Spain has always been a favorite holiday destination for Britons hoping to soak up the sun on its many beautiful islands and beaches. With destinations like Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Malaga, Ibiza and the Canary Islands three to four hours away by air, it’s no wonder Brits continue to fly there every summer.
But Spain has plenty of natural beauty, culture and architecture that can be enjoyed whatever the season, especially for a romantic weekend getaway. As Valentine’s Day approaches, there is one particular town in the Andalusian region of southern Spain that might be worth visiting.
Granada is a short drive from Malaga, which is its nearest international airport. There are plenty of coaches leaving from Malaga at set times that one can take to get there. It is very close to Santa Fe and has excellent connections to cities like Cordoba, Seville, Marbella and Almeria.
READ MORE: Latest travel advice for Spain as Covid change confuses holidays
If anyone is visiting the area, it is definitely worth spending a night or two as there are plenty of attractions and activities to keep you busy. Plus, you don’t even have to stay in a hotel.
Granada offers a wide range of choices for visitors when it comes to accommodation, but a totally unique experience is that for less than £50 a night you can rent your own cave in Sacromonte. The area is a famous hill where many caves have been completely renovated and reconstructed with beautiful designs and interiors to make them suitable for tourists. Visitors love to walk or cycle through the narrow, whitewashed streets of the hillside where they can take in some fresh air and catch the occasional flamenco music performance.
The hill also offers stunning views of the city, with the landscape dominated by the unmissable Alhambra palace on the opposite hill. The Alhambra was built in the early 13th century by Sultan Muhammad I who founded the Islamic Emirate of Granada in 1230 when Spain was largely under Muslim rule.
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The palace alone is huge and takes around three hours to explore. It can be seen from anywhere in the city and takes up roughly half the map of Granada, with its medieval Moorish design setting the tone for the rest of the city, especially the historic Albayzin quarter.
The city itself is built in a valley served by the Darro River, a tributary of the Genil River, which rises in the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountain range. The mountains are easily visible from Granada, which benefits from the fresh water it provides to the city.
With such an abundance of fresh water available, Granada is keen to maintain its many ancient aqueducts that have served the city for hundreds of years, as well as the stunningly beautiful fountains that can be found in its plazas.
Granada is also very multicultural, with cuisines from different parts of the world easily found alongside its countless Spanish tapas restaurants. Even though centuries have passed since the end of Islamic rule following the Spanish Inquisition, the city is still decorated with Islamic geometric patterns and Arabic calligraphy. In fact, the city’s motto is even written in Arabic, reading The Ghalib Illallah, meaning ‘There is no victor but God’.
Granada’s old souks have been restored and still operate as they did hundreds of years ago. Tourists can find many gifts and souvenirs here to take home, including oriental rugs and exotic decorations.
Another great thing about Granada is the nightlife. The city is full of bars and cafes and they are almost always full 24 hours a day. It can be a bit difficult to get a good night’s sleep in Granada because of all the buzz coming from the streets, but then again, nobody really goes to Granada to sleep anyway.
There’s simply too much to do in Granada to waste time sleeping, and definitely not to be missed is standing in the cobbled streets on the banks of the Darro and watching the sunrise over the Alhambra. the morning. It’s a romantic experience unmatched by any other.
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