Only 45 minutes away, Granada (the ‘pomegranate’) epitomises the contrasts to be found in southern Spain. Elegant 18th century avenues give way to twisting mosaic cobbled lanes; you’ll see magnificent mansions as well as cave dwellings; exclusive fashion and Moroccan street markets; and fabulous monuments created by the Nasrid sultans and the Catholic monarchs at the height of their power and brilliance.
Often referred to as ‘The Jewel of Spain’, Granada is a great destination for sightseeing, shopping, cultural events, dining, fabulous tapas bars and, of course, spending a day at the Alhambra; the most-visited historical monument in Europe. The palaces are absolutely stunning - it's a wonderful day trip that you'll never forget.
We recommend booking your ticket online well in advance of your visit to Alhama Accommodation as the numbers visiting each day are limited and the palaces are usually fully booked in advance, especially during holidays - click here for the online booking site: Alhambra tickets.
If you look online and find that the dates you want are already booked then this page has suggestions for other options eg joining a group, doing a night visit or queuing in the morning from before 8am when there are 200 tickets released : lovegranada.com.
To get a wonderful taste of Granada's architectural gems here is a great article listing 10 of the best Moorish highlights that Granada has to offer including places to eat overlooking the Palaces : Moorish Secrets.
Shopping in Granada is good fun and great value. For chic wee shops and cafe/bars check out the streets between Calle de Reyes Catolicos and the Plaza de Bib-Rambla. On the Plaza itself you'll find the Alcaiceria - a stunning former Nasrid silk market which now houses a maze of little shops selling Moroccan clothes and crafts. Prices are more or less fixed so don't worry about haggling if you're not into it. Head for the charming Calle Caldereria Nueva for lots more Moroccan crafts and great little cafes for refreshing teas and North African snacks and sweets. For gorgeous handmade marquetry and Spanish guitars head for Cuesta de Gomerez. A stroll along Calle San Jeronimo will take you past neighbourhood shops and cafes and you'll come to the Basilica de San Juan de Dios and the Hospital de San Juan de Dios - both fascinating. Here is a link to markets in the city: markets-in-granada
In the evening stroll through the Albaycin and up to the Mirador San Nicolas and Mirador de San Cristobal - spectacular views of the city and Alhambra Palace and impromptu live music. Wonderful!
We highly recommend booking tickets for La Chumbera Teatro Municipal in Sacromonte where, on Saturday evenings from October to April, you can enjoy authentic flamenco with the Alhambra Palace as the glorious backdrop (ask us how to do this). Here is a link to a list of all music and dance events scheduled for the coming month which will include La Chumbera Teatro Municipal if they have something on. Le Chien Andalou in the centre of town - lechienandalou.com - has live shows every evening including a 9pm show which finishes early enough to drive back to Alhama in time for a beer in the square and you can book tickets online through their website - highly recommended! Other great flamenco venues are listed on this page (the Eshavira is closed for refurbishment in 2010, no date yet for re-opening): flamenco clubs. Alternatively, ask at the tourist office for flamenco events scheduled for the evening of your visit.
For an overnight stay in a very attractive and reasonably priced hotel we recommend the El Hotel Zaguán del Darro right on the River Darro in the centre of old Granada. For something really special this place is lovely: Hotel Casa Morisca.
The best way to explore any city is on foot and what better reason could you have than to find something delicious to eat .... going out for tapas is a great tradition in Granada, with lots of choices. Below is a super article written for International Day of the Tapas 2016: recommendations, recipes, veggie tapas options and handy sentences that you can use to explain if you are veggie/vegan or have any food intolerances ....everything-you-need-to-know-about-tapas
Here's a Top Five list of great bars in Granada from El Pais in English : elpais.com. For delicious vegan/veggie tapas (and restaurants and health food shops) this is a really useful list: happycow.net. Calle Elvira is the place to go if you fancy tasty North African cuisine, lots of veggie options and delicious sweets.
And our favourite bar? ......Bodega Castaneda on Calle de Almireceros, just what you imagine when you think of a traditional bar - packed, friendly and great tapas.
After enjoying all the sights of Granada you may wish to relax in a wonderful original Moorish spa. Built in the 11th century and left completely intact by the Christian conquerors, the Hamman of Granada is an incredibly historical and beautiful monument. Book online here : hammamalandalus.com and here is some fascinating history of the baths both here and in the Alhambra Palace : andalucia.com