Granada, Spain

Alhambra, Granada, SpainWe arrived in Spain by ferry at the port of Algeciras. Passport control was unusual as they just looked at our passport and handed it back, without stamping or scanning it. There are two ways you can get to Granada from here, by train or by bus. We opted for the bus as it was the closest departure and both took approximately the same time. The bus drove us north through the hills then along the coast to Malaga, then inland again until Granada over four hours and the views were excellent while the sun lasted.

Granada is a beautiful city in the south of Spain, at the foot to the Sierra Nevada with a long history and is best known for the impressive and imposing structure of the Alhambra. Granada has been occupied since the 8th century BCE and was the last region of the Moors to fall to the Christians in 1492. Some Christian royalty kept, maintained and utilised the Alhambra after the fall of the Nasrid Emirate and Queen Isabella & King Ferdinand were even buried here for a time.

Granada, SpainAlhambra, Granada, SpainGranada, Spain

Granada has a famous tapas route, gypsy caves in the Sacromonte, Flamenco dancing and much more, but almost everyone will tell you that the Alhambra is the main attraction you need to visit and with good reason.

Alhambra, Granada, SpainAlhambra, Granada, Spain

The Alhambra is an impressive complex, and is now a UNESCO site. Many parts are incredibly well maintained and the vistas from its ramparts are incredible. As we have just come from Morocco, we were able to gain a greater appreciation of the impressive craftsmanship in the Alhambra having seen many similar structures that are painted. I could post quite a few photographs of it, but this is one of those places that has been visited by so many that a quick search on the internet will reveal literally thousands of photos much better than anything I produced. I could also write hundreds of words about it, but again there are books and documentaries that would pale any words I write.

Alhambra, Granada, SpainAlhambra, Granada, Spain

*** My Advice to anyone visiting the Alhambra is to get there early, as there are a limited number of visitors for each session (morning and afternoon). Also, if you have pre-purchased, you will still have to wait in line to collect the ticket (the line does move reasonably quickly), and once you have your ticket, you may still need to wait until the gates open.

Alhambra, Granada, SpainAlhambra, Granada, Spain

The Alhambra has a permanent museum and art gallery and, while we were there, one special exhibit on the history of Al-Andalus (The Moorish name of Andulusia). The museums are free to enter and are located in the Palace of Charles V. I would heartily recommend that before you visit the Al-Hambra that you visit the museum as it contains a number of artefacts that will enhance your experience such as painted frescos or wood panels. The art gallery contains many paintings from artists in Granada since the Christian era and is well worth the look.

It is the special exhibit that is a true wonder. It contains numerous artefacts from centuries of occupation and celebrates the Moorish period very well. It was a delight to admire the many books and documents contained here including official legal documents. The exhibition is extensive and you will leave well informed to enjoy your visit to the Alhambra and other historical sites.

While we here we chose to visit the ‘El Centro Cultural CajaGRANADA Memoria de Andalucía’ museum located 10 minutes from the central district. This museum is incredible. It has been designed as an interactive educational centre. The museum is divided into eras with a panel on the rear wall retailing major events throughout pre-history until the present. There are also interactive screens in each area offering video of the eras on display, and others offering video biographies of famous individuals. There are thousands of artefacts, many displayed for people to touch or manipulate for effect. There are also multimedia displays that project history onto a physical map of Al-Andalus to show the viewer the movement of history. If you enjoy learning about the history of where you visit this museum is an extraordinarily good choice providing a comprehensive and enjoyable experience.

Tapas is a widely known Spanish delight and Granada is a great place to enjoy it. Why should you try it here? Well, at bars that offer a Tapas menu, for every drink you order you will be provided a small plate of food. This can provide for very interesting nights out as every place you go is different and there are two styles of tapas service – Traditional & Modern.

Traditional Tapas: the complexity and quality of the tapas increase with each round of drinks.

Modern Tapas has you order off a set menu with every round.

Both have their benefits with the Traditional style generally being slightly cheaper than the modern, with prices starting at 1.5Euros.

One that became a quick favourite for us was Babel World Fusion. Their tapas menu offers a range of fusion dishes served and a good range of drinks, but the real reason it became a favourite was the ambience – it was warm and inviting, the staff were great, and it was almost always full (It was also a block away from our Pension).

Granada, SpainGranada is an excellent city and I thoroughly enjoyed my time here relaxing and refreshing after Morocco. There were several things I would have liked to do but didn’t find time for this time around including Flamenco in a Gypsy Cave. Granada is geared towards visitors, providing a huge amount of information on the web and the city is easy to navigate. There are many places to visit as well as well signposted tourist walks featuring some excellent lookouts. It’s a great place to relax and catch your breath.

When we left, we took the bus north again to Murcia then changed buses for Yecla.

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