Destination guides, Europe, Wanderlust

MummyTravels’ guide to Granada

My Granada city break was my first trip without my daughter – although I travelled with my own mum, so the family travel theme continues.

Its unique history and famous tapas made it the perfect long weekend of exploring and eating, and a great destination for older kids. Depending on their age and interests, the Alhambra is fascinating for children, and while you might have to skip the cobbled hills of the Albaicin if you’ve got a buggy, Spain is incredibly family-friendly, so you’ll be welcomed everywhere.

There’s more detail in the individual posts, but I’ve pulled them all today to create this Granada city break guide. As ever, do add any of your own suggestions in the comments.

Getting there/around
British Airways flies direct from London City Airport to Granada, while EasyJet has a new route from Gatwick to Granada. There’s a regular airport bus to the centre, and taxis which cost 25-28 Euros. Otherwise, the closest airport is Malaga, around 125km or a 90-minute drive away, with both bus and train links.

Once you’re in Granada, it’s very easy to get around on foot. If you’d rather not climb endless hills, there’s also a good bus network including routes up to the Alhambra and Sacromonte, with single fares costing 1,20 Euros.

Where to stay
We stayed in an AirBNB flat in the Albaicin which was compact but perfect for two, on a quiet street and very central for exploring. If you’re travelling with kids, here’s my round-up of the best child-friendly apartments.

Or check out i-escape for boutique hotels, as well as Paradores of Spain for fabulous converted old buildings, including stays in Granada. Be prepared to book a long way in advance, especially at busy times.

What to see
If you love history and architecture, Granada is a dream destination but it’s also a fantastic place to wander, soak up the sun and sights, and relax – the Alhambra is deservedly the big draw (check out my tip on visiting below) but that’s not the only reason to book a trip. Try these five reasons to visit for starters.

Moorish Granada – there’s far more to discover than just the Alhambra. Wander the twisting streets of the Albaicin to discover viewpoints out over the city, pretty squares, whitewashed buildings and some of the oldest parts of the city.

The Catholic legacy – Isabella and Ferdinand united Spain during their rule, with Catholic Granada as one of their crowning achievements, ending the line of Moorish kings who created the Alhambra. Today, the cathedral dominates the city, in case you’re in any doubt as to the eventual victors, while the Capilla Real holds their tomb.

Off the beaten tourist track – there’s not much that remains of Jewish Granada in the Realejo but heading slightly out of the centre takes you to the old Jewish quarter, as well as the picturesque streets here.

Views and Roma history – if there was nothing else to Sacromonte but the views, it would still be worth climbing the hill (or hopping on a bus). But this is the site of yet more of Granada’s legends, as well as the home of the city’s Roma community, including some fascinating cave dwellings in the museum.

Where to eat
Tapas and the alternatives – the city is famous for being one of the few left in Spain where you’ll get a free ‘tapa’ with your drink, although that’s getting rarer. There’s plenty of tapas which is worth paying for though, along with more traditional menus in some of Granada’s best restaurants

Breakfast on chocolate – there’s a lot of walking to be done in Granada, so fuel up before you start with Spain’s famous doughnuts dipped in chocolate courtesy of the city’s top churros

Ice cream with style – it was chilly Spring when we visited but if the sun’s shininy, here’s where to get your scoop

Plan your visit
How to do it – from timed tickets to advance booking and how to get around the sprawling palaces, here are my top tips on visiting the Alhambra to get the most of your visit to this fabulous world heritage site.

I also bought the Granada chapter from Lonely Planet’s Andalucia guide which has more suggestions and advice, while there are also tourist offices around the city with maps and leaflets to pick up.

There are also Segway tours of the city – check out this review from Wyld Family Travel

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My Granada city break guide - discovering the city of Granada in Spain, including the famous Alhambra, the Moorish Albaicin, and the Catholic heart of the city today, as well as Roma Sacromonte, the Jewish Realejo and some of Spain's best tapas

Images copyright MummyTravels/Cathy Winston

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