Granada, Spain travel guide and things to do: Nine must-do highlights

THE ONE PALACE

The Alhambra is much more than just a palace – it's a fortified town, full of staggering religious and royal buildings, plus some of the most sumptuous gardens and courtyards you'll ever see. Arguably the most impressive single attraction in Spain, it has been added to piecemeal over the course of centuries, under several ruling regimes. The intricately decorated Nasrid Palaces are the stars, but a whole day can happily be spent mooching around the rest. See alhambragranada.org

THE ONE MAUSOLEUM

The 16th-century Capilla Real does well enough as a handsome, richly decorated old chapel. But its primary focus is the lavishly over-the-top marble mausoleum of the monarchs who united Spain – Ferdinand and Isabella. There's some impressive bling inside the sacristy, too, along with paintings from the Flemish masters. See capillarealgranada.com

THE ONE MUSEUM

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition if they're having an enjoyable walk along the Darro River, but duck into the Palacio de los Olvidados while doing so and that's what you'll get. It differs from the 10-a-penny torture museums across central and eastern Europe by focusing not so much on the torture instruments, but the people wielding them. The story of how the Inquisition came to be and spread is much more interesting than various contraptions with spikes in them. See palaciodelosolvidados.es

THE ONE SHOP

There are a few interesting shopping options along the riverside Carrera del Darro, but Patio de los Perfumes is the most unusual. It sells perfumes, sure, but it also makes its own from ingredients behind the counter. There's a small museum at the back about the history of smellies, and the staff also run workshops for anyone wanting to conjure their own fragrance. See patiodelosperfumes.com

THE ONE VIEW

The historically Muslim neighbourhood of Albaicin is an absurd maze of cobbled streets, souk-like shops, hookah joints and Moroccan-style tea rooms. But right at the top is the best view of the city, staring out at the Alhambra, from the Mirador de San Nicolas. Finding it might be a little tricky, but if you take the steepest uphill option at every fork, you can't go too far wrong.

THE ONE RESTAURANT

Squirreled away in the Albaicin, the Restaurante el Trillo has the sort of leafy terrace you want to camp out in for the afternoon. Fountains trickle and birds flit in and out of the wooden boxes installed specially for them. There's a heavy emphasis on the presentation of the dishes, which are mostly traditional Andalucian favourites, with leanings to sweeter tooths. That can mean prune sauces, fruit garnishes or the highly tempting dessert menu. See restaurant-eltrillo.com

THE ONE CLASS

If the aim of coming to Spain is to improve your Spanish, then Granada is a major hub for language schools. Escuela Delengua is one of several options, in this case offering intensive two week, small group courses for €275. The major point of difference is that it also organises daily activities aimed at getting learners to mix with the local population. See delengua.es

THE ONE TOUR

Granada has a strong tapas culture – the bars and restaurants may not offer the best food in Spain, but they'll almost always dole some out every time you buy a drink. Granada Tapas Tours focuses on the best haunts in its €40 walking tours, changing the spots visited every night, and honing in on the dishes they do best. See granadatapastours.com

THE ONE HOTEL

The Hotel Gar-Anat feels like it could be a Marrakech riad. The historic building is decorated with wood carvings and quotes from Granada-linked poets are painted over the walls. A giant metal "wishing tree" in the main courtyard is designed for guests to leave feedback. Doubles cost from €119. See hotelgaranat.com

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ONE MORE THING

The Alhambra is one of the world's great victims of overtourism, and restrictions on visitor numbers have been imposed. So book a place online first – particularly if visiting between April and October.

MORE

traveller.com.au/spain

granadatur.com

David Whitley travelled at his own expense.

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