, which is certainly due to the fact that there are almost no tourists here.
Monastery San Jeronimo
Basilica de San Juan de Dios
We were impressed by the cathedral, but the Basilica de San Juan de Dios surpasses it once again in pomp, splendor and opulence.
The basilica is located only a few steps away from the aforementioned monastery and from the outside it looks more like a normal church due to the narrowness to the neighboring buildings. Also the entrance through a small green courtyard is quite inconspicuous.
But when you enter through the first door into the interior of this building, you are overwhelmed by the golden tones, murals, frescoes and ornaments. This baroque sacral building from the 18. You shouldn't miss the view of the eighteenth century, which of course the pope also visited.
Basilica of San Juan de Dios
The bazaar La Alcaiceria
For souvenir hunters, we recommend a visit to La Alcaiceria, the original Moorish silk market, which is now a bazaar for all kinds of fabric stores, ceramics and souvenirs.
This is not far from the cathedral and is located in very narrow streets, which were built due to a major fire in the 19th century. The cathedral was rebuilt in the neo-Moorish style in the nineteenth century. It is quite nice to stroll through once, but it is also very touristy.
Halfway between the cathedral and the Plaza Nueva is the very popular tapas bar Bodegas Castaneda on Calle Almireceros.
Very crowded in the evening, but at noon you can also enjoy good Andalusian dishes at nicely set tables in an annex. Very nice restaurant with typical – authentic old town charm.
Up to the Mirador
Probably the most beautiful view of the city and especially of the Alhambra is from the Mirador de San Nicolas.
You can reach it by bus, but it is much nicer to walk up the small hill through the nice streets and alleys. On the way there are also some things to discover, for example.B. the monastery Santa Isabel together with the adjoining park or the residence of the Belgian painter Max Moreau, which is now a museum. A nice walk.
Mirador de San Nicolas
An inconspicuous sign then shows the way to the viewpoint Mirador de San Nicolas. A few more steps and you reach a terrace-like place, behind you the church of San Nicolas and in front of you the magnificent view of the Alhambra and Generalife.
Especially in the later afternoon hours it gets crowded here, because then the Unesco monuments are illuminated by the evening sun. Directly in front of the panoramic terrace you can enjoy this view with a drink in some restaurants. As expected, these are always very crowded, an alternative is the Placeta de San Miguel Bajo, only a few minutes walk away, a very nice square with a village atmosphere, a church and restaurants and cafes.
Mirador de San Nicolas
In Granada we were november 2021 for 3 days.