It may be compact, but Granada’s mix of Iberian and Arab heritage, from traditional Andalusian tapas bars to bustling bazaars...
...and traditional Moorish bathhouses, only adds to its charm. Throw in some of the world’s most fabulous historical buildings and the Sierra Nevada mountains on its doorstep, and you have a city just begging to be explored.
Awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1984, the Alhambra palace and fortress is one of the world’s most sensational architectural creations. The Moors began building it in the early 1200s and it has dominated the same hillside overlooking Granada ever since. There is a lot to see, but the exquisite courtyards and stucco work of the Nasrid palace complex are the most stunning. Queues for tickets are invariably huge so booking is essential.
Casa Museo de Federico Garcia Lorc
Arguably Spain’s most famous poet and playwright, Lorca was born just outside Granada and grew up in rural Andalusia. The museum, formerly a villa where he spent most of his summers writing, is a fascinating period piece and has beautiful gardens to boot. Guided tours in English are available.
The Museum Plantin-Moretus was the first museum to be awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Housed in the former studio of the Plantin-Moretus printing family, the museum houses the oldest printing press in the world and a library that dates back to 1640.
Granada’s enormous cathedral, completed in 1704, is a mishmash of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styles, with an impressive black and white tiled floor and soaring white pillars.
Adjoining the cathedral, the Capilla Real, or royal chapel, is the burial place of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, the so-called Catholic Monarchs who changed the face of Spain and the world. Their tombs are made of marble and sumptuously decorated.
Dating back to the 11th century, this Arabic bathing house is one of the best preserved hammams (Turkish baths) in Spain. Its bare brick rooms contain pillars and marble tiled floors, with octagonal skylights fashioned as stars.