Part fortress, part palace, the Alhambra is undoubtedly Granada’s most famous and most breath-taking attraction and often the sole reason for visiting, for many who come to see this last Moorish stronghold in Europe. Dating back to the 9th century, this display of Islamic splendour rising up from its forested hilltop roost, with its ornamental architecture, cascading fountains and enchanting gardens, is the jewel in the city’s crown.
But there are other, no less dazzling, gems in this mystical, exotic city. Plaza Nueva, the city’s oldest square and former Moorish silk market is another beauty, now filled with bars serving drinks accompanied by Granada’s famous free tapas. Narrow, eerie cobbled streets like the atmospheric colonnaded maze of the Alcaiceria boasts lovely souvenir shops that give way to elegant boulevards with Renaissance villas and beautiful Basilica, like the Puerta Real district with its boutiques and fashions for the more discerning shopper.
The museum in the Royal Chapel is home to former ruler Ferdinand and Isabel's art collection, their crown and sceptre and Ferdinand’s sword. The beautiful, towering Cathedral of Granada, dating back to the16th century, is the second-largest cathedral in Spain and a perfect example of a Renaissance interior.
The Plaza de Toros de Granada hosts traditional bull fighting while the Aqauola water park is a must for those with children. The blissful hammams, or Moorish Baths, are another blissful remnant from Granada’s Islamic past with their spectacular ornate interiors, colourful mosaics and intricately carved pillars. Here, bathing in hot thermal pools washes away the day’s exertions – if there are any.
Just a stone’s throw from Granada are the magical Sierra Nevada mountain range and the palm fringed beaches of Costa Tropical, where paragliding, skiing, hiking and swimming are just a few of the activities to be enjoyed. Grenada is certainly a city that has it all.
The following information is correct as of January 2015 and is subject to change. Please check with the airline directly for complete accuracy.
Federico Garcia Lorca Granada Jaen Airport is located just over 9 miles from the centre of Granada. It can be reached by car in approximately 40 minutes. A local bus services also operates from the airport to the city centre taking 50 minutes. Taxis are available for hire outside the arrivals hall of the terminal building.
What you need to know
Currency: The Euro (€)
Visas: UK and EU nationals do not require a visa to enter Spain. However, a passport valid for three months beyond the departure date is required by all visitors. Nationals of other countries may require a visa. More information can be obtained from a local embassy or from the Foreign Office website.
Laws: The legal age to purchase and consume alcohol in Spain is 16 for wine and beer and 18 for spirits. There is a smoking ban in force across the country, prohibiting smoking in all indoor public places including bars, cafes, restaurants, clubs and hotels and on public transport.
Best Time to Visit
Summers in Granada are stiflingly hot an also the busiest in terms of tourist numbers. While there are lots of open air festivals to enjoy at this time of year, those with less tolerance to heat will do better to go in late spring or early autumn when the temperatures are comfortably warm and flights are often cheaper.
Winters bring religious parades a plenty and also wonderful skiing in the Sierra Nevada for those with the inclination. March sees the famous Tapas Fair take place while April’s Easter processions are colourful and exciting to watch. As the city hots up, the Fiesta del Agua, basically a giant water fight, takes place in June while the International Dance and Music Festival follows in July. Jazz Festivals fill November while December brings festive nativity scenes and lively New Year celebrations.
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