A day in Granada What to see
A day in Granada. What can be seen in Granada if you come to the city for just one day? What are the most interesting sights? Granada is one of the most beautiful provincial cities in Spain, which has preserved its identity over the centuries. The Spaniards named Granada the most beautiful city in the country in 2016.
Holidays at any time of the year on the Costa del Sol or Costa Blanca, you can always find one day to visit Granada. A lot has been written about this city, the legendary Alhambra (the main attraction in Spain) has a loud fame among tourists.
A bit of history
Granada, Grenada, … Remember the famous poems by Mikhail Svetlov? Those poems were written about Granada, that Granada in Spain. With its capture, Christians celebrated the victory of the Cross over the Crescent, history declared the end of Western European Islam and the Middle Ages. With the surrender of Granada, there was no longer a land where people of different religions could agree and simply live side by side. With the capture of Granada came another expulsion of the Jews, the discovery of America, and the strengthening of the Spanish Inquisition. History of Granada
Until the end of the 15th century Granada was a Moorish city, “heaven on earth,” “the part of heaven that fell to earth.” This was the name given to Granada by the Moors, who ruled it for 800 years and turned it into a blooming oasis, who created a fascinating culture and created an era that is known as the Nasrid era. In the 16th century Granada became the center, but the center of Christian history. The Catholic Kings Isabella and Ferdinand and their grandson Carlos V, tried to turn it into the capital of a new empire that united half of Europe and the open America, “over which the sun never sets”.
The Arab quarter of Albaycin
St. Nicholas Lookout
If time allows and you already have tickets to the Alhambra you can start by visiting the Albaycin. How to get there. From the Plaza Nueva or the Cathedral (Catedral, Gran Via de Colon) take the small C1 bus (Albayzin), stop Mirador de San Nicolas. Get on the bus at the front door; fare 1.20; pay with the driver). A cab ride from Plaza Nueva will only cost 5-6 euros.
The Arab quarter of Albaycin is the quarters of the old city. Here in the 6th century B.C. the Phoenicians founded the settlement of Iltruir, then the Roman one of Illiberi, and the Muslim one of Calat Garnath. Albaycin in the past – a thriving Arab city: mosques, schools, houses of the nobility, paved streets, fountains, wells, markets, workshops … And today – a quarter of Granada, where close to each other adjoin the palaces of the local nobility, the estates of the sonorous Granada, Catholic monasteries and shacks modern hippies.
If you want to know the Albaycina estate, which history has named “cármena” (not to be confused with the feminine name Cármen), and that each cármena, like a street, has its own name, you can visit the Museo Max More (Camino Nuevo de San Nicolás, 12, 18010 Granada. Schedule: Monday – Saturday 10.00 – 13.30 and 16.00 – 18.00)
The St. Nicholas Lookout is the most popular place for tourists visiting Granada. The viewpoint offers amazing views of the Alhambra and Granada. A popular photo, the Red Alhambra Castle against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada, is taken here. Flamenco dancers or local gypsy singers sometimes perform on the observation deck. Be vigilant when at the observation deck, there are all kinds of people hanging out.
Take the Cuesta de San Gregorio down from the Albaycin to the historic center to the Cathedral.
The period of the first half of the XVI century is marked by a great construction of temple architecture. In the historic center of the city, even if you are only in Granada for a day, be sure to see the Royal Chapel. The great monarchs Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabela of Castile, Juana the Insane and Philip the Beautiful of Habsburg all rest here. In the Chapel Museum you will be pleasantly surprised by the collection of paintings of Flemish, Italian, Spanish paintings of the 15th century, belonging to Queen Isabella. (Calle Oficios, Monday – Saturday 10.15 – 18.30, Sunday and holidays 11.00 – 18.30. The cost of the ticket is 5 euros).
Next to the chapel rises the Cathedral of Granada, which also deserves attention. If you are fans of El Greco, you can see the artist’s work “Saint Francis” in the cathedral. (Monday – Saturday 10.00 – 18.30, Sunday 15.00 – 18.00, ticket price 5 euros.
From the Arab past are preserved: the Arab market of the Alkaseria, the House of Coal (formerly an Arab inn), the Madrasah. These attractions are located near the Cathedral.
From 13.00 to 15.30 it is lunch time. There are many restaurants and eateries in the center. The best are Real Asador de Castilla (Plaza Gamboa 10), which is near the Hesperia Granada hotel and close to the Monument of Christopher Columba and Isabela of Castile.
A day in Granada should not be complete without a visit to the Alhambra, a unique monument of Arab-Spanish architecture from the Middle Ages. A visit to this monument should be planned in advance: buy tickets online at the Alhambra Patronate website https://tickets.alhambra-patronato.es/en/ Pay special attention to the times of the Nasrid Palaces (admission is listed separately).
