Alhambra Touring Tips

Museo de Bellas Artes

There is a small art museum on the upper floor of the Palacio de Carlos V. Most people skip it and, truth be told, it is skippable. But the entrance fee is just 1.50 euros and there are a few things I found worth seeing, including a room devoted to the work of Alonso Cano, a 17th century Granada sculptor in polychrome wood who doubled (somewhat less successfully) as a painter. He was also responsible for the entrance to the Cathedral of Granada.

Also a lot of fun are the large painting, “Mis Amigos” (1906) by Jose Maria Mezquita (another Granadan), and two mid-20th century works by Manuel Rivera who “painted” with metal screens. (You have to see it to get it.)

Lunch at the Parador

If it fits your budget, consider a leisurely lunch at the Calle Real restaurant in the Parador de Granada in the Alhambra grounds. It’s a great way to treat yourself like a sultan after hours of schlepping through those amazing Nasrid palaces.

If you can’t spare the two hours a proper lunch will take, the Parador has a more casual terrace dining option.

Don’t Miss the Generalife

After spending the better part of the day exploring the Nasrid palaces and dining like a king, you may be tempted to call it a day. Resist. Press ahead and take in the Generalife, with its splendid garden. This was the summer palace of the Nasrid emirs and, while it doesn’t look quite as “Moorish” as the palaces you toured earlier, it’s pretty impressive in its own right.

If you decide to put touring the Generalife off until another day, you will have to queue for what seems like forever to buy a separate admission.

Bodegas Castañeda

The Tapas menu at Bodegas Castañeda.

Reward your perseverance by retracing your steps down Cuesta de Gomerez and making your way to Bodegas Castañeda at Almireceras 1-3, which has a well-earned reputation as the best tapas bar in Grenada. Careful! Don’t be led astray by the nearby and similarly named Antigua Bodega Castañeda. The real Castañeda is one of Granada’s treasures.

Treat yourself to the house vermouth and soda or their trademark sol y sombra blend of sherries. Of course, after a long day at the Alhambra, a cold brew might be what you need. Every drink you order comes with a generous tapa. (One of the best paellas I had in Spain came as one such freebie.) If that doesn’t fill you up, by all means order a larger racion of Spanish ham and sausage or one of their other specialties. It all makes for a delicious and inexpensive meal and the end to a perfect day.

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