The majestic Alhambra is arguably the most well-known site in Granada, Spain. Tickets to visit the Moorish palace need to be purchased weeks in advance in order to make sure you get in. Hours can be spent wandering through the amazing architecture. A guided tour can be arranged or you can pick up head phones and a cassette to explain the history to you in your native language. Return to Alhambra at night for special events, such as live music. Seeing the Alhambra lit at night is a beautiful sight.
Trek the Albaicín
The Albaicín is the old Arabic quarter built on a cliff. The white buildings and winding streets make it a must-see in Granada. There are some nice restaurants you can eat at with a view of the Alhambra. The view of the Alhambra and the rest of Granada cannot be missed from the Albaicín. At some of the lookout points, people gather and sell handmade crafts. Amateur musicians strum their guitars in the streets. Flamenco caves fill the hillside.
Take a trip to the Arabic quarter
At the base of the Albaicín is the Arabic quarter filled with shops. The shops typically sell imports from Northern Africa such as tapestries, tea classes, hookahs, jewelry, flowy clothing, lanterns, spices, and leather. For a moment, you will believe you are in Morocco, not Spain. Shop owners expect you to haggle with them to negotiate a price, unless it is a larger store. They typically only accept cash, but I’m sure you would be able to find something to bring home to your family.
Eat a pionono
A pionono is a dessert that Granada is famous for. The small custard pastry is made of spongy, flat cake that is soaked in sugar, then rolled up and filled with custard. There is a piononaria on a side street off of Plaza Mayor. It serves the freshest piononos in Granada. There are multiple options to choice from including original, sugar free, chocolate, and tiramisu. The original was always my favorite. One Euro will get you one pionono.
In Granada, when you order a drink at a restaurant, you get free food. Tapas are much more than a communal peanut bowl at the bar. Tapas are a variety of appetizers. What the waiter brings out is always a surprise. As you order more drinks, the tapas become hardier. If you order a pitcher of sangria, expect multiple tapas. Make sure to try Spanish sangria and tinto verano (fizzy sangria).
Go to a Turkish bath
Turkish bath houses or Hammams can be found all over Granada. The process of a Turkish bath includes sitting in a warm room to relax, then being bathed by one of the workers in the bath. Dead skin is scrubbed off and sudsy water is poured onto the person after they are massaged. The bath houses are usually separated by gender. It is your choice to leave on a bathing suit or go in the buff. A trip to the Hammam will leave you blissed out for the rest of the day.
Tour the Granada Cathedral
The Granada Cathedral and its grand edifice bring charm to the city. The inside of the Cathedral is just as immaculate as the outside. Tickets to enter the Granada Cathedral are fairly cheap and worth the investment.
Find the San Jeronimo Monastery
One day of aimless wandering led me to the San Jeronimo Monastery, ten minutes from my homestay. It is tucked away in a more residential area of Granada, so it is not a tourist trap. It is a beautiful and peaceful area perfect for reflection.
See El Niño murals
El Niño de las pinturas is a local artist known for his vibrant grafitti-like murals painted on the sides of buildings. His work is displayed throughout Granada and his powerful social messages are well received in the community.