Granada in Spain - General Overview, Important Information and Interesting Facts
Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, a National Park designated Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1986.
The River Darro flow through the old town, dividing the hills of Sacromonte and Albaycin, that of the Alhambra.
The main rivers of Granada are the Genil, Trevélez and Poqueira.
The coast of Granada is called Costa Tropical and its main municipalities are Almuñécar, Salobreña and Motril.
15 Interesting Facts About Granada
1. Granada was under Islamic rule
for more than 700 hundred years (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. It had two big mosques (a major one in the Alhambra and another one in the city).
3. Temperatures could be very low in the winter (dropping to just above freezing at night) and very hot in the summer (reaching 40 degrees Celsius most days).
Sometimes it snows in the city.
4. In Granada you will see the best preserved medieval alhóndiga (a warehouse for goods and a shelter for merchants) in Spain (photo).
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. The Mediterranean Sea is just a 45 mins drive from Granada and Sierra Nevada ski resort is 35 km away.
7. The Catholic Monarchs, the first monarchs of Spain, are buried in Granada's Royal Chapel.
8. If you are lucky, you can ski and swim on the same day in springtime in Granada.
9. Sierra Nevada ski resort is the southernmost in Europe. It is well known for having the longest skiing season in Spain and many more sunny days than any other one.
10. In Sierra Nevada you can ski wearing your swimming suit. Every year a 'Skiing in Swimming Suit Day' is held at the end of the season.
11. Mulhacén peak (3482 high) is considered the roof of the Iberian Peninsula. There are 29 peaks over 3000 meters high in Sierra Nevada.
12. Granada is famous because of its tapas.
It is the only place in Spain, together with Almería, where drinks come always with free food.
13. Beer is served in three sizes: caña, tubo y tercio. Caña is a 150 ml glass, tubo is a 200 ml glass and tercio is a 330 ml bottle.
It does not matter which size you ask for, tapas will be the same size always.
14. Granada is surrounded by mountains. Almost at the end of every street you will see one, and they turn white during the winter.
15. Most shops and businesses are closed for lunch between 13:30/14:00 and 17:00/17:30. Dinnertime is between 21:00 and 23:00 (a bit earlier during the winter).
Most restaurants are usually 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 away and Granada tropical coast is 65 km away from the city.
Granada's Climate and Geography
Granada region's climate and landscape is one of the richest in Spain. It ranges from the alpine vegetation and weather of Sierra Nevada to the tropical coast of Motril, where winter temperatures average is 15 degrees Celsius.
Perhaps no other region on the Iberian peninsula has such a contrasting and manifold variety, unfolding at the foot of snow-topped mountains.
Granada's MountainsGranada offers some of Europe's highest mountains, being Sierra Nevada the principal mountain range. It has more than 20 peaks over 3000 metres above sea level and they are snow covered most of the year. They reach their maximum altitude in Mulhacen (3,481 m), Veleta (3,470 m) and Alcazaba (3,314 m).
Temperatures in Granada, SpainGranada has a Mediterranean mountain climate with low humidity and high temperatures in the summer. The mean annual temperature is 14 degrees Celsius, maximum 40 degrees Celsius and minimum 4 degree Celsius.
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 at 5 p.m. in winter (a little later in summer) and closing at 8.30 p.m. (9 p.m. in summer).
They are closed on Sundays and holidays. Small shops and local bussinesses close on Saturday afternoon too.
There are special opening times during Christmas and local festivities, such as feria and Easter.
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 kitchen is 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.
Coffee shops might close between 1.30 and 3 p.m., and re-open for coffee around 3.30 p.m. They close at 8.30 or 9 p.m.
Do People Leave Tips in Granada?In Granada, service is already included in the bill, so tips are not expected.
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 at Restaurants and other Public Places?Smoking is not allowed in public establishments, buses, trains, etc.. in Spain. Usually bars and restaurants have an outdoor area where smoking is allowed.
Granada Bus ServicesTo see a map of each route and bus stops, frequency, schedules, 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.