Everytime the name of this city appears, I thought about the Alhambra with the Sierra Nevada in the background. I knew it was a student city. But I never knew how beautiful it really is!
The reason might be: When researching about Granada online, the results are focused on this building. An excuse for being biased. Thank God, we’ve seen the city with our eyes now.
Center of Moorish culture
The city’s architecture is exemplary for Andalusian-Moorish culture. But not only because of that. You’ll find many names of Arabian origin like the beginning of Al- in Alhambra. Granada is the cultural center of Andalusia and is therefore obligatory on every Andalusia journey.
Our hotel was near the cathedral. As Corpus Christi is of relevance in Granada, we luckily saw a procession here. Made us seriously think about coming here during Semana Santa!
The Alhambra is a fortress complex with a variety of palaces. It was built in the 13th and 14th century by the Nasrid Dynasty. Its name means ‘the Red One’ and probably derives from its colour.
The best thing was the view from the Generalife at the Alcazaba (city walls of Alhambra). Originally the Generalife was the summer residence of the Emir. It’s home of one of the oldest Moorish gardens. And oh my God, these gardens were perfect. Everything was in very good condition. The Patio de la Acequia with its fountain in the middle of the court was exceptionally idyllic.
Far and wide, there was no ice cream in sight. Despite prebooking the tickets online, we had to wait in the queue for quite a long time: All for the heart of the Alhambra, the Nasrid Palace. The Moorish ornaments and the architecture of the building were amazing, but still in our opinion it’s overrated. Maybe we would have been more amazed without the restoration works.
In total, we spent two and a half hours here. You could spend your whole day here. But we weren’t interested in the museums and the palace of Karl V. The inner court is said to be impressive, but it wasn’t as welcoming as the other buildings and we were really hungry.
The whole complex of the Alhambra is extremely impressive and its gardens maybe the most beautiful in Spain. We’re looking forward to coming back!
A place we somehow had problems with. We were desperately searching for a Mirador offering the perfect view at the Alhambra. We thought, it won’t be a problem finding one in the old Moorish quarter. Our feet hurt and we were asking locals on our way. It was exhausting, no one could help us.
We found the most famous one, the Mirador San Nicolas – unfortunately, the view wasn’t perfect. Why do locals of Granada have to build their houses here anyway. The view was ok, though.
And another one: Mirador de los Carvajales. A little hidden place visited by locals. But unfortunately, this wasn’t THE view as well. Well, we just should have informed ourselves before.
Furthermore it was somehow frustrating not finding any cafés or restaurants in the upper part of the Albaicín. There was just a little square with a church and some cafés and restaurants – but without a view. Yes, as I just said. Research and stuff.
We were naive, thinking, there will be tons of cafés or Miradores. Duh! No one in this part of the Old Moorish Quarter seems to expect visitors.
It was worth getting lost in the narrow alleys anyway. With all our questions we had contact to locals, which lead to inspiring conversations. It also reminded me to refresh my Spanish skills. The beautiful white houses and the narrow streets really made our endless search easier.
However flipflops on the cobblestone streets weren’t such a good idea at all. It might never be but this time it was horrible. I highly recommend wearing good shoes. Unfortunately most of them looked so dowdy.
Most people start their walk at the Puerta de Elvira, the Old City Gate. But we weren’t. I actually don’t know where we started. I’m just following Jan or chose some random alley to continue. Jan is the one of us with the orientation skills.
The Albaicín does credit to its name as the Arabian Quarter. Especially the Calle Calderería Nueva – we walked along this street starting from Plaza San Gregorio. It was like we left Spain and found ourselves again in Morocco.
Shisha-Cafés, oriental carpets and lamp shops and spices – this really made us wanting to go on an Arabian Adventure!
What do you think of Granada? What is your favourite city in Andalusia?