Granada is a vibrant city in Spain’s southern Andalusia region. The university and its young students, pedestrian zones and countless restaurants and tapas bars make for a splendid backdrop of the all famous Alhambra fortress: If you are not afraid of mixing up khalifs and sultans, mosques and churches, visit the spectacular attraction right next to the city center!
City of Granada
Granada is situated at 750 meters above sea level. It therefore has a rough continental climate with winters as cold as -15 °C (5 °F) and summers as hot as 40 °C (104 °F). So, probably the best season to visit Granada is in spring or autumn.
We were deeply impressed by Granada’s beauty with all the picturesque narrow alleys in the Old Town and vibrant atmosphere around the pedestrian zone. Take a walk up the Albaicin hill off of Plaza Nueva and enjoy the view of the Alhambra and Granada – you won’t regret it!
Take to Plaza Romanilla or the Pescaderia street close to the Cathedral for lunch or dinner. Or tapas, of course. If you care for even more restaurant choice go a few steps further East and try Navas street. We enjoyed the Nuevo Restaurante by the Urquiza brothers on Navas 25. The waiter was very attentive and the food excellent!
Alhambra Fortress and Patios
On our second day we visited the Alhambra – one of Spain’s major tourist attractions and absolute MUST SEE when you are in Granada. Actually it should be the reason for coming to Granada in the first place! Due to the great demand of tickets and to the restriction of thousands of visitors per day (!), we strongly recommend buying tickets online ahead of time.
The Alhambra was so called because of its reddish walls (in Arabic, «qa’lat al-Hamra’» means Red Castle). It is located on top of the hill al-Sabika with a breathtaking view of the whole city and the mountains of the Sierra Nevada.
The palace and fortress were constructed during the mid 10th century by the Berber ruler Badis ben Habus of the Kingdom of Granada in al-Andalus.
Catholics organize themselves hierarchically, in churches important people sit in the front rows. Muslims instead are all equal, hence when they build houses their wealth is only visible inside. Gardens also represent wealth. They are built inside the houses, too. Therefore the Alhambra looks modest from the outside and only reveals its beauty once you make it to the numerous patios and halls.
Hotel Hospes Palacio de los Patos in Granada
Hospes Palacio de los Patos is a design luxury hotel in Granada’s city center. The 5 stars luxury boutique hotel is located in a 19th century building which used to be a private residence until as recently as 1989.
Hotel Hospes Palacio de los Patos is situated at walking distance of the Cathedral and other sightseeing points. From the moment we arrived, the staff was very friendly and helpful and gave us some great recommendations for restaurants, tapas bars and what to see in the city.
Also the hotel’s general manager Marc Passola welcomed us and was kind enough to show us around the historic UNESCO heritage palace and its modern hotel wing. The hotel boasts a restaurant, the Senzone, as well as a spa and a wonderful garden with Arabian-style fountains and some ancient orange and pomegranate trees.
Hotel Rooms at the Hospes Palacio de los Patos
At Hospes Palacio de los Patos, guests can stay in the converted 19th-century palace, or in the more contemporary white building. Either way, the rooms are tastefully furnished in a simple, sleek style. However, if you rather prefer a modern style, take one of the rooms in the hotel’s new extension.
We stayed in the converted 19th-century palace; very nice, with beautiful materials and nice decor – but with 2 suitcases we just about fit in there… Nevertheless, we enjoyed the stylish ambiance very much!
Restaurant Senzone at Palacio de los Patos
Since we had enjoyed a huge paella for lunch we did not feel like going out yet for another dinner. Hence we enjoyed some tasty and refined tapas dishes a the restaurant Senzone. Try the “Banuelos de Bacalao” – veeerry yummy!
The breakfast buffet they offer at restaurant Senzone is very refined with a very nice selection. We specially liked all the small bottling jars with fruits, jam, cereals – and being Swiss, we also enjoyed the different breads they offer, since usually in Spain they just serve white bread.
For more details check out the hotel’s website.