Europe Granada Spain

Who hasn’t seen Granada hasn’t seen anything. 1 day in Granada

29 czerwca 2017
1 day in Granada

Granada was our second to last Spanish city during our journey along the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula. We spent only one day here, although I must admit that Granada deserves more time. It is not surprising, therefore, that many students come here to study within Erasmus program. The city isn’t larget – here live  only around 234 thousand people. However, being in the center you have a completely different impression of the size of the city. Although we haven’t been in the highest season yet, I must say that the city is filled with tourists. But, it doesn’t lose its charm. Despite my positive feelings to Granada, I don’t have the best memories of it. It was not the first time that I had had a cold at that time, which effectively was killing me. Therefore, besides sights we have seen, I will also give you advices what else may be seen!

Watch the video from our entire trip of South Spain!!

How to get to Granada?

Granada has it’s own, however quite small and expensive airport. Although, you may find some cheap flights from Great Britain or Italy. Therefore you may also go to alternative cities like Malaga. Malaga is located only 126 km away from Granada, so you can always catch an ALSA bus and travel to Granada. Another option is Sewilla. Although between both cities is almost 250 km, but you can also travel with ALSA. We were coming from Almeria, also with ALSA. 😉

Where to stay in Granada?

We had to decide of either staying in Seville or staying in Granada. We choosed Granada because it has a bigger selection of cheap and good hotels. We stayed at lovely Pension Olympia. The hotel met our expectations – adequate price / quality ratio, clean area and rooms, friendly staff and brilliant location right next to the cathedral. Rooms don’t have private bathrooms, but it was not a big deal for us.

First Impressions

We arrived at the large Bus Station. Unfortunately, the train station is located on the outskirts of the city, so we had to somehow get to the center by bus. It wouldn’t be a problem if not for the fact that the name of the stops were so weird and we had to ask locals for a help. I know, we could check it earlier on google maps, but we forgot about it. Luckily, few min later, we paid around 2 euros for a ride, and then we got to our bus stop.

It was not the end of the trouble with the bus station. Next day we had a bus to Seville at 7am. The first city bus was shortly before 7 in our place, which completely excluded a public transport. Fortunately, in Granada there are quite cheap taxis, which you can even order over the internet (luckily, because I doubt for English line). The taxi from the Cathedral to the bus station cost us 7 euro.

Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Incarnation

We started with a visit to the Cathedral. The construction of the Cathedral began in 1523 and it was built for 181 years. Granada Cathedral was built by Queen Isabella immediately after the conquest of Granada on the site of the Mosque. This cathedral is a masterpiece of Spanish Renaissance style. Cathedral of Granada has impressive facades and a stunning interior with a grand altar and several chapels. It is the 4th largest Cathedral in the world. It was built by many artist.

It is worth to spend 5 euros for the entrance (audioguide included), because the interior of the Cathedral shines from gold and glamor! 😉 Unlike Gothic buildings, the interior of the Cathedral is very bright, so finally something different in Spain! If you need more information, hours, etc., then look here.

Cathedral

Royal Chapel

Cathedral

Cathedral

Cathedral

Cathedral

Cathedral

Cathedral

Cathedral

Alcaiceria

Near the Cathedral  are located other treasures that you should visit. On the narrow streets used to trade oriental goods. Mainly, Moorish silk was sold in these small and winding streets. Despite the fact that the market survived the conquest, the future King Philip II closed it. Then the fire destroyed the remnants of the market. However, at the end of the 19th century the market was rebuilt again. Of course, mainly because of tourist reasons, because now we will not find any valuable articles there. Still, it is worth to look into these areas for interesting architecture and oriental atmosphere.

Alcaiceria

Alcaiceria

Alcaiceria

Alcaiceria

Alcaiceria

Alcaiceria

Corral del Carbon

Then we went to the oldest and best preserved Arabic building in Granada – Corral del Carbon. There is a large courtyard where the columns are covered with ivy. Great place for a short break. However, the greatest attention should be paid to the entrance gate. Built in Moorish style, the gate reminds us of the arabic history of Granada. In the city center we will not find too many this kind of buildings. At this place you can also pick up Internet tickets to the Alhambra, what we have also done. We will talk about tickets to the Alhambra later!

