Explore España: Granada

The boyfriend and I were watching this arty horror Spanish flick Caníbal and it happened to take place in Granada. I take it as a sign that it’s about time to make my post about our last December’s trip to the the long-time capital of Islamic Spain. Next to Sevilla, Granada is the most regarded as the crowning glory of Andalucía. The city breathes an intimate, almost-kind-of-hippie vibe that we find cool and charming. With a great mix of Spanish and Arab cultures, Granada has got that welcoming atmosphere that made us feel that it would be a great city to live in.

  • Granada was ruled by many Caliphs, Arabic sultans and dynasties. The Alhambra, once home to many Muslim rulers and their court, is now a major tourist attraction in Spain.
  • During the Reconquista, King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile (the Catholic Monarchs) united the rest of Spain to reclaim Granada, making it the last Islamic state in the peninsula.
  • The Spanish Inquisition soon ensued. Jews and Muslims were persecuted for 350 years until it was finally abolished in 1834.


Back when I was studying Spanish in the university, this historic place has always popped up in our books. All lists of must-visits in Spain never fail to include it. So that left me with no choice but to have high expectations. Surprisingly, Alhambra lived up to it. It’s as beautiful as everyone says. Anyone with a camera will just go crazy here.alhambra reflectionpalacio carlos

Fountain of Lions

It’s room after room of striking geometric patterns, intricate wall carvings and ornate arches and doorways. Slow clap to every single architect and craftsman who made it all happen.honeycomb ceiling

alhambra mosaic

Alhambra is one of the most visited spots in Spain so getting a ticket could be tricky. We had to postpone our trip twice because tickets can get sold out weeks in advance. Make sure to reserve them online especially if you’re staying in Granada for a short time.


A lovely lush and green space to complement the Alhambra. The general ticket includes entry to this part of the complex so be sure not to miss it.generalife gardens generalife gardens generalife gardens


After visiting the Alhambra complex, we walked down to this quaint Arabic part of town. A maze of steep, narrow streets worth exploring even without Google maps. Every turn opens up to an interesting corner, a local restaurant or a cozy tetería. albayzinalbayzin granada teteria


Paseo de los tristes  means ‘the promenade of the sad’ because it used to be part of a funeral procession route on the way up to a cemetery. Now, it’s a lovely part of the city where you can just stroll and take in Granada’s chill vibe. It runs alongside the Darro river at the bottom of the Alhambra walls. paseo de los tristes


Most tourists visit Granada for Alhambra or the Sierra Nevada but another great, sometimes overlooked, reason to visit this refreshing city is the street art. El Niño de las Pinturas, the Spanish counterpart of Banksy, is based in Granada and here are just some of his works.graffiti granada graffiti granada graffiti granada

We saw one interesting graffiti of a giraffe bred from an electricity box, wirings and spray paint.graffiti granada

  • By Bus – You may consider buying a ‘Bono’ which is a card you buy on board for 2€ and top up with a minimum of 5€. A single bus ticket costs 1,20€ but with the bono, it’s only 0.79€ per trip. For more info, click this.
  • On Foot – The narrow streets and busy neighborhoods can only be explored this way. You can even join a free walking tour (which I plan on doing next time I visit).

Granada, for me, is traditional Spain with a modern twist and flairs of Arabic influence. A city with so much character and soul, it attracts bohemians, artists and tourists alike, creating this tasty salad bowl of cultures served with some free tapas.

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  • Reply
    May 13, 2016 at 2:06 am

    Wow, I absolutely love your photos! Stunning 🙂

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