Granada, Spain, Old Town

“If you were to visit just one city in Spain, it should be Granada.” Ernest Hemingway.

Wander Albazín‘s labyrinth, gaze at Sacromente‘s cave houses, climb the hills to Miradors (lookouts) and overdose on churches. Of course, see the glorious Alhambra (link), but spend time in the city below.

1) Centro Historico

Granada’s streets are lined with boho cafes and flamenco clubs. The street that leads to the Alhambra is Cuesta de Gomerez through Puerta De Las Granadas (historic arch).

Plaza Nueva, Granada’s oldest square

2) River Darro – Paseo de Los Tristas

Promenade of Sad Ones, named for funeral processions. Meander alongside the River Darro near Plaza Nueva.

Walk, don’t drive.

3) Catedral de Granada

During construction this massive cathedral’s (1523 – 1704), styles changed from Renaissance to 17th century Baroque. Originally designed with two towers, Granada’s frequent earthquakes caused construction to stop after one tower was half-finished.

Inside the ornate cathedral, 20 massive white columns and a 100 ft. gilded dome with multi-levels of stained glass and statuary.

Next door, Capilla Real (Royal Chapel): Isabella’s and Ferdinand’s elaborate monument and modest tombs (no photos, 5€).

4) Basílica San Juan de Dios

Extravagant is an understatement for the opulent baroque decor lavish with gold and silver . . . ceilings, walls, paintings, side-altars. This stunning masterpiece was built 1737-1759 to hold the remains of San Juan de Dios who tended to the poor during his humble life.

Depositing 1€ into a coin-slot shines a spotlight on the obscene amount of gold at the altar. Indescribable.

Behind the bedazzled altar are exquisitely tiled stairs to the Reliquary. A large silver urn holds the remains of San Juan de Dios and bones of saints are encased in gold.

5) Sacromonte – Whitewashed Caves

In contrast to the luxurious churches are the primitive caves above Sacromonte, inhabited in the 15th century by Gypsy/Roma.

Eleven caves have been recovered for viewing in their original state: cave-house, stable, trades (basketry, forge, loom, pottery) and a cave dedicated to Sacromonte’s flamenco history.

Nomads, hippies, and modern gypsies occupy current dwellings . . . some full-time, others a few months.

6) Historic Arab/Moorish Quarter

Alcaiceria, once an Arab marketplace, was destroyed by a fire in 1843. One skinny street is all that remains of Granada’s great bazaar/souk.

Nearby, the Albayzín labyrinth winds upward to San Nicolás church and plaza.

7) Mirador de San Nicolás

Iconic Alhambra sunset views from the San Nicolás hilltop, serenaded by Roma music.

Wikipedia Commons file: GranadaHuertadelCarlos16-03-2011 13-54-04-1JPG

8) The Alhambra

High above the city is the #1 cultural site, Alhambra (link). Of course GO!


Granada sits at the foot of the Sierra Nevadas. After medieval overload, head up to Sierra Nevada National Park for hikes in the mountains and nearby canyons

1. Historic Center and Plaza Nuevo
2. Paseo de Los Tristas
3. Catedral de Granada
4. Basílica San Juan de Dios
5. Sacromonte
6. Albayzín
7. Mirador de San Nicolás
8. Alhambra
Next Time
Carmen (Garden) de los Mártires – near Alhambra
Palacio de Dar-al-Horra – 15th c.
Palacio de la Madraza A.D. 1349 (Moorish, Mudéjar)
Monasterio de San Jerónimo 16th c. (vivid colors)
Corral del Carbón – Hispanic-Muslim Monuments
Hammam Al Ándalus (Arabic Steam Baths)
Flamenco shows
Countless museums
Caminito Del Ray Trail, El Chorro Gorge, 7.7 km
Los Cahorros de Monachil Trail, 8 km
Sierra Nevada National Park

See links below to Andalusia’s 3 major Moorish Capitals: Cordoba, Sevilla, and Granada.

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4 thoughts on “Granada, Spain, Old Town

  1. Love your photography 🙂

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