In the southern Spanish city of Granada, the buildings are old and historic, but the nightlife is young and student-driven. This is a city that on the one hand is ancient, but on the other is very much alive. One of the most popular historic sights is The Alhambra, an ancient fortress that includes the Palacio Nazaríes (one of the greatest Islamic buildings in Europe) and the Palacio de los Leones.
This is also a town of more than 80,000 students who attend the University of Granada. Like most students, they know how to have a good time. So whether you are creating history with the young ’uns in the bars and clubs throughout the city, or living it by dancing with the gypsies in the Gypsy Quarter,you can be sure of having a gleeful time in Granada.
Granada's Top 10
10. Museo Arqueológico y Etnológico See what treasures you can dig up at this archaeological museum.
5. Centro de Interpretación del Sacromonte This museum and art centre is a great spot to see artists at work and experience flamenco music.
9. Calle Calderería The Moorish history is strong on this street full of Arab food and tasty North African desserts.
4. Las Cuevas del Sacromonte See (and try your feet at) some real flamenco dancing in the ‘caves of the gypsies’.
8. El Banuelo Hopefully they’ve changed the water at these 1,000-year-old baths!
3. El Albayzin Part of the old Muslim quarter, there are treasures waiting to be found in the ancient winding streets.
7. Murallas del Albayzin These crumbling walls aren’t going to protect anyone anymore, but they used to surround a fortress.
2. Palacio del Mexuar If this ornately decorated palace is anything to go by, rappers and sultans have the same interior decorators…
6. Generalife Gardens Home to outdoor concerts in summer and a lovely place to wander at any time of year.
1. The Alhambra This 13th century Moorish fortress easily holds its own against the Seven Wonders of the World. Bring it on!
- Plaza Isabel la Catolica – The city square with a statue of Columbus and Queen Isabel.
- Cathedral of Granada – Structure from the 1500s and the second biggest cathedral in Spain, featuring a wonderful renaissance-design interior.
- Royal Chapel – Houses the tombs of King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I, who conquered this city.
- Plaza de Bib-Rambla – The centre of Moorish Granada, a busy marketplace and home to local festivals.
- The Alhambra – Last stronghold in Europe from the days of the Moors and home to a fortress, palace and wonderful gardens overlooking this historic city.
Granada Art & Culture
- Corral del Carbón – One of the only remnants of Moorish architecture and hosts theatre plays and musical events.
- Museo San Juan de Dios – A museum with a rich collection of religious art.
- Museo de la Alhambra – Features a wide assortment of art and artefacts from Alhambra.
- Museo de Bellas Artes – A small museum of fine arts with seasonal exhibits that feature works of art connected to Alhambra.
- Mosque of Granada – This wonderful place features samples of ancient architecture.
- Alcaiceria – These winding alleyways were part of a Moor silk market and a wonderful place to find local souvenirs and novelties.
- Laguna Taller de Taracea – Local craftsman fashion and offer mother-of-pearl inlays in boxes, tables, chess sets and other items.
- Calle Caldereria Nueva – A street filled with tea houses and stores where you can find flippers, jewellery, pottery and other souvenirs.
- Artespana – Local handicrafts are sold here, including guitars, embossed leather, textiles and woven baskets.
- Caramica Fabre – Classic ceramics with the traditional blue and white glazing from Grananda.
Gay & Lesbian Granada
- Fondo Reservado – A favourite hangout in Granada with in-house music and drag shows.
- El Rincon de San Pedro – A deep blue bar and a great place to pass the off hours.
- Perfil – Lots of music, attitude and room to groove. A place to look great, dance and meet new friends.
- 6 Colors – One of the newest places in the area and offers colourful, crowded parties.
- La Gayedra – A great restaurant with a drag queen show.
- San Nicolas Viewpoint – A popular attraction with an amazing view of the Alhambra and surrounding mountains.
- Plaza Larga – A small, shady plaza surrounded by restaurants and local stores.
- Mirador de San Cristobal – A local Granada viewpoint that provides breathtaking views.
- Carrera del Darro – This narrow, winding street offers wonderful scenic walks past well-preserved buildings, stone bridges and plenty of restaurants.
- Hamman El Bañuelo – Ruins of preserved Arab bath houses in the country.
- Watch soccer games in Granada at the Nuevo Estado los Cármenes.
- Enjoy world-class skiing in the Sierra Nevada.
- See basketball games at the Palacio Municipal de Deportes.
- Catch local bullfights at the Plaza de Toros.
- Golf at top-notch courses with beautiful landscapes.
In February, the Granada Carnival fills the city’s many public plazas with street entertainment, music and dancing.
Semana Santa (Holy Week) sees a week of festivities and parades marking Easter with decorated floats and flamenco dancing.
From public plazas to houses, the city is adorned with flower-covered crosses on 3 May for the Dia de la Cruz (Day of the Cross).
Granada’s most popular festival, Feria de Corpus Christi (Corpus Christi Fair), takes place in June. Many of the locals wear traditional Andalusian dress and the festivities include bullfights and horse riding.
The Hocus Pocus Festival is a festival of magic, which takes place in mid-November. Know any tricks?
When To Go
Summer is hot and the perfect time to experience Granada’s fiestas, festivals and carnivals.
Spring is a beautiful time to see the colourful flowers in bloom.
Visit during the mild winter – daytime temperatures average a very manageable 13°C (55°F) – to avoid the crowds.
The Bono Turistico City Pass lasts five days and gives 10 bus trips and huge savings on entrance to tourist destinations. Gotta love a bargain!
While there are some steep hills, walking is a great way to take in the city and earn your afternoon siesta.
If walking is not for you, head to Plaza Nueva where the taxis line up.
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