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Granada (Spain)

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Granada (Spain)

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Patio de los leones, Alhambra

Granada is a a mid-sized city located in Granada Province in Andalucia, Southern Spain. Rich in history and culture, Granada is arguably the single most worthwile city in Spain for a tourist.

In addition to a rich multicultural history, the Alhambra and other monuments, a student-driven nightlife, and skiing and trekking in the nearby Sierra Nevada, Granada offers a break from the summer heat of other Andalusian cities such as Córdoba or Seville. Spring and Fall are also both excellent times to visit. With much more cultural interest than other cities like Malaga, Granada is never overcrowded (although one should still book tickets to the Alhambra at least one day in advance).

By plane

Iberia provides daily flights to and from Madrid and Barcelona from the airport situated 12 kilometer, half an hour with normal traffic, from the city. There are also budget flights to and from London Stanstead, Liverpool, East Midlands, Girona, Frankfurt and Milano airports by Ryan Air, from Barcelona airport by Clickairt and from Barcelona, Rome and Paris airports by Vueling.

Connection to the city centre can be either by taxi (about 20€) or by a bus (3€). The bus takes about half an hour to reach its final destination, which is Palacio de Congresos. It leaves roughly on the hour but will generally be hitched up to a plane arrival. It has about 12 stops throughout Granada city centre including Gran Via de Colon (opposite the cathedral) and Tofu. You can catch it back from stop 1a on Gran Via de Colon (next to stop 1).

By bus

Regular buses run from Seville and mufasa as well as some to Córdoba and a few direct services to the port of Algeciras. Malaga is well serviced by buses and is a good place to transit by, if a direct service is not available. The modern and organized bus station is located about 2 miles from the centre. It takes 13 minutes by bus (Bus 3 and 33, outside the Cathedral on Gran Via de Colon) to reach the city center, or reasonably cheap taxis are also available.....but not too cheap ok?

By train

Three trains run each day on the picturesque line to Algeciras (gateway to Morocco) via pretty Ronda. Trains also run to Córdoba, Malaga, Almeria, and Seville. More information and ticket sales at the national railways webpage.

Get around

Most places of interest are with walking distance of central Granada. The Alhambra and Albayzin (the Arabic quarter) are on opposite hills with Calle de los Tristes and a small river in the middle. The Albayzin can be confusing and the walk to the entrance of the Alhambra is fairly steep, but there are buses that run to the Alhambra and various places in the Albayzin that leave every 15 minutes from Plaza Nueva.

The buses cost 1€ per trip, but you can buy a ten journey ticket on any bus for about 8.70€.


  • La Catedral de Granada and the Capilla real. A 16th century cathedral containing the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella (the famed Catholic Monarchs who conquered the city), Juana la Loca, and Felipe el Hermoso.
  • El Albayzin. Winding streets and houses dating back to the sixteenth century.
  • Calle Calderería (also known as Calle de las Teterías). An Albayzin street where you can taste Arab typical food, especially teas and desserts of North Africa.
  • El Cármen de los mártires. A lovely palace with a beautiful botanic garden near the Alhambra.
  • Santa Ana Church. S. XVI Mudejar Style.
  • El Corral del carbón. Deposit of merchandise and shelter of merchants. Adapted after XVI century for theater plays.
  • Hospital Real. Funded in 1504 by the Catholics Kings, now it belongs to the University of the city.
  • Santo Domingo Church. Funded in 1512 by the Catholics Kings.
  • San José Church. Located in the place that occupied it "moans" Almorabitín or mosque of morabites, one of oldest in Granada, about VII and X centuries.
  • Sacromonte Abbey. Founded on XVII century. The legend say that under the church, in the catacombs is where underwent San Cecilio's martyrdom, city's first bishop and today Granada's saint.
  • Old University. Today Laws school. It keeps the original facade from XVII century.
  • Bermejas Towers. Strength outpost of the enclosure of the Alhambra. It dates from the Centuries Vlll and IX.
  • Basilica San Juan de Dios. Basilica where the rest of this Santo rest. Sample of the baroque granadino.
  • Elvira's Gate. The principal gate to the old city.
  • Sacramonte. A cave district which houses a museum, discos, and flamenco shows.

