If you’re wondering what to see near the Alhambra in one way or another, you’ve just come to the right place. Here we go! We’re off to the right place!
The Alhambra is so majestic that it eclipses every traveller passing through Granada. In fact, much of the area around the Alhambra remained largely forgottenuntil the early 21st century. There are so many places you can visit that we have organised them in 3 routes, are you ready?.
NOTE: if you want to know much more about the Alhambra we have a special page about the Nasrid palatine city.
What you will find here
NORTHERN ROUTE *
SUNN’S HILL, NATURE AND ARCHAEOLOGY
To the north of the Alhambra is the Dehesa del Generalife and the Cerro del Sol. During the late Middle Ages (the period in which the Alhambra was built), the Nasrid sultans maintained this place as a recreational area and probably also as a place for cultivation. The route we propose is about 4 km long, although it has some steep climbs.
SILLA DEL MORO
The northern route of “what to see near the Alhambra” starts from the Alhambra car park, from where the climb to the Silla del Moro begins. Here there was a Nasrid fortification that controlled the road that led to the Darro valley. A castle was ideally reconstructed on its archaeological remains in contemporary times. A restaurant project was also started, but it never came to fruition. The construction collapsed due to the poor state of the building. Today it has been excavated, restored and the ruins can be visited. Thes views from here are hard to beat. You will have unusual views of the Alhambra, but also of almost the whole of Granada, the Vega and the Almijara and Tejeda mountain ranges that delimit the Genil basin.
We now continue down and into the shady area of the Darro valley in search of the Acequia Real. The sound of the water anticipates the presence of the acequia which supplied water to the Alhambra and nearby areas. The acequia is partially excavated in the rock and usually carries water. If you want to know more, we recently published a very complete article about the Acequia Real. We love this place for the vegetation, the presence of water and its unique panoramic views of the Albaicín. In fact, “Water Paths“, one of our most natural guided tours in Granada, passes through here.
Now you have to climb quite a bit, but it’s worth it. Before reaching the Alberca Rota you will find a viewpoint where you can stop. About 500 m. from the irrigation channel you will reach the Alberca Rota. It is a large pond that was supplied by deep wells and operated by waterwheels (animal-drawn). However, the water did not come from the water table, but from an irrigation channel which, through underground galleries conducted the water to the interior of the mountain. From this place the water was distributed throughout the Dehesa del Generalife and probably supplied the nearby palaces (Dar a-Arusa and Alixares). If you like archaeology this is one of the places to see near the Alhambra.
In this page we tell you everything you need to know to 👉 Visit the Alhambra.
ALJIBE DE LA LLUVIA
About a stone’s throw away and almost flat, we arrive at the aljibe de la Lluvia (Rain Cistern). As its name suggests it was filled with rainwater. The cisterns were the main places for storing water in al-Andalus. Not only did they provide water at all times, but they also decanted the water. In the stillness of its interior the finest particles remain at the bottom. It follows the model of almost any Andalusian cistern: access and roof made of brick and walls of rammed earth with a lot of lime to prevent water seepage. The gold rush came to Granada in the second half of the 19th century, and it was then that the pool that you can see next to the cistern was built.
On our tour of what to see near the Alhambra we went up to Dar al-Arusa, one of the Nazarite palaces in the vicinity of the Alhambra. This place must have been the closest thing to paradise in Granada. It is on the highest point, overlooking the whole city, the fertile plain and the skyline. It had everything necessary to be a great Andalusian palace: water, vegetation, tranquillity, a central courtyard with a pool, tiled floors and plinths and even a hammam. At some point in history it fell into oblivion and was discovered by chance during the reforestation of pine trees in the first half of the 20th century.
All that remains is to go down and back to the Alhambra car park again. Be careful! The descent is steep.
The map of the route is at the end of the post.
CUESTA DE LOS CHINOS
In the northern part of the Alhambra you can also find the slope of Rey Chico or Los Chinos. We have not included it in the route because it would be too long for the average person, but if you have good legs you only have to start the route from the Paseo de los Tristes. You have to climb this magical path flanked by walls, ramparts and tower palaces full of legends. Water and lush vegetation (except in winter) will accompany you all the way up. 100% recommendable, and this is also where “Water Paths” passes through here.
