Alcazaba fortress Alhambra sky Granada

The Alhambra And The Great Multiple Culture Granada

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As someone from an extremely cold place, going to Granada in Spain in summer would be an unusual trip. Unfortunately, at that moment I didn’t think about the weather carefully before traveling, so I perfectly experienced what mermaid cartoon trying to explain: every step of the mermaid feels like walking on the tip of a knife. Even with every step was painful like this, the Granada used its magic to defuse most of my physical pain, and turned the trip into an unforgettable memory in the end.

Garden Alhambra water tree Granada

Go to Granada

My friend and I started from northern Spain. We took the Ryanair flight to fly to Malaga and then we took the bus from Malaga to Granada.

malaga aiport andalusia inside spain

In Granada city, we took the city bus to the hostel that we booked. The sun had gone down when we arrived at the hostel. Hostel receptionist was a young man, he forcibly withheld one of our passports at the front desk until we checked out. We are foreigners, and passports are the basic documents for going out. This kind of forcible seizure of documents is very excessive.

cathedral santa maria back granada

But we found out that everyone who lived here had their passports with him at the front desk. The receptionist said to us rudely during the check-in: “if you don’t leave your passport here, don’t think about being here, go somewhere else.” It was late, night began to fall. Especially during the peak tourist season, many places were fully booked and it was difficult to find accommodations right away. So, we reluctantly agreed to withhold a passport.

Santa Ana church granada spain

Tips: The behaviour of the hostel has become a focus point of my future travel reservations. I definitely pay attention to the negative comments about the online reviews. I do not care much if the negative comments are that the wifi signal is not good enough or the breakfast is too simple, etc. But I don’t book a place if the staff is unfriendly. After the negative experience with this hostel, I started to be very careful with accommodations and booked good hotels during many other trips.

albaicin district view granada andalusia

Hot Weather

The next day, before the trip started, I felt that I was already on fire. We were on Malaga beach for two hours but I forgot to put some sunscreen. I totally underestimated the intensity of the sun in the south.

building cortefiel shop granada spain

My whole body was sunburned and my skin turned red and there were blisters. My skin felt sore with the clothes on and every step was like walking on the tip of a knife with shoes on. This was the pain the mermaid needed to endure when the mermaid turned into a human in the fairy tale. I can’t imagine my Granada trip started with this pain.

church saints justo pastor granada

Misfortunes do not come singly. The weather was very hot, the temperature is above 40 degrees Celsius. I felt like that my head became a decoration and it couldn’t use to think,. I told my friend that it was too hot to use my brain. My Friend said in surprise: “Really? I feel hot but my brain is working.”

garden alhambra water door granada

In the afternoon, the weather was getting crazy hot, and my friend finally said to me: “Now I understand how you feel. My brain also doesn’t work anymore.” It was so hot that even at 7pm, the thermometer outside the pharmacy read 37 degrees Celsius, which meant the temperature could not have dropped below 40 degrees throughout the day.

church granada andalusia spain tower

Before heading to the Alhambra

We have been in Granada for almost a week so we had plenty of time. In a relaxed mood, we didn’t need to do much preparation and just walked around casually. Fortunately, there was plenty of time, otherwise we would be restless and had less fun if we were in a hurry in such hot weather. Especially in a slow-paced place like southern Spain, it’s necessary to travel slowly to relax and to enjoy leisure and comfort.

alcazaba walk alhambra view granada

Even though there was a lot of time, we decided to go to Alhambra as early as possible in order to avoid missing important places. When we were planning to buy tickets, we found out that Alhambra must be reserved in advance. Fortunately, we didn’t drag the visiting of Alhambra to the end of the trip, otherwise it would be ridiculous to miss the most important attraction on this nearly one-week trip if we couldn’t visit without tickets.

Travel Tips: The time that we went to Granada, tickets of Alhambra could be even booked one day in advance. But it’s important to check tickets reservation in advance when planning a trip because rules of reservation in many places can change and prices can vary in different years. In some period of a year, it might be even difficult to book a ticket. You can check the on line Alhambra tickets booking here. If you would like to book a tour for visiting the Alhambra or Granada, you can check on line here, you may need to book a tour three months or even more in advance.

alcazaba fortress alhambra wall granada

We immediately booked tickets to go to Alhambra the next day. The locals told us to leave as early as possible, saying that some people even got up at 04:00am and set off at 05:00am. So, we decided to get up at 05:30am and leave at 06:30am to arrive as early as possible. It’s funny that sometimes traveling goes the opposite direction than expectation. Obviously, I wanted to relax and let myself free. But in the reality, I had to leave early and return late, which made myself busier than usual.