Corral del Carbon

Corral del Carbon

Church of Santo Domingo

We also visited the 16th century Santo Domingo church. It was built from the funds of Catholic kings. The church looks very old, though it is not. The entire wall above the entrance is covered with beautiful paintings, which makes this place truly original. We weren’t able to enter. The church was closed. It is not too touristy part of Granada, hence the church is open mainly during the service. However, if you want to get some rest from the tourists, have a cup of coffee and see how many young artists sit under the trees and paint / draw the church, then you hit well! 🙂

Santo Domingo

Streets nearby Santo Domingo

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Streets nearby Santo Domingo

Plaza Isabel La Catolica

We went to the above square because it is an important transport hub of the city and one of the most recognizable places in Granada. From here, buses leave to Alhambra. We came here to find food. We managed to see a bar where they served kebabs and paella. Overall the food was not bad, we spent less than 10 euros per person but time of waiting … Overall they forgot my order, so I will not lie when I say I was waiting for my order about 30 mins…

Plaza Nueva (New Square)

The name is misleading because it turns out to be really the oldest square in Granada and the most central point of the city. During your stay in Granada, you will pass by this square more than once, when you go or come from somewhere, as it is located in the centre of the city.  There are plenty of bars and many important buildings. But I will be honest with you – this place is not impressive. Worth a look, but overall nothing interesting.

Plaza Nueva

Carrera del Darro

This is the most lovely alley in Granada, which we almost skipped during our visit. Fortunately, we managed to get to it because it would be a shame to miss such a beautifully located street. The name Carrera del Darro stands for a golden alley.

The street dates back to the 17th century. Due to the destruction in 1509 caused by the ammunition explosion near St. Peter, part of the wall has been destroyed, changing the direction of the river and widening the street. Along the street there are many beautiful and colorful houses.

Carrera del Darro

Carrera del Darro

Carrera del Darro

Carrera del Darro

Carrera del Darro

Carrera del Darro

Alhambra – Oriental Granada

The Alhambra is a fortified palace complex built between 1232-1273 and extended to the fourteenth century. The expansion continued under the emperors of the Nasrid dynasty – Jusuf I and Muhammad V. The Alhambra was the stronghold of the Moorish Caliphs. It consists a palace with several courtyards and decorated halls: Alkazaba, Generalife – a summer residence with gardens and gardens all over the hill. About Alhambra you can talk endless… However, it is best to see it with your own eyes. 🙂 Therefore we will focus on the most important information.

  • Ticket purchase

I never thought that buying a ticket could be so complicated. Spanish know how to make life difficult for tourists. Perhaps it is a deliberate treatment to limit tourists visiting this place? A normal ticket without guided tour costs 15.40 €. Persons older than 65 and young with a euro card <30 pay € 9. Children under 12 go fo free.

These prices are for the most commonly purchased tickets (without a guide), which includes the Generalife Gardens, the Alcazaba Fortress, the Partal Palace and Palacios Nazaríes with the most famous Fountain of the 12 lions.

Tickets can be bought at the box office, but there is a high risk that they will be sold out. We were in mid-May and I remember when we came to pick up our tickets, there was an information that ticket were sold out by the end of May. So as you see, there is much more demand than available.

Therefore, I recommend to buy the Ticket on the Internet. We bought tickets online in March and the nearest date was just before the beginning of May …

We bought ticket here:

https://www.ticketmaster.es/artist/la-alhambra-de-granada-tickets/972748?language=en-us

Remember to take with you the card from which you bought the tickets, because during reception, you must insert this card into the slot machine to load the data.

During the purchase you have to enter the time of entry. The Nasrid Palace has an entrance for a specific hour. It means that you can walk around the Alhambra for as long as you like, but you must enter the Nasrid Palace at the indicated time.

  • How to get to Alhambra

The Alhambra is located on a hill, so hot days walk there can be quite challenging. Even for my weakened cold body this was too much, so we decided to take a bus ride. From Plaza Isabel La Catolica bus departs every few minutes, which for about 2 euros, will take you to the entrance of the gardens.

