In the foothills of the Sierra Nevada
With stunning views of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada was the final stop during my short trip around Andalusia back in April. Even though it was only a short bus ride away from sunny Cordoba, the temperature was sharply cooler and I wished I had a warm jumper with me rather than just a thin zip-up hoodie.
Walking the streets of the Albayzín, the ancient Moorish quarter located on the hill certainly warmed me up though! It was also a perfect way to admire spectacular views of the Alhambra from the Mirador de San Nicolas. Back in the day this area was also a home to the artists, who built this mighty fortress and its beautiful palaces.
Granada’s Moorish gems
The Alhambra is one of Spain’s major tourist attractions, well known for Islamic architecture and artful arabesques and mosaics. I would say that booking tickets in advance is essential, especially during the holiday season. As the fortress complex consists of different parts, all significant and rich in detail, it is worth reserving few hours to see it all without any unnecessary rushing around.
The palaces were built for the last Muslim emirs in Spain and the court of the Nasrid dynasty and they are the pinnacle of the Alhambra’s design. The outstanding mosaics, intricate arches and decorative columns are the feast for the eyes.
The Generalife was a place of rest for the royals from the Nasrid dynasty. A peaceful spot surrounded by beautiful gardens was ideal whenever they wanted to escape the official affairs of the palace.
Coming across a Renaissance building among the Moorish gems of the Alhambra was surprising at first. Digging deeper into the history though revealed the reason behind this architectural eclecticism. Charles V, the Roman Emperor wished to establish his residence close to the Alhambra palaces after the conquest of the city.
The Alcazaba, the fortress is the oldest part of the Alhambra. The views of the city, from its western position within the Alhambra complex, are impressive.
Granada is not all about the Alhambra though. The streets and squares of the old town, mainly around Granada Cathedral, Plaza Bib-Rambla and Fuente de la Batalla are charming and elegant. Other parts of the city are more edgy and had a bit of an alternative vibe that reminded me of Barcelona’s Raval, its street art and diverse offering of restaurants. You cannot even imagine the smile on my face when I finally found a place that did not serve fried food for a change.
Andalusia, you are amazing but that fritanga nearly killed me!