Thursday June 9, 2016
Visit Andalucia’s Granada and you can’t fail to be awe struck by the Spanish Moorish architecture and incredible history. A truly fascinating yet compact city - it is the perfect location for those seeking romantic breaks or looking for a honeymoon location. From the stunning Alhambra to the narrow streets of the Albaicin (the old quarter) there is something to see at every step. Just make sure you leave enough energy to go back out in the evening as the nightlife and Granada tapas bars are all part of the experience.
The Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzin were awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO in 1984.
Historically both fortress and a palace, the Alhambra is packed full of history with the added bonus of beautiful gardens and spectacular views. Arguably Spain’s top tourist attraction, visiting it really is one of THE things to do in Granada!
As this is a heritage property there is a restriction on the number of tickets sold each day and they do become sold out so it is advisable to buy your tickets as early as possible – at least one month in advance. There are different types of Alhambra tickets and different time slots so it is worth doing your research before you book.
Alhambra tickets can be bought through the Ticketmaster website: It is also really worth reading TripAdvisor’s advice page before you embark on the booking process as it isn’t as straightforward as you’d hope.
Children under 12 (ninos menos 12a) are free but they still need a ticket so make sure you still get them when buying yours – you should also take some proof of age as you may get asked.
Another option is to book over the phone on 902 88 80 01 if you are calling from Spain or on +34 958 926 031 if you are calling from overseas.
Should you find Alhambra tickets are sold out on the day you might be able book one of the many guided tours of Granada operated by private companies. These are more expensive than the Ticketmaster tickets and seem to get mixed reviews so again make sure you do your research.
Finally the Alhambra and the grounds are really big. Allow up to three hours for your visit and wear comfortable shoes so you can fully enjoy the timeless beauty and serenity of the Alhambra.
The Generalife gardens are definitely not to be missed and best visited at the end your visit to the Alhambra. They are covered with the same Alhambra ticket (there is an option to buy an evening ticket to the Nasrid Palaces and a morning visit to the Alcazaba and the Generalife Palace and Gardens on the following day). The gardens are next door to the Alhambra Granada.
They were originally built as a palace for Muslim Emirs and have been subsequently altered over the years. The gardens are a lovely tranquil place to visit and a place where the kings of Granada would go when they wanted to get away from it all. Don’t miss the views from the balconies.
The Granada Cathedral
Located off the Plaza de las Pasiegas the awe inspiring Granada Cathedral is in the pedestrian zone so can only be reached by foot or by the LAC bus (Gran Via stop). Built on the site of an ancient mosque the combination of Moorish influence and baroque style give it a truly stunning architecture and is definitely one of the Granada sights you should visit.
Tickets don’t need to be bought in advance and can be bought at the Cathedral itself. They are 5 Euros per adult and children under 10 are free. Wheelchair access is available but not to the toilets or to the shop.
Opening times – check the official website for the most up to date information as the Cathedral can sometimes have changes to opening times for example over the Easter weekend. This website is currently only available in Spanish, however using a translator tool should suffice. Should you need any help understanding this page, please ask our friendly reception team.
The Granada Royal Chapel (Capilla Real de Granada)
Situated between the Granada Cathedral and the old Fish Market, the Royal Chapel was constructed between 1505 and 1517 by Catholic Monarchs for the burial of their bodies.
Tickets can be bought at the Chapel and are 4 Euros each. Again check the official website for the most up to date visiting information as the Chapel can sometimes have changes to opening times during religious festivals and NOTE - there is no visiting during daily mass.
The Bañuelo are well preserved Arabic Baths dating back to the 11th Century. They are located under a private dwelling and as such they are one of the few examples to survive destruction by the Catholics. They are now a declared national monument of Spain.
Entrance cost is €2,20 and access is via a small house at 31 Carrera del Darro, Granada which can be easily missed so make sure you keep your eyes open. Because of their fragile structure, wheelchair access is limited.
Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 2pm
The Albayzin or El Albaicin
Located on an opposite hill to the Alhambra the Albayzin is the old Moorish quarter of Granada and going here is definitely one of the best things to do in Granada. Amble along the narrow labyrinth of streets and take in the Alcaiceria - silk market, the spice stalls and many shops and stalls selling Arabic souvenirs and Spanish tourist attractions. Stop off at a tea room or one of the many bars to escape the crowds and enjoy some welcome refreshment.
Hamman Al Andalus Granada
Treat yourself to a full body massage and relaxing spa to rejuvenate tired legs and to get away from the general hubbub of Granada sightseeing. You can choose your own massage oil and the professional staff at Al Andalus will talk you through the sensations and benefits of each. Prices range for different treatments and reservations must be made in advance. Definitely one of the more relaxing things to do in Granada!
16 Calle Santa Ana, 180090 Granada +34 902 333 334 and +34 958 229 978
Where to eat
CoCo’s Bar & Tapas
Popular with locals and tourists CoCo’s has great Tapas and is reasonably priced. Eddie and his team of friendly staff will really look after you in this gem of a bar.
4 Calle San Matías, 18009 Granada +34 622 23 45 52
Escape the hustle and bustle of Calle Navas (known as ‘Tapas Street’) by diving down Calle Varela where you will find La Botilleria. A good quality ‘sit down’ restaurant with excellent service and generous portions. Great if you want to sample the local cuisine.
10 Calle Varela 18009 Granada +34 958 224 928
Terraza Las Tomasas
A more pricey option but with spectacular views over the Alhambra, eating here is definitely one of the top things to do in Granada if you are on a romantic break or want to treat someone. In the evening you get to see the sunset on Granada and the lights come on over the Alhambra which is just magical. Terraza Las Tomasas is located in the Albayzin or El Albaicin pedestrian area which is a World Heritage UNESCO site and a network of steep narrow streets so can be hard to find, but worth it when you get there. You can make a reservation and ask to sit on the Terrace where it can be breezy and chilly in the winter months so make sure you take something warm to wear (although they do have heaters).
10 Carril De San Agustin, 18010 Granada +34 958 224 108
Where to stay
El Ladron de Agua
If you are planning on visiting Granada why not make your visit truly special and stay with us here at El Ladron de Agua hotel which is literally a translation of ‘The Water Thief. Our beautiful 17th century noble house has been restored and brought into the 21st century with WiFi, Flat screen TVs, Bose iPad docks and Molton Brown goodies in every room. We are ideally located in the heart of the Albayzin giving you instant access to the Alhambra and surrounding areas. As an Arts hotel our fully stocked library and arts collection is real bonus for those seeking a bit of ‘downtime’.
13 Carrera del Darro, 18010 Granada
“Exceptionally Beautiful Place to Stay
We spent 4 nights at El Ladron de Agua, and enjoyed almost every minute of our stay there. The hotel's employees were pleasant and helpful. Our room was excellent with a comfortable bed and large bathroom. The downstairs courtyard was designed in a modern motif which was extremely beautiful. The breakfast room and lounge were also well designed and beautiful. Art work is scattered throughout. It is an excellent location for a visit to the old city, the Albayzin neighbourhood, and the Alhambra,. The Plaza Nueva is 2 or 3 blocks downhill from the hotel, the Cathedral is 1/2 mile away, downtown stores were just as close, and the Alhambra is a 2/3 mile mainly uphill walk from here.” PennyRick from California
We hope we have given you a taste of some of the things to do in Granada plus some of the best places to go for tasty food and a great atmosphere. We would love the opportunity to show you more so please do come and visit us soon, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for all the latest information.