By Deanna Niles McConnell
Granada
Spain
Photo gallery
Granada is one of Spain's loveliest southern cities, seated at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains in the Andalusia region. Granada is the capital of the Granada province, but its past as a major player in Spain's history and culture goes back for centuries. The influence of the Moorish invasion is apparent throughout Granada's architecture and places of worship, particularly in the stunning grounds of the Alhambra castle. 

Thanks to EscapeWizard.com's flight finder, getting to Granada via Madrid and other European hub cities is easy. Simply follow the link to enter dates and get started: (www.escapewizard.com/flight.php). Likewise, coordinating a hotel in Granada can be done through EscapeWizard.com's hotel-finder system: (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl).  For those who wish to extend their time in Spain or those tracking down deals on trips to Granada, be sure to check EscapeWizard.com's vacation packages and deal of the day features.

The biggest draw to Granada is unquestionably the Alhambra. This castle fortress was once one of the homes of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, and it was from the Alhambra that the decision was made to send Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic Ocean on his quest for a New World. The architecture and decorations are ornately beautiful, created in the style of Moorish and other Arabic cultures. Water is a constant theme throughout the castle, as various aqueduct systems pipe water to and fro throughout the castle and into the lush and lavish Generalife gardens on the compound.

Granada is a melting pot city with numerous cultural influences. The intriguing Sacromonte cave dwellings are detailed in the Sacromonte cave museum near the entrance of the Alhambra, allowing visitors to learn more about the gypsies that live there. Granada has numerous cathedrals and notable places of worship with gorgeous decor and architecture, particularly the final resting place of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Granada Cathedral. On the hill opposite the Alhambra is the Albacin area, home of the old Arabic quarter. At sunset, the views of Granada and the Alhambra from the top of Albacin's hills are unparalleled.

Though Granada has a youthful student population, evenings in the city tend toward the low-key instead of the debaucherous. However, there are bars and nightclubs aplenty for those seeking a little spice.  Those who want to get a taste of Granada's version of Spanish tapas should arrange a tour of local tapas bars; tours will also give travelers a taste of local Spanish wines. Granada is the traditional home of flamenco dancing, and seeing these colorful and seductive dances in a show is a vacation must.

Granada has plenty to amuse and occupy vacationers, but for those who want to venture out it is easy to access other towns from Granada. Cordoba, Malaga, Seville and Madrid can all be reached by bus or train for reasonable prices. Despite the ease through which travelers can reach other cities from Granada, the city is a place deserving of a long stay and lengthy exploration. Before you start exploring Granada, be sure to check EscapeWizard.com for flights, hotels, and all your other travel arrangement needs!