‘ The Moorish Secret gardens of Alhambra’
My hubby and I spent a few days in Granada during our Andalucía road trip and we knew that visiting Alhambra was a must, when staying here. The Alhambra is a beautiful Arabesque Palace and grounds that were built in the mid 14th century by the Roman remains and Moors. The Moorish princes lived in the complex until they were driven out of Spain in 1492, when the Christians took over. Today the palace is a UNESCO world heritage site and is a very popular tourist attraction. The name Alhambra comes from the Moorish time, as the Arabic word “alhamra” means “the red one” referring to the stone colour used in parts of the palace construction.
The Alhambra is located right in the old town, but it is a real uphill hike to get the actual site. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes; it was a great bum workout to say the least. Also make sure to buy tickets online in advance. Just like the Alcazar in Seville, the per-ordered ticket will save you a lot of time queuing and guarantees a spot in seeing something for that day. Even though we booked our tickets 2 weeks before our trip, seeing the inside of the Nasrid palace was sold out, so instead we explored the grounds and generalife, which was more than enough for us. Another tip is to visit the palace just as it opens, to avoid the mid-day tourist mass. This allows you to capture beautiful images as the sun is still low and rising and you get to roam around in a peaceful environment.
The grounds are conducted with a myriad of amazing buildings to explore, including the Tower of Justice that has the most stunning views of Granada below. Opposite of the Nasrid Palace (which should be breathtaking from inside) is the Alcazaba that shows the military history of the time. We explored the buildings first and then walked through the generalife and the stunning gardens. This part was the vacation home of Granada’s royalty. The gardens were simply stunning, something that looks out of a fairytale. There were decorative fountains, maze-like bush pathways and an explosion of manicured pathways and flowers as far as the eye can see. The Moorish influence is seen throughout the Alhambra in its archways, tiled walls, and intricate carvings. We spent probably a good 3 hours soaking in all the grand beauty, working up an appetite from all the walking around.
After exploring the Alhambra we headed back to the old town for some seafood lunch. We came across a tiny tapas bar called “Bar Los Diamantes” on Plaza nueva 13, nothing fancy or decadent with rows of joint tables. There was a queue of locals outside and we quickly discover this was the place to eat. After queuing for a little while, we got a place inside. The place has that typical loud Spanish tapas atmosphere which we love and we ordered some mouth-watering seafood. Don’t expect to get anything fancy here, this is authentic quick simple but delish tapas. I didn’t take pictures of everything, but we ate rosada (type of cod fish), razor clams, shrimps, pilpil, and smoked paprika pulpo and our bill came to only about 50euros. It was the perfect seafood spot, to indulge in all the fresh goods, exactly the way locals would. We came to disvoer afterwards that it was also recommended by Loney planet as one of the best eateries in the area.
Bar Los Diamantes for some seafood tapas after exploring the Alhambra