Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Here Parador Granada Activities

Staying at the Parador Granada presents the visitor with many choices of places to visit, and activities in which to participate. First of all, obviously, is the fantastical Alhambra. This unique place in the world was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

If on your first visit to Granada, try to spend at a minimum a long "half-day" inside the Alhambra grounds. It is a unique experience that you will want to savor slowly. We recommend two visits while staying at the Parador Granada - once during the morning or afternoon entry sessions, and once during the night opening session - when the lights are switched on to light up the monuments. It's an absolutely memorable experience!

The city of Granada itself is situated in the shadow of the mountains of the Sierra Nevada chain. Granada was founded by the Phoenicians 800 years B.C.(!) It holds much of interest for the visitor.

The Albacin quarter is especially interesting. This is a typical old Moorish section of narrow winding cobblestone streets and white-washed traditional stucco houses. There are many quaint shops and cafes. With the awesome Alhambra overlooking everything from far above, a long, leisurely wander through the Albaicin makes for a wonderful morning or afternoon.

The Granada Cathedral should not be skipped. Construction was started in early 16th century within the site of a far older Islamic mosque. It required 175 years (!) to finish, and it has architectural elements from the Medieval and Renaissance, as well as the Baroque eras.

Most visitors have heard of the Sacramonte. This is a prime tourist destination, and is comprised of white-washed cave dwellings (still in use today), typical Andalusian restaurants, souvenir shops, and the ever-present gypsies offering to perform flamenco, or read your palm, or sell you flowers, etc. It is all great fun (if a bit too commercialized), and supremely photogenic. For the historically minded, there are catacombs to visit, and an old Abbey complex.

Yet another fascinating site is the Royal Chapel., The Catholic Monarchs (Ferdinand and Isabella) issued a decree that - regardless where they were to die - that their remains would be brought here and entombed within this royal burial chamber. They remain there to this day. There's an amazing museum connected to the tombs - and, at least for history buffs, it is well worth a visit.

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