Before visiting the Alhambra I did not know too much about it. I was aware that it was a must see destination in Granada and I roughly knew that it was a Moorish Castle that had some sort of ties to the famous English Queen Katherine of Aragon. What I did not know was the Generalife gardens were amazing in their own right and that I would be completely blown away by its beauty.
What you see today though at the Generalife may be nothing that was seen during the 13th Century when they were created. It’s not known how original the gardens are, as after the Moorish Kings were displaced there were many alterations done by the Christians. No one quite knows for sure what the title Generalife means. Many have loosely translated Generalife to mean the Governor’s Garden or the Architect’s (alarife) Garden. Unfortunately, people miss the Generalife Gardens as they are more interested in just visiting the Alhambra and in our opinion this would be a huge mistake.
Generally, it’s considered that the Generalife gardens were built in the 13th century. This is known because there is an inscription that dates from 1319. The Generalife was used by the Kings as a place to relax and get away from the city. The Generalife Gardens and the Alhambra are very close together but in its day they were considered separate with the gardens located outside the city walls.
The view as you walk into the Generalife is eye-catching, to say the least. You are torn whether to look right or left. If you look right you see the amazing manicured gardens that seem to continue to rise on various levels. If you look to the left you look out over the Alhambra and the Granda township, white houses with tiles roofs and onto the distant mountains. And then there is the beautiful citrus smell that follows you everywhere you go. It is not an overpowering smell but one that just seems to sit on the air. It just gave it another amazing aspect to how well the gardens were an important part of life outside of the city. With the roses spotted all over the gardens, they must have made it smell heavenly when they are all in bloom.
The Water Stairway at the Generalife Gardens was my Favourite!
Some of our favourite parts were The Water Stairway. The Water Stairway is three levels of stairs with a pond in the middle of each section and water flowing down the side of the Stairways via channels. The Stairway is totally encased by overgrowing foliage. It was a beautiful part of the Gardens that leads to some of the highest points of the Generalife Gardens.
The Court of the main Canel is a beautiful enclosed building with a canal the middle and fountain jets that cross each other. As beautiful as it may be it is now a long way for what it originally looked thanks to a fire in the early 19th century and alterations made by the Christian Monarchs.
At the top of the Water Stairway, you will reach the highest point in the Generalife. Here you will find The Romantic Observation Point. A relatively new addition to the Generalife gardens built in 1836 and is called The Tower. It Generally differs from the rest of the architecture of the Generalife but the views from the top are stunning.
The kids seemed to enjoy exploring the Generalife. It is similar to a maze with all its hedges and waterfalls. Marley at one stage became a little lost and thought we had left her there. We were alerted by her crying and luckily ‘Mamma’ is a worldwide known phrase. Before we knew it two beautiful ladies had returned her to us. Sometimes this is a good thing as she stayed close for the rest of the day.
In General, there are stairs, fountains and hedges which make for a great adventure. Marley was very interested in the Kings and Queens who lived in The Alhambra and relaxed in the Generalife. She was full of questions, some being difficult to answer. Willow loves the audio guides and just takes in the history of such places like a sponge.
Make sure you book tickets to the Generalife Gardens – Alhambra
Family Travel Tip: Book your tickets online well in Advance as they sell out quickly. Tickets can be booked on Ticketmaster Spain. Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to do an expensive tour of the Generalife and Alhambra, you don’t. If you buy your tickets at Ticketmaster online they will cost you 16 Euro’s. Read more tips for buying Alhambra tickets. Book your entry to the Nasari Palace for around lunch time that way you have a few hours prior to explore the Genralife. Get a taxi to the Alhambra it’s just as cheap as the bus, then stroll down the hill back into town.
Also take some snacks for the kids. waiting in line was where our decided that they were really hungry. There is a cafeteria in the grounds of the Alhambra but it seemed very busy.
When we were visiting Granada we choose to stay at Hostal Atenas
A full-time worker in Disability support and part time traveller when time, money and kids schooling allow.
Next up for Wyld Family Travel is 10 weeks in Europe from November 2016 till January 2017. We will be visiting Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, France, Poland, Iceland, Denmark, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia
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