Granada, Spain is one of those places that is not a familiar or a well-known city in Spain, it is harder to get to, but so worth the journey. I honestly can't remember how I found out about Granada (instagram or Pinterest, maybe?) but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to find a way to get there. I wanted to go desperately two years ago when I was studying abroad in London, but it just never seemed to work out. So when all the plans feel into place for moving abroad to Ireland, it wasn't a matter of how but when I was going to Granada.
Granada is located in southern Spain at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is an hour from the Mediterranean Coast, an hour and a half from Malaga/Malaga Airport, and two and a half hours from Seville by car. There is an airport in Granada, however the flights can be limiting so the closest airport is the Malaga Airport.
While it can be quite a trip to get to Granada, it is definitely worth it of you want a quant little Spanish town that has a dash of a Moroccan vibe to it. The city has small and narrow streets that are easy to navigate and wander. It is definitely less crowded than Madrid and easier to navigate than Barcelona since it is a small city. After a walking tour and wandering around with a map for a few hours, I could find my way around with ease.
The main tourist attraction in Granada is the Alhambra and the Generalife Gardens. The Alhambra is a fortress and palace in the center of the city. It was first constructed in 889 AD as a small fort, the it was ruined, rebuilt again over the centuries incorporating the styles of the times. Today the Alhambra's exterior is a dirt red, but at the time it would have been white, similar to the exterior of the summer palace in the Generalife Gardens. The best way to envision what it used to look like was best said by a Moorish poet, he said the Alhambra looked like, "A pearl set in emeralds".
The Alhambra has six places within its gates interior, the most famous of the six is the Palace of the Nasrid, known for its Court of Lions and Lions Fountain. It is so popular, that you have to book your ticket in advance and you are given a specific time to go in to cut down on the traffic walking though the Palace of Nasrid.
Between the Palace of Nasrid, the Alhambra, and Generalife it takes a few hours to do self-guided tour though all of it.
Granada is an important part of Spanish history because it was one of the last powerful cities under Moorish rule before King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella began their conquest to covert the country to Catholicism in 1492. While Ferdinand and Isabella tried to stomp out all other religions in Spain during their rule to establish one religion for the country, the Alhambra remained still displays the culture, history, and art of the Moorish rule.
So today you can enjoy both Spanish and Moorish traditions in Granada from the cusine, art and architecture, music, and so much more.
So, not a history buff? Not a problem. This region is also well know for their olives so day tours to see the olive fields, drinks some wine, and relaxation are well within reach. Walking tours of the city are also highly recommended as most of the tour guides are locals and have a wealth of knowledge of the city and can point you in the right direction for food, activities, or the best flamenco dancing show in town. Oh, and of course you get free tapas with every drink, so I mean it is basically paradise.
xx, A Traveler's Bliss | Grace Anne
(hey - hey you. click the bliss above... do it.)