Andalucian “Southern” Hospitality – Granada
Living in Spain has so many perks, especially for a “gallivanter” like me that enjoys visiting new cities. One of the things I have been doing while living here is exploring cities in the Andalusian region of Spain (usually go on day trips with my school on Saturdays). The day trips are a good way to meet people, and to practice your Spanish listening and speaking skills (the tours are in Spanish). It is also a convenient and cheap way to get to see another city in Spain. In the Andalusian part of Spain, one can easily notice the huge Arabs influence in the Spanish culture. My first day trip was to Granada, then the next trip was Cordoba (in another post). Since they were both day trips, I have very limited information or personal experience about the place, but I did make some observations and came up with my overall opinion of the cities. I hope you enjoy the pictures.
In general, most of the Andalusian cities in Spain are very unique, historical and beautiful. So visiting Granada and being able to experience this Andalusian beauty packed with history, culture and beauty was very important to me. Granada is a very cool city – It has the old and new city feel. It was mainly influenced by the Arabs (as with most Spanish, especially Andalusian cities) and as a result, it has a very Arabic/Moroccan feel in its setup and architecture (you see a lot of souks/markets that reminded me of the markets in Marrakesh).
Our tour included us visiting some famous touristy sites such as the Cathedral called Capilla Real and Catedral de Granada. We walked around the old town and new town. We visited Plaza de Bib-Rambla – you can find restaurants and bars here. We also visited Corral del Carbon– an Arabic and Moroccan Riad in the city center. We had lunch at this restaurant called Grupo La Hacienda Granada – the food wasn’t great and the final bill wasn’t what was stated on the menu – this is apparently very common in Spain. (They charge extra for services you don’t ask for e.g bread – be sure to ask if you don’t want it).
And the highlight of our trip was the visit to the famous Alhambra. You definitely can’t visit Granada without going there. Initially I said to one of the guys on the tour that I was sure it is just like any other Castle/Alcazar I had been to, but I was wrong. IT IS NOT. It is totally worth visiting and it is absolutely beautiful – the views and Arabian architecture. I really wish I could capture the experience in this post, but it is something you have to experience first hand. We spent about 3 hours walking around the Alcazar. In Alhambra, we visited Paseo de las Torres, Palacio de Carlos, Palaseo de Nazarene, Palaseo de Verrano, and Palacio de Generalize. It was worth every 3 hours we spent there. In general, If you want to experience more of Granada, I think Granada is at least a good 3 day trip. You can also visit the magnificent Sierra Nevada (I visited on my second trip to Granada). It is really beautiful at the top of the mountain. If you want to enjoy winter sports in sunny Andalusia Spain, this is the place to go. Here are some pictures from the trip: