Upon arrival in Granada we checked into the Hostel Albergue Interjoven. The wifi was not free in the rooms, which were small but not terrible by hostel standards, and once paid for didn’t actually have any signal which was less than ideal. Breakfast was included which was a bonus, although only toast and cereal were available.
On our first evening we got the bus into the city centre alighting at the cathedral. We decided not to go in as we are a bit cathedraled-out after Seville and Cordoba. We did stop off for some tapas and then headed off to the Albaicin area, an old part of town filled with Moorish influence. The main street through the Albaicin was quite pretty and the Arab baths were cool but other than that it is as though the region is being allowed to decay. It was all very run down, which was a bit of a disappointment in all honesty.
Before bed we went to a bar on a square back near the cathedral for a couple of drinks. Both bars we went to today gave us free tapas with each beer Fraser ordered which was a nice touch.
The next morning we walked up to the Mirador de San Nicolas a viewpoint above the Albaicin which overlooks the Alhambra with the Sierra Nevada mountains in the background. It is a busy square with great views across the valley although the weather was a little hazy when we were up there.
We had tickets in the afternoon for the Alhambra, an old Moorish palace where the Sultans lived from the 1300s. It is quite a walk uphill through the Alhambra woods to reach the main entrance but there are various pieces of architecture to keep you entertained along the way or if that doesn’t appeal there is a bus, the 30, that takes you up from the city centre.
There are various different areas of the Alhambra to explore. We began with the Generalife palace and gardens. The gardens were full of colour and greenery. The palace itself was light with intricate designs along the walls and courtyards with fountains and more plants. It was all beautiful.
Next we had our allotted slot for the Nasrid palace. This was similar to the Generalife palace but on a larger and grander scale. There were more intricately designed rooms and more courtyards. The only thing that spoilt it was down to the history of the area. Due to the Christian conquest which overpowered the Moors the Nasrid sultans were driven out and the Christian kings moved in; they then went about adding their own mark onto the palaces. There is a notable difference in the designs of the Moor areas and the Christian areas and the former are far more beautiful, the latter ruin the feel of the palace. It is unfortunate that some of the views across the valley were spoilt in this way but it does give some insight into the instability of the region in the past.
We wandered through the Palacio de Carlos V briefly but our final stop was the alcazabar. This is at the far end of the Alhambra from the main entrance and is the oldest part. The smaller buildings within the complex are mainly foundations nowadays but it still has a series of towers you are able to ascend to get views of the palaces of the Alhambra and back down over the city of Granada.
The Alhambra is amazing and has to be seen to be appreciated. The level of detail in every room and garden is just incredible. Fraser again got the audio tour meaning he was able to gain greater detail of all the areas we visited and he used a downpour of rain after our tour of the Nasrid palaces to listen to information about some of the areas we didn’t make it to. He did however, manage to get back down to the city before realising he had forgotten to hand the audio tour back in so we had to go all the way back up the hill to retrieve his ID from the main reception.
For our evening meal we went back up to the Mirador de San Nicolas to the Restaurantes Estrellas de San Nicolas. This is not a budget eatery by any means but the food is delicious. For main course Fraser had stewed bull’s tail and I had sea bass and chorizo tagliatelle. It was gorgeous. The main attraction though was the view from our table; we sat looking straight across the Albaicin valley at the Alhambra that was lit up. As we hadn’t booked we were extremely lucky to get a terrace seat with the view as many reviews said they were not able to but it ended up being a perfect end to our day and a great way to finish our stay in Granada.