Without giving away too many secrets, we have shared some of our photographs below of our own experiences in the Province of Granada. This region is so much more than the City of Granada and the Alhambra. It is a province with a beautiful coastline, stunning mountain ranges, verdant valleys and prehistoric gorges. It is a province of tapas, flamenco, poetry and music, of art and theatre, walking and hiking. There is little wonder that so many people feel a deep connection with both this region and it's people.

Beyond the city of Granada itself, there is another world to be discovered.  As one of the provinces that make up Andalucia, the southern-most region of Spain, Granada boasts coastline, mountains, valleys, orchards, villages and towns all waiting to be explored.

The Costa Tropical, once a fertile sugar cane-growing area, is now filled with mango and avocado trees, and its best beaches are often hidden out of sight.  The Sierra Nevada mountain range is dominated by the highest peak in Spain and hosts the southern-most ski resort in Europe.  Olive groves frequently extend as far as they eye can see, over vellum-coloured hills; valleys can be found that burst with the scent of orange blossom, or are flushed pink when the almond blossom fights back against the chills of winter.

Wines, cheeses, jamones (hams), seasonal fruits and vegetables can be tasted in the hillside villages where they are produced or grown; walks and hikes reveal the most spectacular views from mountains to the Mediterranean Sea; dazzling days can be spent beneath the shade of a vine-covered terrace outside a bar that serves ice-cold beer from the Alhambra brewery.

Delve deeper, and you might discover a secret garden, filled with sculptures or a menagerie of animals, a vineyard where you can sample the local wine, a gorge reminiscent of a landscape from Lord of the Rings, a cycle route that takes you far away from the real world or a traditional theatrical event set against a backdrop that stretches forever.

We want you to get under the skin of this extraordinarily beautiful place.

Whilst The Alhambra Palace might be the first destination that comes to mind when thinking about a visit to Granada, the City has so much else to offer.

This is a city of plazas, both grand and humble, each connected by characterful streets originally created by medieval Moorish settlers and wealthy merchants.  This is a city once divided into two by a river, marking two distinct areas and populations, subsequently disrupted by the bellicose advances of the Catholic King and Queen in the 15th Century.  This is a city of poetry, literature, music and dance, the city where Federico Garcia Lorca was born, lived, worked and, ultimately, executed.  

Granada is a city of culture, history, family, food and wine.  We have fallen in love with this city, as have so many travellers throughout the centuries. 

We want you to fall in love with it too.

We have always remarked, since we have lived here in Granada, that it is almost impossible not to get fitter; as soon as you leave the house you find that you have to climb a hill! The province makes the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle easy whether you simply enjoy walking, or something a little more physically challenging like rock-climbing or mountaineering under expert guidance. Sailing along the Costa Tropical could not be more special, hiking along well-marked trails in the Sierra Nevada of the Sierra de Huetor provide views that are genuinely difficult to beat.

Cycling is a huge sport in Spain, and Granada has any number of great cycling routes. Horse-riding, yoga, flamenco dance, paddle-boarding and kayakking are just a handful of examples of some of the sports available.

Of course, downhill skiing and snowboarding are typically available from November through to April in the Sierra Nevada, Europe's southern-most ski resort, and cross-country skiing is available towards the eastern edges of the Sierra Nevada.

 

The coastline of the Province of Granada is probably one of the least spoilt and quietest stretches of Spain's southern-most coast.  Known as the Costa Tropical, it certainly benefits from its own microclimate and was once famous for the production of rum, as this is where sugar cane was grown.

With the advent of the motorway that runs from Algeciras to Almeria, the physical coastline gets bypassed, fortunately, and there are beaches that remain completely off the beaten track, devoid of tourists, beach-bars and crowds.  Even the small coastal towns, such as La Herradura, retain much of their charm, and the waters off shore are clean and clear. Sailing, paddle-boarding and kayakking are omnipresent activities here, but little beats the peace and quiet of finding a hidden cove where you can lie on a beach and hear nothing but the lapping of the waves. 

