Keeping Children Entertained During A Visit
After finishing our stroll through the picturesque Summer Gardens with their colourful flowerbeds we made our way back across the entrance bridge to the main Alahambra complex to explore the Carlos V Palace and the Alcabaza fortress. I am aware that it can be hard to keep a child entertained and engaged during a visit of such a large compound of historical buildings. We always try to break up longer visits with a change of scenery, like a walk through a park or a drink and game of cards in a café just to make it more interesting and fun for Jerome, even now he is older than he used to be it is still sometimes good to take some moments out of exploring.
How to secure tickets for the Alhambra, read here.
Visiting Carlos V Palace
Thankfully on this occasion Jerome was equally enjoying the fortress city and gardens. After our visit to the Generalife, the Emir’s Summer Palace and the Nasrid Palace, we tackled the last of the two remaining structures in the Alhambra. The Carlos V Palace is an impressive renaissance style residence with large lions and hawks on the outside walls. Stepping inside the palace we were surprised to find a circular courtyard enclosed by two floors with columns and the building reminded us of ancient Roman structures. These days Carlos V Palace houses a museum and even though it was built to serve as the residence for monarchs it never even had a roof until the late 20th century. We gave the museum a miss and left the palace for the Alcabaza fort.
Exploring the Alcabaza Fortress
On the way we had to stop and pet the stray cats that call the Alhambra palace grounds their home. Pulling Jerome away from the cute kittens, we then stepped inside the heavy walls of the Alcazaba. The fortress with its ramparts and three towers is the oldest part of the Alhambra and although initially used as a residence they were mainly used for military purposes later in history.
Panoramic Views of Granada
Inside we could see the remnants of the military quarters and horse stables. Kids will love a walk along the top of the walls and peek down into the valley and the roofs of Granada below, perhaps imagining themselves as knights from the Middle Ages. A climb to the top of the towers is obligatory, although it can be quite tiring for many, but the panoramic views of the Albaicin, the town and the grand cathedral, more than makes up for the exhausting climb.
Flamenco Dance and Musicians
Happy to have explored most corners of the Alhambra with its many different palaces we left the complex through the Port of Justice and headed along the winding road back into Granada. Shortly after the stone archway at the edge of the old town we heard the sound of a flamenco guitar. A guitar builder was sitting outside his little shop and played the guitar to the amazement of the tourists strolling by. Around the corner at Plaza Santa Ana we found a gathering of people watching a group of dancers and musicians performing flamenco, an absolute joy for eyes and ears all around. The dancers took turns thumping out the flamenco rhythms on wooden boards, it was very atmospheric as the sun descended behind them.
Tasting Tapas at Bodegas Castaneda
On our wanders through the old quarter near the cathedral we stumbled onto the Bodegas Castaneda, an authentic Spanish tapa bar and restaurant. Visiting a tapas bar is a must during a stay in Granada, especially as the bars here are still among a few in the country that serve a complimentary dish of tapa with a drink. Even children will enjoy the experience and the varied little dishes are great to tempt them to try new and different foods. We ordered a red wine, while Jerome opted for a fresh orange juice before choosing our tapas from the extensive menu. The classics of Jamon, cheese and croquetas are our standard order plus many other dishes. The great thing about eating tapas is you can order a few plates and then order more food, it is also an unbeatable place to watch the locals. We were glad to have found this bar and I recommend arriving earlier than later if you want to get seats without any waiting time.
Leaving Granada for Las Alpujarras
It was also the perfect end to our stay in Granada although we were quite excited to move to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and its white washed villages in the Las Alpujarras, more on our travels there in the next post…
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