The cultural city of Granada is situated in the eastern region of Andalucia, in the province of the same name. Its characterised by it scenic diversity, architectural beauty and a rich and distinguished history that exudes from the city.
If you are staying in or visiting the Granada be prepared to fall in love with the city. No one leaves unaffected by the magnificence of the Alhambra Palace, the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, or bohemian atmosphere.
The Moorish occupation of Granada literally shaped the city; when they crossed the strait and settled in the then small town, they laid the foundations of what is now one of the most
visited cities in Spain.
During the 9th century Granada became an extremely important city, which came after the fall
of the Caliphate of Cordoba. After which in the 12th century Mohammed ben Nasar founded the Nasrid dynasty and the kingdom of Granada
occupied the regions between Murcia to Gibraltar.
Granada was the last Moorish stronghold to fall to the Christian invaders at the end of the 15th century and it still retains many vestiges of its Arab heritage, both in its customs and in its architecture, especially in its royal palace, La Alhambra.
Although the town’s origins date back to the Ibero-Celtic era, most of the city as we know it today was created during the Moorish occupation of the region, when the city became an
independent state and spread out across the river Darro and created the neighbourhood of the Albaicin, which in itself is a world heritage site.
The Albaicin stands on a hill facing the Alhambra, and could be referred to as a Medina, or Kasbah. The neighbourhood is a wonderful maze of narrow streets and alleys, with its whitewashed houses and hidden inner gardens and courts. Reaching the top of the Albaicin, you come to the Plaza de San Nicolas, where you can enjoy a magnificent view to the Alhambra Palace.
Towards the north of the city, is the neighbourhood of Sacromonte Hill, which is famous for its cave dwellings, which are still inhabitated. This was once the home to Granada’s
gypsy community and many famous Flamenco musicians and dancers have grown up in this passionate and earthly neighbourhood.
The enjoyment of exploring the streets of Granada is immense; take in the aroma and the enchantment of the winding streets and impressive monuments and buildings that give an idea of its history and culture.
The Alhambra Palace
Of course the jewel in the crown of Granada is the architecturally magnificent Alhambra Palace, one of the biggest attractions in Spain as a whole, and one of the most revered examples of Islamic architecture in the world, it is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Alhambra consists of a series of palaces and gardens, which were built in the 14th century for the Moorish Nazari dynasty. From the entrance of the Puertas de Granadas, to the Generalife summer palace, Court of the Lions, the Sala de los
Abencerrajes, and the later Spanish renaissance Palace of Charles V. A visit to the Alhambra Palace is something that everyone has to do in their lifetime. You will come away enchanted.
The landscape is diverse and dramatic, from the coastal region of the Costa Tropical, with its warm climate and delightful, laid-back fishing villages and wonderful beaches, to fertile Genil plain, to the mountainous region of the Sierra Nevada with its colder climate, and where the 3,481 metre Mulhacén soars up to the skyline, its the biggest peak on the peninsula of Spain.
The ski station in the Sierra Nevada, just to the south of Granada, is open for six months of the year and from the seaside resort of Gualchos it is quite easy to swim in the Mediterranean and ski in the Sierra Nevada on the same day.
There is a wealth of outdoor activities available in the province of Granada, such as hiking, mountain climbing, horseback riding and canoeing (in the summer)., but compared to the villages in warmer climates, costs are higher.
The cuisine of Granada definitely reflects its Arab influence, which you will note in the spices, fresh produce and some of the delicious desserts typical of the region.
Rustic stews, such as the Olla de San Antón warm up the often cold, snowy winters of the city and
province. Other specialities include Papas al pobre (poor potatoes), Tortilla Sacramonte, a vegetable mix tortilla, and from the coastal region comes a
wealth of seafood dishes.
Granada is situated 680 metres above sea level and set in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, for this reason, Granada’s climate is slightly cooler than the rest of Southern Spain. Winters can be snowy and cold and the summer can get very hot in the city.