I went to Granada, in Andalucía for a few days in the summer, before heading to the east coast of Spain. Over the past 6 years or so, I have visited Valencia and Barcelona, as well as Granada. Out of these, I would say that Granada has been my least favourite.
It is a very beautiful City, will one or two great sites and attractions. The main one is the Alhambra Palace. (I have written a separate review of the Alhambra Palace, so if you want to find out more about that I recommend that you read that review.) The Alhambra is beautiful, but I do feel that once you have done that, there really is very little to do in Granada. There is Granada Cathedral, which is nice, but I felt that it was a slight let down. It's not as elaborate as some cathedrals, but maybe I'm just comparing it to much bigger, more famous cathedrals, like the Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona, which just cannot be beaten.
Like I said, I only stayed in Granada for 2 full days, and I think that you wouldn't really want to spend much more time than this there - One day for the Alhambra Palace, and one day for the cathedral, the bull ring, or whatever else takes your fancy. I feel that if you stayed much longer than that, you would start to run out of things to do.
This review sounds quite negative, but there are a lot of pros to Granada as well; for a start, it is absolutely beautiful. There are also many wonderful bars and restaurants. I think if you want to be doing something the whole time, you should only stay for a few days, however, if you are happy wandering around, then I'm sure you'll find plenty of little things to do and see. There just are not as many large, famous attractions as some cities.
One of the things I love about Spain in general, and Granada doesn't let it down, is the atmosphere. It's absolutely buzzing, especially after dark. If you step outside at ten o'clock, the atmosphere is just electric, it's a real buzz.
Just one word or warning, if you're planning to speak Spanish there, the accents are very quite hard to understand, as Andalucía accents are very different to the standard Spanish accent- but I wouldn't worry too much about that!
Overall, a lovely city, but if you like to keep busy, there is not as much to do there as in some other cities.
I have only heard of the Alhambra Palace through my Spanish class in University and so on a recent trip to the South of Spain I decided that it might be worth a look.
It surprised me that when i tried to reserve tickets online two weeks in advance there were none available. So anyone planning to go there, especially around this time of year, should look to book a few months in advance. The official website is www.alhambratickets.com although tickets can also be bought from the BVAB banks in Spain or on the day you intend to visit at the Alhambra ticket office.
If you choose the latter option, be prepared for a long wait! I thought the Tourist Information adviser was joking when she told us to arrive at 7am, so I took my chances and arrived at 7.30am. After queuing for 3 hours, we managed to buy tickets for the afternoon visit to the Palace, which meant that we had to leave and come back that day at 2pm.
If you are a family or big group, you should consider sending just one or two people to queue as each person can purchase up to 5 tickets. The cost per ticket is 10 Euro.
The Palace itself is easy to access by walking, although the hill may be challenging for the elderly or children. There is also, however, a red bus which may be taken from many different part of the city and will cost around 1 Euro.
The Palace was a fortress inhabited by the Nastrid sultans in the 13th and 14th centuries and today is divided into 4 sections, all surrounded by beautiful gardens.
The four sections are The Palaces, the Alcazaba (military zone), the Medina (old city), and Generalife (the gardens).
In order to fully appreciate all of the areas of the Alhambra, you will need to set aside at least 4 hours.
There isn´t much information available about each point of interest, so if you don´t have a tour guide, I fully recommend the Headset tour. This is availble at the beginning and at several points of sale inside the palaces,costs 3 Euro and is available in 5 or 6 different languages.
The buildings themselves are very impressive, the decoration is very detailed and has to be seen to be believed. The four main colours of the paint are blue, gold, red and green to represent water, fire, air and earth.
The only bad part of the experience for me was the huge amount of tourists, especially school trips, as there is not much space inside buildings and it can be hard to progress at your own speed.
Your ticket will have a specific 30 minute time slot on it for the Nastrid Palaces and this must be adhered to as the number of visitors entering is controlled to minimise damage. For me, this was one of the most impressive areas, definately worth the early start and long wait!