 

Gardens played a central role in Moorish architecture, and certainly the gardens of The Generalife are a fundamental part of any visit to The Alhambra. Private gardens, beyond the patios of the grand Carmens, or villas, in the city, are something of a rarity, but there has been a recent emergence of beautifully created gardens around the province. These gardens, open to the public, are the creations of passionate horticulturalists and artists who have taken the landscapes as their canvases and introduced colour and foliage to complement indigenous species. These gardens often go hand-in-hand with other art forms, including sculpture, but their common denominator has to be the grandeur of their surroundings and the endlessness of the skies overhead.

 

In December 2014, Granada became a UNESCO City of Literature, the exacting criteria of which demonstrates that the city has an "outstanding literary heritage, a vibrant contemporary scene, and importantly, that they are a city where their sector works collaboratively to grow and develop through their chosen art form, via capital development and cultural engagement programmes". Granada is bursting with literary and artistic history. This is the city of Federico García Lorca, and a city that has, over centuries, inspired authors such as Gerald Brenan and Washington Irving and now hosts one of the world's most important annual Festivals of Poetry.

Granada is one of the last remaining provinces where tapas is served free with drinks.  With over 2,000 bars and restaurants in the city alone, there is a whole story to tell surrounding the traditions and history of tapas culture.  That, coupled with Spain's reputation as a producer of many of the world's finest wines, provides a rich gastronomic and wine-loving landscape. Beers are equally delicious, with traditional draft beers being complemented by a growing range of craft beers. 

Each year, Granada hosts a number of tapas competitions, where participating bars and restaurants produce their finest examples tapas with some spectacular results.

However, it's not all about tapas, and there are many great locations across the province where the freshest of local ingredients are used to create beautiful plates of food.

The area surrounding what is now the city of Granada is believed to have been populated since 5,500 BC, although there is evidence of a settlement dating back 1.5 million years. The most important periods in the life of the city are those years under Moorish rule, from 711 AD until the Catholic King and Queen, Isabel and Fernando, took control of Granada in 1492, and the years thereafter under Christian rule.

Evidence exists across the city of the 700 years of Moorish rule and the city's Sephardic importance in the 11th Century. The crowning glory of the city is, of course, the magnificent Alhambra Citadel and Palace, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

Throughout the province, and beyond the Alhambra, there are countless accessible reminders of the history of this fascinating corner of Spain, both ancient and modern, from neolithic cave drawings to trenches used during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939.

Granada is the city of Federico García Lorca and the composer Manuel de Falla. The province is bursting with musical and theatrical provenance and traditions are very much alive today. The annual Festival of Music and Dance showcases the huge diversity of creative art forms in the province, but in other parts of the province, music, art, dance and theatre are central to the way of life.  The International Andres Segovia Guitar Festival, Me Vuelves Lorca in the open-air theatre in Las Alpujarras and Granada Sound are but a few of the many annual music, drama and dance festivals that take place, and the theatres and concerts venues have varied programmes throughout the year.  Depending on the dates of your visit, we can recommend an event to suit your specific tastes.

Granada can be an incredibly peaceful and spiritual place and after a day exploring its nice to have some calm and relaxing moments. We can show you some perfect quiet spaces to relax your mind and your muscles.

A walk in an oasis of a garden, perhaps, or a yoga retreat in the depths of the stunningly beautiful Andalucian landscape. Experience a traditional hammam, or Moorish bath, in the heart of Granada, practise alternative therapies in any number of inspirational settings, take a painting course or learn to cook traditional Andalucian fare. However you choose to relax, this stunning province can provide the inspiration.

Shopping in Granada is varied, and there is enough to tempt even the most ardent spendthrift. We have had visitors from the United States who have eschewed the delights of a trip around some of Granada's best tapas bars for a trip to Primark in the capacious Nevada Shopping complex on the edge of Granada city. The province is full of independent traders: manufacturers and vendors of beautiful rugs, ceramics, baskets, craft beers and wines. In out of the ways places, you will find antiques of all varieties as well as examples of exceptional contemporary design. Food is central to the Andalucian way of life, and in villages and towns you can source the best produce - jamónes in Trevelez, high in the Alpujarran hills, for example, and small factories producing delicious cheeses. Some of the best moments can be spent simply mooching through the side streets, peering into galleries, second-hand bookshops and vintage clothes shops and coming away with a bargain.