Granada is the capital of the province of the same name in Andalusia, located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, the highest mountains on the Iberian Peninsula. Mentioned for the first time in 500 B.C., its heyday began with the conquest by the Moors in the 8th century A.D. The early period of Arab rule was characterized by mutual tolerance that Christians, Muslims and Jews showed for each other. With the recapture by the Christians in 1492 this period of religious acceptance came to an end, and Muslims and Jews were forced to leave the country or convert to Christianity.
The Moors had not only formative influence on the mentality and naming of the city, but also left more solid evidence: especially the Alhambra, a huge fortress built over several centuries with magnificent palaces and the famous gardens of the Generalife. Alhambra, Generalife and Albaicín, the old Moorish quarter, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A walk through Albaicín is at the same time a trip to the Moorish roots of the city and a sensual experience through immersion in a world of unfamiliar smells and exuberant colors.
In another famous quarter, El Sacromonte, one gets a glimpse of the way of life of Granada's Roma community and the roots of flamenco. In the local monastery hill you can find the famous caves where the Roma still live today and celebrate their flamenco parties (zambras).
The Granada Cathedral, located in the city center, is a masterpiece of the Spanish Renaissance. The adjoining Capilla Real houses the remains of the Catholic Monarchs.
When you come to Granada, it is very likely you come to see all those things. Or maybe you come to simply enjoy the beautiful views from the hills and the fresh winds from the snow-covered mountains. But probably you don't come primarily for Granada's gay scene which of course can't be compared with Barcelona and Madrid. Nevertheless, there are some gay and gay-friendly bars and clubs in the city. Granada is a university town with many young, open-minded students. And both the public and official attitude towards gays and lesbians in Spain has dramatically changed for the better in the last 15 years. Thus, besides some gay bars you will also find quite a few gay-friendly clubs, restos and tapas bars in Granada.
Last but not least the most famous gay son of Granada must be mentioned here: the writer Federico García Lorca, who was killed by the Nationalists during the first days of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. His summer house at Calle Virgen Blanca in Parque Federico García Lorca is a museum now and can be visited every day except Mondays.
If you plan to travel around Andalusia, see also our Gay Seville Guide.