5 Reasons Granada is the Star of Spain

5 Reasons Granada is the Star of Spain

Granada, the quintessential southern Spanish, Andalusian town, will steal your heart upon first glance; stay longer than a few days and you may never leave.  Granada is exotic and intriguing, yet it is so warm and welcoming that one immediately feels at ease.  The locals are some of the friendliest you will ever meet and they are eager to show off their city.  The architecture is marvelous at every turn and the surrounding landscapes- mountains, rivers and valleys- are peaceful and breathtaking.  Granada is a city meant to be explored on foot; wander the intricate streets and absorb this Andalusian culture.  Granada is a young and vibrant town, which means the drinks are cheap and tapas are plentiful (and delicious!), so grab a chair, and some tapas, and watch this Spanish life unfold all around you.

5. Alhambra

Originally constructed as a fortress in 889 and converted into a royal palace in 1332, it makes sense that the Alhambra is the star it is.  Ornate and intricate, grand yet intimate, this UNESCO landmark sees 6000 people wander across its grounds each day.  Poets have described the palace as “a pearl set in emeralds”; the colors, textures and perfectly crafted Moorish details are a true marvel.  Due to the need for preservation and the volume of tourists who visit each day, visitors must book tickets in advance to guarantee entry; you will only be able to access the Nasrid Palaces at the time indicated on your ticket, so arrive early!  The surrounding structures and sprawling gardens are just as beautiful, and travelers can quite easily pass a day marveling at the great Muslim architecture; just make sure you pack more than one camera battery, you will need it!

Alhambra Granada

4. Albayzin District

Perhaps the most popular neighborhood in Granada, the Albayzin District is Granada’s old Muslim quarter, and protected by UNESCO.  Essentially an open-museum, one could easily get lost wandering the winding, narrow, cobblestone streets, lined with white-washed mansions, adorned with beautifully colored walled gardens.  Located across the valley from the Alhambra and high up on the hill, the Albayzin offers show stopping views of the Alhambra, the city and the surrounding mountains. Chances are good that if you hang around the Mirador San Nicolas, the neighborhoods’ premier lookout point, the flamenco music will be constant, and welcoming.  Most restaurants situated right on the cliff have an unrivaled view, but the costs are high, so grab some fresh fruit and bread at the market, and head out just before sunset to find your own private lookout point- there are plenty!

Albayzin District Granada
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