Behold the Alhambra
Explore a medieval world
Central European Time (CET)
Europe’s prettiest doorway to the 14th century gets crowded, but a trip to Alhambra, one of the world’s most stunningly preserved historical complexes is not to be missed. Granada is more than Moorish palaces however. Being roughly 70 kms from the coast, yet close to the Sierra Nevada mountains, you could essentially ski and sunbathe on the beach, all in one day.
Granada has an excellent bus service and lots of them pass through Gran Via, the busy main street in the centre. Taxis are abundant and the hop on, hop off train is popular. A rented car is best if you’re exploring Sierra Nevada, while lots of people prefer to walk around Granada itself. Wear comfortable shoes. You won’t regret it when you get to the cobblestone slopes of Albaicin and Sacromonte.
Hot hot hot is what you’ll find in July and August in Granada, though it’s dry heat, so you won’t be too sweaty as you’re exploring the sights. For milder, more comfortable sightseeing temperatures, the spring and autumn months are warm and sunny. January often gets blue skies and warm, sunny days, but it can get cold at night.
The main Cathedral of Granada was built by Queen Isabella after the conquest of Granada, who rather controversially put it on the site of an existing mosque. The insides are light and airy, and the ceilings are high. This somewhat imposing Gothic-Renaissance structure is thoughtful reminder of the city’s storied history, well worth a look. Explore the Alcazaba Fortress, the Nasrid Palaces and the Palace of Charles V with an audio guide.
Andalusia's somewhat strange and bloodthirsty history comes to life before your eyes in the Royal Chapel. It’s where the Catholic Monarchs of Spain from the 16th century are buried, and where both locals and tourists come to admire fine art and sculpture. It’s part of a complex of breathtaking buildings and one Granada's most fascinating symbols of Spanish culture. Get there early to get the best photos.
Hit the Beach
The best thing about Granada is that it’s just 35 minutes by car or taxi to the beaches of the Costa Tropical. For a cool swim in the sea just head to Torrenueva, La Herradura or Salobreña. Playa de la Rijana, or Rijana beach is known for being one of the best in the Costa del Sol, in spite of its pebbles and distinctly non-white sand. It’s also a favourite with divers and snorkellers, if you’re looking to get under the waves.
Europe’s prettiest and best preserved doorway to the 14th century gets pretty crowded, but a trip to Alhambra is not to be missed. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is partly a palace and partly a fort. Either way it’s mind blowing. Skip the line and take a long walk through the sumptuous Moorish palaces of Granada’s most popular landmark, through the beautiful Generalife gardens, past trickling fountains and into the Palacios Nazaríes - the central palace complex and the highlight of Alhambra’s design.