alhambra andalusiaGranada, once the capital of Spain, is only a fifty-minute car journey from Casa La Negra and well worth the trip. Visiting at different times of year can feel like a completely different experience, and each of them enriching and unique.

This former stronghold of Moorish Spain is full of romance and folklore. At the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Granada sprawls over two large hills: Alhambra and Albaicin. The University of Granada is one of the finest in Spain and as such there is a young lively crowd mixing well with the more traditional locals. Granada boasts one of the most magnificently positioned palaces in the world: the Alhambra, possibly Spain’s greatest attraction. Its as wondrous to behold from across the gorge, with the white peaks of the Sierra Nevada glinting behind in the sun, as it is to wander around marvelling at its elaborate symbolic designs and stunning gardens. The city has a fascinating history, which is still evident today in Granada´s Jewish quarters and Arabian baths.

Two sights not to be missed on your daytrip:

The Alhambra now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alhambra is a treasure trove of Moorish architecture; admire decadent rooms inside the Nasrid Palaces including the Hall of Ambassadors (Salón de los Embajadores) and Myrtle Courtyard (Patio of los Arrayanes), and marvel at the architecture of Pedro Machuca at the Palace of Charles V.

In the Hall of Abencerrajes you can marvel at the star-shaped domed ceiling, and learn about the grisly massacre that took place here during a 15th century banquet. You can also see Alhambra’s Royal Baths; plainly decorated, not ornate, in line with the belief that bathing was a religious requirement not a luxury.

After exploring the palaces, head to the beautiful Generalife Gardens to discover where the sultans and Moorish kings of bygone days once relaxed. Featuring abundant flora and distinctive water features, the gardens also comprise two further courtyards, which you’ll see, the Patio de la Acequia and the Patio de la Sultana.

There is so much to see it will take at least half a day, so arrive early and it’s always best to book your ticket in advance!

The Albaicin lies on the northern banks of the Darro, opposite the Ahambra. Walking through the narrow winding streets gives visitors a flavour of its Medieval Moorish history. IIn 1984 the Albaicin was recognised as a World Heritage Site along with the Alhambra. It’s a wonderful place to meander and enjoy traditional Spanish life, with plenty of cafes and rustic restaurants.

In the Albaicín there are numerous monuments from different periods, mainly the Nasrid period and the Renaissance:

  • • Ziri wall (11th century), established along the Sacromonte and Albaicín.
  • • Monaita door in Lona Lane
  • • Church of El Salvador, in the Cuesta del Chapiz.
  • • Church of San Miguel Bajo, in the small square of San Miguel Bajo, with a Mudejar armor and a 13th Century cistern
  • • Church of San Gregorio
  • • Church of San Juan de los Reyes
  • • Palace of Dar al-Horra
  • • The Bañuelo
  • • Minaret of Almorabitun
  • • House of the Masks, home of the poet Pedro Soto de Rojas
  • • Casa de Porras, in Placeta de Porras, 16th Century Moorish mansion, today the University Cultural Centre of the University of Granada.
  • • Casa del Almirante (Aragon), Calle San José, 16th century.
  • • Castril House (1539) in the Carrera del Darro, now the Archaeological Museum of Granada.
  • • Lona House in Lona Lane, the former palace of King Ziries.
  • • Cordova Palace (16th century) in the Cuesta del Chapiz, current Municipal Archives.
  • • Casa del Chapiz, built on the remains of a 14th century Moorish palace
  • • Casa de Zafra, 14th Century Spanish-Arab mansion, re-opened as The Interpretative Centre.

When to visit

Granada has a Mediterranean climate. Due to its location near the Sierra Nevada (which lies between Granada and the sea) big temperature fluctuations can occur, both in summer and winter, between night and day, so remember your cardigan or jumper for the evenings. The winters in Granada are very cold in Spanish terms. There is a good chance you will experience snowfall in the winter and, because of this, the city and surrounding area caters well for the winter sports set, with skiing and snow boarding for most levels.

What's the best time to go to Granada in Spain? Here are some annual weather facts we collected from historical climate data:

  • • The months May, June, September and October have warm, pleasant weather with plenty of hours of sunshine
  • • Hot season spans June, July, August and September with little or no rain
  • • On average, the warmest month is July
  • • On average, the coolest month is December
  • • November is the wettest month - avoid if you don't like rain!

Whatever time of year you visit Granada there will be wonders abound for all. Whether you prefer supping hot chocolate in the piazza on a crisp January or sipping the local Cava from a café in the summer month – there really is something for all tastes.