|In spite of the fact that Granada, like any
other city, has seen great technological and social changes over the
years, the most popular areas are still those that surround the Alhambra,
one of the oldest, most important monuments in the entire country and a
Unesco national heritage site.
Perhaps the most obvious thing to say about a trip to Granada is that you should make sure to have comfortable shoes while here, since there are steep hills everywhere, especially in neighbourhoods such as the Albayzín, Sacromonte and Realejo, districts around the hills upon which the Alhambra resides. A maze of narrow streets (some of which are cobbled) and endless steps to climb up or down are equally representative of all three of these areas. The beautiful whitewashed houses and the colourful flowers in the courtyards and on balconies are some of the things worth looking out for, as are the many sights of historic interest.
To get up to the Albayzín, most people take Caldería Nueva Street, which is a very narrow, steep little road that has a large concentration of tearooms, such as Alfaguara, as well as many shops selling Arabic crafts. The street leads out onto a lively little square where, especially on sunny days, people sit at tables put out by the bars and restaurants there. This is San Miguel Bajo, also the location of the church of the same name. Other places worth visiting in this area are the Santa Isabel la Real Convent, San Juan de los Reyes Church, the Bañuelo (Arab baths), Casa Castril (an old palace), the ancient wall and the San Nicolás lookout point, which offers superb views of the Alhambra. Though it lies at the very start of the Albayzín district, the Plaza Nueva area is very popular at night, as are the banks of the Darro River, overflowing with places to go for tapas, such as Casa de Todos, La Boquería and Mardini to name a few; there are also lots of bars here where you can listen to music as you sip on your drink: Al Pie de la Vela, La Fontana, Rey Momo and more.
This district has kept its distinctive infrastructure through the years. The houses in the Sacromonte are actually caves that have been dug out of the side of the hill. They used to be where many gypsies lived and are now public places where you can go to enjoy shows (Los Tarantos), bringing to life the traditions the gypsies have preserved and turned into something of an event. Don't leave the area without stopping by the Abadía del Sacromonte (abbey), a 17th century church which now houses an art museum, and the Museo de la Zambra (museum of gypsy celebrations).
THE OLD QUARTER
Granada sprawls out at the foot of the previous two districts, dominated by another famous sight, the Cathedral. Around it, the streets of the Alcaicería are full of shops selling arts and crafts, as well as other souvenirs. The Plaza de Bib-Rambla, which is full of florists, is also here, as are many restaurants including Casa Manolo, fashionable clothing shops like Amano and Los Muñecos.
The most modern and commercial shopping area in Granada, however, is located to the southwest. If you are planning on doing some shopping while in town, take note of Tablas, Obispo Hurtado, Gran Via de Colon, Reyes Católicos and Recogidas, which are all streets full of shops where you can find names like Zara, Mango, Lacoste, Roberto Verino, Benetton and many other.
SHOPPING CENTRES AND NIGHTLIFE
In the lowest part of the city you will find the large shopping centres, such as Corte Ingles and the Neptuno Shopping Centre. And if what you want is to experiences Granada's famous nightlife, this is also the area where you will find Pedro Antonio de Alarcon Street, which is full of bars (Colors, Halley, Marilyn, Soho), and San Juan de Dios, which in addition to interesting sights like the church and hospital of the same name, also have lots of entertainment options (Distrito 10, París, El Rincón de San Juan de Dios).