Spain

Weekend in Andalusia – Days #2 & 3: Granada and the Alhambra (Spain)

After a first day rich in beautiful discoveries, we continued exploring Seville before going to the majestic city of the Alhambra in Granada…

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GOING FOR A PANORAMIC WALK ON THE ROOF OF THE METROPOL PARASOL IN SEVILLE

On this second day in Seville, we felt like taking our time. We had had to wake up quite early the previous day to go and take our plane so today we want to take it slow and rest to regain our strengths.

After a good night of sleep, we followed the advise of our hosts and headed to the “Metropol Parasol”, a strange construction that is quite hard to describe… The least I could say is that this huge wooden structure (150m x 75m with a 28 m height) doesn’t go unnoticed in the little streets of Seville…

For the record, a parking lot used to occupy the Encarnación square. In 2004, the city council launched an international contest to redesign the square and the winner among hundreds of participants was the colossal project of a berliner architect. The construction of this huge “parasol” was very controversial because it ended up being even more expensive than what was initially planned. In the end, the Sevillans got used to this structure that they nicknamed “setas” (mushrooms) because of its shape.

We were not sure what to expect and indeed this structure clashes in the picturesque streets of Seville. We were surprised by its dimensions and by the fact that the six pillars are linked together, creating a giant parasol.

We found out that it was possible to go up to the roof to go for a panoramic walk. We didn’t think twice and we loved the view on the cathedral that we were finally able to see as a whole as well as on the roofs of Seville. I highly recommend this walk!

Info: The Metropol Parasol is located on Plaza de la Encarnación, in the heart of Seville. We spent 3€ to take the elevator and go up. A beverage was offered on the roof. More information ici.

VAMOS A GRANADA

After a quick lunch break, we headed to the Santa Justa train station to go to Granada to go and see the gorgeous Alhambra, 250km away from Seville… It was impossible to go to Andalusia and not visit this little gem! We sat back and relaxed. The journey would take 3 hours.

Once in the train, we found out that there were construction works on the tracks and that we would have to stop half way and continue the trip by bus. We were told that it wouldn’t take longer. We took this opportunity to relax and enjoy the beautiful Andalusia landscapes. During three hours, we went past fields of olive trees. The land was arid. Some lovely white villages were nested in the hilly landscape. We were thrilled!

Info: We each spent 48€ to go from Seville to Granada and back. We had bought our tickets in advance on the RENFE website. The Santa Justa train station is easily reachable after a 20 minute walk from the center of Seville. It is also possible to take bus 21 from Plaza de Armas.

ADMIRING THE SUN SET FROM THE SAN NICOLAS VIEWPOINT

We arrived in Granada around 7pm. In the end, the bus ride gave us the chance to better enjoy the Andalusia landscapes and the little villages that would appear at the end of a curve. The trip was very pleasant and we managed to rest a little.

We were quite excited to reach Granada. We were about to discover the majestic Alhambra that we pictured as a palace from the Arabian Nights tales, sitting on a hill and sprinkled with flower beds… We could not wait to explore it! But we would have to wait until the next day.

As our time in Granada was limited (we would only stay 24 hours), we decided to go straight to the San Nicolas viewpoint to see the sun set on the Alhambra. We jumped in a taxi not to lose a minute.

We got off the taxi and suddenly we were facing an incredible panorama. The Alhambra was even more beautiful than all we could have imagined! The citadel was streching on the top of a hill. The setting sun was giving a red and ocher touch to the buildings. The snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada appeared in the background. This was our first image of the Alhambra. The magic happened: we were thrilled!

The atmosphere at the viewpoint was laidback. Many had come to see the sun set and everyone seemed to be fascinated by the view. The San Nicolas view point seemed to be the perfect spot to enjoy a general view on the citadel.

WALKING DOWN THE LITTLE STREETS OF THE ALBAYZIN NEIGHBORHOOD

We spent an hour at the viewpoint, staring at the beautiful Alhambra. But when the light started to fade away, we decided to go down the hill and start looking for our hotel. We went through a maze of little streets flanked by white buidlings and passed little picturesque squares. Granada appeared to us as a little town full of charm. We could not wait to see more.

We arrived at our hotel that was in the center of Granada, right by the cathedral. We dropped our bags and went searching for a place to grab something to eat. The streets were animated. The Barcelona football team was playing against Madrid. We entered the first restaurant that we saw and had diner in a lifely atmoshpere, cadenced by the goals of both teams. Then we returned to our hotel to have plenty of energy the next day to explore the Alhambra!

Info: We stayed at Penson Mesones, the cheapest hotel we could find. It is located on Mesones street, 44 and we spent 42€ for one night, breakfast included. More info here.

ON OUR WAY TO THE ALHAMBRA

The next day, we headed straight to the Alhambra. From the center of Granada where we were it would take us about half an hour on foot. At first we walked past a pleasant little river but then the path became very steep!

We were out of breath when we reached the top of the hill but at the same time we were quite excited to be about to enter the legendary citadel. We went to the cash desk to obtain our ticket that we had bought in advance on the Internet. One month before, it was already too late to obtain tickets for the Nasrides palaces. We would only see the gardens of the Alhambra and the Generalife palace.

What first stroke us as we entered was the incredible view on the lovely city of Granada nested between two hills.

We started exploring the gardens of the Generalife palace, the kings’ former “summer house”. We walked past little alleys flanked with rose bushes, we crossed some water canals, we admired the lovely flower beds… It was truly beautiful!

We left the Generalife palace and continued exploring the majestic citadel. We walked past the ramparts and enjoyed beautiful viewpoints on Granada. It was hard to believe that we were still in Europe. It was a total change of scenery!

After four hours spend exploring each and every little corner, we left the citadel and walked back down to Granada.

Info: Visiting the Alhambra requires a little organisation and patience… We thought that the citadel website was not very clear and we ended up calling them to have more info. We found out that it is essential to buy the tickets in advance on the Internet, via the ticketmaster website. One month before the trip, it was already too late to have tickets for the Nasrides palaces because they only sell a very limited number of tickets each day. They have different kinds of tickets and the difference between all tickets isn’t very clear either. We chose the “Alhambra, Generalife y Alcazaba” ticket and we paid 8,40€ each. We received a confirmation email that we had to print and hand in at the cash desk the day of the visit to obtain our tickets.

WALKING AROUND THE LITTLE STREETS OF GRANADA

We made the most of the time that we had left in Granda before heading back to the station to go back to Seville. We enjoyed the colorful streets, the orange trees that give a delightful scent to the city, the sunny little squares. Granada is a lovely town that is definitely worth visiting.

NEXT…

Jours #2 & 3 : Granada and the Alhambra

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  • Reply Weekend in Andalusia - Day #1: First glance at Seville (Spain) - La petite valise d'Aurélie 10 June 2017 at 16 h 22 min

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