As you can imagine I have many places on my travel bucket list, and I got to finally visit Granada in Andalucía in southern in southern Spain this month, which was at the very top of that list.
The city did not disappoint, and I had very high expectations. Listen on this page to my Travel Tales with Fergal Podcast Granada Special.
I really wanted to go to Granada to see the final capital of Moorish Spain and learn about history from the Moorish perspective and their influence on European food, architecture, culture and science.
The most obvious example of this Moorish influence is the Alhambra which looms over the town. The Alhambra is a huge medieval middle eastern style complex overlooking the city encompassing forts, royal palaces, serene gardens, fountains and pools.
Granada is always buzzing day and night. The medieval narrow streets amplify the constant chorus of joyous revelers as they move from café to bar to partake in the city’s wonderful world-famous tapas traditions. Tapas where actually invented in Granada when legend says King Alfonso 10th created the tapa . The story goes that flies were buzzing around the king’s wine, so he asked for a tap over his wine to protect and when a waiter put a plate with ham over the drink the king said he liked his “tap” or cover so much that the tapa was invented in Granada.
The city still holds dear the tradition of a free tapa with your drink and the famous policy of “no tapa, no pay”. I loved moving from small bar to bar whilst sampling the most amazing tapas. The locals eat out like this most nights of the week, so the city is always lively. It is best to just walk around and go with the flow.
The Moorish cultural influence is most obvious in the Flamenco shows in the old caves overlooking the Alhambra. It is full of passion and intensity and a perfect of reflection of the city’s proud Moorish heritage. A heritage that is still vibrant today and something that makes this city unique in Europe. A city I will return to learn more about its amazing history and culture. For more information on Granada go to www.turgranada.es for more details.