It’s one of the only places in the country where you can ski and tan on the beach in the same day.
With mountains, coastlines, large cities, rich history, famous cuisine, and so much more, Spain is truly a country to visit and experience. From taking in the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona to eating paella in Valencia, to walking along El Camino de Santiago in Galicia, or gazing at Picasso in Madrid, there are endless things to do and adventures to be had. While there are countless cities that make Spain an unforgettable travel destination, Granada sets it apart as magic in how fast it will steal your heart and become your new favorite city worldwide.
Granada, Spain has it all. It is one of the only places in the country where you can ski and tan on the beach in the same day. Nestled at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada mountains in the South of Spain, Granada is a city to behold. Narrow winding cobblestone streets make way to beautiful squares and ancient churches and palaces. Small cafes and tapas bars line every block, and twinkling lights and stunning views can be seen in every direction. Granada stole my heart the moment I first saw it, and has me itching to go back as soon as I can.
One of the things that makes Granada, Spain so unique is the history behind it. The city has different areas that overlap and represent the three main religions of the city — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. What makes the city unique is the way that these differing religions have interacted throughout centuries in the city, and how the cuisine, art, and architecture reflect this rich and diverse history.
Granada is famous for being the home of the Alhambra Palace, which housed the monarchy of Al Andalus, the Arab empire, for centuries. The palace is considered to be one of the wonders of the world, with running water, fountains, and incredibly detailed and intricate Islamic architecture. It is located at the highest point of the city, with 360 degree views of the city and mountains behind it. The Alhambra is visited by thousands of people every day, so be sure to book tickets into the Nazri Palace inside the palace grounds ahead of time.
The Albaicin is located in the Islamic quarter of the city, and winds up the hill opposite the Alhambra. Tea houses, leather shops, and dozens of gift shops line the streets up to the Alhambra palace lookout. Up on the top of the hill is the best view of the city and the palace, with dozens of tapas bars and restaurants all equipped with cliffside viewpoints of the city. In between the Albaicin and the Alhambra lies the Sacromonte, which houses Moroccan bath houses, tea shops, gift stores, and museums all along a river that cuts through the valley.
Another reason why Granada is such a special city is that it is one of the last cities in Spain that has free tapas. In Granada, when you order a drink at any bar or restaurant, chances are you will be pleasantly surprised by a free tapa along with your drink. Some restaurants offer choices of which tapa you will receive, while others are set by the chef for the day. This means you can get a glass of sangria and a tapa for as little as 2 euros. Spend a day tapa hopping through the Sacromonte and Albaicin and watch the sun set over the Alhambra.
A quick bus ride brings you to the Sierra Nevadas, where you can hike in the summer and ski in the winter, or to the Spanish coast line, where you can sip mojitos while tanning on the beach. Catch a soccer game at the city stadium, shop up and down the streets for gifts, spend a day walking through the Alhambra and its gardens, or enjoy the sunshine in a park and listen to live music. Whatever your preference, Granada has it all.
Granada stole my heart and is to this day my favorite city I have ever travelled to. So what are you waiting for? Granada will be your next best vacation, all you have to do is jet set off to the dreamy Spanish city and fall in love with all that Granada has to offer.
Zoe lived in Granada for three months.