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Cruise Diva Goes Ashore in Europe:
The Mediterranean
Sights to see & things to do

Granada, Spain

One of the highlights of the one hundred mile drive to Granada from the port of Málaga is the beautiful countryside. Orange and lemon groves surround country homes in this hilly and rocky region of small mountains. Olives, wheat, and wine are the main agricultural products. Almond and mulberry trees are abundant and barley and rye are also cultivated in the area.

Approaching Granada, the astonishing snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountain peaks, site of Europe’s southernmost ski resort, are visible before the whitewashing buildings of the city come into view. 

Diversions 

The rich historical ambiance of Granada and the Alhambra are a must-see but it’s not recommended to try visiting them independent of a ship’s tour due to the one hundred mile distance and strict regulations for admission into the protected area of the Alhambra.

The two and a half hour ride is almost complete as you enter the walls surrounding the architectural marvel that is the Alhambra. From fortress to Moorish summer palace of sultans and the royal families of Spain, the Alhambra is the oldest and best preserved of the 14th century palaces. From the stucco designs carved in the Arabic language to the intricate tile mosaics and carved wood ceilings, the Alhambra is a feast for the senses with elaborate pools and lovingly tended gardens. A visionary oasis, the Harem courtyard contains a fountain, which was the gift of the Jewish people. The twelve lions surrounding it represent the twelve tribes of Israel and the water is the most important element in the Alhambra—the symbol of life. It’s a setting worthy of the tales of The One Thousand and One Nights.

The two-hour walk through the formal gardens and palace buildings of the Alhambra is strenuous and ramps for the mobility impaired are limited. With seven to eight thousand visitors a day, it’s the second most visited site in Spain and is quite cold in winter and very hot in the summer. The rich historical ambiance of Granada and the Alhambra are a must-see but it’s not recommended to try visiting them independent of a ship’s tour due to the distance and strict regulations for admission into the protected area of the Alhambra.

Granada is so enticing that Queen Isabel decreed the Gothic Flamboyant style Chapel Royal should be built there as the final resting place for her and her husband, King Ferdinand. Emperor Carlos V built his serenely majestic palace on the grounds of the Alhambra in the late 1500s and it stands today as the finest example of a Renaissance palace outside Italy.

Shopping

This isn’t a shopping spot, although there are gift shops inside the Alhambra where post cards, books, and typical souvenirs are sold. Vendors in the parking lot beckon tourists to buy shawls and tablecloths of questionable value and workmanship.


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