What to see in Granada? : Brief history of the city

Granada, a historical journey without leaving a modern city. It is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, where numerous artists, writers and travellers from all over the world have been fascinated by its beauty and charm.

At the south of Spain, with an enviable geographical location, the sea and mountains just kilometres away, the capital of western Andalusia has become a cultural reference point in Spain, and very popular with tourists.

With the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada and the Alhambra as an emblem, each walk through its streets is a different experience. Gothic, renaissance and baroque art are combined with the majesty of Islamic art remaining in the city.

The city of Granada has been a meeting point for the most diverse cultures from the most ancient times, still reflected in its emblematic neighbourhoods such as Albaicín and Realejo, Muslim and Jewish, respectively. Albaicín, declared a World Heritage location in 1994, was the starting point of the current city of Granada, where there is still all the magic of its Arabic past. Realejo, the old Jewish neighbourhood invites you to get lost among its quiet, pleasant streets, which hide numerous secrets.

Among its seductive neighbourhoods rises the hill which leads to one of the greatest constructions in the world, the Alhambra. It is one of the most visited monuments in Europe, where Spanish history is reflected in the combination of Arabic and Christian architecture. Its water and light elements create a unique atmosphere of unparalleled beauty.

There are many areas of the city which must be visited. Its historic centre and commercial centre, Plaza Nueva leading to the magical Paseo de los Tristes, a gastronomic tour of its bars and restaurants, allowing yourself to be seduced by delicious tapas – not to mention its most innovative and scientific elements in the Parque de las Ciencias science museum.

However, Granada is not stuck in the past; it has evolved and become a modern, dynamic, well-equipped city.

It is famous for its University, the third most important in Spain, which every year attracts thousands of students from around the world, giving the city a young, cultural and cosmopolitan atmosphere. It is a multi-faceted city, offering diversity and a multitude of cultural possibilities every day.

All cities have their charm; Granada has its own and that of all others. Antonio Machado.

Places of interest

What to see in Granada? : The Alhambra

Qué ver en Granada : Alhambra

Declared as a World Heritage location in 1984, its name comes from the colour of its walls (Al-Hamra in Arabic) which were made with clay from the ground, giving its reddish colour.

The complex is made up mainly of the Gardens of the Generalife, the Nasrid Palaces, and the Alcazaba, of Arabic construction. Of Christian construction we find the Carlos V palace, and the Iglesia de Santa María church, constructed on the old mosque. The different areas are connected to each other by patios and galleries.

The Alhambra is an unparalleled example of how light and water provide important decorative effects in architecture. A careful selection of materials allows adornments to change depending on the effect of light.

The water works as a mirror, reflecting the architecture and decorative elements, contributing to the sensation of peace. Furthermore, combined with the light, illusions are created, softening the horizontal architecture, as can be appreciated in the Court of the Myrtles.

The visit lasts at least three hours and it is necessary to book in advance, due to high public demand.

What to see in Granada? : Historic Centre

Qué ver en Granada : Centro Histórico

The monumentality of the favourite city of the Catholic Monarchs can be seen in impressive buildings such as the Cathedral, the symbol of Christianity in Granada, an excellent point from which to begin a walk through the heart of the city. Beside it is the Royal Chapel, the pantheon of the monarchs, and a little further, the monastery of San Jerónimo, a first class jewel of the renaissance.

The centre of Granada is also characterised by being a lively, bustling space, with its streets of shops and numerous tapas bars. Notable are the Alcaicería, the former silk market, and plaza Bib-Rambla, full of freshness and colour thanks to the flower stalls which adorn it throughout the year.

What to see in Granada? : Albaicín

Qué ver en Granada : Albaicín

The neighbourhood of Albaicín, declared as a World Heritage location in 1984, was the root of the current city of Granada, and still retains the magic of its Arabic past.

In the Islamic period, the current Albaicín was a collection of different independent urban centres, and it was not until the modern era that it achieved its current united format. To walk through Albaicín is to walk through the history of Granada. Its constructions, plazas and the structure of its streets allow the observant visitor to recognise the various cultural and social transformations of the city.

What to see in Granada? : Realejo

Qué ver en Granada : Realejo

Realejo is the old Jewish neighbourhood of Granada, or Garnata al-Yahud (Granada of the Jews), as it was called in the Muslim period. It is located just at the foot of the Alhambra, and without a doubt, its Sephardic legacy can be appreciated in its streets.

Today, it is a very pleasant, quiet neighbourhood which invites you to walk and discover its secrets, such as the corrala de Santiago, a typical house from the 16th century, and the Puerta del Sol, a beautiful viewpoint which retains its old wash house, as well as relaxing and enjoying the typical flavours of Granada on the terraces of Campo del Príncipe, a large square at the centre of the neighbourhood with a relaxed, traditional atmosphere.