SOUTH-WEST ROUTE *
THE ALHAMBRA FOREST AND A LOT OF HISTORY
The Alhambra Forest is located in the south-western part of the Alhambra. It is an artificial forest planted in the time of Charles V with some species brought from America, such as the horse chestnut. The forest is well known to those who walk up and down from the Alhambra. It is a path full of places with a lot of history.
THE WALLS OF THE ALHAMBRA AND THE DOOR OF JUSTICE
Starting from the ticket offices of the Alhambra we will walk under the south wall. You will pass by the Water Tower (where the Royal Canal entered the Alhambra); the Bab al-Gudur or Gate of the 7 Floors; and a whole series of towers and bastions from the Christian era.
Walking through the forest you will also see the Gate of Justice. It is undoubtedly the most monumental gate preserved in the Alhambra. It was designed for large institutional receptions. It is well worth a visit to see its fantastic sebka-shaped tiles, its hand of Fatima and the key in the keystone of its arch. It is also almost always open and can be accessed via its curved path, a constructive formula to offer more resistance in the event of a siege.
CARLOS V FOUNTAIN
Under the Gate of Justice is the Pillar of Charles V. It is a lavish fountain that pours water from its 9 spouts into an elongated pillar. This Renaissance work is full of allegories, references to the rivers of Granada, the seasons of the year. There is no lack of symbols of Emperor Charles V and his family and some mythological scenes. We now continue on our way down towards the monument to Ángel Ganivet.
MONUMENT TO ANGEL GANIVET
This is one of those idyllic places in Granada, and even more so since the elimination of road traffic in this area. In the middle of the Bosque de la Alhambra you will find the monument to this enlightened politician from Granada, Ángel Ganivet. If there are few people it is a good place to stop and listen to the sound of the water. Ángel Ganivet was a writer and diplomat. He served as Spanish consul first in Finland and later in Latvia, where he died young and tormented. In the artistic field, he was the main promoter of the Brotherhood of the Hazel Tree, a gathering of intellectuals who met at the mythical fountain of the Avellano (Hazel Tree) in Granada.
BIB RAMBLA GATE
Very close to the monument to Ángel Ganivet we come across the Bib Rambla Gate.
This is one of the outer gates of the medieval city. It was dismantled from the Plaza de Bibrambla, stored and almost forgotten. In the 1930s it was recovered and set up in the Alhambra Forest. The ruins became part of the forest as a romantic and evocative element of the Andalusian past. It was also called the Arch of the Ears, as popular tradition has it that the limbs of those who committed misdeeds were hung on the gate.
Let’s continue our tour around the places to see near the Alhambra.
To get to Torres Bermejas we will take a very pretty path between the Bosque de la Alhambra and the wall of the Carmen de los Catalanes. It is a pedestrian path, cobbled and very quiet. Torres Bermejas is a group of three medieval towers and a Christian bastion. From here you will get unusual views of the Alcazaba of the Alhambra. Although its restoration was completed in 2019, it is not possible to visit the interior.
RODRÍGUEZ ACOSTA FOUNDATION
The foundation is housed in a large carmen built at the beginning of the 20th century. The building is eclectic in style and makes use of elements of the European artistic avant-garde and styles of the past. Its architect was the Granada painter José María Rodríguez-Acosta, who conceived it as his painting studio, a place to work and find inspiration. Today it has art exhibitions, archives and a library. Visiting the gardens and its underground tunnels is quite an experience. Of course, if you like art, a visit to the Fundación Rodríguez Acosta’s Carmen is worth a long visit.
Hours (provisional Covid): Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 14:00 h.
HOTEL ALHAMBRA PALACE
The Alhambra Palace is not just a hotel, it is also an important part of the living history of this city. Hollywood stars, illustrious national and international leaders, artists of the highest level, etc. have passed through here. It was one of the many projects of the Duke of San Pedro de Galatino, a multifaceted character who promoted initiatives such as the Sierra Tramway. The hotel was conceived in a neo-nasri style on the slopes of the Mauror. If you’re not staying there you can stop by to see the hall and have tea on its panoramic terrace.
