Located at the edge of Alhambra, framed by the Darro river and Sacramonte neighbourhood, it is worlds apart from rest of the city. You can see the difference as soon as you enter the neigbourhood, best explored from the end of Darro river near Plaza de St Ana (location on map here)
It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 and perfectly captures the Islamic influence in the city with the many different transformations it went through.
Albaicin will impress you with its history well preserved in all the buildings, a number of monuments, and stunning views everywhere you walk. You can discover green carmens (gardens), pretty squares, narrow cobbled streets where you hear the residents chatting over lunch and watch the sun reflect on the Alhambra from a restaurant.
Albaicin is best explored on a foot, and without a map – get lost in the cobbled streets and find hidden gems wherever you go.
Here is a short virtual guide!
Plaza de St Ana
The small plaza is a great starting point for exploring – river Darro is right next to the church in the photo below. Just follow along the river or venture into one of the narrow streets to start exploring the maze of cobbled streets and beautiful view points.
Paseo de Los Tristes
Paseo de los Tristes is a great resting spot on your explorations of Albaicin – you can find it just after the Puente de las Chirimias (on map here), and sits just under the feet of Alhambra, offering great views and much needed shade from the sun.
The square is dominated by restaurant terraces which are sheltered from the sun under leafy pergolas. As you would expect from such a busy spot, the restaurants are great for a quick drink, but food is less than average (also not great value for money).
There is also a bus stop on this street which will take you to Sacromonte.
At the end of the square is Aljibillo bridge dating back to 11th century and a steep road up the hill that will take you to Carmen de la Victoria (closed on my visit), and through Camino de Sacromonte you can venture to explore the Sacromonte neighbourhood.
Since the 18th century Sacromonte neighborhood (barrio) has been the settlement of gypsies and also the cradle of Flamenco. Today, you can still book your spot to watch a Flamenco show in one of the caves build into rocks (called Zambras).
Sacromonte looks very different from rest of Albaicin, with its white painted caves, rugged look and beautiful views not obstructed by narrow streets.
There is a small dedicated museum which explains more about the area and specially the caves made here – its called Museo Cuevas de Sacromonte (map location here).
From what I could see there are almost no restaurants or bars in this area, and its not as vast as rest of Albaicin for exploring.
If you fancy a bit of hike (or can drive there too), you can continue on the main road until you reach Sacromonte Abbey.
I didn’t make it all the way there as we had our little traveler with us, but I’m hoping to explore more of this beautiful part of Granada on my next visit.
Best Spots in Albaicin
Some of my favorite views in Albaicin include Plaza San Gregorio (map), Mirador St Nicolas (most popular viewing spot, marked on map here), Mirador de la Lona (map), Mirador de Santa Isabel la Real (map) and the view from restaurants El Huerto de Juan Ranas and Mirador de Moryama.
If you get tired from walking, there are a few small museums and historic buildings open to public, which in summer provide a welcome break from the heat and a bit of education (we liked the El Banuelo – on map here).
You can also indulge yourself with a spa day in the traditional and beautiful Turkish baths Hamman al Andalus, where you can experience authentic Arab bath rituals and massages. The baths are located just on the other side of river Darro, just behind the church.
Sunrise at Albaicin
If you don’t mind waking up a bit earlier, the sunrise in Albaicin is something truly special – you get a chance to have the whole neighbourhood for yourself and experience the sun peaking from behind the buildings and creating quite the spectacle!
I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of Albaicin and if you had any other favourite spots not mentioned here, feel free to leave a comment below.
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