The Alhambra sits atop the hills behind the city and is a must visit when in Granada. The Alhambra was built during the time when the Moors ruled Europe. The palace gives you a good idea of how the sultans used to live back then.
The complex consists of a number of sights; The Nasrid Palaces, the Alcazaba Fortress and the Generalife Summer Palace, including the giant gardens. So you can easily walk around the Alhambra for a few hours. There is no certain route along the various sights. There are several entrances, so you can decide for yourself what you want to see first. We first wanted to see the Arab Nasrid palaces. We had booked the first time slot – at 8:30 am – so it was (still) fairly quiet there.
The enchanting Nasrid Palaces
The Nasrid Palaces consist of:
Le Mexuar is the oldest palace in the Alhambra. It was the reception room of the kings and important matters were arranged here.
Palacio de Comares is the palace of the sultan, with its private quarters and the throne and ambassadors hall. In our opinion, the patio de Arrayanes is the most beautiful part of the Alhambra. The basin reflects the beautiful architecture. Be sure to stand still for a while in the throne room. This place is magical. We could stare for hours at the beautiful ornamentation, decoration and geometric figures. So many details!
Palacio de los Leones housed the private quarters of the royal family. The jewel of this palace is the beautiful patio, surrounded by columns and where the fountain of 12 marble lions takes center stage.
The ancient Alcazaba Fortress
Before the Moors invaded Europe and expanded the construction of the Alhambra, the military fortress Alcazaba already stood on the hills. A strategic location! The Alcazaba is therefore the oldest part of the Alhambra of which only the outer walls and meter high towers remain.
The summer palace Generalife
Make sure you have access to the summer palace with your ticket; Generalife. Stroll through the green, relaxing and one of the oldest Moorish gardens with ponds, hedges, flowers, fountains and water jets. What you should not miss is Patio de la Acequia and the beautiful views over the neighborhoods of Granada.
Useful tips for your visit to the Alhambra
💛 Claim your ticket online! The Alhambra is very popular so it is necessary to buy tickets in advance.
💛 You can buy an audioguide on site. We definitely recommend it to find out everything about the Alhambra. The audioguide costs €6 and is also available in dutch.
💛 Booking a ticket can be quite complicated. You must have separate entrance tickets for certain sights. If you want to see it all, make sure your ticket gives you access to the following complexes: the Nasrid Palaces, Alcazaba Fortress and the Generalife Summer Palace, including the gardens.
💛 Make sure you are on time for your booked time slot. Navigate to Calle Real de la Alhambra to arrive at the main entrance. The path to the main entrance is quite steep. So take into account extra time if you go on foot.
Here you experience authentic Granada
If you go to Granada, be sure to stroll through the narrow and atmospheric streets of the authentic neighborhoods Albaicín & Sacromonte. Because they are on top of the hills, you will be surprised by the beautiful viewpoints of the Alhambra and the rest of Granada. Besides that, you will find lots of bars and restaurants and Arabic and Moorish influences in the architecture.
All hotspots are tipped by locals 😉 Danique’s sister and her boyfriend live in Málaga for a while and let us taste the best things. Ohhhh and now we can’t wait to share these hotspots with you!
La vida de la Gente
Just outside the city center you will find La vida de la Gente. An atmospheric restaurant, where you can order tastiest cocktails. The choices on the menu are endless! Tip: Be there during Happy Hour. You order a cocktail for only €7,- and you receive a plate with delicious snacks. La vida de la Gente is the perfect place for a fun night out.
For delicious and special tapas you can have dinner at El Gastronauta. This tasty hotspot can be found in a cozy street in the center of Málaga. Book a table on time, because more people know that you can order delicious food here. What we really liked is that the tapas were not all served at the same time. This way you can enjoy every dish and you won’t be full too quickly.
Mimo Vegan Bistro
Mimo Vegan Bistro offers a variety of delicious and organic vegan food. All the dishes on the menu are made with local seasonal products, vegetables and fruits. Eating here was a whole new experience for us. They make combinations with food that you have probably never tasted before. And the attention to detail is insane, the food looks like art! They not only have tasty main courses but also try the delicious starters and desserts. The staff is super nice and tells you enthusiastically about the food, preparations and the ingredients.
Sabor a Nápoles
A few minutes from the beach you will find the cozy little Sabor a Nápoles. Here you can eat the tastiest Italian focaccias. Choose a spot outside and enjoy! The service is top notch, the location is cute and the people are very kind. Extra plus: We had the choice out of any focaccia! Tell them you are vegetarian and they will think along with you and replace the meat with, for example, extra vegetables. Oh and if you want a nice drink; we definitely recommend the Limoncello Spritz.
Speakeasy ‘The Pharmacy
Speakeasy ‘The pharmacy’ is a hidden cocktail bar where you step into a totally different vibe. They offer exclusive cocktails served in unique glasses. They have implemented their iconic style in everything, such as the design of the menu, the outfits of the staff, the interior and the music. If you visit Málaga, go get yourself a cocktail at this atmospheric place!
