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Most visitors to Granada arrive and depart on the same day, specifically to see the Alhambra. As a consequence the convergence of coaches and tour groups causes congestion, queues, and dissatisfaction when people cannot obtain tickets. Stunning though it is, the Alhambra does lose some of its magic engulfed in teeming crowds.
There is more to Granada than the Alhambra, however, and we travelled by car from our coastal holiday base to spend two days in the city. We stayed at the Hotel Alhambra Palace, which is set in the cliff face only a few minutes walk downhill from the Alhambra car park and entrance. Our room on the city side of the hotel had a balcony with spectacular views of the city and mountains.
By booking our Alhambra tickets in the hotel on arrival we were guaranteed entry and a guide for the following morning. We made an early start and the gained entry through a little-used alternative entrance further down the hill. As a result we managed to see much of the Alhambra in relatively peaceful surroundings before the onset of the crowds.
The city, with boulevards, narrow streets, and a cathedral is interesting in its own right. With everything in walking distance exploration is made easy. The presence of many students attending the university ensures a lively atmosphere in the many tapas bars and cafes. Subject to your itinerary and budget, I definitely recommend staying overnight to get the best out of your visit.
My Tips: 1. Even if you are not staying at the Hotel Alhambra Palace pop in to their bar terrace for a drink with panoramic views. 2. If you need a cold drink when inside the Alhambra complex use the vending machine in the gift shop facing the Plaza instead of queuing and paying extra at the café.