The jewel of Granada is, without question or competition, the Alhambra. Perched high above the main city, the Alhambra is a sprawling fortress and palace, with walls, arches, and ceilings so intricately engineered and decorated, it could take endless visits to fully appreciate its beauty. The richness of its aesthetic appeal is equalled only by its history. Built as a fortress in the 9th century and expanded into a palace in the 11th century, it was the last Muslim stronghold in Spain until the Catholics took it in 1492. For a time, it was used by both Catholics and Muslims, however, that symbiosis was relatively short lived, lasting less than ten years.
If I had to pick superlatives from my recent trip to Southern Spain (and I had to because what else do you do on the way home to make the trip last a little longer?), I’d say that out of Ronda, Nerja, and Granada, Ronda was the most charming and Granada the most interesting. From our hotel window at the foot of the Alhambra and overlooking the city center, Granada looked more like a peaceful town or a village than a city. However, once we trekked down the hill and wandered the city streets, we soon learned that the city is full of energy with street performers and artists entertaining cafe goers and tapas eaters, business people traveling to and from meetings, students and professors attending class (but mostly not attending class), and market goers carrying home their fresh fish and olives. Looking back on our few days in Granada, it’s almost a blur of wandering through these scenes, tapas, sangria, more tapas, and flamenco!