Granada attractions include Alhambra and Generalife, Monastery of Cartuja de Granada, Granada Cathedral, historic Moorish Albaicín district, and a Tapas restaurant tour.
Alhambra and Generalife (www.alhambra-patronato.es) are Granada’s most popular attractions, and notable as tourism destinations on a national level.
Alhambra is one of the most significant structures remaining from theAndalucian period under Moorish rule, and, as a palace complex, contains…
- a fortress palace (Alcazaba),
- palatial gardens, and
- Medieval administrative buildings.
Alhambra, which was a residential palace of the Nasrid sultans — who ruled the region from 13th-14th century — offers, in fact, one of the most important examples of Islamic architecture in Europe.
You can also find from the area a palace of Emperor Charles V (of the Holy Roman Empire), which he had built in 1527, and which now serves as a Alhambra Museum.
Moorish poets described Alhambra’s beauty with the words:
“a jewel in the middle of emeralds”
…a referral to the color of the building and its surrounding gardens, overlooking the city of Granada.
Generalife, meanwhile, which historically was connected to Alhambra via a covered pedestrian bridge, but which no longer exists, was the summer residence of the Nasrid dynasty.
The Generalife area contains a summer palace and Generalife gardens, which are the oldest remaining Moorish gardens in Europe.
Granada attractions also include Cartuja de Granada, a Carthusian monastery and one of the finest examples of Spanish Baroque architecture in the country.
Construction work on the monastery began around 1516, with the completion of the building taking more than 300 years.
In terms of exteriors, the monastery is not nearly as impressive as it is for its interiors, as inside, the monastery contains a superb collection ofartistic masterpieces.
Highlights of these artworks include…
- a tabernacle designed by Francisco Hurtado Izquierdo, and
- Cartuja de Granada sacristy, built from 1727-1764 by Luis de Arévalo and F. Manuel Vasquez.
Granada attractions also feature Granada Cathedral, construction of which, unlike for many other historic buildings, had to be postponed until the period after 1492 — when the region was retaken from the Moorish rulers.
Architect Egas started the construction work on the church in 1518, and the church was built for a period of 181 years.
Due to the long period of construction,you can find several architecture styles from the church, including Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque styles.
Highlights within the church include its Trinity chapel, which contains magnificent paintings from artists El Greco, Jose Ribera, Alonso Cano, and Spanoleto.
Another highlight is the Capilla Real chapel (www.capillarealgranada.com), to which Isabella I and Ferdinand V, whose death unified Spain into one kingdom, are buried.
Historic Moorish Albaicín district (www.turgranada.es/albaicin) is, in addition to the Alhambra, one of the best ways to explore the city’s Moorish history.
The historic district, which is today (together with Alhambra and Generalife) part of the UNESCO World Heritage list, contains winding, narrow streets, and buildings that are primarily from the 14th century.
Highlights of the district also include excellent views to Alhambra.
In fact, if you’re looking for the best locations for taking pictures in Granada, you should check out the nearby Mirador de San Nicolas, an outlook point (on the top of a hill) overlooking Alhambra.
Finally, a Tapas restaurant tour (www.granadatur.com/tapas-routes/) is a unique Andalucian experience for many visitors, as the area is generally considered to be the place where Spanish tapas were first created, in the 19th century.
Granada Tourism Board has a variety of recommended Tapas tours, and using these lists is a great way to find the best tapas restaurants in Granada.
The tourism board also publishes a “Granada Tapas Restaurant Guide” (PDF) online, with descriptions of the available Tapas restaurants.
You can also participate in organized Tapas tours with local city guides, such as Granada Tapas Tours (www.granadatapastours.com).