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Granada’s 1000 year history is one of the main reasons why thousands of tourists flock to the city every year – its stunning architecture, fabulous mountain setting and temperate climate are also reasons for wanting to buy a second or overseas home in the city.
Granada’s most famous landmark is La Alhambra, a 13th century palace complex with Moorish and Christian architecture. Its original heart was the fortress Alcazaba to which later Royal Palaces and the beautifully landscaped Generalife Gardens were added. During balmy summer evenings Granada residents and visitors can enjoy listening to concerts here or visit one of the many theatre events being staged in the gardens. The entire complex has walled fortifications of which the Bermejas Towers are the highlight. Dating back to the 8th century, these towers once housed fierce guards overseeing the fortress and outer walled fortifications.
Buying property in Granada and surrounding area can be surprisingly cheap and offers the advantage that a holiday home can be rented out during times when the family doesn’t need it. A two part holiday encompasses beachlife at the Costa del Sol, which is just 1.5 hours’ drive away and, during the winter months, a skiing holiday in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range just on the doorstep of Granada.
For the full cultural flavour one cannot beat a visit to El Sacromonte, a district that has its origin in the gypsy heritage of Granada. This historic part of the city has many picturesque and charming alleyways and backstreets, courtyards and tiny backwater bars and restaurants where one can enjoy the wonderful food and atmosphere that seemingly hasn’t changed for centuries. Many of the bars in El Sacromonte have live music events with flamenco dancers and shows aimed at tourists, but some are more genuine Spain and will delight those in particular, who make their permanent home in Granada.
The city has a wide ranging and diverse nightlife with al fresco dining in some of the many restaurants and bars, the aforementioned summer concerts and theatre events being staged outdoors, fiestas, street entertainment and at the Paseo de los Tristes, at the foot of the Alhambra, there are many Tapas bars and restaurants catering for those seeking traditional Spanish food. There are also various nightclubs and flamenco bars dotted around the city centre.
Throughout the year there are various events, fiestas and religious festivals being held in Granada and those lucky enough to live in this vibrant city will love the colourful carnival celebrations in February and Semana Santa (Holy Week) at Easter time, followed by Dia de la Cruz in early May and Ferio de Corpus Christi in June, when large numbers of visitors fill the ancient streets to see the processions.
June is also the month when local music aficionados can join in the Festival Internacional de Musica y Danza, a fun event for everyone loving music and dance. For Jazz fans of all ages there is also the International Jazz Festival held every October.
While in August, when the heat can be a little oppressive, people tend to flee to the mountains for fresh air and stunning views, in September everyone flocks back to Granada’s streets for the many festivities held during the month. The Fiesta de Nuestra Senor de las Angustia is held in late September and is a grand affair, since it celebrates the city’s Patron Saint La Virgen de las Angustias. There are many outdoor activities, street entertainments, fairs, bullfighting, markets and dancing in the streets, not to mention a religious procession that sees strong men carrying the statuette of the Virgin Saint through Granada’s ancient streets.
The Hocus Pocus Festival brightens up November, with magic tricks galore being performed at shows held throughout the city. There are even magic demonstrations and workshops, where budding young wizards, warlocks and witches can learn the tricks of the trade.
Residents of Granada and those who live there for part of the year always look forward to December, when the more sombre Christmas celebrations are followed by the exuberance of the New Year’s Eve festivities and wonderful fireworks displays light up the city.
Living in Granada is certainly never dull!