Elegant, tranquil, and with an imposing interior courtyard

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Palace of Carlos V

Right next to the Alhambra, a post-Reconquest royal palace

In 1526, Emperor Carlos (Charles) V, grandson of the "Catholic Monarchs" Ferdinand and Isabella, visited the city where his grandparents were interred. As a legacy of his visit, he ordered a palace built in his name, along Italian Renaissance lines. The result is an imposing edifice indeed, square in shape but containing a perfectly circular, column-lined, double-decker courtyard. The palace is free to visit without reservations, and is usually fairly uncrowded, allowing a calm, unhurried visit. If you can get here in June or July, it's a tremendous experience to attend one of the performances of the annual International Music and Dance Festival.

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10 tips to keep your hand baggage

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