city of Granada
Granada is one of Spain's most spectacular historical
World Heritage cities, and millions of tourists and international students visit
each year. It is located in the east of Andalucia next to the Sierra Nevada. It
has an extreme climate in that it is very hot in summer and very cold during winter
when it tends to snow a lot. The Sierra Nevada is very popular for skiing.
is 88 kms and has a population of approximately 241,471. It is well connected
by road, rail and air. Iberia-Mare Nostrum, Ryanair, Vueling and Monarch Airlines
all fly to Granada's small airport.
The history of Granada
flourished under the occupation by the Moors which began in the 8th century. It
became one of the most important cultural and artistic centres under the Nazarí
dynasty between 1238 - 1492. Its population of artists, scholars, merchants and
artisans meant that the city progressed culturally. The influence of the Al-Andalus
culture meant that many beautiful buildings in Moorish and Mudejar styles were
In 1492 the Spanish 'Reyes Católicos' reconquered the city
expelling the Moors, all buildings which followed were in a Gothic and Renassaince
style. In the 17th century it went through a decadant phase from which it recovered
and in the 19th century it filled with artists, architects, poets and musicians
who gained their inspiration from Granada's streets, and beautiful buildings.
The main Sights in Granada
As is the case of so many historical
Spanish cities, the best way to appreciate Granada is by walking around the old
quarters and savouring the charm of its streets and admiring the beauty of some
of the historical buildings. You will need more than one day to visit Granada
- a visit to the famous Alhambra takes a whole day in itself. Well sign-posted
car parks are available on the outskirts of the city and traffic is limited by
strict controls within the old part, so park your car and start strolling. Tour
buses are available for visitors who dislike walking or are unable to do so.
Albayzin: This is an area made up of steep narrow winding streets lined with
typical old white houses. Very atmospheric. There are some great viewing points
over the city and of the Alhambra with the white peaks of the Sierra Nevada in
Historical Sights in Granada
(Alcázar, Generalífe and Palacio de Carlos V): c/ Real, s/n.
This majestic building is located in the old part of the city. it was the official
residence of the Emir of Granada and the Al-Andalus Sultán, founder of
the second independent dynasty in Granada. He built what was an impenetrable fort
on the outside but a paradise on the inside. The Alhambra is a magical place and
these days visits are restricted and must be booked in advance. It was built in
1234 and was given the name Alhambra because it was built on red earth. The Sultans
Yusuf I and Muhamed V were in charge of the decoration which is exquisite. There
is perfect harmony between the design of the gardens and the architecture throughout.
The Alhambra was both a palace and a fortress. The most outstanding parts are
the Palacete del Partal, the Sala de los Reyes (a 16th century ball room), the Sala de los Abencerrajes,
the Patio de los Leones the Patio de los Arrayanes,
the Sala de Mexuar and the Salón de Embajadores (1335).
Generalife Gardens: Built in the 13th century as a summer garden for
relaxingin for the Arabic monarchs. It is made up of Mediterranean trees and
exotic flowers set in peaceful surroundings, separate from the main palace.
V Palace - This was built in the 16th century following the reconquering of
the city. It now holds the Hispanic-Muslim Museum and the Bellas
Cathedral and Churches
- Cathedral: c/ Gran Vía, 5. Located in the old part of the city. Founded by the
Spanish 'Reyes Catolicos' in 1505 next to the largest Mosque in the city. Its
architect was Enrique Egas who designed it in a gothic style. It was remodelled
and enlarged in 1563 by the architect Diego de Siloé, making it the first
renaissance church in Spain.Capilla Real: c/ Oficios, 3. Built by the Reyes
Católicos - this is where you can see their tombs.
de la Catedral church: Plaza Bib Rambla. Originally a market place, later
a Mosque and then finally the Sagrario de la Catedral church.
Cartuja Monastery: Pº de la Cartuja. Gothic. Founded in 1495 by Don Gonzalo
Fernandez de Cordoba, known as the 'Gran Capitán'.
de San Juan de Dios Basilica: Baroque - 18th century. It has a Baroque entrance
marked by two towers with slate roofs.
- San Jerónimo church: c/Rector López Argueta. Founded by the Reyes Católicos in 1492.
It was moved to the capital in 1500 where it was built with Arabic stones from
the Elvira entrance on the gardens belonging to the Nazaríes kings.
de Santa Ana: 16th century - located in the Albayzín.
Abbey: Camino del Sacromonte, s/n. Founded in the 17th century. Granada's
first bishop and patron is buried in its crypt.
- Santa Isabel La Real
Monastery: c/Santa Isabel La Real. Located in the Albayzín. Founded
by 'Isabel la Católica' in 1501. It was once a Moorish palace until Isabel
converted it into a convent.
- Mezquita de Granada: Opened in 2003
in the Albayzín. It has a garden, a centre for Islamic studies and an oratory.
- Manuel de Falla Museum: c/ Antequeruela Alta,
11. Located in the house where the composer once lived.
- The Arqueological
Museum: Carrera del Darro, 43, in the Albayzín. It has an interesting
facade with the coats of arms of the Nazaríes kings of Granada. Located
in a 15th - 16th century renaissance style palace.
- Art and Popular
Customs Museum: c/ Pavaneras, 19. This museum shows 19th century Granada with
photos, paintings, decorative art...
- Hispanic-Muslim Art Museum: Located
within the Alhambra in the Carlos V 16th century palace.
- The Bellas
Artes Museum: Located within the Alhambra, in the Carlos V 16th century palace.
Federico García Lorca Museum: c/ Arabial. Located in the house where
the writer once lived.
- The Science Park: Av. del Mediterráneo.
