Granada, a city that forms part of the Andalucia region in the South of Spain is one of the most important cities in the country and one of the most visited. It is best known for The Alhambra the main monument, The Cathedral where the King and Queen of Spain were buried, their Jamon de Trevelez and their Flamenco shows staged in cave dwellings. It’s a city with a very distinctive natural setting that includes both a coastline and snow-capped mountains.
The city has 240,000 inhabitants out of which 80,000 students who live and study in the city being that Granada’s university was ranked the fourth largest in the country. Every year the city receives about two million tourists, 8,500 daily visitors on the Alhambra alone.
From downtown Granada, it’s a probably a 20-30 minute walk all the way to the top where the entrance and ticket office, there are buses that can take you up for 1.2 euros but I highly recommend you take the walk up via Cuesta de Gomerez street which is right below the tourism office which by the way is almost impossible to get to without I had to ask around all the way because even the signs were confusing. All you need to do when leaving the train or bus station is head out to your right onto the first main cross street with a sign that says “centro hsitorico” to your right it is called Avenida De la Constitution. Keep going straight for about 15 minutes until you cross another main street, and this one you can’t miss for sure because no car is allowed further into the road you were coming from, it is called Gran via Colon and it is impossible to miss because of all the signs on the actual street floor and every shop is named after it so you will have no problem finding it. Keep going down Gran via Colon until to your right you see the cathedral, its huge, you then make a left on that cross street, where Gran via Colon ends and keep going until the end of the street pretty much. You will pass several plazas and will see a sign after like ten minutes for the office.
The main monument and the most visited in the whole country is the site of the Alhambra which consists of a series of palaces and gardens built under the Nazari Dynasty in the 14th C. It was awarded the World Heritage designation by the UNESCO with 8,500 daily visitors. The compound is formed of the Alhambra or main palace, the massive Palace of Charles V, the gardens and fountains, the summer palace or the Generalife and the Albaicín neighborhood. It stands at the foot of Spain’s highest mountain range, the Sierra Nevada, and overlooks the city below and the fertile plain of Granada.
To get to the Alhambra start heading up through the lower gardens on the right side of the tourism office until you see a cross street, you won’t see a sign up, you will just see a cross street at the top of the hill and a security guard standing by a gate, a gate not THE gate. The gate we are looking for is still further up. So, you turn left on this cross street and immediately a right on the next street, from here you will see signs to follow to get to the ticket entrance. I didn’t think about booking my entrance and there was a huge line and I know there’s only a certain number of people that can go in at a time so I would’ve killed myself that I woke up at 5:30 AM today to catch a four train ride to see this place. So, please be smart, and do book online, that way there is a designated line just to pick up your tickets and you have a guaranteed spot in the palaces. Otherwise you probably will have to wait for about an hour in line. You then get an entrance ticket for 14 euros which I would’ve payed triple to see what I see or even more! Your ticket will have a designated time for you visit the main palace, due to it being the main attraction it really does get packed to the point where you can’t even get a picture. In the meantime you can head down to the Generife gardens and then to Generifa palace. You then head back up towards the Alcazaba palace but since it probably isn’t time for you to go in, you are going to check out the surroundings like the Vela tower, which sits up high and allows for an excellent view from the top of the city and the palace, then you are off to Carlos V’s palace, which is really more like a fort, and lastly you get to go in the palace.
Check out some pictures below for the Alhambra and on their most unique elements like the meticuluos decor of the windows, the walls the floors, doors and ceilings. Every singe
The Islamic palace lacks a determinate floor, the set is being created independent units, built around a courtyard, joined and separated by gardens, arches and columns, in no particular architectural center. Inside the walls were built with masonry, mud and plaster arches. In their sockets the walls were covered with tiles, interlacing or geometric figures. The walls are covered with ceramic or plaster, rich and exquisite decorations, as it was a major concern of the architects, to thereby conceal the poverty of the materials used.
Walls are covered with beautiful and extremely rich ceramics and plasterwork. And the coverings have wooden frames that have been meticulously carved by hand. The tiles were sporadically placed on the floors and wall coverings with geometric shapes and infinite patterns.
Columns appear in several chambers, and the interiors of numerous palaces are decorated with arabesques and calligraphy. Most of the interior arches are false arches, with no structure; they are there only to decorate not to actually support anything.
To get back to downtown area, grab a bus at the entrance-exit of the Alhambra for 1.5, the way back is another road, a more residential road, so you are not missing much, take the bus for 1.2 euros. Once back downtown, at that bus stop, cross the street to the other side of the sidewalk and two blocks to your right you will see the Cathedral of Granada.
Lastly after all of this, you can just walk around two very well known neighborhoods, Sacromonte and Albaycin where you can head out for some lunch and coffee and then on the way back to the train or bus station make sure you go to Reyes Catolicos street which is the main shopping area, just so you can check out the streets decor. It is the newer side of town with tiled floors, awesome street lamps and very vivid colored buildings.
P.S. I really think this should be included in the wonders of the world list. #justsaying