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Introduction

Alhambra - Granada

Alhambra - Granada

© All Rights Reserved DiegoJesus

Granada is a city in the south east of Spain. It is the capital of the province on Granada, which is part of Andalusia. The town is most famous for the Alhambra, a complex of Castles and Palaces on the top of the hill overseeing Granada. The city is also a favourite destination for students. A lot of foreign exchange students (and also students from all over Spain), make Granada to the vibrant place it is.

There have been people living in Granada since 8 centuries A.D. At first it was a settlement of a Iberian tribe, but later is was also a place rules by the Greeks and the Romans. In 711 B.C. the city of Granada was taken by the Moors, who ruled the city until 1492. It was the last city the Moorish rulers could hold on to in Spain. The Moorish rules started the build of the Alhambra. After the reconquest in 1492, Catholic buildings were added to the complex.

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Neighbourhoods

Albayzin

Albayzin is the old Moorish neighbourhood. It lies on a small hill opposite the Alhambra, and has a different feel from the rest of the city. On some of the really small road, known as the "alcaiceria" there are vendors selling all kind of mainly Arabic goods. It is also a great place to have a tea or a shisha at the Arabic tea houses ("teterias") spread around the shops. Don't miss to go see the sunset in "Mirador de San Nicolas".

Sacromonte

Sacromonte is another of the neighbourhoods that you can visit in Granada, (located above Albayzin), but with a unique twist. There are numerous cave dwellings in this area, with an interpretation center available for those who would like to see how the caves originated. Today many locals and hippies alike live in the caves, which (being that they are carved out of the mountain) are rent free. You can also enjoy a wonderful view over Granada from "Mirador San Miguel Alto". And have lunch in the very typical restaurant "Casa Juanillo".

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Sights and Activities

Alhambra

Granada, Alhambra

Granada, Alhambra

© All Rights Reserved Herr Bert

The Alhambra is without doubt the most important tourist attraction in Granada, if not in Spain. It is a complex of buildings and gardens, consisting of an Alcazar and several Moorish and Catholic palaces.

Cathedral

In the centre of Granada lies the Cathedral. It is one of the biggest churches in Spain. The main feature of this church is the burial chapel of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castilla.

Sacromonte caves

A lot of people go to Sacromonte to see the numerous cave dwellings. Once populated by gypsies, these caves are now lived in by locals or hippies who want to live somewhere different and rent free. There are even some caves which are being squatted. There is a club in one of the caves as well as a flamenco bar.

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Events and Festivals

Corpus Christi

The big festival in Granada is the "Corpus Christi" week, which happens at the beginning of June every year (the exact dates will depend on the easter dates). The festival runs for a whole week but the main days are Wednesday and Thursday, when the catholic parade with the corpus christi will be taken around town in the morning. From Thursday to Sunday the party will be non stop at the "recinto ferial", the area just outside Granada, to the north, where all the fun fair activity, the dancing, the drinking and everything else will be happening day and night. Special busses from the center will take you there 24 hours a day, it is an unmissable festival!!!

Cross Day

Another important event takes place in Granada on the 3rd of May ("The cross day"). Different neighbourhoods enter a competition of crosses made with flowers. All around these crosses is partying and dancing, there are also open-air bars around.

Zaidin Rock Festival

The music festival in Zaidin neighbourhood, Festival Zaidín Rock, held in September each year, brings good musicians and it is free! For instance Mano Negra (prior group of Manu Chao) played in this.

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Weather

Granada is 800 metres above the see level and lies on the skirts of Sierra Nevada (highest peak: Mulhacen: 3,483 metres). Granada is placed at around 40 kilometres from Sierra Nevada and around 50 kilometres from Motril (coast). This placement makes Granada "county" to experience different climate conditions: from subtropical weather along the coastal areas to the mild continental one in the city and the high-mountain one in Sierra Nevada.

It is not weird to have a temperature change of 15 °C - 20 °C from morning to night. In winter minimum temperatures can go as low as under 0 °C. In summer it can go as high as 43 °C.

The rain is scarce and sometimes it snows. Consequently, the situation with water in Granada situation is quite delicate and it is advisable to use it in a responsible way.

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Getting There

By Plane

Granada Airport (GRX) is located a few miles outside of the city. A bus service will take you to the town (€3), and takes about 20 minutes. Most of the connections are from/to the main Spanish cities (Madrid, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Melilla), but Ryanair also flies to Granada from Bologna, Girona), [[Liverpool, London-Stansted, Madrid and Milan-Orio el Serio/Bergamo Airport (one and the same).

By Train

Granada is connected by train with Madrid (2 trains a day). It is connected with other cities in Andalusia as well, including Seville and Cordoba. However, the short distances makes it easier to take the bus (being more frequent and cheaper).