Restaurante El Huesca
El Huesca is a restaurant right in front of the Málaga Cathedral! In addition to the beautiful view, you can enjoy unique tapas and there is also plenty of choice for vegetarians. Ignacio is happy to think along with you about the possibilities. The staff is always in for a chat and the atmosphere is great!
For the best pizzas you have to make a reservation at IlMuseo Pizzeria. The quality is very good and you can taste the attention that has been put into the preparation. Tip: order the cheese fondue with provolone, tomato sauce and oregano as a starter and dip the delicious crispy dough into it. You will love it!!
You eat delicious tapas at D’Platos and these are also very cheap. You have many vegetarian options. It is a cozy place to sit and there is plenty of space on the terrace.
Rooftop bar La Terraza La Alcazaba
There are many nice rooftop bars with spectacular views of Málaga, like the San Juan Terrace, the rooftop of the AC Hotel and the rooftop of the Only YOU Hotel. But our favorite is La Terraza la Alcazaba, from here you have a beautiful view of the city, the cute roof terraces and you can see the Alcazaba turn gold during the sunset.
Want to eat burgers for dinner? You have to go to Goiko for that! We ordered the food here and ate it at home, so we can’t share our experience of what it is like to eat in the restaurant. But at least the food is top notch! You can choose the vegetarian option with every burger and you can choose from different types of fries and sauces. The quality of the burger and the toppings is good.
At Sylvia’s you discover tasteful dishes from the Mexican kitchen. This Mexican street food is definitely the best in town! There are plenty of vegetarian options on the menu. Take a seat on the lively terrace. It is necessary to reserve a spot in advance because it fills up quickly!
Tarta de la madre de Cris
Ohhh do you love sweets and cheesecake in particular? Be sure to taste the homemade cakes at Tarta de la madre de Cris. And the cute interior makes your visit even more fun! Tip: the cake is quite big, so it is more like a lunch or dinner haha.
Restaurante Gutiérrez Puerto
Restaurant Gutiérrez Puerto is located at the boulevard of Málaga. From the sunny terrace you have a beautiful view over the harbor and the boats. Do you need some refreshing? Then order the summer drink Tinto de Verano. No, this is not a sangria, but a mix of bitter lemon and red wine; the perfect combo!
Cafe de Estraperlo
Opposite the tropical green city parks you will find cafe de Estraperlo. If you want to order a nice drink, this is the place for you. How about an Aperol Spritz or una cervezas? The atmosphere is laid back and the bartenders are super friendly. What else do you need?!
Noviembre is the spot for a perfect lunch. There are plenty of choices on the menu. We ate a delicious sandwich that you can customize the way you like it. The quality of the food is great and the staff is friendly and attentive.
Are patatas bravas your favorite tapas? Then you should definitely try the variant of Cosa Fina! I would book a one-way ticket to Málaga for that reason alone ;). This hidden gem is located in a cozy courtyard just outside the busy streets of the city center.
Empanadas Las Muns
Looking for a tasty snack? Or want to eat something ideal for on the go? Then get a fresh homemade empanada at Las Muns. This take-away has a diverse choice of finger-licking empanadas!
Valencia has different neighborhoods with their own charms and sights. We want to show you all the cute neighborhoods.
The city center
In the historic city center you can stroll through the decorated streets and spot impressive buildings. Eat tapas or paella at one of the cozy restaurants. Visit the most beautiful squares such as; Plaza de la Reina to see the extraordinary cathedral, stroll towards Plaza de la Virgen to admire the Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados and walk a little further to Plaza Ayuntamiento, where you will find the town hall, a large fountain and beautiful architecture. And imagine yourself among the locals in the large indoor Mercado Central. This is the place where you can buy the tastiest and freshest food.
El Carmen is the oldest district of Valencia and here you will find street art everywhere. The talented street artists are often paid for their colorful creations. It is great to wander through the narrow and beautiful streets and to be surprised by all the creativity. Sometimes even entire buildings / houses have been transformed into works of art.
Camins Al Grau
Be sure to visit the modern district of Valencia; Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, also known as the City of Arts and Sciences. The buildings have a white futuristic look. And they all have a different function, such as an opera house, museum, indoor garden with palm trees, an oceanarium and a cinema. You can also paddle and canoe on the clear blue water.
El Cabanyal is an old fishing village, located directly at the beach. Get lost through the authentic streets and spot the nicest artworks on the facades of the small fishermen’s houses. You will experience the authentic lifestyle of the fishermen here. It is a bit impoverished, but the neighborhood is increasingly popular by the Valencians and more and more entrepreneurs are establishing hip and trendy businesses here.