An interactive museum.
Other monuments of interest in Granada
- Casa de
los Tiros: c/ Cementerio de Santa Escolástica, 19. Mudejar style, built
between 1510 and 1540 - the Artes and Costumbre museum is housed
- Palacio de La Madraza: c/ Oficios, 14. This was the headquarters
of the old Arabic University.
- Corral del Carbón: c/ Mariana
Pineda. Located in the old part 'la ciudad vieja' it is an ancient merchants'
inn dating back to the Arabic period (it is the oldest Arabic building that remains).
Granada's Tourist Information Office is located here.
- El Bañuelo: c/Carrera de Darro, 41, Located in the Albayzín. Arabic baths dating
back to the 11th century.
- La Chancillería: Located in the
Plaza Nueva in the Albayzín. Renaissance style - founded by the Reyes Católicos
- La Casa de los Pisa: It has many works of art.
del Principe: Located in the Plaza Campo del Principe in the area known as
the Realejo. It has lots of bars and terraces.
- Carmen de los Mártires: A former convent located within the Alhambra. The surrounding gardens are
of particular interest and the small lake is very pretty. Only the gardens are
open to the public.
Fiestas in Granada
The most important
fiestas in Granada are: 1st February San Cecilio the patron of Granada is celebrated
with a special procession that goes to the Sacromonte Abbey. Carnivals (usually
6 weeks before easter to mark the beginning of lent) there is a competition for
the best dressed group; 28th February the day of Andalucia; Granada's Easter week
celebrations have been given a national tourism award and last from Palm Sunday
to Easter Sunday there are many religious processions during the week; 3rd May
known as the Cruces de Mayo (the May crosses) lots of altars and crosses are made
using flowers and placed all over Granada in the squares, patios, streets...;
15th June Corpus Christi (Ascension day); there are local fiestas on the last
Sunday in September to celebrate the Virgen de las Angustias also patron of the
What to buy in Granada
Craftwork, hand made guitars, ceramics...
- The coast: It
has a subtropical climate - good hotel and tourist facilities.
Touristic coastal village. It has the remains of a Roman aquaduct and an Arabic
castle. Botanic gardens and an interesting archeological museum with some Fenecian
artefacts, given that Almuñecar was once a Fenecian settlement.
- Salobreña: Located near Almuñécar. A popular touristic
- Mótril: Touristic and fishing village.
It has a marina and beaches.
- El Altiplano: A lot of archeological remains. Semi-desert areas next to fertile areas with vegetation
near the Guadalquivir river.
- Baza: Archeological remains.
The Dama de Baza (dating back to prehistoric times) was found here.
Mountain range: Good for hiking and other mountain sports.
Castril Mountain range: Good for potholing and other mountain sports.
- la Sagra: A 2,323 meter high mountain.
Segura and Las Villas Mountain range: 214,336 hectares. A lot of forests with
up to 2000 meter high mountains. You get here by passing through a village called
Cazorla. From the high mountains you can get down to the Guadalquivir valley.
Also: Yedra castle an Arabic fort (contains an enthnological museum) and La Iruela
castle. Mountain sports: hiking, climbing, potholing, paragliding...Also good
for rural tourism.
- Zújar: Thermal baths.
- Orce: Prehistoric archeological remains and
- Alpujarra Granadina: A typical area
for white villages built on the side of steep hills facing the sea. Beautiful
- Lanjarón: Well known for its thermal baths and
medicinal spas. Its natural water springs come from the Sierra Nevada.
- Fuente Agria: Known for its iron rich waters.
- Orgiva: This is the largest village in the area. It has a Baroque church.
- Trevelez: Located at the foot of the Mulhacén mountain. Well known
for its delicious ham.
- Sierra Nevada National Park: It has
14 peaks more than 3000 metres high. Ski station - Solynieve in Pradollano. Lots
of diverse flora and fauna.
- Cádiar: Wine flows from
it fountains during fiestas in October.
- Lecrín Valley: An area full of valleys, countryside and orange groves.
Temple: Located on the coast.
- Agrón: Remains of prehistoric,
Fenecian and Cartaginense settlements.
- El Marquesado and Guadix:
Interesting contrast between its valleys and mountain areas.
- Guadix: More than 2000 caves - some of them were inhabited dating back to the Moors. There
is a cave museum which shows how people lived in them. There is a 10th century
Arabic fort, a Mudejar style church, a 16th century Cathedral and a 16th century
palace -Palacio de Peñafor.
- Lacalahorra: Calahorra
castle - 1509, Renaissance style.
- La Vega
de Granada: This is a fertile plain on the banks of the Genil river, located
in the Alfagara mountain range.
- Chauchina: Granada's airport is
- Fuente Vaqueros: This is where Federico Garcia Lorca
was born. He had a summer house here which you can visit.
- El poniente Granadino: Coastal, touristic, agricultural
- Loja: Andalucian village located next to the Genil river.
The remains of a 10th century fort. San Gabriel church, 16th century renaissance
style. Good for rural tourism and moutain sports: hiking, paragliding, fishing,
- Montefrío: Andalucian village with remains
of an arabic city wall, a 16th century Gothic church by Diego de Siloé,
a neoclassic church (Iglesia de la Encarnación) built by Ventura Rodríguez
in 1717 and the 15th century Santa Fe church built under the orders of the Reyes
- Alhama: 4 Kms from Loja. Remains of a Roman
settlement. Arabic thermal baths and a spa.
Montes: Located between Córdoba and Jaén. Villages set between
valleys and mountains. An olive growing area since the Moorish occupation.
- Piñar: Cueva de las Ventanas, A cave with