Tag Archives: granada

Granada | Cruces de Mayo and the Feria of Corpus Christi

There are always good reasons to visit Granada. The best known is Europe’s most visited monumental complex, the Alhambra Palace, last refuge of the Moors in Spain, and capital of the Nasrid dynasty of Spain for 250 years until it surrendered to the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. There are also the historic neighbourhoods of the Albaicin, Realejo and Sacramonte to explore, and the bars and restaurants of San Matias to sample some of the local hospitality. But this time of year, as spring turns to summer, is when Granada puts on its gladrags and celebrates some of its major festivals.

granada cruz mayo (1)Cruz de Mayo at Mirador de San Cristobal [photo courtesy of John Sullivan]

The first of these is the Cruces del Mayo (May Crosses), held on May 3, although celebrations continue for several days around the official one. According to the stories this is the day when Saint Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, discovered the pieces of the True Cross of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, but this event has been assimilated to a pagan spring flower festival. The result is the appearance of flower-decked crosses in the streets and plazas of the city (this year about 80 of them), with a competition for the best. The festival has a special emphasis on children, who build their own crosses and parade them through the streets.

granada corpus (2)Dragon float

Undoubtedly the principal attraction of this time of year, and in fact Granada’s biggest annual festival, is around Corpus Christi (this year falling on June 4), and includes Granada’s feria, bullfighting, the Corpus Christi religious processions, and the essentially pagan procession of La Tarasca. The Feria of Granada starts officially at midnight on Saturday May 30 with the Alumbrao, the switching on of the lights, though people will start coming to the fairground earlier in the day. It ends at midnight the following Saturday with a fireworks display. Like most Spanish fairs the daytime is for the parades of horses and carriages, their riders and drivers in traditional costume, and everything and everyone at their smartest and shiniest. Night time is for eating and drinking and dancing flamenco.

From Thursday June 4 to Sunday June 7 is Granada’s main bullfighting season, with fights at the bullring each evening at 7 pm.

granada corpus (1)La Tarasca

At midday on Wednesday is Granada’s famous La Tarasca procession. The participants wear big papier-mache heads and fancy dress costumes (which are a closely guarded secret until the parade assembles in the Plaza del Carmen), but the centrepieces are the gigantes – statues of famous historical figures, and the traditional fire-breathing dragon. It’s colourful and noisy in the best carnival tradition and draws huge crowds of both locals and visitors, so arrive early if you want a “ringside seat”. This is the most popular day of the holiday, so afterwards the partying will carry on until the small hours, so you need plenty of stamina.

granada corpusCorpus Christi altar

The following day (starting at the Cathedral at 10.15 am) is the religious procession of Corpus Christi, the Catholic celebration of the Eucharist. This is the solemn and serious part of the holiday, and is still a popular day in the religious calendar, with large numbers paying their respects to the Sacrament as it’s carried through the streets.

granada cruz mayo (3)Cruz de Mayo at San Agustín Market [photo courtesy of John Sullivan]

If you’re coming to Granada for the celebrations we still have apartments for rent in locations around the city centre and old town.

Granada | Museums

Although famous first and foremost for the great fortress and palace of the Alhambra, Granada is by no means a “one-horse town”, and has a wealth of history and culture to discover in its streets and monuments, and also in its many museums.

0228_carnero-granada-apartments-terrace-alhambra-views-spain-01view of the Alhambra from our Carnero apartment in the Albaicin

Until the 11th century Granada was a minor provincial town in the Caliphate of Córdoba, but in the mid 13th century, after the defeat of the Almohads (Moorish Kings of Seville) by the Christians, it became the capital of the Nasrids, the last Moorish rulers of Spain. They took over a small hilltop fortress called the Alhambra, and in the course of two centuries turned it into one of the most spectacular places on earth.

Two of Granada’s most important museums, the Alhambra and the Fine Arts are actually housed in the Carlos V Palace in the Alhambra complex. The Alhambra Museum has a large collection of ceramics and other objects used in the Nasrid palace complex, and of Mudejar art in general. The Fine Arts Museum has a collection of paintings and sculptures by artists such as Alonso Cano.

entrance to patio of Casa Castril

entrance to patio of Casa Castril

If you want to go right back to the beginning, the Archaeological Museum is the place to be. It has a huge collection of objects from the paleolithic era through to the end of the Moorish period. This museum is currently closed for renovations, though some of the exhibits can be seen at the Museo de la Memoria de Andalucia.

Statue of Einstein (courtesy of Wikimedia)

Statue of Einstein (courtesy of Wikimedia)

If modern is more your style you may want to visit the Science Museum. This is also a great one for the children, with lots of activities and interactive displays to awaken their interest in how things work. There’s a planetarium, and sections on the biosphere, perception and exploration, and also an observation tower that looks out over the city.

The Jewish contribution to the religious, cultural and intellectual life of late mediaeval Granada is remembered in two museums, the Sefardi Museum in the old Jewish neighbourhood of the Realejo, and the Palacio de Los Olvidades (the forgotten). Both give an insight into the daily life of the Jews in Granada, with collections of domestic and religious items and lots more.

For a closer look at the life of the Moors in Granada, pay a visit to the recently opened Casa de Zafra, a Nasrid mansion in the lower Albaicin that was incorporated into a convent. The tranquil courtyard with a pool is typical of the architecture of the period, and makes you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.

Coffins of the Catholic Kings (courtesy of Wikimedia)

Coffins of the Catholic Kings (courtesy of Wikimedia)

Coming into the Christian period, the Royal Chapel (next to the Cathedral), has a collection of Royal and personal belongings of the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, while the Casa de Los Pisa is home to the Museum of Juan de Dios (John of God).

