Number Three – Granada
So good that in the UK they named a Commercial TV Station, a Motorway Service Station and an Electrical Appliance Store Chain after it!
Seriously, Granada is all you have probably heard it to be cracked up to be, and then some more. From the simply stunning ‘Wonder of the Modern World’ that is The Alhambra, to its awe-inspiring location surrounded by the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountain range, on to its Arabian style souks & tearooms and finally on to its vibrant bars and variety of restaurants, Granada has a whole lot going for it (not to mention its wonderful Mediterranean climate)!
Where else to start but The Alhambra, Spain’s (and arguably Europe’s) most eclectic & astonishing site. The fact that it was built by the occupying Moors does not matter a jot to Spain, who are fiercely proud of their architectural jewel.
As regular readers will know, this blog is not a tourist information site, but make sure you book your visit to the complex before you leave your own shores – otherwise you will either not get in at all or at the very least be faced with a very early start and most likely long queues. We visited in February and it was still very popular.
I will let my pictures do the talking, suffice to say that the exquisite craftsmanship that went into its construction is hard to surpass and when added to its superb location, is probably without peer.
The buildings are however only half the story. The ornately designed gardens with their water features, aromatic flowers and secret pathways are a joy to behold in their own right and absolutely in keeping with the majesty of the place.
The rest of the small city is not too shabby either, with the Baroque cathedral also well worth a visit. There is a distinct Arabic flavour to the place. I picked up a beautiful mosaic lamp and a cobalt blue vase at very reasonable prices – both pieces retain pride of place in our house some twelve years after our visit.
We visited a teashop also. The menu had over 100 types of tea. I cannot for the life of me remember our choices, but suffice to say I would have preferred English breakfast. However, it was all about the ambience of the venue and this definitely did not disappoint.
Finally the coup de grace. Each night we were there we visited some fabulous bars. The best bit was that with every drink we were offered (and gratefully accepted) free food, tapas style. Tasty ham, crusty bread, flavoursome tomatoes, fluffy Spanish omelette etc – very nice too.
We hardly needed to buy food after that, but did from some very atmospheric tapas restaurants.
So a huge thumbs up for the Andalusian delight – I think I might just go again soon!