As the vistiting of the Alhambra was arranged on the next day, we walked around the city this day. Because it’s too hot, everyone wore few. Men basically only wore a pair of shorts that were great for those who go to gyms a lot. It’s almost the best place to show off your body.

albaicin district view nasrid granada

Granada is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural city. The city is charming, magical and unique. Various ethnic groups and cultures are integrated but also independent of each other.We felt like visiting Granada is like visiting the world. Every time we changed an area, it’s like entering a new world. The whole city has Arab area, Jewish area, Gypsies area and so on.

sacromonte gypsy district granada spain

We went to Sacromonte first. Sacromonte is somewhat similar to Puglia in southern Italy. Both Sacromonte and Puglia have white walls, lazy atmosphere, and they both changed some caves into habitable houses, making the whole place a little fairy-tale world.

alhambra district sacromonte daylight granada

Sacromonte is on the Valparaíso hill, where the Gypsies once conquered and lived here. In Sacromonte, expect overlooking the panoramic view of the entire Granada, you can also see the Alhambra from a distance.  In addition to the picturesque view of the day, there is also a tempting night scene that is not only beautiful and charming, but also adds a layer of mystery.

alhambra district sacromonte night granada

The Alhambra

when To go to the Alhambra

There were a lot of people going to the Alhambra, therefore we needed to get up very early and arrive as early as possible. This also meant that I needed to rest early in the evening. But in the extremely hot weather, the body became lazy and it was too hot to fall asleep at night. Even falling asleep, I woke up in the middle many times, so it became very painful to get up at 5:30am in the next morning.

palacio carlos v alhambra granada

Tips: During this trip I finally realized that I must go north in summer, south in winter, and travel in accordance with changes in the weather in the future.

muqarnas moorish vault alhambra granada

In any case, we struggled to get up in the morning and then took the minibus to Alhambra in a hurry.

garden alhambra hedge tree granada

History of the Alhambra

The Alhambra Palaces

The fame of Alhambra is not only because it’s in UNESCO World Heritage Site but also its importance in Islamic world. Alhambra is one of the most famous and one of the best-preserved Islamic palaces.

patio arrayanes carlos alhambra granada

The Alhambra is on the Sabika hill and it can be traced back to 1238 when the Nasrid rulers Muhammad I Ibn al-Ahmar started to build the palace complex. Later Alhambra had been modified by different Nasrid rulers.

moorish plasterwork interior alhambra granada

For example, during the 14 century, Yusuf I and Muhammad V made the Alhambra become a separate royal city and citadel including at least six major palaces. Some of these palaces are very famous, for example, may tourists come to admire the Palace of the Lion because of its Muqarnas ceiling.

muqarnas ceiling lions palace alhambra

Later the Alhambra also had been made some changes and additions. In 1832, the book of Tales of the Alhambra drew international attention. Modern scientific study started to do research on Islamic monuments such as Alhambra.

moorish decorated arch alhambra granada

Alcazaba fortress and Generalife Palace

The Alhambra has its own defend system called Alcazaba fortress. The Alcazaba fortress locates on the west side of the site. It’s very interesting to visit the fortress becasue expecet seeing how the defend systems looks like, there is also a great view to overlook Granada city from the fortress.

alcazaba fortress alhambra bell granada
generalife palace court water channel colorful

Of course, you also cannot miss the Generalife Palace that is one the east side of the Alhambra. The Generalife Palace is a summer palace and it was started to be built in 13 century. Later the Generalife Palace has been not only modified by multiple Nasrid rulers but also altered by Christian Spanish builders.

generalife alhambra water tree granada

The Jardines Nuevos (‘New Gardens’) was even added 100 years agao. The Generalife Palace was listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site in the same year as the Alhambrain 1984.  

torre de la vela alcazaba

It took us less than a day to visit the Alhambra including the Alcazaba fortress and the Generalife Palace. You can also visit it in half a day if you want. In the afternoon, my friend and I took a minibus to return to Granada city. The benefits of going early were also reflected on the return, there was no need to queue and spend too long waiting for the minibus, and there was also no need to spend a lot of time in traffic.

alcazaba layers steps kasbah granada

In Granada city

Of course as a city trip, we also visited the Cathedral, the Catholic Square with fountains ( Isable la Catolica) and the Fountain of the Giants (Fuente de los Gigantones) on Bib-Rambla Square etc.

cathedral santa maria granada spain

Talking about the food, it became something weird in the extreme weather. Because the weather was too hot, the only thing that I wanted to eat was salad. I ate salad repeatedly for lunch and dinner. Other things were not refreshing and I really didn’t want to eat. It seemed that everyone thought this way, the result was that salads were expensive in restaurants in Granada in summer. In many restaurants, salads were more expensive than meat dishes.

ham shop meat granada spain


In southern Spain, you can’t miss the flamenco dance. The dance shows the wild, unrestrained, enthusiastic, bohemian and charming of the Spaniards. Especially the kind of flamenco dance performed by men in caves with rhythmic clapping is really impressive. My friend and I were fascinated by the performance inside the cave. People from southern Spain are more able to fully interpret the rhythm and wildness of this dance.

Flamenco cave men dance granada

Flamenco is an explosive dance that can well interprets passion of human. Many dances cannot reflect the charm of men but flamenco dance is very special. Both men and women can interpret the dance with different characteristics and styles.

door arch church granada spain

The hostel that we lived in somehow had flamenco dance classes but the dance classes were not located on the ground floor. So, when they were dancing, It felt like the whole building was under a continuous earthquake. Even beautiful things can become a disaster if they bring them to others regardless of time and places.

How many days are need to visit Granada

In fact, three or four days is enough to travel in Granada. We stayed a little longer, so after we visited all the important places, we didn’t have any special place that we wanted to go anymore. But there was still a lot time left. time. So, we also went to the University of Granada and some lesser-known places. No matter where you go, Granada always gives a very relaxed, laid-back feeling.

granada university law faculty spain

Granada is one of the most attractive cities in southern Spain. It attracts tourists from all over the world with its unique geographical location, cultural diversity, exquisite architecture and rich art.

Author: Hua

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