  • Generalife

The palace-gardens complex was built during the reign of Muhammad III, 1302-1309 on the site of former orchards and pastures. You can find a nice shade there. For such places, you have to get down a bit, because the garden is simply crowded by tourists. In some places it is hard to squeeze, but as I wrote, it is possible to find more quiet and calm places. Perhaps there are not many types of plants or flowers here, but their development and wonderful condition can be a delight!

Generalife

Generalife

Generalife

Generalife

Generalife

Generalife

Generalife

Generalife

Generalife

Generalife

Palace of Charles V

It was built in the 16th century at the behest of the emperor in the Renaissance style. The palace meant to be a symbol of victory over the Arab dynasty. It was built on a square plan, though this detail is completely imperceptible. All this thanks to an internal, round patio that is surrounded by Ionic and Doric columns. Today the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of the Alhambra are located here. The building didn’t impress us. On the contrary – it doesn’t triumph over Arabian architecture at all. It is very simple and gloomy.

Palace of Charles V

Palace of Charles V

Palace of Charles V

Palace of Charles V

Palace of the Nasrid

This is the lacy treasure of the Alhambra, the most desirable place by all visitors. This is where you have to go for a certain hour, if you want to see this beauty. Each hall, walkway, courtyard is breathtaking. Oriental architecture can not be disliked. Although probably for those who already has seen the Arab countries the views may not make such an impression. For me, the Palace of the Nasrid, were very alike to moroccan architecture. Some designs were almost identical. The most representative part of the palace is the courtyard of Lions. At the center of the courtyard is an ancient fountain wich hold 12 lions. Around the courtyard are  3 other gems. Sala de las Dos Hermanes (Two Sisters), Sala de Los abencerrages (from the name of a noble family) and the Sala de los Reyes (kings) – my favorite! 🙂

Palace of the Nasrid

Palace of the Nasrid

Palace of the Nasrid

Palace of the Nasrid

Palace of the Nasrid

Palace of the Nasrid

Palace of the Nasrid

Palace of the Nasrid

Palace of the Nasrid

Palace of the Nasrid

Palace of the Nasrid

Palace of the Nasrid

Palace of the Nasrid

Alcazaba

At the end of our tour of the Alhambra we went to the Alcazaba. It is the oldest part of the Alhambra, which was the first stronghold. We will not find here such beautiful lace decorations as in the Nasrid Palace – prepare yourself for the sun-dried sandstone, which is worth to go for a wonderful panorama of the city. From here we can admire the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada (yes, it’s still snow in May), the city center and the majestic cathedral, and the white Albaycin neighborhood.

Alcazaba

Cathedral

The snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada

Albaycin

  • What if you didn’t manage to buy a ticket to Alhambra?

I know that this is a very nasty thing and it can happen! Then you can only take a stroll through the free parts of Generalife gardens. Unfortunately, we have not reached this part, so I will not tell you whether it is worthwhile to hike over the hill at all.

That’s all!

Alhambra was our last stop of sightseeing in Granada. It was long and very intense day, particularly for my weakened body. On our way to the hotel we stopped by some cheap restaurant to eat something.

We passed by colorful streets 🙂

We passed by colorful streets 🙂

What else has Granada to offer?

That is why at the beginning I wrote that Granada is a city that deserves 2 days for stay. We regret that the beautiful Albaycin neighborhoods we saw only from the Alcazaba. It is worth to spin around its beautiful white houses and stylish Tapas Bar. It is also worth visiting Sacromonte – the real Gypsy district. This is something for the fans of architecture and beautiful, lovely cottages. If you dream of a beautiful view of the Alhambra in front of the snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada, then definitely go to Mirador de San Nicolas. This is the most famous scenic spot (I don’t know how it was possible that we didn’t get there) in Granada to admire the Alhambra. Due to its interesting architecture and rich interiors (something for fans of sacred objects), it is also worth seeing the Monastery de San Jeronimo.

I also recommend you to check the official website of Granada tourism – lots of useful information!

Have you been to Granada? How did you like it?

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