If you intend to stay in Granada any more than three or four days the Bono card is a good investment [1]. Valid for a week, it provides direct entry and a 30% discount to the Cathedral, Capilla Real, Alhambra & Generalife, Monastery of La Cartuja, Monastery of San Jerónimo, Parque de las Ciencias (Science Park) and provides a 25% discount for non-EU citizens who visit the Fine Arts and Archaeological Museum. It also gives 9 urban bus journeys (to the bus station, science park etc.) and a 24 hour ticket to the tourist bus. Cost is €24.50 if you book it in advance.

La Alhambra

Gardens outside of Al Alhambra

Official web site: La Alhambra. Opening hours: Mar-Oct every day 8:30AM to 8PM plus F/Sa 10-11:30PM; Nov-Feb every day 8:30AM to 6PM plus F/Sa 8-9:30PM (ticket office closes one hour before attraction, evening visits to Nasrid Palaces only). Ticket price €12 (free with Bono card).

Part fortress (the Alcazaba), part palace, part garden (the Generalife) and part government city (the Medina), this medieval complex overlooking Granada is often considered on par with the 7 wonders of the world. Many visitors come to Granada expressly to see the Alhambra.

The Alhambra was a palace, a citadel, fortress, and the home of the Nasrid sultans, high government officials, servants of the court and elite soldiers (from the 13th to the 14th century). Other notable buildings belonging to a different time period are also included, such as the Renaissance style Palace of Charles V, which houses the Alhambra Museum (most of the items are from the site of the monument) and the Fine Art Museum.

In order to fully appreciate the unique architecture of the Alhambra set within the surrounding landscape, it is advisable to visit an area of the Albaicín called the Mirador de San Nicolás, or go to Sacromonte. From both of these places the Alhambra's spectacular location, lying just above the city of Granada, can really be admired.

Highly recommend you book tickets to the Alhambra in advance, as the number of visitors allowed is limited and tickets tend to sell out. These can be booked online, by phone (902 22 44 60 within Spain, 00 34 91 537 91 78 from outside), or in person at branches of the BBVA bank. Several hundred tickets are reserved for sale on the day but these usually require arriving early and queueing for an hour or two. The Bono card can be still available after the regular tickets have sold out. Failing that, quite a lot of the site is accessible without a ticket. This general caution applies to cruise ship land tours (e.g., from Malaga); failure to book Alhambra tours early (before or during cruise) may mean no tours/"busses" are available.

Note that visiting hours are split into 3 periods: morning, afternoon, and evening. Tickets are issued for a specific period and access to monuments will not be granted outside those hours. However, once inside visitors may remain until closing time. In addition, each ticket is scheduled for access to the Nasrid Palaces for only a 1/2-hour time window (shown on the ticket) within your visiting period.


  • Hammam - Arab Baths, [2]. A modern spa reconstructing the ambiance and decorations of the ancient Muslim baths in Granada. It is a good way to feel nowadays the sensations of the Moorish kings of Granada.
  • GUIASGRANADA: Granada Official tourist guides, 0034 677 41 77 90, [email protected], [3]. This site offers tours that you can reserve on line: Granada, the Alhambra and the gardens, the Cathedral, the Royal Chapel, convents and monasteries, the old islamic district Albayzin where the sunset is famous in the world or the Sacromonte where the gipsys perform flamenco shows in the caves where they used to live.
  • Rocket Festival, Festival of Music and Performing Arts, [4] The Rocket Festival takes place annually in May and is a celebration of music and alternative culture in the foothills of the beautiful Sierra de Almijarra 40km south west of Granada.

