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Granada is one of Spain’s most beautiful cities, and a testimony to its glorious Muslim past. The Alhambra, the Generalife gardens and the Albaicín neighbourhood, all declared UNESCO World Heritage sites, are but a few reasons to take one of our cheap flights to Granada and lose yourself in its magical nooks and crannies.
The Alhambra is a Nasrid palace and fortress complex, with some buildings dating back as far as the 13th century. It comprises the Alcazaba defence zone, the residential and characteristic Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife leisure area, made up of beautiful gardens and flowerbeds. Parts of the Nasrid Palaces were destroyed in the 16th century in order to build the Carlos V Palace, one of the most important buildings during the Spanish Renaissance.
The neighbourhood of Albaicín retains a fascinating blend of Medieval Moorish and more traditional Andalusian styles and offers several vantage points, such as San Cristóbal and San Nicolás, which provide visitors with stunning views of both the Alhambra and the Generalife. The trademark old gypsy neighbourhood of Sacromonte is located on Valparaíso hill, next to Albaicín. The air of this picturesque village of whitewashed caves is filled with the sound of guitars, folk songs and ‘quejío’ chants, as well as the enticing smell of local dishes. Make sure you sample one of Granada’s typical dishes, such as the tasty Sacromonte tortilla, made with stewed brains and beef testicles. If this plethora of attractions still isn’t enough, sport lovers can also go skiing at the nearby Sierra Nevada Ski Station, located in the Sierra Nevada natural park.
Only 67 kilometres from Granada is the beautiful city of Jaen, an important historical and cultural site. Located in a region filled with olive trees, it is the Olive Oil Capital of the World, so don’t forget to buy a couple of bottles while you’re there. A meeting point for Muslims, Christians and Jews for centuries, Jaen is home to world class attractions, such as the Assumption of the Virgin Cathedral, one of the most important Renaissance cathedrals, on which many other cathedrals throughout Spain and Latin America are modelled. The 11th century Arab Baths are the largest and best preserved from the Al-Andalus era. Next to Jaen, with the Guadalquivir river at their feet and surrounded by olive trees, are the must-see World Heritage cities of Úbeda and Baeza, which are home to some of the greatest vestiges of Renaissance Spain. One example is the impressive Vázquez de Molina square in Úbeda, which warrants its reputation as one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.