A visit to any new place is always exciting. Last year, we decided to visit Spain and after making our flight bookings, I suddenly realized that I had miscalculated my date of departure. This meant that we either cancel (at a very heavy cost) or simply stay over another day and enjoy our stay at Almunecar, where we had been staying for past some days.
Suddenly my son came up with a suggestion- now that we had an extra day to spare, why not explore some places which were not too far away from the city?
The idea was exciting. After some deliberation, zeroed down upon the town of Grenada, located about 90 kilometers away from Almunecar, in the southern coastal region of Spain.Spending a day in this dynamic city having Bohemian-Muslim legacy mixed with flamenco-gypsy arts was something to look forward to. And what a fun filled day it turned out to be as we explored something that we now look upon as a “bonus”. This little mistake in my planning turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Here is a recap of a beautiful day spent at Granada.
Granada is a quaint Spanish city with some eastern twist. Yet it displays a substantial middle Eastern influence which is noticeable in all its landmarks; like the dome architecture of Alhambra and the Arabic quarter. Granada is most famous for The Alhambra, a Moorish palace originally built during the ninth century and renovated subsequently by its Emir Mohammed ben-Al-Ahmar in the mid-13th century. It later served as a royal palace of Yusuf, the Sultan of Granada during the year 1333.
This is the ancient palace and one of the the best known tourist attractions in Europe. If you are in Spain, this is certainly a “must see”. I would venture to add here that if you have to go a bit out of the way and visit Granada for this, don’t think twice! Granada is well worth it only to see this structure alone!
Once you are inside Alhambra, make the picturesque Generalife gardens as your first stop. It is full of lovely fountains, exotic flowers, etc and some of the best maintained landscapes you would ever see.
This is a vast Complex which has 3 beautiful palaces that were built way back in 1333. All these palaces are interconnected though, supposedly they were made in different time zones. It is the most visited place and of course quite spectacular as it has white Marbles sun-rooms, exotic tiles and superb architecture that reflects the legacy of its Muslim past. The intricate carvings on the wall display the beautiful craftsmanship of that period.
The Alcazaba Fortress
This Fortress is one of the highlights of the city as it overlooks the ocean and most parts of the city. It was actually an ancient military area and is also is the oldest part of this palace. You can relax here for some time and get some beautiful views of the city.
Granada has some very nice Restaurants that offer typical Spanish and bohemian cuisine. Therefore at lunch time, it would be best to walk down to the Granada’s City Centre. Here where you will find many restaurants specializing in Italian as well as Spanish specialties. Most of these restaurants are known for hand out complementary starters, which we were told, was a part of the tradition here. It definitely sets the mood for the long and easy lunch.
Explore The Alcaiceria – the Arabian Markets
A visit to these local Arabian markets located at the Plaza Bip Rambla is perhaps one of the best ways to round up the day at Granada. The narrow streets is filled scores of small independent shops doing thier business briskly. They seem to be selling everything down from Shisha pipes to Moroccan slippers. This entire area was an Arab Marketplace one time and was destroyed completely in a fire during 1843. A visit in this area has the tendency to transform you away from Spain and take you to the feeling of being at a middle eastern souk!
The visit to the Granada is an absolute charming experience that you would cherish. Therefore, if you ever plan a trip to South of Spain, do try and visit this place and take your time to discover the historic offerings of Granada at a leisurely pace.