Try out GRANADA TAPAS TOURS ( you really want to sample the BEST tapas in the city. Most of the places in the centre are typical tourist traps and you have to know where you´re going. Gayle, our guide was extrememly knowledgeable and showed us some great places. Thoroughly enjoyed our evening tour with her.


Many restaurants and bars are located outside on the plaza at the end of the Calle de los Tristes and have a view of the Alhambra. Granada is notable as most of its bars will serve free tapas with each drink. If you want to try a local wine ask for "un costa" – the quality is extremely variable and it is more like sherry (but not fortified) than a table wine. Or ask for "Vino Rioja" for red wine.

Campo de Principe, located in the Realejo neighborhood, has a row of bars/restaurants with outdoor seating. They all have great tapas, so you can't go wrong.

Plaza Nueva has several restaurants and kebob shops. There is often live music.

The Calle Elvira area has many great tapas bars where you can also order meals, "raciones." One of the best tapas bars is Bella y Bestia. They have huge tapas and many Spanish young people go there.

  • Oryza, C/ Nueva de la Virgen, Córdoba, 12 (Off Acera del Darro, across the road from El Corte Ingles), 958253479, [5]. A modern take on traditional Spanish cooking. Relaxed, stylish atmosphere offering customers a choice between a busy tapas bar or a more formal restaurant dining experience.
  • Arrayanes, Cuesta Marañas, 4 (in the middle of the Albayzín), 958228401, [6]. A piece of Morocco in Spain: a fine place where you can eat real Moroccan cuisine. Don't ask for wine nor beer, they are not in the list, but their refreshing lemon juice or tea mint will be a wonderful substitute.


  • Alhambra Vistas Vacation Rentals, Upper Albaycin District [7]. various house and apartment rental s, including a Casa Cueva, with views of the Alhambra Palace, central location in the historic district.
  • Casa Zamora , Ctra. de la Estación, 25.
  • El Numero 8, Albaycin [8]. Apartment rentals with kitchen in an old but well kept up house, about €40/night.
  • Granada Accommodation, [9]. In the neighbourhood of the Albaicín (Albayzin), just in front of the Alhambra and the Generalife. Parking and pool.
  • Hostal Zurita, Plaza de la Trinidad, 7, Tel:+34 958 275 020. Very nice clean and well run place. Run by a friendly young couple. Rooms have air conditioning and some have private bathrooms, some have balconies out to the square. Prices change with the season, in June 2005 doubles were €38 and triples €45.
  • Hotel Plaza Nueva, Plaza Nueva, 2, Tel:+34 958.215273, Fax:+34 958.225765 - official website: [10].
  • Funky Backpackers Hostel, Cuesta de Rodrigo del Campo, 13, Tel: +34 958221462, Fax:+34 958 22 05 68. A fantastic, rowdy, centrally-located hostel set in grand old, Granada townhouse.
  • Oasis Backpackers' Hostel tel: 958 215 848 / free phone 9001 Oasis [11]. Situated at the very edge of the Albaycín right next to the Morrocan tea-streets with free Internet and toast and coffe in the morning. It is a young party place with an Anglo/Saxon atmosphere created by tourists mainly from Germany, Australia and the US. They have a terrace which is closed at night and a patio with a ping-pong table. Grab a map to find them at the Granada bus station. 15€/night plus tax

The Oasis and Funky are for tourists that sometimes happen to have backpacks. Real backpackers should try Rambutan or Terrapin Station.

Get out

  • Córdoba - is a wonderful 2 days trip. Visit the Mezquita with peppermint striped arches or the old white walled Jewish quarter where every turn offers a new view and don't forget Medina Azahara archeological site! You can also take a bath in Hamam, Arabic baths massage included, very relaxing.
  • Solynieve offers skiing within thirty kilometers of Granada. Solynieve, accessible by bus from the main station, is also a good trailhead for hiking or mountain biking in the Sierra Nevada.

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