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Granada Walking Tour - Alhambra and Albaicin

Sultans' citadel and the royal Spanish launch pad for Christopher Columbus. It's a little bit Moorish.
id_1727273
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 4.3 miles
Duration: Multiple days
Family Friendly

Overview:  As Columbus was setting sail for the Americas, Spain was also expanding its empire closer to home. In 1492 its Christian crusaders... more »

Tips:  See the tip in the third PoI below about pre-booking your Alhambra tickets online (the link to do so is in 'other resources'). Turning... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Room Mate Migueletes

Keep the GPS on because this hotel is not easy to find amid the narrow alleys, but it's worth the effort when you get here. The lanes are too narrow for cars for the last 50m, but the hotel has a deal with a local car park if that's how you're arriving.

Such practicalities aside, this is a perfect base location for exploring the Alhambra and... More

Built on a hill overlooking Granada in the 14th century, the Alhambra is a sprawling citadel that combines royal palace with fortress and a general aim for creating 'paradise on earth'.

Home to the final three rulers of the Moorish Nasrid dynasty, the incredible craftsmanship of its design and decoration has ensured its survival. The conquering ... More

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3. Alhambra entry & ticket office

The Alhambra entry is through the ticket office at the eastern and upper end of the complex. Book your tickets online a few weeks (or even a few months) ahead to avoid the long queues of people buying on the day. It may not be obvious at first, but there will be a ticket window (with a much shorter queue) for collecting pre-booked tickets. Make... More

4. Alhambra - Palacio Carlos V

Ironically, the first of the major buildings you explore after entry is the least Moorish. Construction of the Palace of Charles V, ruler of the Spanish empire, began 35 years after the eviction of the Moors.

In contrast to the Moorish palaces, with their beauty hidden in a maze of secluded courtyards, this palace is a bold statement about the... More

5. Alhambra - Alcazaba

This was the fortress of the Alhambra, and the oldest part of the citadel. Excavation work has uncovered evidence that there may even have been a castle of this spot that predates the Moors.

The fortress was kept separate from the palaces, as if the nobles were living behind the protection of their warriors, and used exclusively for military... More

6. Alhambra - Casas Reales

This is what a visit to the Alhambra is all about, and when you realise just how many people you are sharing the experience with. Your timed ticket will also include a second timing for entry to the royal palaces (also known as the Nasrid palaces). It seems like a crush at first, but the crowd will gradually disperse into the various courtyards... More

7. Generalife

When you have had your fill of palace life, do as the sultans did and head for the Generalife. This was their country estate escape from the rigors of court.

It's just a five-minute walk along a signposted footpath north-east of the Alhambra. There is no spectacular architecture here, the attractions are simply the landscaped gardens, the water... More

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8. Semana Santa

Semana Santa or Holy Week is a major religious festival in this part of Spain. Local church communities prepare (and train!) all year for it.

From Palm Sunday to Good Friday, it's a series of traffic and pedestrian stopping processions lasting long into the night. Each church prepares a pasos (a float bearing a religious effigy) which is carried ... More

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9. Albaicin

This historic Moorish district has dozens of narrow cobbled alleys jutting away from its main thoroughfares. I've mapped most of the trail along one of the main roads but I would encourage ad hoc exploration of the residential lanes. When you get lost, just keep heading downhill and it will lead you back to Carrera Del Darro.

The main cafe and... More

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It's a steep climb to this plaza, but worth it for the views across to the Alhambra and city surrounds. Settle in for a coffee or beer in one of the hilltop cafes to soak it in.