It can’t hurt to do a little a little bit of research before you make your way to Granada. It can only help you make the most of it, in fact. Granada has a one-of-a-kind reputation in southern Spain- not simply due to its Moorish heritage but also due to it being regarded as a cultural and artistic hub. Its local residents are also known to be quite quirky.
Of course, no matter how many attractions and how much culture a city has, there are always things to know before you step into a new city for the first time. Here are a few points you shroud know before you arrive in Granada.
Granada is now largely a Catholic town. For 800 years, however, from the eight to the late 15th-century, it was under Islamic rule. In 1492, the Catholic monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand took over. You might want to do some reading up on this interesting period of Granada’s history in advance of your trip as you will appreciate even more the city that gained its personality from a blending of two traditions and cultures.
The most symbolic of Moorish monuments in Granada is the Alhambra fortress, which stands on top of the Darro valley with a stunning backdrop in the form of the Sierra Nevada peaks. The fort and walls, dated from the ninth century, underwent an extensive rebuilding in the 13th century by the Moorish ruler of what was the Emirate of Granada. You can experience the Alhambra with an audio tour but again, reading up on its history prior to your visit will help you benefit from your time spent here even more.
On the Alhambra aside, Granada’s finest attraction is undoubtedly the Sierra Nevada mountains and national park. Buses leave from the city centre, making this stunning area easily accessible and if you think it’s nothing more than a ski resort, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
The best time to explore the magnificent hiking trails, for example, would be during autumn or in early spring. Here, you will see some of the more untamed landscapes of southern Spain and should you be so brave, the Veleta and Mulhacen summits
Granada is divided into four separate neighbourhoods, each with its own unique vibe. You’ll find a mature and contemporary Granada around Calle Reyes Catolicos, Plaza Nueva, and the cathedral. Here is where you’ll find chic shops, restaurants, and bars, as well as banks and office situated inside the austere old buildings on Gran Via and the more expensive and smartest residential areas.
If you go uphill, you’ll find Albaicin (the Arabic quarter), with its whitewashed houses and cobbled streets. Also uphill is Sacromonte, a gipsy area of flamenco and caves. The remaining area is the one-time Jewish neighbourhood of Realejo, now a trendy residential area. Here you’ll find many works by the most celebrated street artist in Granada, El Nino.