By Linda Bentley

Granada City is situated in the foothills of Sierra Nevada, in Andalusia.  One of the smaller Cities of Spain yet offering plenty to see and do. An easy 3 and a half hours drive from Costa Blanca brings you to Granada City, which is situated in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

At certain times of the year you can see the tops of the mountains glistening white with snow as you approach this vibrant, bustling city.

The City is like most, busy with people going about their daily lives and so many cars, but don’t worry as there are so many quaint, relaxing places to find.

Take a walk along Carera del Darro, enjoy a scenic walk along the river, dotted with many fabulous bars and restaurants, offering all types of gourmet food.

There are over 20 museums including the Fine Arts Museum and Science Park. The Science Park is located a few minutes’ walk from the Historic Centre. It is a huge centre and includes digital planetarium, birds of prey workshops, perception room and so many other fascinating activities.

Sacromonte area is famous for its cave dwellings and magnificent views. This area if full of charm with lots of nooks and crannies. The Sacromonte Abbey is situated here on the Mount of Valparaiso. There is a cave museum where you can learn how the Muslims and Gypsies began to settle in the caves. Also here there is a cave house for you to wander around and explore to see the uniqueness of these charming homes.

Albaycin is an area of Arab architecture and it became a World Heritage site in 1994.

If you visit Casa de Zafra, you will find all the information about the history of the area, then explore its narrow meandering streets full of curious shops with Moroccan style and allure. Stop to savour the décor of the many cosy and intimate Moroccan style cafes and enjoy one of the many delicious teas and sweet desserts.

Here they are famous for their Flamenco shows, a cultural tradition of Spain, with passionate sounds of a guitar player, singer and a couple of dancers perform in a Tablao.

The place you just must visit of course is the Alhambra Palace. Its advisable to book your tickets online and wear good walking shoes as if you want to see all the grounds as it involves a bit of walking. The Alhambra, built as a small fortress in 889, was rebuilt in the mid 13th century.

It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it stands majestically high above the City with its fortress and palaces and huge, long walls. It shines beautifully at night lit up with a thousand lights. The architecture is simply stunning and the amazing gardens with so many different species of flowers and greenery, and of course the views are not to be missed.

When you have finished admiring all that there is to see, you can rest your weary legs in one of the cafes, restaurants just outside the gates or catch the bus down to  the town and visit the tapas area. Here there are many tapas bars offering the usual tapas and so much more.

Sit and relax and take in the true Spanish lifestyle.

If it is shopping you want there are all the major shops plus lots of little boutiques offering that something a little different.

If you want to indulge yourself why not try the Hammam Al Andalus, ancient tradition of Arabian baths, traditional hot and cold steam rooms, bathing and relaxation rooms to totally unwind. The steam rooms are fed by thermal waters.

If you are thinking of visiting many cultural places then the Granada Card might be worth purchasing, the price ranges from 35 to 43 euros depending on what you want to see and also includes 9 bus rides on the public transport. It lasts for 5 consecutive days.

Granada is so close to the Sierra Nevada that it seems rude not to take a day to explore it.

To me the scenery is magnificent, so reminiscent of Scotland, with its mountains and valleys stretching for kilometre after kilometre. The roads take you higher and higher up the mountains with breath-taking views. Through lots of little villages, but don’t drive through Lanjaron without stopping, as this is probably the quaintest village I have been to so far.

This is where the bottled water Lanjaron comes from. The views are stunning and there are many marked out hiking walks you can do from here. Pop into the visitors Centre and they have leaflets with the routes to take.

The village is so pretty, I think nearly every house and shop have flowers or bushes outside.

And to help protect you from the heat of the sun they have put up a shade, high up, which follows the road all through this lovely village.

It is well known for its waters, the bottled water and also their spa waters, many people come here every year to bathe in the waters as they are acclaimed to have healing qualities.

The water is called Chalybeate water and contains iron salts. The Baineario offers many treatments and is open from March to December.

Here on June 23rd at Midnight they have the largest water fight in Spain.

The streets are packed with people with hose pipes, buckets, water guns out to have fun and to get wet.

Lanjaron is also famous for its honey, wine and Cava.

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