Another very popular museum is the Sacramonte, which looks at life in the “Gypsy” neighbourhood of the Sacramonte. The area is famous for its cave houses, and the museum recreates a cave house of 100 years ago, and includes lots about the history of the neighbourhood and of Granada. There are also stunning views of the Alhambra and Albaicin from the area around the museum, that are worth making the journey for all by themselves.

Alhambra Museum and Fine Arts Museum
Palacio Carlos V
Tel: +34 958 027 900/929

Archaeological Museum (Casa de Castril)
Carrera del Darro, 41
Tel: +34 958 225 603

Science Museum
Avenida del Mediterraneo, s/n
Tel: +34 958 131 900

Museo Sefardi
Placeta Berrocal, 5
Tel: +34 958 220 578

Palacio de los Olvidades
Cuesta de Santa Inés, 6
Tel: +34 958 100 840

Casa de Zafra
Portería de la Concepción, 8
Tel: +34 958 180 079

Royal Chapel
Plaza de la Lonja, Gran Via, 5
Tel: +34 958 222 959

Juan de Dios (Casa de los Pisa)
Convalencia, 1
Tel: +34 959 222 144

Sacramonte Caves
Barranco de los Negros, s/n
Tel: +34 958 215 120

Seville & Granada | Valentine Getaways

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and the best places to spend a romantic weekend are rapidly filling up. But don’t despair if you’re the sort of person who leaves these things till the last moment; we still have holiday apartments for rent in two of Andalucia’s most beautiful destinations, Seville and Granada.

Both cities are famous for the picturesque narrow streets of their old towns, the exotic splendour of their Moorish style palaces (especially Granada’s Alhambra on its hilltop), and their Cathedrals (especially Seville and the iconic Giralda Tower), as well as the lively bustle of their tapas bars and the rhythms of flamenco. But for that special holiday you also need that perfect base of operations, and for that you can’t beat a cosy little apartment in the thick of the action. Here are some that are still available.



Carnero – A charming one bedroom apartment in a Casa Palacio with an inner courtyard full of plants, located in the maze of streets just off the River Darro in the heart of the city. Wood beam ceilings and wood flooring give it a warm traditional feel. Highlight is the view of the Alhambra Palace from the large balcony outside the bedroom.


Carmen Terrace 1 – A cosy studio in a Casa Carmen (a house with a walled garden unique to Granada) on the Alhambra Hill, with a private terrace and garden area. Highlight is the glass wall that runs along one side of the apartment with a breathtaking view of the old Moorish quarter.


Sacramonte Cueva 2 – Once in a lifetime experience is this one bedroom cave house (with all mod-cons) in the famous Sacramonte neighbourhood, high enough up to be above the Alhambra. It’s the gypsy-bohemian part of the city, and it’s worth going to one of the flamenco shows in the caves here. Highlight is really the totally unique atmosphere of the cave itself.



Flores Terrace – This little studio apartment has it all. Rustic and colourful with its own private terrace, terracotta floors and wooden ceilings, in a Casa Palacio with a beautiful courtyard. Highlight? Click on the link and check out the cute bathtub.


Plaza Santa Cruz B – One bedroom apartment in a typical Sevillano town house in the heart of the Santa Cruz neighbourhood, complete with courtyard and fountain. Highlight is the perfect location, close to everything, but still quiet and peaceful.


Corral del Conde 54 – This cute little apartment is in a remarkable 16th century housing complex built around a large communal courtyard. Greenery, wooden balconies, great Spanish atmosphere. Highlight must be the sense of living in the middle of the history of ordinary people.


Giralda Terrace 1 – The pick of anybody’s bunch must be this spacious luxury studio with a private terrace. Just have a look at that view of the Giralda. And it comes with complimentary flowers and bottle of wine, too.

Granada | Apartments with Parking

As in many historic Spanish cities, driving a car into the old centre of Granada can be quite a challenge. Private cars are forbidden to enter many of the central areas, or entry is restricted to residents, but even in areas where it is permitted you still need to be careful. Many of the main streets have a bus lane on the right, which you can’t use, and these are all watched on video cameras, so it’s very easy to get fined if you don’t know the neighbourhood.

You then have the problem of finding parking for your car. Street parking isn’t really an option, as there are hardly any spaces, which leaves you with the two following possibilities.

1. Public car parks

Public car parks are scarce in most residential and historic neighbourhoods, and also expensive, usually around 20 Euros a day. You should look up a list of Granada Car Parks before travelling and enter the address of your choice on your GPS navigating system, but even after arriving successfully there is no guarantee that there will be free spaces.

2. Apartments with parking


The best option if you’re travelling by car, whether it’s your own or a rental, is to rent an apartment with onsite parking. Our preferred apartments for this purpose are veoapartment San José, located in the lower Albaicín, which is close to both the Alhambra and Cathedral, as well as being an important historic neighbourhood. These apartments have a spacious underground parking area large enough to accommodate minivans, and with plenty of room to manouevre.


An apartment with its own garage makes parking easy, and you can take your luggage up to your apartment in the elevator. The San Jose complex has apartments of various sizes and price levels available, many of them with private terraces with views of the Alhambra or Cathedral. For example, 2-bedroom Veoapartment San José, with a terrace looking towards the Cathedral.


The photos here show the apartment building in the square, and the entrance to the underground car park.

When you do a search on the veoapartment website, apply the “Parking” filter to the search results. This will reduce the number of available apartments to those which have parking at the apartment. If you want to use the garage, just fill in the space on the online booking form when making your booking.