You can buy tickets on the day of your visit only at the Alhambra ticket office. During the high tourist season – spring and autumn, Christmas holidays – the number of tickets is limited, so you have to wait in line from early in the morning.
That’s a lot of fun for a day in Granada. Believe me, this city is worth a day of your vacation. The Spanish say, “He who has not seen Granada has not seen Spain.”
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What is worth seeing in Granada?
Granada is one of the biggest cultural and historical centers in the south of Spain. Granada itself is an ancient city, founded before our era. For several centuries, Granada was ruled by the Arabs, and then, during the Reconquista (that is, reconquest), it came under Spanish control. For this reason, two very different cultures mingled in Granada, leaving monuments from both the era of Arab rule and that of the Spaniards.
One of the most famous attractions of the city is undoubtedly the Alhambra, a complex of palaces, fortresses and gardens, built by the Arabs. The easiest way to get there with a tour, because there are not many tickets on sale, and they sell out very quickly. You can spend anywhere from a few hours to a whole day at the Alhambra, as it includes a number of architectural structures as well as huge gardens. The Palacio del Carlos V also houses the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of the Alhambra, where the archaeological finds that have been discovered by scientists in the complex are on display.
The Science Park, an interactive museum located near the historic center of Granada, is also worth a visit. Visiting it, you can get an idea of how the human body works, learn about the basic physical laws, safety at work and in everyday life, as well as the development of science in Spain and Andalusia. The museum also has a separate part for children from 3 to 7 years old, explaining in a simple way what water, air, how our body works, etc. are. I would recommend this museum to everyone who is interested in science and in expanding and deepening their knowledge about the world around us.
Granada is the birthplace of the world famous Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, so it is not surprising that the city has a museum dedicated to him. It is located at calle Poeta Federico Garcia Lorca, 4 in a small town called Fuente Vaqueros. It is very close to Granada and can be reached by bus or cab. The trip will take literally twenty to twenty-five minutes (distance is about 25 kilometers). The museum is located in the house where the famous Spanish poet once lived. It displays his belongings, manuscripts, photographs, and paintings. Federico García Lorca was friends with other famous people of his time – the film director Luis Buñuel and the famous painter Salvador Dali. Their correspondence is also represented in the exhibition. The entrance fee is 1 euro 80 cents. The museum is closed on Mondays, and Tuesday through Saturday you can get in from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 4 to 6 p.m. On Sundays, the museum is open to the public only in the morning.
Another noteworthy museum located in Granada is the Casa de los Muertos. This museum is housed in a Renaissance palace and owes its interesting name to the muskets on its facade. The museum displays photographs, engravings, lithographs, ceramics, and portraits of Catholic kings (including Ferdinand and Isabella). The address of the museum is Pavarenas, 19. It is located near the historical center of Granada. You can get there on foot, by bus (buses number 30 and 32 stop next to the museum) and, of course, by cab.
For antiquities lovers should visit the Museum of the Royal Chapel located at calle Oficios, 3. It is open to the public Monday through Saturday, from 10 to 13:00 and 16:00 to 19:00, on Sunday it can be visited from 11:00 to 13:00 and 16:00 to 19:00. Inside the chapel are paintings by Botticelli and Perugino, as well as paintings by Spanish masters who worked during the reign of the Catholic kings. In addition, later Renaissance and Baroque paintings are also on display in the museum. In addition, the chapel contains the tombs of kings and a magnificent altar, which without exaggeration can be admired for hours. The entrance ticket will cost you 4 euros, for those over 65 years of age the ticket costs 2 and a half euros.
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the Carthusian Monastery, very close to Granada. It is located a few kilometers from the city center. It used to be located outside the city, but the city is gradually growing, so you can already see there the houses of the city. Its address is Paseo de la Cartuja, the building does not have a number, but it does not need one as you can see it from afar. It was erected in the 16th century on the site where, according to legend, the Spaniards gained a significant victory over the Arabs. Its construction lasted for several centuries and was completed only in the middle of the 18th century. During the Middle Ages, monks lived there, but later the monastery was transferred to private individuals, after which it was partially destroyed. In the 20th century restoration work was carried out, during which the monastery was given its original appearance (paintings and decorations were subjected to restoration). The facade of the building is decorated with jasper and colored marble, as well as the figure of St. Bruno, the founder of the Cartesian order. In the courtyard of the monastery there is a magnificent orange garden in which you can take a walk. Inside is a collection of paintings of great historical and artistic value. In the chapel there are two altars created by the Spanish painter Juan Sánchez Cotán. The first altarpiece depicts the Baptism of the Lord and the second depicts the Exodus to Egypt. The monastery will be of interest to religious people as well as connoisseurs of antiquities and culture. It has an incredibly peaceful atmosphere, so in my opinion it is worth your attention.
