Photo Credit By:

Marlene Zahran

Visit the Islamic Influenced Sites in Spain

Now would be the time to book travel to anywhere abroad since flights are cheap for family travels. Spain is the number one European vacation destination for many Europeans, due to its climate being warm 300 days out of the year.  It is also known for its Islamic-influenced architecture, laid-back culture, and cultural cities if you are thinking of taking a family trip. 

This article will be my first-hand experience of traveling in Spain during the September and October months of the 2021 year with travel tips, as well as sharing the places that have the most Islamic-influenced history. One of the best cities is in the city of Grenada where the old ruins of Islamic rule remain in Alhambra. 


Alhambra, Granada Market

Places have the most Islamic Influence 

An iconic Islamic place to see in Spain is the Alhambra. The Alhambra is an ancient palace, fortress and citadel located in Granada, Spain. The Alhambra citadel is pronounced al-qal’a al-hamra, in Arabic meaning red fort or castle. It is the last historical palatine city to stand today from the Islamic Golden Age and a monument of the Nasrid Dynasty, the last Islamic kingdom in Western Europe.

Within Alhambra you find many beautiful palaces and structures to visit such as Alcazaba, Generalife Garden, El Partal, and Nasrid Palaces.  

One of the oldest buildings in Alhambra is the Alcazaba, built by Mohammed I, who constructed the three new towers: The Broken Tower (Torre Quebrada), the Keep (Torre del Homenaje) and the WatchTower (Torre de la Vela). Alcazaba eventually became the royal residence of the king and eventually was named a fortress for military use. 

Generalife Garden

Generalife Gardens

One of the most breathtaking gardens I have ever seen, and known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Granada, sits on the high point of the Hill of the Sun (Cerro del Sol) where the sun hits just right during the sunset. The Generalife Garden has had multiple names, since it was built in the 13th century, such as the Governor’s Garden, the Architect’s (alarife) Garden, the Vegetable Garden of the Gypsy Festivity Organiser, etc. The Generalife became a leisure place for the kings of Granada when they wanted to get away from the official affairs of the palace.

El Partal

El Partal 

El Partal or the Partal is one of the oldest parts of the Alhambra. It was built in the early 14th century and is the only Palace that has remained the same since the Nasrid period. The Partal is surrounded by a wall and towers, used as defense to keep invaders out of the Alhambra.

Nasrid Palaces

Nasrid Palace

The Alhambra in Granada, Spain is a giant complex that consists of 3 parts: Alcazaba, Nasrid Palaces, and Generalife Gardens. The architecture is beautifully carved into stone arches with Islamic calligraphy. The most amazing sites to see when looking at the details. 

All of these locations are in the same area and in close proximity to one another. Once you go to Alhambra, via the Justice Gate, you will need to scan your ticket and then wait for a shuttle to take you with your group to the first site of Alcazaba.  If you already have your pre-purchased ticket,  you can walk up the hill from Granada city center. It’s the first gate that you will come across.

Get Alhambra tickets

It is important to book tickets to Alhambra months in advance so I suggest booking right when you book flight tickets. Tickets typically include a tour of all of Alhambra including the Alcazaba, Generalife garden, and Nasrid Palace. You can book at this website: 

Best time to travel to Spain 

To avoid the summer heat and winter cold temperatures, high season prices and tourist crowds, travel to Spain during the spring and fall. August is the month most Europeans take their vacation days, and the majority of Europeans tend to go to Spain to vacation. That being said, traveling during the spring and fall will help avoid all traffic. Temperatures during this time are 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on what region you travel to. The more South of the country you travel the cooler it will be.

Get Around Spain on a Budget

Getting around Spain from city to city is one of the easiest things you will have to ever endure, besides walking around to get to your destination of course. Spain has multiple forms of transportation such as trains, taxis, buses, and BlaBlaCar – Trusted carpooling. Taking the train is very easy if you download the application on your phone called Omio app. These trains are easy to buy and can help you get from places like Madrid to Granada, a 5-hour trip, for about ten-fifteen dollars each person. The second easiest and cheaper option to get around the city is the bus system.

As long as you have google maps, you can walk around Spain with no internet. Through Google Maps you can identify the nearest bus route to get to your destination. Each bus ride costs about 2 euros per person. The third way of getting around town is taxis, do not ride with Uber or Lyft because it will cost you double the price sometimes. Taxis can be requested from your destination by using an app called MyTaxi.  

Spain’s COVID-19 restrictions for US citizens

Anyone who has been fully vaccinated can enter Spain for a vacation without proof of a negative Covid test, even if they are arriving from destinations categorized as “risk” spots. Americans over 12 now must prove they’ve been fully vaccinated if they want to enter Spain.  Be sure to continuously check on updates for Spain travel restrictions for two weeks and then one week before you go on your trip in case any COVID-19 changes occurred.