Are you planning a holiday to Andalusia, a land of intertwined culture and heritage? Don’t miss a stay in Granada, the last bastion of Moors in Spain!
The second best known city in Andalusia after Seville, Granada is world famous for the citadel of the Alhambra and the palace of Charles V. A cultural and tourist “Mecca”, Granada is rich in history and requires several days to visit and get to know properly. It will therefore be necessary to rent accommodation or a hotel to visit all of Granada with time to spare. Populated by almost a quarter of a million inhabitants (2016), the city was shaped by multiple cultures and played an important role throughout the history of Spain.
To stay in Granada, you need to know that the city is divided into four old towns and a dozen districts. Each has its own culture, identity, history and therefore its own atmosphere. Some are popular, festive areas – ideal to enjoy a surprise flamenco concert -, others are calmer or on the contrary extremely busy. Here is a presentation of the neighborhoods where you can stay in Granada.
The Albaicin, or Albaycin
Photo credit: Flickr – Olmo1981
Currently very popular with students, the Albaicin corresponds to the ancient village called Elvira. It is also the old Arab quarter of the city, where Muslims took refuge when fleeing from the Spanish during the Reconquista. This neighborhood will offer you a total change of scenery, with its white buildings, its maze of narrow cobblestone streets and its typical architecture of the Muslim period – it is the medieval district of the city. Albaycin was once the residence of the artists and workers who built the Alhambra.
While meandering through the streets, you could take advantage of the watchtowers in the area, which offer an unobstructed view of the city, the flowery windows, and the tranquility offered by the district. To sleep, try renting an apartment with a view of the Alhambra to guarantee a heavenly awakening. At Albaycin, enjoy the twilight and sunset at the Saint-Nicolas view point, a district that seduces lovers, students, musicians, young bohemians, and tourists from all over the world. Albaycin is a rather convenient area to stay in Granada as there is a large concentration of hotels, from cheap to more refined establishments.
Photo credit: Flickr – Thomas PLESSIS
The Realejo is a friendly, festive and trendy district. It has many bars and restaurants with terraces where locals come to dine in the summer to cool off from those hot summer days. The Carmen de los Mártires Gardens are the main attraction, typical of the Andalusian style. It is also the district where the famous Alhambra and a good part of the Dehesa del Generalife park are located on its promontory. At the time of the Nasrid dynasty – who ruled the city while it blossomed- it was the Jewish quarter. Today, the district is emblematic of the Andalusian villas with their gardens that open onto the street: the Cármenes. A pleasant, although off-center district to stay in Granada if you like to party, but be warned: the area is very popular with tourists if that’s something you wish to avoid.
Sacromonte, the gypsy quarter
Photo credit: Flickr – Charlie Jackson
An old gypsy town, Sacromonte is the district of caves, beyond the wall of Don Gonzalo. It is said to have been an inhabited area since the 15th century, but others date the construction of the caves back to the Roman Empire. Many gypsy flamenco shows take place there, but more as a tourist attraction than as a cultural tradition. When the gypsies, driven from all sides in Europe settled there, they create a dance – the zambra gitana – which eventually became flamenco. If you choose this area to stay in Granada, you will be immersed in a different time.
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