Valencia Map
Site Index
Contact
Random
Our Apartment
For 91 Days

Granada – The Rest of the Alhambra

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Hotels in GranadaHostels in GranadaFlights to Granada

Granada’s famous Alhambra complex is more than just the incredible Nazrid Palaces. Here’s a quick overview (and a lot of pictures) of the other highlights.

el-partal

The Generalife Palace and Gardens were a summer residence for the ruling Moorish nobility. Situated on a hill across from the Nazrid palaces, they enjoyed a spectacular view. The main garden is exquisite; a long, narrow pool with jumping fountains surrounded on all sides by lush vegetation, leading visitors to the main building. The visitable interior of the palace is small and not nearly as impressive as the main residence, but still cool in its own, rustic way.

The Alcazaba is the Alhambra’s defensive outpost, and the most visible section from the city itself. Resembling the prow of a ship, here the Moors kept watch for marauders and invading armies, and it must have been the scene of incredible battles. From the top tower, you get a dizzying view of the Granadian valley.

The Place of Charles V was built well after Christians displaced the Moors and sticks out like a huge, square thumb among the more delicate architecture it was plopped in front of. Still, it’s an architecturally interesting building, with the outer square concealing a perfectly circular courtyard.

The Alhambra complex also has a self-contained village, with stores and residences where workers and non-royalty lived. Souvenir shops still line the streets, though thrifty travelers would be well-advised to buy trinkets elsewhere. When you add to all of this a huge garden and long, shaded paths, you can easily see why a visit to the Alhambra can easily consume most of a day.

More from Our Granada Trip

Buy your Granada guides here. Click for: USA, UK, Germany, Spain

alhambra-weather
Granada-arabic-view
granada-view
sultan-pool-granada
stair-fountain-granada
generalife
vista-generalife
MOM-Alhambra
granada-bust
generalife-lion
face-fountain
arabic-gate-generalife
arabic-architecture
arabic-art-generalife
sierra-nevada
alhambra-garden
alhambra-pine
alhambra-tree
alhambra-orange
alhambra-battle
Place-of-Charles-V
granada-sun
karl-V-alhambra
eagle-art
spain-fountain
lion-granada
defense-alhambra
alhambra-maze
granada-Alcazaba
alhambra-2010
granada-apple
, , ,
February 9, 2010 at 5:51 pm Comments (4)

Day Trip to Xàtiva

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Earlier this week, we wrote about the history of Xàtiva — a wonderful little city an hour south of Valencia. Easy to reach by train, Xàtiva makes a great day trip from the capital.

castillo-xativa

The town sits at the foot of a large hill, literally in the shadow of its castle. During summer months, it’s often the hottest city in Spain, because of its valley location and protection from the cooling maritime breeze. Avoid during August!

We lucked out and arrived on a beautifully sunny Sunday afternoon… early January, and we were walking about comfortably in T-shirts. After stopping at the tourist information office to collect a city map and information, we explored the streets of the old town. Xàtiva has an elongated layout, due to its being stretched across the bottom of a mountain. The narrow streets and curvy alleyways are fun to explore, and it’s impossible to get lost, as the castle hill is always visible.

A touristic train goes up to the castle, but we decided to be men and hike up. 30 minutes later (whimpering, sweat-soaked), we arrived at the castle gates. The grounds have been well-preserved and, at almost a kilometer in length, the Castillo de Xàtiva is popular with tourists and locals alike. History seeps from every brick, and visitors can wander around practically unobstructed.

Although exhausted from the climb, we bounced around the castle like crack-powered 5 year olds, exploring royal gardens, prisons, the quarters of evil popes and, of course, incredible views of the underlying city and countryside. In stark contrast to the ruins of the castle at Sagunto, Xàtiva’s has been so well preserved and renovated, it’s easy to imagine the life of its inhabitants.

We spent so much time at the castle, that we missed out on the other highlights of Xàtiva such as the collegiate church The Seu (built in 1596) and the Museo Almudín (also 16th Century, originally for the storage and selling of wheat). But no bother… it’s a good wager that we’ll be back.

Xàtiva’s Official Site

xativa-castle
nature-xativa
landscape-xativa
ruins-xativa
xativa-jativa
hiking-Valencia
castillo-jativa
LUZ
church-castle-xativa
xativa-bells
crosses-in-Spain
caslte-in-spain
wall-xativa
castill-valencia
castle-valencia
castle-door-knob
tourist-bus-xativa

Cute Little Hotel in Xativa


, , , ,
January 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm Comments (9)

Day Trip to Peñíscola

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

A generation of movie goers can be forgiven for thinking that Valencia occupies a peninsular hill, protected by massive walls and a looming castle. The 1961 epic El Cid starred Charlton Heston as the titular hero, Sophia Loren as Jimena, and Peñíscola as the city of Valencia.

peniscola-iglesia

About 90 minutes north of Valencia, Peñíscola makes for a wonderful day trip. The layout of the city is crazy… it’s a small island which just happens to be connected to the mainland by a narrow stretch. The entire old town is surrounded by a wall and shadowed by the enormous castle which sits atop the cliffs. We went this past weekend, and despite cold and windy weather, had a great time.

The castle was built by the Templars in the 14th century and later occupied by the infamous Antipope Benedict XIII (or Papa Luna as he’s known in Spanish). Entrance was €3,50 and well worth it. It’s extremely well-preserved and the views from the top are breathtaking. The history, too, is fascinating and every room in the castle has a information card describing it, in multiple languages. My favorite room was probably Benedict’s library, where he had an extra window constructed in the direction of Rome — the city he wanted to keep his eye upon.

Peñíscola is a summer tourist town, as the unfortunate number of huge hotels along the beach make obvious, and would make an ideal weekend getaway when it’s warm enough to swim. The water was crystal blue, and the beaches looked wonderful, especially with the view that castle jutting into the water. And unlike other beach towns up and down the coast, there’s actual history here and interesting things to do.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to reach Peñíscola with public transportation, so we recommend hiring a car. It’s worth the effort of going… it’s one of the most strikingly beautiful little villages that the Valencian Community has to offer.

More Information at the Peñíscola Tourism site (in English)

Hotels in Peñiscola

More Peñiscola pictures:

light-house-spain
light-tower-peniscola
peniscola-day-trip
peniscola-hike
botanic-garden-peniscola
castle-peniscola
peniscola-stairs
stones-peniscola
peniscola-tree
WC-sprint
moors-castle
papa-luna
pretty-knight
christian-knight
spanish-torture
peniscola-coat-armor
bell-tower-peniscola
spanish-beauty
coast-spain
wave-breaker
pine-tree
nao-peniscola
shell-house
sea-shell-window
la-bruja-peniscola
shopping-peniscola
peniscola-souvenirs
fishing-spain

,
December 1, 2009 at 3:16 pm Comments (2)