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The Lonely Planet Guide to Andalucia
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Flag of AndaluciaGranada

The city of Granada, located on one of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, was a stronghold of the Nazeri Dynasty, the last great Moorish kingdom in Spain. In the 14th century its monarchs built the so-called "Red Castle"- La Alhambra - an incredible palace of refined, expuisite beauty with large arcaded courtyards, slender halls and splendid gardens, beautiful fountains and tranquil ponds like those of the Generalife.

How to get there

Aviaco flies to Granada every day from Madrid and Barcelona, and three times a week from Valencia. Passengers departing from any other airport can use the network of the Iberia Group, which includes Aviaco, to connect with a Granada flight.

By road, 432 km from Madrid, 126 km from Malaga and 256 km from Seville.

By train, 6 hours from Madrid and 4 hours from Seville.

Climate and location

Granada, the capital of the province of the same name, lies at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, in the Autonomous Region of Andalusia. It has an extreme climate, with temperatures above 40 degrees in summer and below zero in winter.

Hotels in Granada

Parador Nacional de San Francisco. Tel: (958) 22 14 40. One of the loveliest hotels in the Parador network. Located within the precinct of the Alhambra, its gardens and views are literally priceless.

Carmen. Acera del Darro, 62. Tel: (958) 25 83 00. Situated in the center of Granada. It has a comfortable terrace.

Washington Irving. Paseo del Generalife, 2. Tel: (958) 22 75 50. This hotel, superbly situated for the Alhambra and its surroundings, stands between the summer and winter palaces built by the Arabs.

Alhambra Palace. Pena Partida, 2. Tel: (958) 22 14 68. Located on the same hill as the Alhambra, it has excellent facilities and unbeatable views over the city and its surrounding plain.

Reina Cristina. Tablas, 4. Tel: (958) 25 32 11. Centrally located near the cathedral, this cozy hotel has three floors full of Andalusian flavor. Once the home of the poet Luis Rosales, Federico Garcia Lorca was arrested here.

Los Angeles. Cuesta Escoriaza, 17. Tel: (958) 22 14 24. An inexpensive hotel with a pool, at the start of the climb from the city center to the Alhambra.

Granada Center. Avda. Fuente Nueva, s/n. Tel: (958) 20 50 00. Modern and functional.


The typical dish of Granada is the Sacromonte omelet, made of eggs, vegetables, brains and bull's testicles. Visitors should order gazpacho in the summer, and potatoes a lo pobre in winter.

Ruta del Veleta. Sierra Nevada Road, 50. Cenes de la Vega. Possibly the Best restaurant in Granada. Good locally-produced ingredients, magnificently cooked.

Alhacena de las Monjas. Plaza Padre Suarez, 5. Tel: (958) 22 40 28. Delightful dining rooms with vaulted ceilings in a 15th century house. Recreates the old recipes of Al Andalus.

Las Tinajas. Martinez Campos, 17. Tel: (958) 25 43 93. A classic establishment in the city center. Good local cooking and rustic decor.

Mirador de Moraima. Pianista Garcia Carrillo, 2. Tel: (958) 22 82 90. In the heart of the Albaicin district, with gardens overlooking the Alhambra and the city. One of the leading lights in the drive to retrieve the cuisine of Al Andalus especially its famous sweets.

Casa Juanillo. Camino del Monte, s/n. In Sacromonte, with views over the Generalife and the Alhambra. Flamenco artists and other personalities meet here. Unassuming food and reasonable price.

Velazquez. Emilio Orozco, 1. Tel: (958) 28 01 09. Situated in the very center of Granada. It has a good wine cellar.

Worth visiting

The whole city is a monument. Apart from the Arab edifices and walls, many of the churches still bear the traces of the mosques they once were, and there are countless other buildings of historic and artistic interest.

The Alhambra and the Generalife. The Royal palaces of the Nasrids are one of the wonders of the world. The magnificent Palace of Charles V is also worth a visit.

Sacromonte. A legendary area of hillside caves inhabited by Gypsies, with characteristic flamenco shows and beautiful views of the Alhambra.

Albaicin. The oldest quarter, once inhabited by Iberians, Romans, Visigoths and Arabs. The Plaza Larga, San Miguel Bajo and San Nicolas are not to be missed.

El Realejo. The former Jewish quarter. Of special interest are the gardens of Campo del Principe and the so-called "Casa de los Tiros".

Casa de Castril. It is a pleasing Renaissance palace that houses the Archaeological Museum.

Cathedral. A renaissance building by Diego de Siloe, with statues by Alonso Cano, who also designed the facade. In the Royal Chapel is the tomb of Ferdinand and Isabella.

The Charterhouse. The crowing masterpiece of Spanish Baroque. Well worth seeing is the sacristy, whose intricate decoration took fifty years to complete.

La Alpujarra. A rural area stretching from Sierra Nevada to the sea. It contains over a hundred Moorish villages, whose houses have flat roofs made of slate and gray clay.

Sierra Nevada. The many attractions of these mountains, 30 kilometers from Granada, include magnificent skiing facilities as well as the highest peak in the Iberian Peninsula, Mulhacen. World Ski will take place here in 1996

Montefrio. Small town picturesquely situated, has a ruined Arab castle, an old church designed by Diego de Siloe and a pacemaker of Spanish neoclassical architecture Ventura Rodriguez.


Fajalauza is one of the loveliest varieties of pottery in Spain; its primitive technique and forms and its blue, green and purple glazes are of Moorish origin. another traditional handicraft is taracea, which consists of inlaying wood with ivory, mother-of-pearl, sea shells and bone. Along the steep Cuesta de Gomerez, there are a lot of shops selling pottery and taracea. Also worth visiting is the Alcaiceria, an old Arab market. La Alpujarra produces superb woven cloth and patchwork.


The busiest area at night is the area of Pedro Antonio de Alarcon, which has a fair number of bars. There are good flamenco shows at Los Jardines de Nepturno, Los Tarantos, Reina Mora, and the caves of Sacromonte, which are very popular with tourists.

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