MUSEUM HOUSE MANUEL DE FALLA
Through a nice pedestrian street you will reach the next stop, the Carmen de la Antequeruela Alta. Here you can visit the house where Manuel de Falla lived in Granada. In addition to learning about the life of the composer from Cadiz, you will be teleported back to the 1930s. Falla lived almost 20 years in Granada, here he composed some of his masterpieces and established friendships with other geniuses of the time such as García Lorca and Ángel Barrios. The entrance costs 3 € and there are reduced opening hours in summer. If you want, here you can find more museums in Granada and some more information about the Manuel de Falla House Museum.
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CARMEN OF THE MARTYRES
Very close to the above place is the Carmen de los Mártires. It is a large enclosure with a classicist palace, large romantic gardens, a pond with a jetty, large fountains and peacocks. It was built and embellished at different times and by various private owners since the 19th century, until its last owner donated it to the Granada City Council. Walking through its gardens among ruins and sculptures is an essential experience in Granada. You’ll also pass several points with breathtaking views of the southern part of the city and the Sierra Nevada. The entrance is free and it is so spacious that even if there are a lot of people, the visit is quiet. It has become an essential place to see near the Alhambra.
MEERSMAN PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO
On your way back to the start of your route you will pass the former Meersman photography studio. In the old days (even today there are still some places where you can do this), it was customary to dress up as a “Moor” when visiting the Alhambra. Old photos of travellers in costume in the courtyard of the Lions are commonplace. The Meersman Studio was one of those picturesque places at the beginning of the 20th century, although today only its ruins remain. It was owned by the Belgian businessman Huberto Meersman, who also owned the Carmen de Mártires we have just visited. Also known as the Meersman Museum, this place had an important art collection open to the public.
SOUTHEASTERN ROUTE *
BARRANCO DEL ABOGADO, VIEWPOINTS AND CAMPOSANTO
Do you want to discover more places to see near the Alhambra, in this third option we will go in search of some archaeological remains and discover some unknown viewpoints. We will also visit the cemetery of Granada, a place that will surprise you. For this route we start from the car park of the Alhambra and start to climb gently.
ALBERCÓN DEL NEGRO
This is a reservoir from the Nasrid period thatstored the water that was supplied to the palace of the Alijares (we see it a little further on). By means of a siphon built with large blocks of stone, the water crossed the valley that separates the two places. Incidentally, these large stones were reused from a Roman water conduit.
CEMENTERIO DE SAN JOSÉ
We go down to the cemetery to see its beautiful gardens full of sculptures and historicist pantheons. Some of Granada’s wealthiest families commissioned classical and romantic works from prestigious sculptors, especially during the first half of the 20th century. To a large extent, this led to it being listed as an Asset of Cultural Interest. In this case, the cemetery is not only a place of death because it houses the deceased, but also because numerous executions took place in its walls during the Civil War.
RUINS OF THE PALACE OF THE ALIXARES
In the highest part of the cemetery you will find the Patio de San Cristóbal, where the ruins of the central pool of the palace of Alixares are preserved. In the Middle Ages it was a palace which, according to written sources, was equipped with 4 towers, a pool, qubbas (covered spaces with domes), poems expressly designed for its decoration and green meadows around it. Little remains of all that, but Arabic sources describe it in great detail. To get there you will have to take a walk through the cemetery and once at the top there are several windows overlooking the valley of the river Genil. We recommend you look out of them. Make a note of this place on your list of “what to see near the Alhambra”.
VIEWPOINT OF ALIXARES
This is the last stop on the southeast route. The Alixares viewpoint is a quite unknown and somewhat forgotten place. It is unknown because it is not usually included in articles about viewpoints in Granada and because there are not many directions to get there. The neglect of this place is palpable as it tends to be somewhat dirty and the vegetation is somewhat overgrown. However, it is a magical place to let yourself be carried away at sunset. Did you know about this place to see near the Alhambra?.
VIEWPOINT OF BARRANCO DEL ABOGADO
If you take a look at the map you will see that we have left this viewpoint out of the route, but if you like walking we encourage you to extend the route a little more. It is in the middle of the Abogado ravine and has panoramic views of a large part of the city. In this area there was a proliferation of cave houses during the 19th century and if you look closely you will see that many of the houses have a cave part.
This concludes our tour of places to see near the Alhambra.
MAP OF WHAT TO SEE NEAR THE ALHAMBRA
On this map you will find all the places we talked about in the post, the three routes we propose and all the nearby water sources.