Our second stop of the trip was in Granada for two nights from July 26 – 28. This is our first city in the region of Andalusia, which is the distinctly different southern part of Spain given the Muslim Moorish rule from the 8th – 15th centuries. It has been most evident from the architecture and often Arabic writings on the walls in buildings. So, here are the highlights!
We didn’t want to rent a car in Spain since we’re focused on cities and it would just sit in a parking lot. There is no direct train from Madrid to Granada so we took the bus. It was about €40 each and we got a first class bus with wifi, a meal, and seat service. It was very comfortable and took 4.5 hours. It was also nice to be able to look out the window and see the countryside. Turns out it is an arid desert type climate here. Just dry hills and the only thing we saw growing were olive trees and the occasional small field of corn (they must irrigate). Many parts reminded me a lot of California’s Central Valley and the desert mountains of Nevada.
We stayed at the Hotel Posada del Toro in the historic old town and right at the foot of the Albaizín neighborhood. The location was very central for tourists as we could walk everywhere and there were plenty of little shops nearby. It also had really cool decor inside our rooms with wood carved ceilings and beautiful tile work in the Moorish style very similar to that in the Alhambra. I’d highly recommend it!
Unfortunately Andrew caught some sort of 24 hour flu because he was out of commission for the first 24 hours in Granada and missed our Alhambra tour. Luckily he recovered quickly and was able to still see the city on Wednesday afternoon along with me.
The Alhambra is the prime reason tourists come to Granada. Tickets sell out weeks in advance and I was lucky to get us a spot on a walking tour (regular tickets were sold out when I tried).
The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located on a hill above the city of Granada. It’s where the Moors had their beautiful Nasrid palaces (there are three within the complex) and the Generalife, which were their summer gardens and palace. It was amazing to see the Muslim influence in the architecture and decorations on the buildings. Pictures speak better than words so here we go…
On Wednesday afternoon Andrew was feeling much better so we did a walking tour of the city, following our trusty Rick Steve’s guidebook.
We ate at a couple places that are definitely worth a mention:
Lunch Wednesday at El Pescaito de Carmela off of Plaza Bib-Rambla. I have to admit I have liked the tapas and raciones but this day I just wanted something fresh. We found this place on TripAdvisor and were so happy about it. They had freshly grilled seafood on the menu and we got scallops, a plate of kingklip (white fish) with grilled vegetables and also a seafood cocktail appetizer. It hit the spot and felt better with days of travel and some not-so-healthy eating.
Wednesday night we treated ourselves to a nicer restaurant by visiting the Carmen Mirador de Aixa in the Albaizín neighborhood, which we read about in our Rick Steve’s guidebook and had great reviews. If you see the photos below, you’ll understand why we chose it. The food was excellent, too!
Our two night trip in Granada was over in the blink of an eye but we thoroughly enjoyed our introduction to the South of Spain. Now, it’s off to Sevilla for a one night stop before we move on over to Portugal. Hasta Luego!