Granada in Spain - General Overview, Important Information and Interesting Facts
Granada is in the south of Spain and is capital of the province known by the same name, with a population of 265,000 inhabitants.
Granada is situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains between two hills, separated by the Darro Valley, which cast their views over the wide vega.
The River Darro flows through the centre of the city, dividing the hills of Sacromonte and Albaycin, that of the Alhambra. The main rivers of the province are the Genil and the Guadalfeo.
The coast is the most limited zone of the littoral region, rising moderately towards Malaga and with beaches such as Almunecar, Salobrena and Motril.
Granada Overview and Curious Facts1. Granada was under Islamic rule from 711 to 1492, much longer than any other place in the Iberian Peninsula and Europe.
2. In 1330 Granada was the most populated city of Europe.
3. Granada had two big mosques (a major one in the Alhambra and another one in the city).
4. In Granada you will see the best preserved medieval alhóndiga (a warehouse for goods and a shelter for merchants, photo) in Spain.
5. The Alhambra is one of the most visited monuments in Europe with almost 3 million visitors a year. It is the only monument of its kind in the world.
6. Granada's average height is 738 meters above sea level. It has a Mediterranean mountain climate with low humidity and high temperatures in the summer (sometimes reaching 40 degrees Celsius).
7. Temperatures could be very low in the winter, dropping to just above freezing at night.
8. Very good location. You could ski and swim on the same day. The Mediterranean Sea is just 65 km away (45 mins drive). The nearest beach location is Salobreña. Sierra Nevada ski resort is 35 km away (45 mins drive).
9. Sierra Nevada ski resort is the southernmost in Europe. It is well known for having the longest skiing season in Spain (usually starting in November and finishing in May) and many more sunny days than any other ski resort in Europe.
10. Sierra Nevada is the only ski resort in Europe where you can ski wearing your swimming suit. Every year at the end of the season they held a 'Skiing in Swimming Suit Day' with special offers to say goodbye to the season.
11. Sierra Nevada has more than 20 peaks over 3000 metres above sea level. Mulhacén (3482 high) is considered the roof of the Iberian Peninsula.
12. Granada is famous because of its tapas. Drinks come always with free food.
13. Normally the beer is served in three sizes: caña, tubo y tercio. Caña is 150 ml glass, tubo is 200 ml glass and tercio is a 330 ml bottle. It does not matter which glass you ask for, the tapas will be of the same size.
14. Granada is surrounded by mountains. Almost at the end of every street you will see one, and they usually turn white during the winter.
15. People in Granada eat very late during the summer because of the heat, between 21:00 and 00:00. It's a bit earlier during the winter. However, most restaurants are not open until 20:00.
Location and DistancesDistances to Granada by road from various Spanish cities: Madrid, 433 km; Cadiz, 454 km; Malaga, 128 km; Seville, 251 km.
Granada's airport is 15 km away from the city on the road to Malaga.
Sierra Nevada is 30 km and Granada tropical coast is 65 km away from the city.
Granada's Climate and GeographyGranada's climate is friendly and dry, the air clean and healthy, with clear and cheerful skies. Strong winds, fog and snow are rare.
The Granada region offers Spain's richest variety of climate and landscape, from the alpine vegetation of the Sierra Nevada to the tropical coast of Motril, where winter temperatures average 15 C while some villages in the Sierra experience minus 10 C.
Perhaps no other region on the peninsula has such contrasting and manifold variety, unfolding at the foot of snow-topped mountains with the best skiing slopes and rich fertile plains, such as those mentioned for Granada and Motril, and those of Loja, Guadix and Baza.
Granada's MountainsGranada offers some of Europe's highest mountains, the Sierra Nevada being the principal mountain range whose peaks are snow covered all year; they reach their maximum altitude in Mulhacen (3,481 m), Veleta (3,470 m) and Alcazaba (3,314 m).
Temperatures in Granada, SpainThe mean annual temperature is 14C, maximum 40C and minimum 4C. Rain is heaviest in November, March and April.
The most stable temperatures are during spring and autumn, which are the best times of the year to visit the city.
Flora and FaunaGranada's flora comprises a wonderful botanical mix, with tropical plants growing but a short distance from alpine slopes.
Animal life is diverse due to the varied habitats.
Wolves, foxes, and large predators such as royal eagles, vultures and hawks exist in mountainous parts.
Best Time of the Year to Visit GranadaGranada is ideal for visiting all year round.
July and August temperatures average 35 C, sometimes reaching 40 C. However, the nights are usually comfortable but chilly.
During the summer months, Granada's provincial array of beaches offers a more refreshing option.
In winter, the arrival of snow in the Sierra Nevada leaves a most beautiful mark on Granada. It is then that winter sports are practised in the ski resorts.
Business Opening Hours in GranadaGranada shops usually open at 10 a.m. and close between 1.30 and 2 p.m., opening again between 4.30 and 5 p.m. In winter (a little later in summer) and closing finally at 8.30 p.m. (9 p.m. in summer).
They are closed on Sundays and feast days and occasionally on Saturday afternoons, with the exception of the larger department stores which open on some Sundays during the year, at Christmas and during the Sales.
Bars and restaurants serving food and tapas open around 1 p.m. and close about 4 p.m. Evening opening times are about 8 p.m. and closing time is between 11.30 p.m. and midnight.
Bars serve tapas while the kitchens are open, more or less within the above hours. Cafeterias or bars serving breakfast open very early, some even before 7 a.m. and others a little later.
They may close at midday (if it is only a cafeteria and not a bar), between 1.30 and 3 p.m., and re-open for coffee around 3.30 p.m., remaining open until 8.30 or 9 p.m.
Do People Leave Tips in Granada?In Granada, service is already included in the bill, so it is not a must to leave a tip.
However, you may wish to leave something if you are happy with the service. People sometimes leave loose change.
Related information in Eating Out.
Is Smoking Allowed in the Restaurants and other Public Places?Spanish legislation prohibits smoking in enclosed public places such as restaurants, offices, buses and trains, etc..
Granada Bus ServicesTo see a map of each route with its stops, frequency, and first and last buses, visit Granada Buses.
Here you can find out about timetables, journeys, fares and any other information on Granada's urban bus network.
There is a bus pass called CrediBus which the visitor can use when travelling by bus in Granada.
The Customer Service and Lost Property Office of Granada's bus company is situated in Calle Joaquin Costa 4, Bajo. Telephone: 958 22 04 50.
From here you can get bus maps, collect lost property found on Granada's buses, make comments, suggestions or complaints on transport services, request a youth pass or recharge your ticket.
Medical Attention in GranadaGranada has good hospitals and medical services.
Anyone from the European Union visiting Granada receives free medical treatment, providing they have form E-111/128 with them.
Visitors from beyond the European Union are advised to obtain travel insurance before leaving their country.
How to Reach Granada from the Airport?There is a bus service from the airport to central Granada.
The journey lasts around 50 minutes depending on the time of day, since traffic levels vary and the bus makes several stops in the city centre.
You can also reach the centre of Granada from the airport by taxi, which costs 25-35 euros.
There are also serveral parkings in and near the airport.
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Opinions about Granada
Really enjoyed the tripI recently visited Granada, Cordoba and Malaga for 4 days and really enjoyed the trip. It was good to see various historical places which are well looked after. I wish I had more time but hopefully I will get another opportunity in the future. Make sure you get Granada card because it's really worth it (Az).