By Car

It is easy to access Granada by car, but it is much more difficult navigating the city once in it! There are lots of constructions ongoing in the city (July 2009), and the centre is restricted to pedestrian and public transport.

One of the best ways to access the city is by using the Alhambra car park and then walking down to the city past the Alhambra, through the woods. There is a charge but many people find it's worth the small expense - it's pretty simple to navigate to the Alhambra from the motorways.

By Bus

The bus station is located to the north area of the city, and all the long distance buses stop there. Destinations included are virtually everywhere in Andalusia plus all the main cities in Spain. There are also connexions for international buses. The station is connected to the city centre by several local buses. For more information visit the map of Granada bus lines. You can also catch a taxi, there is a taxi stop just outside the bus station.

By Boat

Although there are tow little rivers (the Darro and Genil), there is not transport to and from the city.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

There are city buses, that you can take to get around. To get to the Alhambra, you can get on one of the small vans, most of them leave from the Plaza Nueva. There is a good map of Granada's bus lines.

By Foot

Granada is best seen by foot, the sights are all pretty close together, and even climbing the hill towards the Alhambra is not as hard as it might look, but it is a climb of around 30 minutes.

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Eat

You can't miss the "tapas" experience in Granada, which is one of the best in the country. Unlike other cities in Spain, the tapas in Granada are for free, and included with your drink. As an general rule you will normally pay around 2 euros for a beer with a tapa, which normally is big enough to keep you happy! Tapas can be anything and sometimes you get to choose them, or you just get a different ones with every round of drinks. The area around Plaza Nueva is good to try the tapas, and also the bars by the Darro River, in the Paseo de los Tristes.

If the tapas bars aren´t open, you could try one of the ubiquitous kebap and shawarma shops, some which stay open until early in the morning!

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Drink

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Sleep

Budget

The Oasis Hostel is a good hostel, in the old neighbourhood Albaisin, not that far a way from the Cathedral. The hostel has dorms but also a couple of double private rooms. The staff also organises activities for the guests, like a tapas tour in the city.

Upscale

View our map of accommodation in Granada or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Work

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is widely available within Spain. Most airports have wifi-zones and in most towns there are internet cafés or shops where you can use internet for a fixed price. Wi-Fi points in bars and cafeterias are available after ordering, and most hotels offer Wi-Fi connection in common areas for their guests.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international access code for Spain is +34. The emergency number for police, ambulance and the fire brigade is 112.

In cities you can find plenty of public phones, and 'locutorios'. The latter are small shops where you can use the phone and use internet. Most of them also sell prepaid cards for mobile telephones. These shops are used a lot by foreigners to call to their mother country.

The main mobile network operators in Spain are Yoigo, Vodafone, Movistar and Orange, as in most of Europe voice and data coverage is generally good in urban areas however it can be patchy in rural locations. Cheap mobile phones (less than €50) with some pre-paid minutes are sold at FNAC or any phone operator's shop (Vodafone, Movistar, Orange). Topping-up is then done by buying scratch cards from the small stores, supermarkets, vending points (often found in tobacco shops) or kiosks.

Post

If you want to post a card, you can head to the post office (Correos). The Spanish post is not yet as efficient as colleagues in other countries so receiving a card can take a bit longer than the number of days that it should take. On the website of Correos, you can find the locations of nearby post offices.
Post offices are generally open from 8:30am to 2:00pm, although times will vary according to the size of the city/town and the main post offices might be open until the early evening. Most will also open again on Saturday mornings, but in the smaller towns will close as early as 12 noon. When posting a letter, look for a yellow box and, if possible, post at the post office itself where there will also be divisions for local, national and international mail. Be prepared for long queues at the post office. This is why tobacco shops sell stamps and many will also have the facility to weigh packages. Standard letters/postcards of up to 20 grams sent within Spain are €0.34. However, non-standard letters/postcards of up to 20g are €0.39. Letters/postcards of 20 to 50 grams are €0.45. In the case of international shipping, the price is €0.64 to most countries within Europe for standard envelopes (letters/postcards) up to 20g, for a few European countries and outside Europe it is €0.78. If you want to send a package you are probably better off with a private courier company like TNT, DHL or UPS, as they offer quick and reliable services against competitive prices.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 37.176487
  • Longitude: -3.597929

Accommodation in Granada

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Granada searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Granada and areas nearby.

Contributors

as well as Herr Bert (14%), ofthesea (9%), miromar (8%), Peter (4%), Dianagag (4%), Sander (3%), Lavafalls (3%), popadoodle (2%), dr.pepper (1%), Hien (1%)

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This is version 45. Last edited at 3:09 on Aug 2, 17 by sleepBot. 26 articles link to this page.

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