About Sarah F
Lives in Alicante, Spain
Since Oct. 2008
I am a journalist and have been living in Spain for the past 10 years. I live in the Alicante region, which includes the Costa Blanca. As well as its gorgeous beaches, the region has many vibrant fiestas, great gastronomy including paella and the Denia red prawn, sports, mountains, waterfalls, natural parks, traditions and culture.
Architectural Buildings, Castles, Historic Sites
Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites, Gardens
Architectural Buildings, Sacred & Religious Sites, Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues
Sacred & Religious Sites
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Arenas & Stadiums
Historic Sites, Spas
Historic Walking Areas, Neighbourhoods
Observatories & Planetariums, Science Museums
The allure of the Alhambra is the number one reason that people visit Granada. The UNESCO World Heritage Site stands on the mountaintop overlooking the city. Take a walk through Spain's Moorish history as you explore the Royal palaces, where each room becomes more opulent than the last with elaborate carvings, mosaics, stained-glass windows, and romantic courtyards.
Dating from the 12th century and next door to the Alhambra, the peaceful Generalife was the summer palace of the Nasrid kings. The gardens resemble medieval Persian gardens and are among the oldest surviving Moorish gardens in Spain.
With all the history that Granada exudes, it makes sense to lunch at a historic spot too. Restaurante Sevilla may not be as old as the Alhambra, but it has a storied past nonetheless. Founded in 1930, the humble spot has not changed much since its days as the favorite haunt of Federico García Lorca and his artist friends.
Located in the city center, the magnificent Granada Cathedral is a Renaissance body built on a Gothic foundation — with a spectacular ceiling and impressive stained-glass windows, to boot. Art and architecture lovers will appreciate the paintings, sculptures, altars and chapels, and history buffs will especially enjoy Capilla Real, the Royal Chapel, where Queen Isabel I and King Ferdinand II of Aragon are buried. The marble tombs of this historic couple and other Catholic monarchs dominate the chapel, along with caskets, sculptures, paintings, and an ornate altar.
Founded by Isabel and Ferdinand, Convento do San Jeronimo is a fabulously ornate monastery, with two cloisters built around a garden. The recently restored altarpiece is a Renaissance delight, while the sacristy is one of the finest examples of Spanish Baroque. It is worth seeing because it is so opulent, and a world away from the generally-accepted concept of a monastery.
Whether you agree with bullfighting or not, the bullring is an emblem of Spain, and many bullrings are great works of architecture — tremendous structures. Not visiting the bullring in Granada is rather like not visiting the Colosseum in Rome. Whether or not you see a fight, at Plaza de Toros you can learn all about the history of bullfighting, the pedigree of the bulls, and the sport's important place in Spanish history.
Located at the foot of the Alhambra, the Arab Baths are a relaxing way to (literally) soak up the historic culture. Hammam al Andalus is not only atmospheric, but its building, which dates back to the 13th or 14th century, was initially a bathhouse and well, before becoming a bakery under Spanish rule. In 1998, it was restored to its former use as a bathhouse and meeting place. The beautiful arches and tiling, mixed with calming, exotic aromas, add to the relaxing atmosphere here.
Set opposite the Alhambra, the narrow, winding streets of the Albayzin (or Albaicín) district, make for a fascinating walk in Moorish footsteps. The oldest part dates back to the 11th century, and many Moorish buildings remain in this charming area. Stop for a rest at Mirador de San Nicolas, to drink in the splendor of the Alhambra and take photos.
Fling yourself into the exotic world of flamenco music and folk dancing with a visit to the spectacular white cave houses in the Sacromonte neighborhood. The center for Spanish Roma gypsy culture, the Sacromonte is a web of caves, and it is inside these caves, surrounded by copper pots, that you can witness incredible flamenco, with dancers stomping and clapping between the chairs — so close you could reach out and touch them (though I don't advise that you do).
If you have a little extra time in your jam-packed day, Science Park is great fun for all ages, with interactive exhibits to make learning fun. You can find out about how the body works, play mind games, visit the spectacular planetarium, or head for the natural history area, which features a butterfly park, maze, and flying predators' workshop.