Granada is one of the most wonderful cities in Spain that celebrates its Moorish past and has preserved the flavour of that era and architecture.
It was initially not on my list when I planned my trip to Spain this summer. However, as I researched, I realised that it would be a huge mistake if I miss this place. So, I decided to fit in a couple of days during the transit between Madrid and Seville.
One can easily drive in by a local bus or a car from Seville, which will take around 3 hours to reach here. We took a bus which I had pre-booked online early, so there was no last minute rush and prices were very economical too. You can get tickets as less as 5 euros per person for these buses.
As you drive, you will feel the temperature dropping drastically and the cold wind caressing you on the face, which was a very welcome change from the hot sunny Seville weather we endured the last 3 days. You can see the breath-taking snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains from the distance.
Upon arrival, we took a cab from the bus station to our Airbnb apartment in the centre of the old town right off Plaza Nueva.
I was looking to explore this place with the two days that I had. We checked into our home there, which was built somewhere in the 17th century. There was the whiff of the Moorish culture in the air all over. The balcony to the house overlooked the grand beautiful Alhambra, which I scheduled to visit the next day evening. The host had kept for us a nice bunch of flowers and a wine bottle to welcome which was a wonderful gesture. Our house here was just a walking distance from most of the scenic places around, so we decided to freshen up and explore.
If you have just a couple of days in Granada, then these are the places that I would suggest you check out.
Plaza Nueva is the old square of Granada and an ideal place to start off before you explore the city. You will find many cafes serving the best of tapas and wine. You will also find some Moroccan places that serve delicious food around here. We decided to have our afternoon brunch there enjoying the afternoon sun along with the slight cold breeze.
Wander through the old lanes of this street and you will find every turn has a great photo opportunity. There are old buildings and shops and you can take a turn up the villages there to enjoy the sunset around. We decided to take a bus all through the route and caught a fleeting rainbow before a spectacular sunset view with the old city in glory.
Enjoy the Sunset at Mirador de San Nicolas
This is one spot to catch the Alhambra in full view. We caught it during sunset and it was a sight to behold.
Shop at the Alcaiceria Market
There are many shops lined up here wherein you pick up great silk, silver, tea, spices, and souvenirs. Although some of these shops are overpriced, it is fun to just walk around and have a look at all the interesting things that they have.
Relax at the Ancient Baths
After all that walking on the first day, I decided to try out one of the Hamman to relax. There are a couple of Arab baths over here and the one popular is the Granada Bath which is just a 5-minute walk. However, you must book this one in advance. I did not get any spot here. So, I decided to check another one, which was a little away from the Square. This one had no crowd and only a couple of us were there. I spend around two hours here to soak in the cold, warm baths and a nice massage, which relaxed me completely to hit the Alhambra in the evening.
This monument is a huge tourist landmark and many tourists normally prefer to head towards it as you land. However, what works for me is to soak in the culture of the place I travel and then hit the famous tourist spots. It helps me connect with the place more better that way. You can either walk up to it, which is a slightly steep climb, or take a minibus, which is more convenient. The Alhambra has huge queues and crowds, so you should look at booking a ticket online in advance. When I reached there in the evening, it was looking cloudy and drizzling. It started to rain too. Although I was carrying an umbrella for this trip, I missed bringing it along. So, I had to stand in until the rain settled. It is full of huge gardens and monuments, which will easily take half a day for one to explore the whole place. The Alhambra was built during the mid 14th century as a palace for the Moorish princes. After the Moors were driven out of Spain in 1492, the Christians continued to use it as a palace.
Marvel at the Generalise Gardens
You can spend another hour here as you exit the Alhambra. These gardens are well manicured and have roses of all colours. As it had rained, it was difficult for me in my summer cloths to walk around, as it got chillier in the evening. So, I decided to walk back down.
That was the last evening in Granada and the next day, we were taking the train to Madrid. We decided to simply stroll around with some food and ice creams in the square. As we said goodbye to this incredibly beautiful city, I made a small promise to myself that someday, I will return to relax here for some more time without any agenda or touristy places to hit on.