There is also an archaeological museum in Granada, but at the moment, unfortunately, it is closed. The exact date of its opening is not known yet, but it might be when you come to visit it. The exhibits on display are from Andalusia and the surrounding areas of Granada and include items from Iberian, Roman, Arabic, Phoenician and Spanish cultures. The museum’s address is Carrera del Darro, 43.
The fact that this sun-dried abbey is in Granada is no coincidence. There is a legend that St. Cecilio, the first bishop and patron of the city, was killed here by the Romans. This tale has factual corroboration – the Arab tablets that have been discovered here. However, it is worth noting that there are doubts about their authenticity, but the monastery nevertheless lives its normal life and glorifies its saint.
In the museum at the abbey you can look at those tablets and wonder for yourself if they are authentic. Here is also the furnace where the remains of several other martyrs are believed to have been burned. Among other things, in the museum you can see figures, paintings, and the oldest map of Granada.
The museum, the church and the catacombs can only be visited as part of a tourist group and tours are organized daily, 11:00-13:00 and 16:00-18:00, and they take about half an hour.
The location is Paseo del Sacromonte and is open Monday through Friday. You will need to pay 3.5 euros for the entrance.
Granada has a very interesting history. Initially it was dominated by the Moors, then the Spanish with the Reconquista. The city’s history is an interesting one: at the end of the XV century, when the Spaniards came to Granada, they gave the new city a majestic cathedral. It was erected where the mosque was located earlier – this fact, by the way, was not unusual for those times.
At first, it was planned to add two pompous towers, each eighty meters high, to the luxurious structure.
But with the interior decoration was not trifle – here you immediately realize that you are in the main cathedral of the city. Here you can see the arches, white carved columns, surrounded by murals of famous artists, and all this beauty is thoroughly sprinkled with gilding.
The cathedral structure is joined by the Royal Chapel, which is probably the largest tomb in the state. Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon are buried here deservedly. This honor is due to the fact that Isabella patronized and financed the discoverer of the Americas, Christopher Columbus, and Ferdinand repelled the city from the Moors.
Tickets to the cathedral and the chapel are sold separately. It should be remembered that the cathedral is active and behave as one should in such a religious place, but the plus side is that, if you are lucky, you will have the opportunity to listen to Mass – it is rumored to be preserved the same as it was five centuries ago…
This remarkable place is located at Gran Via de Colon, 5. It is open according to schedule: Monday-Saturday from 10:45 to 13:30 and from 16:00 to 20:00, on Sunday from 16:00 to 20:00. This applies to the period from March to August, in the period September-February you can get into the cathedral from Monday to Saturday from 10:45 to 13:30 and 16:00 to 19:00. On Sundays – from 16:00 to 19:00. You will have to pay 4 euros to enter the cathedral and 3,5 euros to enter the chapel.
Once upon a time, during the romantic and violent period of Moorish rule, the ancient district of the city of Albaycin was considered to be its main and central quarter. Many years have passed since then, but fortunately for visitors, Albaycín remains as it was, with its maze of endless staircases and narrow streets lined with white houses and with strings of Andalusian linen stretched between them.
Seven centuries after the founding of this quarter, there are only about thirty new churches and about fifty restaurants.
If you want to get the full experience of exploring Albaycín, wear comfortable shoes and allocate at least half a day for this walk. And rest assured, you will love it here.
The must-see areas are the beautiful back alleys with the cats sleeping in the shade and the viewpoints from which the Alhambra (the most famous mirador, as they call them, is San Nicolas) offers astonishing views of the Alhambra.
The last piece of advice for your journey through this ancient quarter is to set off in the early morning or at night (the Alhambra in the light of the setting sun is another topic of conversation), because it is generally very hot at any time of the year. But if you go in the evening, you should bring a warm cloak or something else appropriate, because it gets pretty chilly as darkness falls.
The mysterious Red Palace in Granada is a sight to behold, where you can not only take impressive photos, but also get a glimpse of several different cultures at the same time. By 1230, at a time when almost all the territory in Spain was being wrested from the Muslims by the Christians, this city had become a center where Muslim culture was preserved – it is preserved to this day. Here Muslims set out to build a “paradise on earth.
Arab historians suggest that not only did the red bricks influence the impression visitors get of the atmosphere here but also that the builders built the palace at night by using torches that gave the walls a red hue.
You can get here both during the day and at night. A visit to the gardens and the palace of Generalife costs only 6 euros – from 20:00 to 00:00.
The ticket office sells tickets from 08:00. During the “season” and the influx of tourists – from May to October – you have the opportunity to buy tickets three or four days in advance.
If you have not thought about tickets in advance or if you arrive in town unplanned, it is worth asking about the possibility of booking at your hotel. In many hotels such service is available.
Adults should pay 12 euros for admission, children under twelve years – admission is free.
To get into the palace is impossible only two days during the year – December 25 and January 1.