Famous for its enormous Moorish landmark known as the Alhambra, Granada is a vibrant Andalusian city that is overlooked by the breathtaking Sierra Nevada mountain range and is home to a substantial student population. It welcomes more than 2.5 million visitors each year, and is one of the few cities in Spain where bar customers can enjoy free tapas with their beverages.
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More than 1,100 years old, the Alhambra became a royal residence later in the Middle Ages and is approximately 740 metres wide, although a section of the palace was demolished during the Napoleonic occupation of Spain in the early 19th century. This site has been inhabited since the Roman period, and, along with the medieval Albayzín district and the 14th-century former summer palace of Generalife, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Alhambra is also noted for its elaborate arabesque decoration and grand medieval courts, and surrounds vast landscaped gardens with picturesque fountains and exotic plant life.
Granada's best-known viewpoint, the Mirador de San Nicolás offers a spectacular panoramic view of the Alhambra palace and the Sierra Nevada in the background. If you're planning on seeing the sunset here, it is a good idea to plan on arriving at least 30 minutes before to ensure you get a good viewing spot.
A fine example of the Plateresque-style architecture that became popular in Spain in the early stages of the Renaissance, the Palace of Charles V dates back to the early 16th century, although the original ceiling collapsed and had to be restored in later years. This striking landmark, which is adjacent to the Alhambra, features a large circular patio, and was not actually completed until the 1950s.
Also built in the early 16th century, Granada Cathedral was erected on a site that was originally a mosque, and has a meticulous altar and facade. The church was altered in the 17th century, when Baroque features were introduced, although it wasn't completed until 1704, and was originally supposed to include two towers.
For some fabulous Spanish cuisine, you could dine at La Fabula restaurant, or head to iViva Maria! for other tantalising Italian recipes. You can also enjoy other delicious Spanish dishes at Tasca El Conde or La Bodega De Vinny, or visit Los Patos for other delectable Mediterranean flavours.
A few highly rated, luxury accommodation establishments in the city are the elegant Suites Gran Via 44, the immaculate Villa Oniria, and the very well presented Carmen Hotel. For budget-friendly city breaks in Granada, you could try the Sidorme Granada Hotel, the Hotel Macia Real de la Alhambra, or the Senator Granada Spa Hotel.