Discover the Albayzín and Sacromonte

Perched on the hill looking down over Granada is the ancient barrio of El Albayzín and beyond that Sacromonte. No trip to Granada is complete without a visit to these fascinating neighbourhoods.

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El Albayzín and Sacromonte as seen from the Alhambra | GranadaSpain

El Albayzín

Allow yourself plenty of time to have a wander and be prepared to get a little bit lost.

It is here, as you discover the steep and winding streets of the Albayzín, and soak up the atmosphere of the city’s old Muslim quarter, that you can truly sense Granada’s Medieval Moorish heritage. The cobbled streets form a labyrinth of white washed houses, walled gardens and little squares lined with bars and restaurants.

The Mirador San Nicolas, where there is often some impromptu performance going on, offers a great spot from where you can enjoy the stunning vista of the Alhambra and there are a number of bars and restaurants that offer al fresco dining with same backdrop. From here you can follow your nose down to Calle Elvira, perhaps stopping off in a Moroccan tea shop for a shisha**, down the to Carrera del Darro for some tapas.

Some Granada guides will tell you to be extra vigilant against thieves in the Albayzín. I would add that, while should of course you should take the normal common sense precautions with your valuables, you should not feel nervous about exploring this area of Granada. On the whole the city is relatively safe.

Sacromonte

Beyond El Albayzín you can wander along the cobbled path that hugs the hillside through the barrio of Sacromonte, birthplace of the traditional Zambra***.

Granada’s Gitano**** district is famous for its caves and flamenco bars. Gypsies settled here when the Catholic Kings Los Reyes Católicos took Granada in the 15th century.

Apart from the flamenco bars you can visit the Abbey in Sacromonte, that houses Christian relics including San Cecilio the first bishop of the Granada.

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Sacromonte | Jeanne Menjoulet

To gain an insight into the history, culture and daily lives of the past inhabitants of the Sacromonte caves visit the Museo de las Cuevas del Sacromonte. This fascinating exhibition, made up of ten caves reconstructed as typical homes and workshops, illustrates the way of life of the cave dwellers and showcases traditional crafts such as wickerwork, metalwork, weaving, and ceramics. The museum also holds regular cultural events.

For information on this and other museums in Granada click here.

Notes

* Barrio ~ neighbourhood

** Shisha ~ smoking tobacco, often mixed with fruit or molasses, through a water pipe known as a hookah

*** Zambra ~ a flamenco dance performed by the Gitanos of Granada
which includes elements of belly dancing and has its roots in earlier Moorish dances.

**** Gitano ~ Gypsey