Nasrids for the win !

Granada Travel Blog

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The patio de los Arrayanes
I peered my head out of the window next to my bed this morning and once again gazed up to a clear, cloudless blue sky. A wonderful start of a wonderful day, as the Alhambra was on the schedule.

Sunday today and so all the supermercados are closed. That meant a simple picnic wouldn't do and we had to find ourselves a place to eat. Luckily, we didn't had to look long. At the corner of our street there is a delicious breakfast bar with great prices. We got two toasted baguettes with tomato and cheese, coffee and freshly made orange juice for only 4 euros.

The forenoon was really laid back, as we could enter the Alhambra only from 2pm. The Alhambra has a weird way of selling tickets, due to the UNESCO visitors restrictions made to preserve the buildings.
Alhambra, Court of Justice in the Nasrid Palaces
That meant plenty of time to stroll souvenir shops, streets and squares. We walked Plaza del Carmen and Plaza de Isabel la Católica (with the statue of Isabel and Columbus) on our way to Plaza Nueva and the Iglesia de Santa Ana. Then we went for some shopping and tinto de verano. We found ourselves an "OhLaLá" bar at the Plaza Nueva with cheap and tasty tinto's, so we stayed on their terrace quite some time. It was lovely to just sit there in the sun and watch the passengers go by. All the previous days had been pretty busy, not a rush but still busy, so just wandering around and doing nothing in particular for a whole forenoon was a welcome alternation.
Alhambra, detail of the wall
We were happy to discover that there is a OhLaLá bar at Plaza Bib Ramblas too, so we decided to bring it a visit later on.

Then, after eating a huge ice cream for lunch, we started our climb to the mighty Alhambra. The most beautiful walk is the one through the Cuesta de Gomérez, so that was the route we went for. At the start of the street there are again many souvenir shops that delayed our journey, but we arrived at the ticket counters still way too early. I expected huge queues here, as there were some years ago when I fist visited, but we only had to wait a few minutes. As on a low budget trip, we then hired one audio guide for all three of us, and that made me the guide of the day - bound to translate everything the miss and mister in the headphone told me.
Alhambra, Patio de los leones
Well, I have to say, these audio guides are really cheap (about 3 euros), so it wasn't just the low budget thing that made us buy only one. It would as well have been a waste of money because my parents don't speak English well enough to understand all those historical explanations.

Yet an audio guide in the Alhambra is a MUST. It gives you a thousand times more info than you could ever collect yourself, and even with a good guidebook or well made preparations such a guide has priceless added value to offer. I think I read the whole official Alhambra website three times back and forth, and still the guide told me facts I didn't know yet. It is available in many languages and easy to carry around, so there really is no reason not to take it with you.

I could write pages and pages about the Alhambra, as it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen in my life.
Alhambra, Nasrid Garden
It was the second time I visited and still it got me all quiet and touched by its splendor. Yet you need to see it with your own eyes. Even the most professional pictures don't give the right impression. It definitely is something you need to feel, you need to experience it. So I'll try to keep this entry reasonable short.

The Alhambra consists of many parts. First there is a walk over the old entrance road and the main streets of the old villages. You can view ruins of the old Medina and Arabic baths on your way as well. The oldest remains are the walls and towers of the the Alcazaba or fortress. They offer majestic views over the Sierra Nevada and the city of Granada, as well as over the Alhambra and the Generalife.
View over the Albaicin from the Alhambra Watchtower (Alcazaba)


The Nasrid palaces are the, in my opinion, most beautiful part of the Alhambra. They are the old palace of the Sultans, well preserved and full of artwork, marble, wonderful architecture, ponds and fountains, inscriptions, amazing ceilings, views over the Albaicín,... and so forth and so on. If you have seen some pictures of the Alhambra on book covers or something, it probably will have been pictures of the Nasrid palaces. The most famous parts of the Alhambra, as the patio de liones and the patio de los Arrayanes, are part of it. Since this is the most fragile and at the same time most visited part of the Alhambra, you have a entrance hour on your ticket. You get thirty minutes to enter (no earlier, no later), but once in you can stay as long as you want.
Alhambra, inside Charles V palace
This is a bit of a strange procedure, but smart too, since there never are too many people in one room and there is enough space to enjoy the wonders and magic of the building.

A third part of the Alhambra is the catholic palace of Carlos V, never finished and build in a completely different style than the rest of the Alhambra: renaissance. I never really liked it, but yet it is worth a visit too.

The last thing to see are the gardens or the Generallife (I would write it down phonetically as you definitely do NOT pronounce it the English way, yet I don't know how to do it correctly so I rather don't). They offer great views too, and are a nice ending of a long visit. Hanging around the shades, between the plants, sitting down to watch over the valley, walking through the summer palaces,... A lovely ending of a memorable visit.
Alhambra, Generalife


We stayed in the Alhambra for about five hours, long enough to get a good impression of all the different parts. I think a shorter stay doesn't provide enough time to see all the details and to store all the impressions properly.

We left around 7pm and walked back down. This time we actually bought some souvenirs and had a rest again at Plaza Nueva. We were just sitting on a bench when the wedding parade came to the Iglesia de Santa Ana. One by one these beautifully dressed couples arrived, mostly by foot. It was a real fashion defilé, so fancy it was. We saw dresses in all lengths and colors, with shoes, purses and fans, all in matching tints. Ever the husbands had ties and accessories that matched their wives outfits. It was gorgeous to watch them saunter by. Last but not least, of course, the bride appeared.
Souvenir shops at the Cuesta de Gomérez
She as well was sooo beautiful. I've seen some weddings before, but non were as glamorous as this one. We almost felt like being in Disneyland at the parade :)

We had dinner again at Plaza Bib Ramblas, and as promised, had tintos de verano afterwards at the local OhLaLá. Live music was being played by street artists, and they set the tone completely. We had about three or four drinks (the last one being a HUGE bowl of tinto de verano), and got just as many wonderful tapas. The perfect ending of our night. So when we returned to the hotel we were a little bit drunk and basically couldn't stop laughing. I hope we didn't wake too many people. I can't even recall what was so funny... but it must have been a lazy joke.
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The patio de los Arrayanes
The patio de los Arrayanes
Alhambra, Court of Justice in the …
Alhambra, Court of Justice in the…
Alhambra, detail of the wall
Alhambra, detail of the wall
Alhambra, Patio de los leones
Alhambra, Patio de los leones
Alhambra, Nasrid Garden
Alhambra, Nasrid Garden
View over the Albaicin from the Al…
View over the Albaicin from the A…
Alhambra, inside Charles V palace
Alhambra, inside Charles V palace
Alhambra, Generalife
Alhambra, Generalife
Souvenir shops at the Cuesta de Go…
Souvenir shops at the Cuesta de G…
At Plaza Bib Ramblas
At Plaza Bib Ramblas
Inside the Nasrid Palaces: the pat…
Inside the Nasrid Palaces: the pa…
Alhambra, Court of Justice in the …
Alhambra, Court of Justice in the…
Inside the Nasrid Palaces
Inside the Nasrid Palaces
Inside the Nasrid Palaces
Inside the Nasrid Palaces
Alhambra, outside Charles V palace
Alhambra, outside Charles V palace
Alhambra, Generalife
Alhambra, Generalife
Alhambra, Generalife Summer Palaces
Alhambra, Generalife Summer Palaces
At Plaza Bib Ramblas
At Plaza Bib Ramblas
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photo by: Chokk