Last Updated on May 15, 2019 by Bryony Clapperton
Granada in Spain is a very, very impressive place to explore. The Alhambra Palace Granada is also a very impressive place to explore.
During my time road-tripping through Andalusia, I’d get to see both of these great tourist favourites.
So, whether you’re all about tapas and flamenco, or you actually prefer visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites during your travels. Granada as a city truly has it all.
Forget the overcrowded Spanish coast and head inland to Spain’s culture rich cities. The region of Andalusia attracts people year round for a magnitude of reasons.
This is now a last minute completely unplanned trip took us on a mini Andalusia road trip with Granada and The Alhambra in our sights.
Travel in Andalusia, Spain
A mini Andalusia road trip
An impromptu, last minute, culture filled road trip across Spain is not something I would ever turn down in a hurry. You’d be a fool to turn down such a trip.
Within four days of the initial talks of our Spanish excursion we had our flights, Airbnb’s and rent-a-car booked for a short but packed Andalusia road trip.
Our route would take us to the following Spanish destinations;
If you know Spain well, you’ll know that between Ronda and Granada there is some serious mileage to cover so we’d be renting a car to fit in as much as possible.
We arrived in Spain and hit the road. We spent our time admiring the Sierra Nevada mountains, enjoying some traditional Spanish tapas, drinking lots of red wine and experiencing car sickness*.
*The Nichols boy’s don’t really do winding mountainous roads.
Our time in Spain was an adventure from the second we entered Ronda. Our first stop led us to a Flamenco festival, a celebration that brought the town to a standstill.
More commonly known as Festival de Cante Grande, the popular Ronda event runs usually at the end of August.
The two short nights we spent in Ronda we’re packed purely with tourism. Our days were spent exploring the bridges, viewpoints, traditional art and eateries.
I only wish I had more time to take in all Ronda has to offer before darting of to Ojen.
The second stop for us on our mini Andalusia road trip would be Ojen.
Ojen, unlike Ronda is situated on the coast. Here we were greeted by Jamie’s family in the hilly, character filled streets of the white settlement of Ojen.
During our time in the quaint town of Ojen, just outside Marbella, we stayed in the cutest boutique hotel La Posada del Angel. It is the ideal setting to stay in, in the sceneic white town of Ojen.
Along with enjoying the sunsets from the rooftop, we sampled some local cuisine (seafood of course) and enjoyed the the company of familiar faces before moving on.
In the middle of our trip we found ourselves heading to Granada. A city that we were all equally excited to visit. Several hours on the road and a strange ‘is this a car park or a war zone?’ experience we arrived in Granada, Spain.
From one hot authentic Plaza in Ojen to another in Granda in several hours.
Granada embodies everything that is Spain. Grand architecture, excellent places to eat, even better places to drink and that familiar social Spanish atmosphere.
Along with all the truly defining characteristics of a perfect Spanish city Granada has one more to offer. The Alhambra Palace.
The Alhambra Palace Granada was one of our main motivations for making Granada an integral part of our Andalusia road trip.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site had fascinated us from the second we knew we’d be in Granada.
Where is Granada?
Before we get on to why you should visit The Alhambra let’s discuss Granada.
Granada is located in the Andalusia region of Spain at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
As a tourist destination, Granada has been attracting tourists due to its unique and curious history and architecture for centuries.
A perfect city break with a twist, Granada’s hot climate and unique offering ensure it is added to most Spanish bucket lists.
Where to stay in Granada?
Other than our hotel in Ojen this trip was strictly Airbnb’s for us and Granada was no different.
Airbnb’s are a cheap alternative for four travelling Spain. We were able to book two rooms, private bathrooms and often even whole apartments and a lower cost for the small number of nights we spent at each destination.
If you have plans to do a Spanish road trip and time soon I fully recommend this option.
Our Airbnb in Granada even had a private garden with plunge pool. What more could you want from a budget accommodation. Located in
Albaicin area of the city, the small apartment was perfect for our group of four.
Alternatively there are a range of backpacker hostels and budget accommodations throughout Granada and in Spain generally.
If you’re a part of a large group and looking to splash out why not rent a villa in the hills overlooking the city?
Things to do in Granada, Spain
Granada pretty much has it all in terms of tourist attractions. We spent our days checking out churches, other Alhambra related attractions around the city – which were included in our ticket price (not the standard entry).
We were able to enjoy a cold Cerveza or two in the sun and ate out every night in the many restaurants Granada has to offer. If there’s one thing you must do in Granada its visit one of the incredible restaurants overlooking the Alhambra.
At sunset this is the most surreal setting. Carmen Verde Luna and Estrellas de San Nicolás are two of the most popular. Getting here is pretty impressive too, walk the steep and confusing streets of one of Granada’s neighborhoods to reach the higher points and the balcony-style restaurants.
We also grabbed ourselves a Granada city tour, something I’m an always eager to do in any new city.
Hop on the city bus or train and take a route around the city seeing the best sites and spots.
City tours in Granada are the best option for anyone with restricted time like us. The cathedral can be seen from the bus but it’s probably worth hopping off to get a snap or two.
The Alhambra Palace Granada
As mentioned above, one of our key motivators for visiting Granada was to visit the Alhambra Palace. Along with our city tour and other things to in Granada, we knew we had to visit the Alhambra before we left.
The Alhambra is a palace and fortress located just outside the city of Granada. Situated just above the city in the hills The Alhambra Palace towers over the city in all its opulence.
The Alhambra was once a small Roman fortress morphed into an Moorish palace. The structure itself has changed ownership and religions more times than I can keep up with.
It’s turbulent history is what makes this attraction so unique and intriguing as a heritage site. The grand Islamic architecture is well preserved and incredibly beautiful to photograph.
Each room tells and tale, each wall, floor, ceiling, window and door frame tell a story of a time from Spain’s history that many forget.
The Christian influences intertwined among the Islamic architecture make The Alhambra Palace Granada a very special and thought provoking place to visit.
Why visit the Alhambra
The Alhambra is possibly one of the most well preserved and looked after attractions I’ve been to in recent years.
From the city, it is very accessible and a great day out. Not only will a trip to The Alhambra Palace help you understand Granada’s history, it will give you a look into a window of lesser known European history.
Alongside the educational reasons to visit it’s generally a very nice place to see with it’s stunning grounds and architecture. But first you’ll want to book some tickets.
Tickets for The Alhambra
We booked our tickets for The Alhambra hurriedly online. There’s a few different ticket websites including Granada Tours.
The tickets sell out fast and often people are left outside queuing with no tickets left for that day.
Its wise to pre-book your Alhambra tickets online in advance or arrive in Granada a few days early to visit the ticket office at The Alhambra to buy your tickets.
In our rush to buy tickets we mistakenly booked a big package deal online, Jamie’s mum – the trip organisers and a fluent Spanish speaker was able to work her magic and fix this in time for our tour of The Alhambra.
Check out a few different ticket websites before booking yours or arriving in Granada, ticket prices are relatively similar but as we found packages vary.
The mistake we made is a mistake that could’ve been costly to us in our crazed urgency to get tickets for The Alhambra. As mentioned try Granada Tours or Get Your Guide for tickets the websites are easy to use.
If you are visiting Granada on a budget you will want to book tickets in advance.
How much are tickets?
The cost of visiting The Alhambra Palace can vary, there are several varying tours with guides, with audio guides, with bilingual guides etc. and the prices seem to fluctuate depending on your requirement.
The standard entrance ticket is usually £35 which is around €40.
We got one audio guide between four and one person was able to listen and then relay the information to everyone else.