So it looks like the magical charm of Granada, with its uniquely artistic and narrow streets, has seduced you.Well in that case, congratulations! This magical Andalusian city has hundreds of hidden gems to discover, people to meet and wonderful experiences that you will remember for the rest of your life. Here’s why; firstly, it is one of Spain’s UNESCO World Heritage cities, thanks to the majestic Al Alhambra, the city’s most famous landmarks. Secondly, Granada also boasts a rich and fascinating Moorish culture and history, after the city was once was home to the Muslim Kings who resided in Spain from 711-1492. This is something truly unique to Spain. There are some things about Granada that you have to keep in mind, among which, we highlight the following:
1- Experience the charm in the flesh
The irregular layout of this city, especially in the neighbourhoods of Albaícin and Realejo, is what gives it its special medieval charm. If you want capture the spirit and essence of Morocco, smell enchanting and nostalgic aromas; try the little Arabic tea shops or Las Teterías as they are locally known; admire the colours and indulge yourself with little hidden gems… then the city of Granada is the place for you.
2- Feel the flamenco
Here in Granada, flamenco is a typical and traditional style of music that comes from the heart of its citizens. In Andalusia everyone is passionate about this dance, which is also practiced across the rest of the country. The stereotype created between Spaniards and flamenco music and dance is mainly because of regions like Granada, where its dancers are professionals of the highest calibre, and are deeply connected with their discipline.
3- To eat, tapas
Tapas is the gastronomy par excellence of Granada. It involves ordering a drink and as an accompaniment, tapas bars will serve a portion of food with bread that has been chosen by the diner. There is all types of food on offer, even sweet treats! Some of the most typical tapas hotspots in Granada are The Antigualla, The beauty and the beast or Babel World Fusion tapas bars.
“Tapear” (literally the verb ‘to eat tapas’) is the cheapest and most social way to eat in Granada. In most bars you can enjoy a drink, and a plate of food for just two euros.
4- The snow and the beach
If there is a city that has snow and sea, within touching distance, Granada is a prime example of that. Granada boasts the highest peak in the Iberian Peninsula, known as Mulhacén. At a height of 3482 metres you can ski in the winter months and hike in the summer. You simply cannot leave Granada without enjoying a day in the snow, and at an affordable price! If the snow and the cold isn’t for you, then Granada’s beaches aren’t too far away and are located in the southern parts of the city. The beaches of Almuñécar o La Herradura are the most famous.
5- Neighbourhoods in a small and cosy city
One of the advantages of this city is the ease of getting around and how close everything is to each other. The most recommended neighbourhoods for renting are Albaícin, in the eastern part of Granada’s capital, and Sacramonte, just opposite The Alhambra.
These two areas are also very popular with tourists.
However, if you intend on buying a property, the neighbourhoods with the best options for new construction in Granada are:
Albaícin and Sacramonte, where you will find more traditional style properties built during the Nasrid and Renaissance eras.
Realejo is one of the more central areas of Granada. Here, you tend to find older people and the more traditional tapas bars. Here you can meet locals, tourists and street sellers.
Zaidín is a purely residential neighbourhood where you will find more “Granadainos” (name given to the Granada locals) than foreigners and you’ll be hard pressed to find a single tourist. To “tapas” and to live, it’s a cheaper area of the city, although its buildings aren’t as traditional as in other areas.
La Cartuja, is situated on the outskirts of the city. Here housing prices are considerably lower.
6- Sightseeing in Granada
El Mirador de San Nicolás (Saint Nicolás viewpoint): A mandatory visit to be able to see La Alhambra from a different perspective. You should revisit the neighbourhood of Albaicín at night where you will undoubtedly lose yourself through its narrowed streets. You will eventually find the viewpoint, something you really don’t want to miss. El Mirador de San Nicolás is the most photographed area of the city of Granada.
La Alhambra: This group of palaces, gardens and a fortress was once home to a citadel in the town of Granada, serving as accommodation to the monarchy and to the court of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. Today The Alhambra consists of only one of these monuments and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Generalife sits right next to La Alhambra and is the summer palace and gardens that were inhabited by the Muslim kings of Granada and used as a resting place when they resided in the Andalusian city. It was designed as a rural mansion with ornamental gardens, orchards and architecture fully integrated into the architecture. Today you shouldn’t just visit it for the sake of visiting it; rather you should just simply enjoy its charm and appreciate its sheer beauty and uniqueness.
El paseo de los tristes: (The promenade of the sad ones) This symbolic walk through the city of Granada is located between La Plaza Nueva (the New Square) and the hill up to the Albaicin. This is a very special part of the city and full of contrasts with a breath-taking panoramic view of The Alhambra from below, the view of which at night is also one to not miss.
Calle Elvira (Elvira Street). This particular street is famous for Granada’s Arabic tea rooms, or teterías as they are known locally. Along this stretch, relish the different flavours of the Arabic teas, the hookahs and soak up the Arabic atmosphere in the air. Located in the old town of Granada, it’s one of the most trails to do in the city. Here, you’ll come across an environment dedicated exclusively to Arabic tearooms, heirs to the earlier Islamic rule of Granada, as well as Moorish art and craft shops. This part of town is an absolute treasure, and one not to be missed.
The Cathedral. Granada Cathedral is Spain’s first renaissance cathedral and the second largest cathedral in the country. With its extraordinary dimensions, Granada Cathedral displays a fascinating and completely rounded high alter, a revolutionary idea that until then had never been attempted in the history of architecture. Granada cathedral is also home to the most interesting collection of works by the important and very influential Andalusian artist, Alonso Cano, also a famous “Granadino”.
Gran Vía de Granada is Granada’s main arterial road and it has a wide variety of shops, restaurants, bars and squares. The Los Italianos ice cream parlour is located very near here and it is highly recommended that you try the delicious flavours on offer. A photograph was once taken of the very Michelle Obama highly complimenting the owners of this legendary hotspot.