We stayed in an Airbnb in the neighborhood of Ruzafa. It is an upcoming neighborhood just outside the center. You will find many hip and trendy cafes and restaurants and vintage shops. Many cultural and creative events are organized here where you really enjoy the local life.
2. Picnic in the Turia Park
Turia Park used to be the Turia River. After the river was flooded several times, it was drained and turned into a park. Locals sport here, walk their dogs or unwind with yoga. There is such a great atmosphere and it is the perfect place for a nice picnic. We bought a sparkling bottle of bubbly and some tasty snacks. We enjoyed the beautiful green environment between the orange trees and the locals. Have you scheduled a rest day? Then this is the perfect activity.
3. See the city from above
Climb (one of) the two city gates Torres de Serranos and Torres de Quart to see the city from a different perspective. Until the 19th century, Valencia had a city wall. The city gates were built in the 15th century and only two of the original twelve city gates remain. The gates served as a guard, prison and gunpowder storage. For €2.- per person, we climbed Torres de Serranos. From here you look out over Turía park, the long atmospheric streets and the orange roofs.
4. Discover Valencia by bike
A very nice way to discover Valencia is by cycling. You can see a lot in a short time. We rented bicycles for 2 days at Verrassend Valencia. They also organize various bike tours. We took a lovely bike ride through the Turía park towards the modern part of the city and then we cycled through the neighborhoods close to the beach and along the boulevard. The second day we visited several parks, including the botanical garden Jardín Botánica de Valencia.
5. Stroll through botanical garden Jardín Botánica de Valencia
Are you a plant lover? Then be surprised by the plant collection of the ancient botanical garden Jardín Botánico de Valencia, which is part of the University of Valencia. This garden – just outside the center – is rich in 4.500 tropical, rare and exotic plants, flowers and trees. Medicinal plants are cultivated and nowadays the garden is used for researches and experiments. For a small entrance fee you can walk around, take a look at the greenhouses and for the cat lovers among us; there are a lot of cute kittens around here!
6. Alternate the city with a lovely day at the beach
We really like the diversity of Valencia the most. This way, after a lot of strolling through the city, we could do something completely different; we had a wonderfully relaxed day at the beach. There are plenty of nice restaurants along the boulevard. Our favorite was La Mas Bonita. The menu includes fresh salads, sandwiches, hot meals and the tastiest smoothies. You have a direct view of the beach from the terrace! Enjoy the Spanish sun rays on your face, the tropical palm trees and the white sandy beaches and experience the ultimate holiday feeling.
7. Taste Agua de Valencia
Cocktail time!! In Valencia you can order Agua de Valencia at almost any restaurant or bar. This delicious fresh drink is a mix of orange juice, cava, sugar and a kind of gin and vodka. It is such a signature drink because most of the oranges produced in Spain come from Valencia. In Valencia you will find many orange trees and you can even smell them in many places.
8. Spot the most beautiful animals in Bioparc Valencia
Are you in Valencia for several days? Then a visit to the Bioparc Valencia is a must! This beautiful zoo has about 4.000 different animal species. The zoo is divided into 4 ecosystems: Madagascar, the wetlands, equatorial forests and the African savanna. Here you come face to face with ring-tailed lemurs, which are free to roam. You see how the animals are fed and how elephants cool down under their waterfall on a hot summer day. During the spectacular bird show, eagles fly right above your head. And the king of the jungle likes to show off for you on his high rocks. Definitely go for a lunch here, from the restaurant you van look out over the savannah, where giraffes, zebras, rhinoceroses and ostriches live together in harmony. Buy the tickets of Bioparc Valencia here in advance.
Delicious food spots in Valencia
💛 Dulce de Leche is a small bakery in the upcoming district Ruzafa. There is plenty of choice for a great breakfast or lunch. Before you enter the bakery you can already smell the warm croissants, fresh sandwiches, bagels and chocolate pies. We highly recommend the bagel with egg and smashed avocado. Dulce de Leche is the best spot to start your day right.
💛 At the boulevard of beach Las Arenas you have many options to enjoy a lunch or dinner with sea view from the terrace. The great atmosphere and cozy appearance of beach bar La Más Bonita attracted us. Find a nice spot on the terrace, or walk to the charmingly decorated courtyard where you can relax. The menu includes fresh salads, sandwiches, hot meals and the most delicious smoothies. Please note, it can be quite busy as this is a well-known lunchroom among locals and tourists.
💛 La Rollerie is a restaurant right in the center of Valencia. We came here to get our guilty pleasure; a warm chocolate lava cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The interior of La Rollerie is cute and green, the walls are covered with plants.
💛 Who doesn’t love Italian food?! We are true lovers of Italian cuisine and you can order the tastiest pizzas at Le Favole. We ordered bruschettas and a caprese & truffle pizza; it was a real taste explosion. You can also order various pastas and salads here. The restaurant is located just outside the city center, near the central market hall. If you decide to eat on the terrace, you can hear the vibrant city in the background.
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