1. Spend the day at the Alhambra
  2. Dinner at Huerta de Juan Ranas
  3. Explore the Albaicín

My favorite place in Spain – Granada. I love the south, but what I particularly love about Granada is the Alhambra. It is an actual paradise, teasing all of your senses – the sound of the water, the smell of the flowers, the touch of the cold stone. The environment envelopes you and wisks you away to another time.

A brief history
Granada’s long history goes back to first the Greeks, then the Romans, then the Visigoths. It even became a settlement for the Jews, who helped the Moors take over the city in 711. During the Reconquista, in 1238 Granada became a tributary state, acting as a trade link to the Muslim world. Finally, in 1492 (a brilliant year!) the Muslim sultan gave up complete control to the famous Catholic Kings. What is so significant about this event is that it ended the 800 year Islamic presence in Spain.

What to do
If you’re in Granada, then I think you know what to do – see the Alhambra. This is my very favorite place in Spain. It is hard to explain the euphroria that is the Alhambra – it tantalizes all your senses, from the sight of the Alhambra walls and breathtaking views, to the smell of the endless blooming flowers, to the sound of the trickling water that seems to be following you wherever you go. It’s a true paradise. Be sure to book your tickets in advance as they do sell out – do not wait until you arrive. Also, be sure that your ticket includes a visit to that actual palace – while visiting the Alhambra grounds is worth it all by itself, you definitely don’t want to miss the royal palace within.

Be sure to also visit the ancient Moorish quarter, the Albaicín, which is located on the hill opposite the Alhambra. Get lost in the windy streets, enjoy the gorgeous views, and then head to dinner…

Where to eat
The best place, in my opinion, to have dinner in Granada is on the hill across from the Alhambra. From there you have a spectacular view of the Alhambra, which is particularly breathtaking during sunset as the walls change colors from orange, to red and eventually become illuminated by spotlights. Two great restaurants are Huerta de Juan Ranas and The Mirador. Usually I go to Huerta de Juan Ranas, but I’m sure they both will provide the same experience. Just be sure to get a reservation in advance, especially to ensure a good view.
Huerta de Juan Ranas

Other cities to visit in Andalucia

Experiences from my blog