Whether you’re wondering what to see in Granada over one day or are looking to stay for several, you’re sure to find this article useful when planning your trip. A walk at sunset along the Carrera del Darro, shopping in the Alcaicería or the romantic views of the Granada viewpoints cannot be missed on any trip to the city, as well as the main monuments of course.
The former capital of the Nasrid Kingdom, the fascinating city of Granada is one of the most beautiful cities in Andalusia. Its Mediterranean climate, famous gastronomy and, of course, its beautiful monumental area make this town in southern Spain an essential destination!
The History of Granada
The fascinating history of Granada represents a melting pot of cultures that dates back to the Iberian peoples that populated the southeast of the Peninsula in ancient times. Roman domination and the later Visigothic heyday followed.
In the Middle Ages, the history of the southerly peninsula changed dramatically with the arrival of Muslim peoples from North Africa. From then on, Andalusian history begins, in which the Caliphate of Córdoba reigned supreme. However, in Granada they failed to hold sway, which began to emerge under control of the Nasrid Kingdom.
After the reconquest of Granada on January 2, 1492 by the Catholic Monarchs, the city inaugurated a new stage in its already long history that continues to this day.
What to See in Granada?
The Alhambra and the Generalife
If there is one place for which the city is known worldwide, that is undoubtedly the Alhambra and Generalife: the most visited monuments in Spain. Its elegant palatial rooms captivate visitors, astonished by the stucco on its ceilings, the sumptuousness of its rooms and the calm famous fountains such as the Fuente de los Leones. The Alhambra itself is divided into the Nasrid Palaces, La Alcazaba (military barracks), the El Partal gardens and the Generalife, and the Palace of Carlos V. All of them are well worth a thorough visit! For this we recommend the guided tour through the Alhambra and the Nasrid Palaces.
The Cathedral and Royal Chapel
Isabel I of Castile and Fernando II of Aragon, the Catholic Monarchs, achieved one of their main aims in the reconquest of the old capital of the Nasrid Kingdom. Such was their dedication to the cause that, once achieved, they decided to be buried in the Royal Chapel, connected to the Granada Cathedral. The temple stands out on the outside for its baroque façade designed by Alonso Cano, while inside its High Altar and, of course, the aforementioned Royal Chapel are both of note.
The Cartuja Monastery
He achieved great victories, he was feared by his enemies and respected by his troops and, thanks to this, his legend lives on. Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, known as “The Great Captain”, is buried in one of the most beautiful and yet lesser-known monuments in Granada: the La Cartuja Monastery. Its sacristy, refectory and Chapter House are among the highlights of this monument whose origin dates back to the 16th century, at the height of the Spanish Renaissance.
El Corral del Carbón
The Andalusian remains can not only be seen in the Alhambra and Generalife complex, but also in the also popular Corral del Carbón: a 14th-century alhóndiga. The alhóndigas were public buildings designed to shelter both the merchants and the products they offered: kind of a mixture between warehouse and market. In the case of the Corral del Carbón, it is worth stopping outside, where visitors are always surprised by the beautiful Andalusian arch that still stands out front.
La Madraza (University)
The Islamic legacy of the city is also reflected in the Madrasah of Granada. A madrasah (Muslim school) was not only a teaching center, but also as a space for experimentation. Proof of this are the ancient documents, showing that subjects such as astronomy were taught and investigated in this school in equal measure. If you decide to visit the Madrasah of Granada, inside you will also find one of the best-preserved main Nasrid oratories in the city.
Food in Granada
There’s a simple answer to the question, “where to eat in Granada?” That’s because in a small concentration of streets near the Plaza de Mariana Pineda, Plaza Nueva, Carrera del Darro and Calle Elvira it is possible to find restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets, sure to satisfy the appetite of customers who come hungry for the famous Granada tapas. Among the main specialties, the pionono stands out: a traditional local cake made with a layer of sponge cake and cream. Simply delicious!
The popular “zalamandroña” salad, the exquisite aubergines with honey, the Sacromonte omelet or the remojón granadino, combining orange, egg and olive, are gastronomic experiences not to be missed, with the Arab influence, as ever, running through Granada’s veins.