Granada - The Moorish Jewel
Of all the magnificent cities that permeate Spain, perhaps none is as simultaneously fascinating, diverse and historical as Granada. Expect an array of dreadlocked hippies, skinny-jean clad hipsters, religious finders, classical traditionalists and many more mixtures of grand personalities in the city. This is the world's renowned capital of tapas, so enjoy, as an order of cheerful drink gives you a small portion of food on the plate!
There are cosy cave houses to rent within 5 minutes walking distance from the palace and fortress complex, Alhambra, surrounded by the fascinating Parc de l'Alhambra at the steep side of town. Most visitors to Granada go for a number of reasons: La Alhambra, General Life, the neighbouring districts of Albaicin and Sacromonte, the Cathedral, the southern hospitality and the tasty tapas (appetisers). For the adventurers and mountain lovers you can go skiing & trekking in the nearby Sierra Nevada.
While most travellers who go to Granada rush straight to the Alhambra, there is a hidden gem much-less frequented at the Garden of the Martyrs. This park, situated on the grounds of a 19th century manor house, is located on a hill near Granada’s famous Alhambra. The park boasts some of the best views of the city, and is home to a flock of free-range peacocks that roam the grounds like a local. Like most of the architecture in Granada, the manor house and its fountains blend traditional Spanish architecture with Moorish influences, such as elaborate arches and colourful accents. Visit the park on the weekend and you are sure to see at least one wedding take place.
The multicultural revival of the city has taken shape that sees Christians and Muslims co-existing in mutual respect. Enjoying the (Catholic) religious brotherhoods and fraternities that perform penance processions on the streets was stunning. Two of the most popular processions were the ´silent procession´: when the narrow streets are unlighted at night and the (costaleros) men & boys carrying the floats are soundless and the ´gypsy procession´ which goes through the Albaicin & Sacramonte quarters.
Thanks to its student population, Granada´s nightlife is vibrant and varied. Many students from all over Europe (mostly Erasmus), Asia, North Africa and the United States make up a third of the city´s population. Once in the city past 9 p.m. we recommend hitting the bars on Calle Elvira or, for a quieter outing, the traditional tea rooms of La Calle de Las Teterias.
There is also the Zaiden, a hustling and bustling neighbourhood that is home to a large community of working class burg, with countless nationalities from Africa, South America and China. The weekly street markets are on the to do list if you are around on a Saturday. Gypsies sell their goods and offer dancing, drinks, and entertainment in a gigantic market square. This is a true experience in Granada, and of the most authentic if you want a taste of the city's life.
All in all, a very popular itinerary is to walk through the old town of Albaicin, witnessing the beauty of the white town and its traditional artisans in their work shops. Be sure to eat at Arrayanes, hands down, the best North African restaurant in the area. Try the delicious sweet chicken b´stilla and vegetables couscous. Café 4 Gatos on Placeta Cruz Verde nº6 serves some great coffee in the area.
A holiday worth reliving, Granada is lovely any time of the year. Welcome the city´s new tourist information point promoted by Granada City Council. You'll find information on what to see and do in Granada.