Granada information

Introduction to the Province of Granada
Granada is the province in Andalucia in the south of Spain about which it is famously said that you could be skiing in the Sierra Nevada in the morning and sunning yourself on the beach on the Costa Tropical in the afternoon. Granada has everything for a holiday – stunning mountains, pretty towns and village, beaches galore and of course the jewel in the crown, the Alhambra Palace.

Granada City
Granada’s crowning glory is without doubt the Alhambra Palace, a fairytale looking place set above the city and with the stunning backdrop provided by the Sierra Nevada. The name Alhambra derives from the Arabic for red fort. Reached by a steep climb from the city or on one of the handy bus services that run frequently, the Alhambra will keep you occupied for hours. It is composed of several parts that make up the whole. The Generalife is the summer palace and with its Patio de la Acequia of pools and water jets is a good place to start your exploration. The Palacio Nazaries is simply stunning with its enclosed patios and cool, highly decorated chambers. La Alcazaba is the impressive fortress part of the Alhambra and from the Torre de la Vela you are rewarded with a magnificent vista over Granada. To visit the Alhambra it is necessary to book tickets well in advance.

Back in Granada city, El Albaicin is perhaps the most fascinating area with a distinctly Islamic atmosphere, teterias (tea shops), Moroccan-style artisan shops and Arabic Baths (Hammam). From the Mirador de San Nicolas you can enjoy fantastic views of the Alhambra above, especially at sunset. Be sure to visit too the Sacromonte area, with its famous UNESCO-protected cave dwellings.

Granada’s Cathedral has a very un-Spanish interior, light and open, and in the Capilla Real next door you will see the fine marble tombs of the Spanish monarchs Fernando and Isabel.

For literature lovers, Granada is inextricably linked with the famed poet and playwright, Federico Garcia Lorca.

Granada is well known for its tapas – free (usually) little portions of dainty (or hearty) morsels that are served up with a small beer. See below for more on the gastronomy of Granada.

Around Granada City and Beyond
The Sierra Nevada mountain range with its famous ski resort of Solynieve, also known as Pradollano, is a fantastic place to visit, whatever the season. Be aware that to visit in the winter, snow chains may be required and that the ski resort gets terribly busy at weekends.

The other famous area of Granada is the Alpujarras, made even better known by the writings of Chris Stewart in his book “Driving Over Lemons” and its sequels. The area has fantastic scenery, hospitable villages, and is a great place for hiking. The villages of Orgiva (pleasantly hippy), Lanjaron (of mineral water fame), Pampaneira (with a Tibetan monastery, Osel Ling), Bubion, and Capileira all make superb places to visit and base yourself. Trevelez is the highest village in the Alpujarras and from here you can make an ascent of the Mulhacen. The picturesque villages of Valor and Yegen (made famous in “South from Granada” by Gerald Brenan) in the north east of the area should not be missed either.

To the east of Granada city, the next stop is likely to be Guadix, with its cave houses and troglodyte communities and remarkable Cathedral. Further on from Guadix you come to the amazing sight that is El Castillo de la Calahorra, a foreboding looking castle that completely dominates the surrounding countryside.

The north of the province can be explored from the town of Huescar and from here you have easy access to the Natural Park of Sierra de Castril, with its dramatic, rugged landscape of gorges and waterfalls.

Granada’s coastline is known as the Costa Tropical and is delightfully unspoilt compared to areas further west. The seaside towns of La Herradura, Almuñecar and Salobreña have good beaches and facilities for holidaymakers in abundance.

West of Granada city, the town of Montefrio is a stunningly attractive place with its domed church and you shouldn’t miss the natural thermal springs of Alhama de Granada.

The Gastronomy of Granada
Granada is famed for its tapas culture – the small helpings of food that you receive with a beer in bars. In this province, tradition dictates that they are free but be aware that this is not always so. Try to sample some of the prized ham (Jamon) that comes from Trevelez in the Alpujarras or Patatas a lo Pobre (Poor Man’s Potatoes), a fried dish of potatoes, onions and green peppers. Other specialities of Granada include Zarzuela (a seafood stew), Remojon Granadino (a salad of cod, onions and oranges), Olla de San Anton (a stew of pork, rice, beans and garlic) and Ajoblanco (a soup of bread, garlic, almonds and olive oil, served cold).

To wash down your food, try the local beer, Alhambra, or a wine from the Contraviesa area of the Alpujarras.


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