Walking Tour of Granada, Spain
The city of Granada was a Moorish stronghold from the 8th to the late 15th Century, In fact, it was the last Moorish city in Spain to be taken by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, in 1492. It is extremely important to travelers because it contains the Alhambra, one of the world’s great treasures.
My walk begins in the Plaza Nueva, Granada’s main square and most popular gathering place. After looking around a bit, head for the city’s main attraction by taking Cuesta Gomerez to the east and up the hill.
The Alhambra is a large Moorish palace with numerous rooms, attractive courtyards, and exquisite architecture. Recall that American author, Washington Irving, immortalized it in his Tales of the Alhambra. Irving actually lived on the grounds for a while. NB – Since tickets sales are limited, be sure to acquire them ahead of time.
Allot several hours to wander through the complex and be sure to spend some time in the Generalife Gardens, adjacent to the palace. Several significant spots include the Patio of the Lions, the Palacio Nazaries, and the Alcazaba.
When finished head back down to the Plaza Nueva and turn right. At the northeastern end of the elongated square is the Iglesia de Santa Ana, a Mudejar-inspired brick church. Continue northeasterly along Carrera del Darro to check out El Banuelo, the Arab Baths, built in the 11th century.
Now, retrace your steps back to the square and continue southwest on Carrera del Darro, then turn left on Calle Colcha and left again and Calle Panaveras which leads to the Casa de los Tiros, a 16th century palace. Next, go back down Panaveras but stay on this road all the way to the Plaza de Isabel Catolica. Across the street is the Madraza Palace, formerly an Arab university and then Granada’s City Hall.
Just a bit further south is the Alcaiceria, restored to replace the Old Moorish Bazaar which burned down in the mid-19th century. This building sits on the Plaza Bib-Rambla, another favorite gathering place.
Also on the plaza is Granada’s Cathedral, which has a beautiful altar. Be sure to also visit the Royal Chapel, done in flamboyant-Gothic style, which must be entered separately. Note the extraordinary grille, enclosing the altar. Ferdinand and Isabella are buried here.
Leave to the north of the Cathedral, taking a left on Gran Via de Colon, then right on Calle Carcel, then left on Calle de Elvira, one of the city’s favorite walking streets. This leads all the way to the Elvira Gate. Bear right beyond the gate to Plaza Merced and then take Cuesta Alhacaba east and uphill to the Albaicin, the Old Arab Quarter. Along the way you will pass some of the Walls which helped to fortify this part of town.
When you reach Plaza Larga, turn right onto Minas, then turn left on Callejon Campanas. This will bring you to the Plaza San Nicolas and the nearby Mirador San Nicolas, the famous viewpoint. If you are here near sundown, wait a while to see the Alhambra attractively lighted in the distance, to the east.
After taking your photos, head back down Callejon Campanas, then turn left on Cuesta Maria de la Miel, then right on Algibe del Gato, and left on Gumiel San Jose which winds downhill, changing names several times. The road bears right near the bottom of the hill as Calle San Gregorio. A few blocks down, take a left on Calereria Vieja to return to Plaza Nueva, the walk’s starting point.