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.
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.