In these dull winter months, you might consider taking a holiday to escape the UK’s dreary weather. The Andalusia region of Spain boasts milder winter weather with very little precipitation—and holds a lot of charms for tourists to boot! Chief among them is the enchanting Moorish city Granada, best known for housing the Alhambra. Here’s what you can expect from a holiday in Granada:
Though Granada has been continuously inhabited for the past 2,500 years, it’s most profound influence has undoubtedly come from the Moors, who conquered the city in 711 and introduced Islamic rule into the region until the year 1492. As such, Granada’s most historically important tourist attraction is the Alhambra, the mighty fortress and palace complex that overlooks the city. Originally constructed in 889 and converted into a palace by Yusuf I in 1333, the Alhambra is a stunning example of Islamic architectural details, with its column arcades, painted tiles, reflecting pools, geometrical patterns, and Arabic inscriptions being prominent distinguishing features.
Beyond the Alhambra, there are many places where you can find evidence of the city’s Moorish roots. Pay a visit to Albayzin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with striking white-washed buildings and unbeatable views of the city and the Alhambra from the San Nicolas Viewpoint. Inside the city, you can find bits of Moorish architecture in the central district of Corral del Carbon, or browse the souvenir stalls in Alcaiceria, once home to a Moorish silk market.
Plan to visit a few other key historical attractions on your visit to Granada as well. The city’s Archaeological Museum is one of the oldest in Spain, while the Cartuja Monastery, San Jeronimo Monastery, and Basilica Juan de Dios give tourists a glimpse of the city’s Christian influences—and its beautiful Baroque-style architecture. The Federico Garcia Lorca Museum is another must-see that pays homage to the region’s most influential writer.
Once you’ve finished getting acquainted with the city’s historical attractions, it’s time to partake in its cultural activities. As with the rest of the Andalusia region, the soulful rhythms of flamenco music remain a popular draw for tourists. Some of the best places to see it live are the Peña de la Platería, the oldest flamenco club in Spain, Eshavira Club, and Huerto del Loro.
If you’re looking to partake in a more relaxing cultural activity on your city break to Granada, head to the city’s Moroccan bathhouse, Hammams de Al-Andalus, which channels the architecture of the Alhambra.
Of course, a visit to Granada wouldn’t be complete without trying the local fare. Avoid having a file a holiday illness claim by seeking out quality food and making sure you know your allergies before you leave! Granada is one of the few cities in Spain that still serves free tapas to tourists with each drink purchase, offering plates ranging from traditional hams, cheeses, and olives to seafood tapas and even Arabic-style tapas that use chick peas as the main ingredient. Apart from the tapas, try the regional specialties: gazpacho, a cold, tomato-based soup; the tortilla de Sacromonte, a Spanish omelette made with bull meat; Olla de San Anton, a stew made from broad beans, pig’s ear, bacon, and blood sausage; and plato alpujarreño, a dish made with fried potatoes, fried egg, cured ham, and sausage.
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