Granada – Richly Varied

The quaint city at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada reflects a rich amalgam of various cultures- Greek, Moorish, and Castilian. Tourists traveling into the city are usually struck by the dizzying spread of Andalusian monuments, pubs, and scenic diversity.

The closest airport is about 12 kilometers away; a bus or a taxi will take you directly into the city. We do not recommend trains as it might take hours for a change to occur at Boadilla wasting precious time thereby.

Five star luxury hotels are not hard to come by in Granada. If you wish to steep yourself in history every day of your stay we strongly recommend the classic luxury hotel in the ancient part of the city- Hotel AC Palacio de Santa Paula. You will be delighted with the exotic Spanish wines, the home-made pastries, and the quaint ambience of the city. The hotel also features a luxury spa complete with Turkish baths and saunas.

A major tourist attraction that you cannot possibly afford to miss is the Muslim monument, the Alhambra constructed over a plateau between early to mid 14th century. The palace-cum-fortress is a sheer visual treat with its Patio de Leones and the Sala de los Abencerrajes where, incidentally, a lot of murders took place. Staring down from the Alhambra you will get to see a panoramic view of the city awash with red-tiled rooftops. Truly breath-taking!

Slightly overshadowed by the Alhambra but equally exotic is The Cathedral which stands as landmark to the Christian conquest in early 16th century. Reflecting shades of Renaissance and Baroque styles, The Cathedral too is an architectural wonder. For those who might be interested in its history, the structure took nearly two hundred years to complete, the delay being partly affected by the Plague which took about twenty thousand lives in its wake. A word of warning though: beware of gypsy women who will try and thrust lavender sprigs on you in exchange for money. On no account make eye contact with them, much less engage in conversation. If you do, you might find your wallet gone.

Plus, there are other monuments definitely meriting a visit. The Meziquita with its splendiferous gardens and architecture, the Monastery of San Jeronimo with its wonderful cloister, and the Iglesia de Santa Ana all proffer exciting views and sensations.

What do you take back as mementoes of your Granada trip? Well, there are these really light-weight rugs which roll up snugly into your bag. Among the other things you might like to buy would be hand-crafted pottery, leatherwork, and laces.

Walking around the city you might want to halt for a bit at the tea rooms speckling the Plaza Nueva where you can get fresh fruit juices, milkshakes apart from some really exotic teas. A lot of tourists also like to smoke here the rather exotic Arabesque tobacco in various flavors such as mint, apple, and rose.

For a leisurely lunch you could try places like the Gran Café where you sip a beer or campari and fraternize with fellow diners watching the people of Granada bustling about.

Everything about the place is exotic.

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