The allure of Granada essentially lies in the city’s unique history as told by its dominant architectural legacy which hearkens back to a time when the Moors controlled Spain. The famed La Alhambra Palace and the neighboring El Albaicín quarter with its Moorish dwellings seemingly untouched by time are among the most compelling sites in Granada. Ditto for the Sacramonte Caves and the community of gypsies who have for centuries called them home and continue to do so.
In fact if you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Sacramonte cave owned by Curro, who is perhaps Granada’s most famous gypsy, you’ll find yourself in good company. As the walls of framed photographs in his abode will attest, everyone from royals to politicians to movie stars have made the pilgrimage to Curro’s jaw-dropping cave. Beyond the historic, contemporary Granada is largely a college town and evenings are abuzz with lively youthful energy from the packed streets and squares to the hopping local bars and tapas joints. If bar-hopping is not your speed, try something a bit more soulful and authentic like a Flamenco show, a local treat served up with astounding authenticity in various spots around the city.
Hotel NH Collection Granada Victoria
Puerta Real de España, 3
18005 Granada, Spain
T: +34 958 53 62 16
Ideally situated in an early 20th century building in central Granada, the NH Collection Granada Victoria hotel is a scant 3-minute walk from the Granada cathedral and Royal Chapel, and a short 20-minute walk away from La Alhambra. Modern, yet comfortable, the property exists at the intersection of the diverse cultures that define Granada, making it an excellent home base to begin one’s exploration of the city. That it’s also smack dab in the middle of some of the best shopping in Granada is a mere added bonus.
El Templo del Flamenco
Calle Pernaleros Alto, 41
18010 Granada, Spain
T: +34 622 50 00 52
Located in the El Albaicin quarter of Granada, The Temple of Flamenco is a centuries old Cave-Restaurant noted for nightly live flamenco shows featuring a cast of male and female dancers, singers and a guitarist, many of whom are teachers at Granada’s Flamenco School “Reina Sofia”. Stop in for dinner and stay for the show.
El Bar de Fede
Calle Marqués de Falces, 1
18001 Granada, Spain
T: +34 958 28 88 14
A centrally located authentic tapas bar, popular with the locals and proximate to the local gayborhood.
Patronato de la Alhambra y el Generalife
Calle Real de la Alhambra s/n
18009 Granada, Spain
T: +34 902 44 12 21
Built as a palace, a fortress and a citadel, La Alhambra served as the residence of the Nasrid Sultans and top government officials, court servants and the royal guard from the 13th through the 15th centuries. A striking example of Moorish architecture with equally striking views of the city and ample gardens yearning for exploration, La Alhambra could quite easily fill an afternoon with adventure. Tip: Be prepared to wait in lines from time to time as the crowds visiting La Alhambra are plentiful and regular.
El Albaicín (Albayzin)
The winding, hillside streets of El Albaicín form what is known as the Moorish quarter of the city. While it can be seen in a most favorable light from the rose gardens of La Alhambra, it’s location opposite the famed palace provides it with its own spectacular view. Stroll the maze of streets of El Albaicín and stop in at the neighborhood bazaars and restaurants which feel so authentic to Morocco, right down to the wares being sold, you might altogether forget for just a few moments that you’re even in Spain.
Camino del Sacromonte, 31
18010 Granada, Spain
Pair a walking tour of El Albaicín with a visit to neighboring Sacramonte, home to the famed gypsy caves. Wind up the Camino del Sacromonte to the crest of the large hill bordering El Albaicín. There you’ll find a few restaurants interspersed with the aforementioned gypsy dwellings along with yet another magnificent view of the La Alhambra. If you’re truly adventurous, book in at a gypsy cave for the night and truly experience what it feels like to live as the locals have lived for centuries. Tip: Sacramonte is noted for its flamenco shows so check in with the locals when you visit about current show schedules.