This is an interesting neighborhood that was once the heart of Moorish Granada. There are many narrow alleyways and small squares as well as several buildings (including several old Mosques turned to Churches) that date from Moorish times. There are also some nice palces to get a good view of the Granada (unfortunately many of the tourists and locals know about them also, so it's really to crowded to get a good view or picture). However, it is a little run down with many people on the street trying to sell stuff and beggars asking for money. Watch your wallet.
Founded in 1501 by Isabel la Catolica, Convento de Santa Isabel la Real was built over a section of Daralhorra, a 15th century Nasrid Palace. Attached to the Convent is a beautiful church with a Gothic portal and Mudéjar tower decorated with azulejos tiles. The convent and church are located high up in Albaicín, close to Mirador San Nicolás.
Albaicín is the Arab section of Granada that existed prior to the Catholic Reconquest, i.e. Old Granada. The neighbourhood is delineated by Río Darro on one side, and calle Elvira on the other, and rises up the hill to Sacromonte. The streets are very steep, narrow and winding, and the buildings are all whitewashed with red tiled roofs. It is the most charming part of town and worthy of exploration. Sections of the old city walls have survived to this day. For more pictures of this neighbourhood, click on Albaicín.
After an absence of over 500 years, a mosque opened its doors in Granada in the summer of 2003. While many dubbed it as the Moslem reconquest of Andalucía, others saw it as a testament to the return of exemplary tolerance for which Granada and Al-Andalus were most known, prior to the Christian Reconquest. Needless to say, the opening of la Mezquita Mayor de Granada was controversial and marked an historic moment, but it was a result of nothing other than changing demographics and a growing immigrant population, mainly from North Africa. The mosque occupies beautiful grounds near el Mirador de San Nicolás atop a hill in Albaicín and was built in the typical whitewashed, red-tiled style of the neighbourhood.
This part of Granada was probably my favorite, we tried wandering through the area following the map in Lonely Planet but as we were doing it backwards at some point I missed a connection and we decided to go whatever route looked most interesting (and didn't require too much climbing!). We were more or less by ourselves except for the construction workers we ocassionally encountered so we seemed to be well off the beaten path. It's built on one of Granada's two hills so at points you can't see the Alhambra, my point of orientation, but every now and again we'd catch a glimpse of it and I'd know which way we were headed. Once we had enough, we headed down and ended back up in the Plaza Nueva.
The next morning I got up and decided to do the tour properly from the Lonely Planet book, I encountered quite a few more people "on the beaten path", many holding the same guide book as me or following along after an umbrella toting guide.
Lonely Planet's guide to this area was pretty good but I'd supplement their map with a more detailed street map. Frommer's had little coverage of this area.
It's a very interesting area, with buildings dating back to the time of the Moors, old gates in the defensive walls and breathtaking views of Granada and the Alhambra. For more pictures and a bit more on what you'll see in this area, please visit my travelogue
Albaicin is one the most beautiful district I've visited in Andalucia.
At every corner of each streets you will surprisingly find a small and enchanted plaza or a ancient habitation, or many other subject of interest.
Wander up through the Arab 'Albaicin' district and you will eventually come to the Plaza de San Nicolas. It is a short distance from the famous Mirador de San Nicolas, which is signposted throughout the area. Plaza de San Nicolas is a large, wonderful, chilled-out terrace with direct views of the Alhambra and the mountains. The square is beautifully paved with decorative stones, has plenty of seats (and low walls) and fruit trees.
Like several other groups of people, I followed the sound of guitar music to find the square. It was a Saturday evening and the square had three or four guitar players sitting on the walls. There were a lot of young couples and, generally, people of all types enjoying the atmosphere.
Several busy bars and restaurants nearby, as well as the previously mentioned Mirador, for food and drinks.
Wander the streets, alley-ways and steep stairways.
Stop and enjoy the views of the Alhambra.
Enjoy a cool drink & tapas at any one of the many bars.
Share a Paella with a friend and watch the world go by.
Peep inside any open door ways - perhaps you will lucky, and see a beautiful, hidden "Carmen" (garden villa)
the Albaicin is the name given to the area bordered by the Alhambra, Sacromonte, the Plaza Nueve and the Calle Elvira, originally it was a walled city, the Puerta de Elvira is well over 1,000 years old and is the last remaining city gate. After the conquest of Granada the Moorish residents left the area and their mosques were destroyed or converted to catholic churches
as you walk up the narrow streets its easy to lose all sense of time and direction, then suddenly you will come to a small busy plaza, and find your way back to your route and to this century
walk up to the Mirador and Church of San Nicholas, from the terrace there is a stunning view of the Alhambra, there are many tiny churches in the Albaicin to peek inside and several good museums
I think I would be hesitant to walk along some of the quiet streets at night, I would stick to the busy well lit areas, but do an evening visit to the souk and the tea shops and you will feel that you are in North Africa not Spain
Located on the right side of the Darro river, the Albaycin known as the primitive city of Elvira later renamed Granada by Ziris. It is a unique place to visit in the south of Europe as it was once the home of artists working on the Alhambra. With every turn, behind every wall, up every staircase ...one never know what to expect: miradors, placetas, convents, patios and so many more Moorish and Andalucian architectural beauties to view... this is the Albaycin. Classified World Heritage in 1984 by the UNESCO, it is very hard to reach by car as 95% of it is closed and impossible for motorised vehicules. In some places one can spread his arms across the street to touch both sides of buildings. The mystery of the Albaycin is only equaled by the romaticism of its paved streets, whitewashed walls, flowered patios, wood shutters and secret corners... another of Granada's "must visit" to lose oneself in time. For the tired feet, the Alhambra bus connection (32) goes through the Albaycin, it will take you from PLaza Nueva around the Albaycin for a 15 minutes ride stopping at the Mirador San Nicolas if you want a stricking view of the Alhambra; try at night for an even more magical effect.
After touring the Alhambra, we came down the hill and walked toward the Old Arabic Quarter known as ALBAICIN. It is a quaint little area of Grenada where you can walk along the River Darro and have views of the walls of the Alhambra complex.
This is an old part of the city, which also has a very arab influence, narrow streets, white houses. It's right next to the Alhambra, and if you walk around for a bit (MAKE SURE YOU WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES!!) you might just come acroos some amazing sightseeing.
If you come to Granada you have to go to these places. They are unique to Granada and what makes it very interesting, along with the Alhambra of course.
As you walk around the shops and tea rooms and behind Plaza Nueva you'd be forgiven if you thought you were in Morocco! That goes for parts of the Albayzin and Sacromonte too! You have to check out the Cuerva's (caves houses) in Sacromonte although I live above a cave house in the Albayzin too!
The Albayzin is the old Arab quarter. It is full of whitewashed houses typical of Andalucia and narrow cobbled streets. It is a village with a city tacked on to the edge of it. It is a great place to live because you can work in the city and escape to your little village at night. It is also a great place for relaxing Sunday walks.
The Albayzin and Sacromonte are UNESCO world heritage sites.
The Albayzin is the place where Granada was born.
This is a picture taken from the Alhambra,here you can see a nice church ,it is Iglesia de San Cristobal,located in Albaycin quarter.Also here you can find some Tablaos Flamencos for a nice and tipical spanish night out.,and a lot of restaurants and tapas bars.
Be careful to walk alone on these narrow streets on late night,you may find some pickpockets looking for some vague tourists!.
Just next to The Alhambra Palace,you can go to this beautiful quarter of Granada.It is also a very tourist spot and has a lot of shops and nice restaurants.Is always good to walk in all these narrow streets,and see everything there.Also has a few nice little churches that can be visited.