Visiting Granada, one of the most beautiful cities in Spain

Visiting Granada, one of the most beautiful cities in Spain

White city in Granada, Spain

Do you want to travel to Spain and wonder what to visit? In that case, I will tell you something: for me, Spain does not exist without the city of Granada. It is a beautiful town that can be found in the south of the country, above which dominates the Alhambra, the most famous fortress of Islamic culture in Europe.

Let's start with some statistical data. Do you know that there are more tourists coming to Granada than to any other city in Spain? More people travel here than to the Iberian islands, Madrid and even Barcelona. All this is mainly due to the old Alhambra fortress towering over the city, also known as the Red Castle.

Although the fortress mostly attracts tourists, we can not forget about other advantages of Granada. It is a city with an amazing atmosphere, which is deepened by many students who live here. We find here the beautiful Old Town and the so-called white city of Albaicin. All this makes Granada a great place to travel and if you are in the south of Spain, be sure to check it out.

Alhambra fortress in Granada


A beautiful complex of the fortress, palaces, and gardens, very spectacular and the greatest achievement of Muslim decorative art in all of Europe. The view of the Alhambra will take you breathless, you can be sure. It includes the Generalife palace and the gardens, the Alcazaba fortress, the Nasrid palaces, and the Charles V palace.

Alcazaba Fortress in Alhambra, Granada

It is worth noting that the entire Alhambra complex was abandoned and nobody took care of it for a very long time until the end of the nineteenth century when repair and restoration work began.


The Alcazaba fortress is one of the oldest parts of the Alhambra. It is said that before it was built and before the Muslims came to Granada, there were some fortifications. The first historical reference to the Alcazaba fortifications can be found in the ninth century and it is believed that it was built by Sawwara ben Hamdun during the Muslim-Muwallain wars (the Christians who changed their faith to Islam and lived in these lands).

Alcazaba Inside

The buildings that we can see until today were built by Mohammed I, who created the defensive walls around the palace and three new towers: Torre de la Vela, Torre Quebrada and Torre del Homenaje. Thanks to this, the Alcazaba became a real fortress and the seat of kings, where the son of the ruler, Mohammed II also resided - though only until his palace was finished. Since then, the Alcazaba has served only as a fortress for military purposes.

When the city finally was conquered by the Christians, a lot of time was devoted to its repair. For a very long time, the Alcazaba was used as a prison.

Nasrid Palace View in Granada

Nasrid Palaces

We can find the first records of the palaces of Nasrids during the lifetime of the fifth ruler of the Mohammed I dynasty, called Abu L-Walid Ismail. His palace was built near the Grand Mosque (Gran Mezquita), but nothing was left of it except the palace part called Mexuar because the rest was destroyed by Yusuf I, who built his own palace on the site of the demolished complexes.

The next palace, called the Palace of Lions (Palacio de los Leones), was added by the ruler Mohammed V. He also expanded the Mexuar palace with a part, now called Machuca. Both Abu L-Walid Ismail and Mohammed V were the most important kings in the history of the Palaces of Nasrid and Alhambra itself.

Nasrid Palace in Alhambra

Nasrid palaces are divided into three independent areas. The first of these is the so-called Mexuar, in which the state administration and the justice system were located, and to which ordinary people had access. Then we have the Comares Palace (Palacio de Comares), which was the official residence of the kings. The third building is the Palace of Lions (Palacio de los Leones), where the rulers Harem were located.

Each of these three areas was significantly different from each other: not only because of its function but also appearance. Comares Palace was decorated typically Muslim, but in the Palace of Lions, we can easily find Christian influences - probably thanks to Muhammed V's friendship with the Castilian ruler Perd I.

Charles V Palace in Granada

Palace of Charles V

Charles V, the ruler of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, needed a place where he could conquer comfort with his family. Unfortunately, the palaces and summer residences of the area did not meet his requirements. That's why the Palace of Charles V was built.

The Emperor commissioned the construction of the palace on the Alhambra hill to the architect Perdo Machuca, and the construction itself began in 1527, but it did not end until 1957 :-) It happened for several reasons, mainly due to the lack of money and several revolts and revolutions in the nearest areas. The Palace of Charles V was built in the style of the Spanish Renaissance.

Generalife palace and surrounding gardens

The Generalife Palace is located on the Sun Hill (Cerro del Sol), from which there is a beautiful view of the city. The kings of Granada could rest here when they wanted to escape from everyday hustle and bustle.

