Be prepared to get a little lost in the Albayzín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods, two of Granada’s must-sees.
You can’t say that you have been in Granada unless you’ve paid a visit to the charming Albayzín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods. Perched on the hill overlooking the whole city of Granada, these areas are full of history, which you can soak up once you get here. These two neighbourhoods are mostly related to the Moorish, whose heritage you can still see nowadays, and Gipsy cultures.
This old neighbourhood on the Granadan hill delimited by Calle Elvira and the Darro river was declared World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1993. And it isn’t hard to understand why.
The history of the Albayzín is strictly related to the Moors’ in the city of Granada. In 1227, the Albayzín was populated by the Moors, after Ferdinand III started conquering the cities of Seville and Cordoba. During this period, some 40.000 inhabitants lived here, and roughly 30 mosques were erected. In 1568, when the Catholic Monarchs re-conquered Granada, the Moors were exiled and churches built on the rest of the mosques. Likewise, the Christians converted the Moorish houses into beautiful gardens. This is one of the reasons why the neighbourhood faced a period of decline.
Thanks to a century-year-old history, the Albayzín is populated with countless monuments on which you can’t miss out. For example, the church of Santa Ana, with a minaret in its bell tower; the 16th-century Colegiata del Salvador, on the rest of the Albayzín’s main mosque; or the Mezquita Mayor de Granada, opened in 2003 to serve the current Muslim population of Granada.
Likewise, don’t miss out on the Archaeological Museum, displaying Granada’s past through astrolabes and old tools. It is located in an ancient Renaissance mansion.
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes if you’re planning to visit the Albayzín since its cobbled streets are narrow, winding and steep. The whitewashed houses merge with lively bars and restaurants that accompany you along the path towards one of the most spectacular viewpoints you’ll ever see.
Mirador de San Nicolás
Located on the top of the Albayzín, this viewpoint offers astonishing views of the Alhambra, which you can accompany with a good tapa or a complete meal in one of the restaurants located here. In the square in front of the Mirador, you will always find people showing off their abilities for tourists, although the main show is certainly the view on the other side.
The sacred mountain of Granada is the birthplace of the Gitano culture of the city, where they settled after the Reconquest in the 15th century. Here, gipsies still live in caves, where they provide Flamenco shows to the culture-seeking tourists. Pay a visit to the Abbey, at the very top of the hill and discover the Christian relics that are preserved here. Or else, the Museum of Cuevas del Sacromonte is where you will gain an insight into Granada’s gipsy culture.
It is here where the Zambra was born, an authentic Gipsy dance that roots in the Moorish culture of Granada.
How to get to the Albayzín and Sacromonte from Granada city centre
You can easily reach the Albayzín and Sacromonte from Granada’s city centre. The main bus lines that operate on this route are C1 (Albayzín – City centre) and C2 (Sacromonte – City centre). Both leave from Plaza Nueva, the C1 every 8 minutes while the C2 every 20 minutes on average.
Places to stay in Granada
After visiting the Albaycín and Sacromonte (or even before), you will surely need to relax. And one of the possibilities offered in the surroundings of Granada is to rent a villa. Provided with every comfort, they will give you the possibility to choose whether keep exploring Granada’s hideouts or rest by the private pool, soaking up the quiet atmosphere. Book a villa in Granada and enjoy your holidays as never before.
The Albayzín and Sacromonte are two jewels of Granada’s Moorish patrimony.
Have you ever been to the Albayzín or Sacromonte? Are you looking forward to visiting these two neighbourhoods? Tell us in the comments below.