Drawn to Granada by the allure of the Alhambra and its serene Islamic architecture, you may be surprised by Granada. There’s so much more to see and do other than marvel at the Moorish civilization’s greatest legacy.
Sitting at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Spain’s Andalucia Province, Granada is a hotbed of student activity. The city’s population of a quarter million includes 65,000 who either work or study at its prestigious university.
Packed with bars, lively student dives and intimate flamenco clubs, Granada will surprise you in may ways. Here are our top five things you shouldn’t miss while visiting Granada, all guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.
With its narrow medieval streets, the Albaicin neighbourhood is the best place to experience Granada’s Moorish past. It’s also the place to visit for the best tapas in the city. Highlights of the district include the 16th century Church of San Salvador, which was built on a former mosque. The Church of San Nicolas will reward you with fantastic views of the Alhambra. At times the view is enhanced by snow-capped mountains in the distance.
Monasterio de San Jerónimo
Dating from 1496, the Monasterio de San Jerónimo was the first monastery built in Granada after the Christian conquest. It is richly decorated in honour of Spanish general Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba. The monastery was occupied by Napoleon’s army during the Peninsular War (1807–1814). It was left in ruins until being restored in the early 20th century.
The Sacromonte neighbourhood is the place to go to see flamenco performed in its rawest form, a treat you should not miss. Restored caves depict where the Roma people (gitanos, or gypsies) settled when they first arrived from India in the 15th-century.
Granada science museum (Parque de las Ciencias)
The Granada science museum encompasses 70,000 square meters dedicated to the study of nature and astronomy. Opened in 1995, it has become one of the most visited museums in Andalucia. Permanent collections feature a planetarium and a not-to-be-missed journey inside the human body. In the museum’s biosphere you can learn about more than 200 species of animals and plants that inhabit the dome.
The Alhambra Palace
The highlight of anyone’s trip to Granada has to be the UNESCO World Heritage Site the Alhambra Palace. The Alhambra was built by the Nasrid Dynasty between the 13th and 15th centuries. The palace and its spectacular gardens, overlooking the river Darro, were built on the remains of Roman fortifications.
The Alhambra is visited by 8,500 people every day and is a must-see during any dignitary’s trip to Spain. To avoid disappointment, book your ticket well in advance.
Although private vehicles are not allowed to access the Alhambra, it is served by three bus routes (C30, C32, C35). A taxi from Granada airport is just a 20 minute journey to the palace.