Generalife Palace in Granada

The place itself was built in the 13th century by King Abu I-Walid Isma'ila, before the construction of the Palace of Comares (Palacio de Comares). Ruler Mohammed V was here right when the rebellion against him started in the Alhambra.

At present, it is difficult to determine how the Generalife palace originally looked like, because it was rebuilt several times by later Christian rulers. It is not a pearl of architecture, and the Generalife buildings are rather solid and not well decorated. The rulers here were rather expecting an escape from the splendor, but they cared for gardens to rest in them. It is these gardens that are the reason why you should visit this place.

Granada Cathedral

City of Granada

Granada is not only the Alhambra fortress. If you are already here, you should also visit the city center and the old town, where both the Bib Rambla square and the great cathedral deserve special attention.

Granada's Cathedral

It is true that the cathedral in Granada is not a competitor for Sagrada Familia Gaudi in Barcelona or a gigantic Gothic cathedral in Seville, but it has something special in itself. The church perfectly matches the climate of the Arab-Spanish city. Its cream façade, which under the influence of sunlight became white, is pressed between the narrow streets, the Royal Chapel (here are the remains of Catholic kings) and the main square.

It is worth noting that the interior itself is not a great masterpiece and does not stand out from the European cathedrals, so there is no need to pay 4 euros for entry. However, I leave the decision to you.

Plaza Bib Rambla, Granada

Plaza Bib Rambla

Plaza Bib Rambla is one of the main squares in the city of Granada, the perfect place for a moment of rest in many cafes and restaurants. This is where you can see how life flows in the city, all this with a beautiful fountain placed in the center.

Free Tapas?

Granada is a very interesting city with one interesting tradition that sets it apart from Spain. In the city, we get free Tapas sandwiches for each ordered drink. Depending on what place you choose, you can get different types of Tapas: from a quail egg wrapped in ham to baked sandwiches with bacon and cheese.

White city Albaicin, Granada

White city Albaicin

Albacin, also known as the white city, is one of the districts of Granada. When we go from this bustling center to this specific place filled with white Moorish-style buildings and narrow streets, we can feel like in a fairy-tale town full of musicians and artists. It is said that Albaicin has not changed much since the times when these Moors lived.

The name of the district comes from the Arabic language (al-ba'isin), which means poor district. During the reign of Nasrid, a poorer part of the Muslim community lived here. After the conquest of these lands by the Christians, the mosques were demolished, churches were built on their places, and the minarets were converted into belfries.

Muslim Palace Architecture in Granada

Practical Tips

  • To visit the Alhambra, we have to spend a minimum of 4-5 hours on it.
  • It is worth remembering that on the ticket to the Alhambra we will find an hour when we can enter the Nasrid Palace. We better not miss it, otherwise, we will not go there :-)
  • Alhambra is the most popular tourist attraction in Spain for travelers from all over the world, so it is worth buying tickets online and going here in the off-season.
  • For those willing to take romantic walks in the dark - there is a possibility of buying a ticket for a night tour of the Generalife gardens for 5 euros.
Alhambra Muslim Fortress

How to get to Granada?

The best way to get to the city of Granada is to fly to Magala which is 125 km away from the city. From Malaga, you can get here by bus (1.5 - 2 hours), which costs about 12 euros. As for the trains, as far as I know, by the end of 2017, the modernization works were to be completed, for which completion of this mode of transport was discouraged. So if we want to get to Granada by train, it is worth checking if there are no more difficulties on this route.


I hope you have found out all the tourist information about the trip to Granada, one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. If you have any questions or just liked the article, leave me a comment in the section below.

Wojciech Kuźma

Hey there! My name is Wojtek and I am very happy that you came to my travel blog. I've been traveling the world for a few good years now and I still want more.

On my website I describe the adventures that have happened to me, you will also find here a collection of valuable tips for tourists and travelers. If you liked this article, be sure to leave a comment and read some more!

4.93 | 14 votes
Comments: 3
  •   21th March 2018, 16:55

    Ive been to Granada and I must say that it was an awesome adventure and the best city in Spain!

  •   25th June 2018, 16:36

    Granada is a beautiful Spanish city, although mainly by the old Islamic fortress Alhambra, which towers over Granada like some mystical ancient colossus ... This text was translated automatically. Original text is below: Granada to przepiękne hiszpańskie miasto, choć głównie przez starą islamską fortecę Alhambra, która góruje nad Granadą jak jakiś mistyczny starożytny kolos...

  •   15th February 2023, 05:37

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Kudos!

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