My second home, Granada, is a city poised on undulating slopes with Moorish towers and Catholic spires poking through its skyline, with the white mountain range of Sierra Nevada looming in the background.Because of its hilly terrain, there is a plethora of panoramic spots to take in a bird’s eye view of the city. Over the weekend, I played host to some Singaporean friends who came to visit. Seeing the city from above is definitely the highlight for visitors who travel to Granada, and here are some of the best spots:
Mirador de San Nicolas
Sitting on the top of the old quarters – Albayzin – the lookout point offers what is considered the best view in the region. Besides an unobstructed vista of the Alhambra and the sprawling city below it, the Mirador is a playground for bohemian hippies and flamenco guitarists.
Huerta de Juan Ranas
Located right below the Mirador de San Nicolas, this atmospheric bar offers the exact view in a chillout surrounding. Budget travelers might prefer to forgo this bar, but travelers looking to spoil themselves might like soaking in the sun here and reveling in the Mediterranean spirit.
This ancient Moorish palace put Granada on the world map – travelers who visit Granada without exploring the Alhambra is like going to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Again, built on a steep hilltop, the Alhambra provides stunning panoramas of the Albayzin area. Expect to see endless hills of white architecture with pine trees and brown roofs poking out randomly.
Alhambra Hotel Palace
A luxury hotel designed to imitate the Alhambra back in its heydays – upon entering its doorway, you’ll naturally feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the ancient days when Arabic kings ruled Granada. The lobby is a lavish Arabic hallway, all decked out in golden furnishing. The best way: an outdoor cafe that opens up to an eye-glaring view of the city below its feet. Come here for sunset – you’re sure to be mesmerized.
Mirador de San Cristobal
Another lookout point from the other end of the city, the Mirador de San Cristobal is harder to get to and thus quieter and calmer. From here, you’ll get to see the old walls that used to enclose the city forming a fortress. Night view is the best here, as you see the city glowing in gold, with the Alhambra brighter than ever.
Llano de la Perdiz
Llano literally means plateau, but this plateau stands high above the valley, overlooking the outskirts of Granada. This secret spot is a local favourite’s haunt, especially in summer where outdoors enthusiasts hike and cycle here. Unlike the other lookout points, this is only accessible by car, on a dirt road and it looks out to the valley that surrounds Granada.
Where to Stay
Accommodation in Granada is affordable and good; the best options for budget travelers would be youth hostels in the city center. These are often located in traditional Andalusian houses, with typical patios and fountains. Cheap hotels in Granada usually cost up to 50euros a room, while luxury hotels like the Alhambra Palace Hotel can go up to 400euros for a suite.