Granada is a World Heritage city in southern Spain, enriched by cultural heritage combining centuries Islamic, Muslim, Jewish and Christian faith; the city is itself one of Spain’s most popular National Historical Monuments. Its location in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, incorporating the Alhambra and the Albaicín hills, illustrates a legacy of Sultans and monarchs, fortresses and castles, an incredible spectrum of architectural masterpieces, and a diverse climate.
Architectural diversity of Granada
The history of Grenada records the influences of successive cultures; originally Iberian, the city flourished under the Moors, eventually conquered by Ferdinand II and Isabella I in 1492. The city gained religious importance, and, in 1531, the seat of a university was established.
The architecture of Granada from this time forward reflects a more Gothic and Renaissance style; it is this heritage of diverse influences which has left a legacy of an eclectic mix of Muslim, Moorish and Renaissance styles. Although many Muslim buildings were destroyed by the Christian era in Granada those that are remaining make the most complete group of Moorish housing architecture in Europe.
Granada’s mountainous geography has preserved a unique patchwork quilt perspective into the cultures which have influenced Granada. If you travel by train to Granada, this will be obvious, as you will enjoy an ever-changing panorama of architectural highlights.
Travel to Granada
Granada is a great destination: historically significant, diverse in culture old and new, and a climate of variations accommodating every imaginable recreational activity.
It is important to keep in mind while you are planning your trip that Granada is not an international destination, which means that you generally will transfer to a local carrier from one of the larger international cities such as Madrid or Barcelona. By air, the flight is approximately 45 minutes; by train, Granada is approximately 5 hours from Madrid. In the summer, a great idea is to travel by train, which means you can avoid the heat and the requirement for a hotel. For the budget-minded, frequent bus service is available from most cities.
Granada, a gastronomic delight
Because Granada’s cuisine has its roots from a variety of cultures, you’ll find Granada has rich and delicious cuisine.
For instance, from the high mountain ranges around the city comes Jamón de Trevelez, a ham that is cured in the snow. Ajo Blanco is a delicious coastal cold soup made of almonds and barbecued sardines. Spanish dishes include a tortilla-like ometelle from al Sacromonte, and Pollo al Ajillo or Pollo con Tomate, otherwise known as chicken with garlic and chicken with tomato. Of course, visits to Granada would not be complete without a sampling of Tapas, which are a variety of small dishes as appetizers. Travel Granada Spain becomes a kaleidoscopic gastronomic delight.
Granada is rich with a wide variety of bars and restaurants serving an amazing variety of great food, tapas and liquid refreshments both local and international. Stroll around the Albaicín (the old part of the city) having a drink at one of the terrazas, and enjoying a quiet meal in a quiet patio garden adjacent to a quaint neighborhood eatery serving a range of tasty tapas and good food. In the Calle Caldereria, for instance, you can find quite some Moroccan teashops and restaurants.
The vibrant Granada nightlife
If your objective is to travel Granada in its entirety, you must sample the vibrant and exciting nightlife, consuming copious quantities of cubatas (spirits mixed with a long drink) and staying up until early in the morning listening to Flamenco, jazz and even blues. While most nightlife is outside on the streets and patios, a very popular destination is a local beach bonfire sangria party, also called a moraga.
Granada’s Gypsy culture is highlighted in a celebration called “Zambra” which takes place in the Caves of the Gypsies; the term describes a spontaneous all-night dance and music celebration that has become so popular that the Gypsies conduct them for tourists on a frequent basis. Finally, Granada’s heritage is highlighted by theatre, concert and dance with an Andalusian flavor.
Travel to Granada – Experience the past
Planning a trip to Granada is as complex and diverse as the culture of the city and the region – a cornucopia of sights and tastes that inspire the senses and invite you to stay for a long, long time. Enjoy!