Granada is a wonderful city-break destination, either on its own or combined with other Spanish cities.
Earlier this winter easyJet added the London Gatwick-Granada route to its portfolio. Operations will commence in February 2017. Yesterday the airline announced plans to add three new routes from Manchester Airport, including the very popular Croatian city of Dubrovnik and the Spanish city of Granada. Both destinations will be served twice a week, starting in July 2017. Until this move by EasyJet, Granada had been very poorly served by flights from the UK, with most travellers who wanted to visit the city having to fly to Malaga and catch a coach to Granada.
Granada is a popular destination at any time of year, mainly due to the popularity of the Alhambra, the majestic complex of palaces and irrigated gardens lying in the hills on the outskirts of the city. The Alhambra was built for the last Muslim emirs in Spain. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the Nasrid emirs turned the area into a fortress-palace complex which forms the basis of the magnificent buildings and gardens we see today. It is now one of Spain’s major tourist sites, attracting people to Granada from all over the world.
The Alhambra is certainly a “must see” but Granada has many other sights worth seeing, including the Cathedral which has impressive facades and a stunning interior with a grand altar and several chapels.
Part of the central area is known as the Realejo. This is a fascinating district with plenty of history to offer. It’s well worth spending some time wandering through this part of the city and absorbing its atmosphere. The Barrio Realejo was once an important Jewish quarter and was called Garnata al-Yahud (Granada of the Jews) by the Moors when they arrived in Granada in the 8th century. During the years of Moorish rule, Jews lived relatively peacefully but following the conquest of the city by the Catholic Monarchs, the Jews were expelled. The Jewish quarter was destroyed and the barrio was renamed El Realejo. Many of the walls in the Realejo have been painted by the graffitti artist “El Niño de las Pinturas”.
Another area well worth exploring is the Albaycin district with its sugar-white houses and steep, narrow streets. This is the old Moorish quarter of the city. It is located on a hill facing the Alhambra. There are dramatic views of this area from the palace’s famous rose gardens. The Zirid Monarchs first established their court here in the 11th century although little remains from this era today, apart from some crumbling remains of the wall. Wander along the narrow streets and soak up the Moorish atmosphere. You can stop at one of its numerous bars and, if you’re lucky, watch the sun set over the Alhambra.