The Top 10 Things to Do in Granada During Spring
Granada, Spain | © Barney Moss / Flickr
Spring is one of the best times of year to visit Granada: the weather is warm but not too hot for exploring (as it can be in summer) and the city’s parks and green spaces look beautiful. Read on for the top ten things to see and do in this Andalusian city during spring.
Visit the Alhambra
It’s often too hot during the summer in Granada to do much walking about or to be outside during the middle of the day. Spring, therefore, is one of the best times of year to visit the city’s most famous monument: the mighty Alhambra Fortress, which was built by successive Moorish rulers of Granada between the 8th and the 15th centuries. Another reason to visit this monument in spring is that the gardens of the Generalife – the whitewashed summer palace that sits next to main fortress – are in full bloom.
Visit the Carmen de los Martires Gardens
After visiting the Alhambra (providing you’re up for a little more walking), it’s a five-minute stroll to some of the prettiest and most romantic gardens in Granada. The Carmen de los Martires green space is particularly beautiful in the spring, when its many flowerbeds are at their best and when the lush overhanging trees provide plenty of shade from the sun. There is also a tranquil pond that’s home to some friendly ducks and, at its centre, a little turret straight out of a fairytale.
It’s quite a steep climb to the rustic gypsy quarter of Sacromonte, which perches on the hillside on the other side of the Darro Valley from the Alhambra. For that reason, exploring this magical neighbourhood is not often possible in the heat of summer; spring days, on the other hand, are perfect. This is a barrio in which time has stood still – where locals still live in caves dug into the hillside or in homes made from scrap wood and tarpaulin. Once you’ve wondered around, sit outside at Par Bibe and enjoy a cold beer.
The steep, winding lanes of Granada’s old Arabic quarter can be too taxing in summer. Take advantage of the cooler spring temperatures, then, to explore the enchanting neighbourhood of Albaicin, a densely-packed cluster of whitewashed houses and cypress trees on the hillside opposite the Alhambra. For some spectacular views of the great Moorish fortress, head to the Mirador San Nicolas or, if you’re not averse to a bit of a climb, San Miguel Alto right at the very top of the barrio.
Chill by the Darro River
Spend a lazy spring afternoon down on the lush banks of the Darro, the river that weaves through the heart of old Granada. From the Paseo de los Tristes – a terrace-lined square in the shadows of the Alhambra that’s great for tapas – you can scramble down to the riverside, where you’ll find plenty of patches to chill by the gently gurgling water. It’s a popular spot for locals, who keep their bottles of beer cool in the river during the long afternoons.
Relax in the Triunfo Park
Triunfo is another centrally-located park that looks beautiful during the spring. Reach it after a ten-minute stroll down Gran Via from Plaza Nueva and it is a relaxing, tranquil space that’s popular with the locals. The park’s carefully-maintained flowerbeds and many trees look spectacular throughout April and May, making it a great place to enjoy refreshments in the shade whilst taking a break from sightseeing.
Stroll Down the Carrera del Darro
Granada’s prettiest street is at its most picturesque during spring. The Carrera del Darro weaves alongside the river from Plaza Nueva as far as the steep hill up to Albaicin, and as you walk along it you’ll begin to see why it features on so many of the postcards on sale in Granada. On one side, gorgeous townhouses wear colourful flowers and creepers, and quaint stone bridges cross the Darro; whilst on the other, Moorish-style shops sell souvenirs, fabrics and spices.
Enjoy Tapas Outside
Bar, Spanish, $$$
One of the joys of visiting Granada is the tapas: it’s almost unique in Andalusia for being a city in which snacks are served for free with every beer, wine or soft drink (Almeria being the only other place where this happens). A great way to enjoy the warm spring weather, then, is to find a sunny terrace on which to take a few cold cañas (small beers) and sample some of the local cuisine. Two recommended spots are Plaza Romanilla and the Paseo de los Tristes, both of which are packed with open-air terraces.
Visit Federico Garcia Lorca's House
Spring is just the right time of year to visit the Federico Garcia Lorca park, named after the city’s most famous poet. At its centre is the Huerta de San Vincente, the attractive early-20th century house where Lorca spent his summers between 1926 and 1936 and that now houses a museum containing sketches and manuscripts by the writer. After visiting this small but revealing collection, take a stroll along the shaded boulevards that surround the house, remembering this was open countryside back in Lorca’s time.
Another activity that’s rendered far too taxing in the blistering heat of Granada’s summers, shopping is best enjoyed during the spring months. Head towards the cathedral, behind which you’ll find a network of streets offering everything from small boutiques to all the main high street outlets. While you’re here, explore the colourful and chaotic Alcaiceria, which back in Moorish times was at the heart of the city’s grand bazaar.