AC Palacio de Santa Paula, Gran Vía de Colón, 31. Tel: +34-958-805-740. New five-star design hotel with 75 rooms and suites, located in a beautifully renovated old convent and cloister. The décor contrasts original architectural and decorative features with contemporary furnishings and amenities. Restaurant El Claustro is set in the convent's old library. There's also a small spa with Turkish bath and sauna. www.palaciodesantapaula.com
Fontecruz Granada, Gran Vía de Colón, 20. Tel. +34-958-217-810. Behind an historic façade with typical wrought iron balconies is this polished and professional new five-star hotel with spa and restaurant. From the small rooftop terrace you can enjoy views of both the Alhambra and the Cathedral. www.fontecruzhoteles.com
Hospes Palacio de Los Patos, Solarillo de Gracia, 1. Tel: +34-958-535-790. This former 19th century palace is today a five-star design hotel with 42 minimalist rooms, an intimate restaurant, Bodyna spa, and alabaster-white décor. The most affordable rooms are in the modern new wing, but it's worth upgrading to a junior suite in the old building, which feature original mosaic floors, elaborate ceilings, and contemporary furnishings. www.hospes.com
Hotel Abba Granada, Avenida Constitución, 21. Tel: +34-958-807-807. Newly constructed four-star business-class hotel with 136 spacious and modern rooms, chic restaurant, and small rooftop gym, sauna, and Jacuzzi, located within easy walking distance of the city center and Granada's gay venues. www.abbagranadahotel.com
Parador de Granada, Real de la Alhambra. Tel: +34-958-221-440. Paradores are Spanish state-run hotels that typically occupy an historic building such as a castle or monastery. This small four-star hotel occupies a former 15th-century Franciscan convent that is actually part of the monumental Alhambra palace complex. Although the décor, a mix of Arabic and Christian styles, is a little dated, the magical location means this is Spain's most popular Parador, but it's also one of the most expensive. www.parador.es
Room Mate Leo, Calle Mesones 15. Tel: +34-958-535-579. Of the two Room Mate Hotels in Granada, three-star Leo is better located: in the heart of the shopping district, convenient for the city's gay scene. It's a stylish and affordable little place with 32 bold contemporary rooms, free Internet access, and breakfast buffet served until noon. www.room-matehotels.com
El Huerto de Juan Ranas, Calle de Atarazana, 8. Tel: +34-958-286-925. Situated just below the viewpoint of Mirador de San Nicolas, this regarded restaurant occupies a lovely historic carmen (a traditional style of Albaicín house) and boasts spectacular views of the Alhambra. The menu mixes typical Spanish and Arabic cuisine. More affordable plates can be enjoyed on the chic roof terrace. www.restaurantejuanranas.com
Jardines Alberto, Paseo de la Sabika, 1. Tel: +34-958-221-661. Located directly opposite the main entrance to the Alhambra and Generalife, this welcoming restaurant with outdoor terrace is ideal for enjoying a typical Spanish lunch before or after sightseeing. Dishes include homemade croquetas, broad beans with serano ham, and baked cod and rice stew. www.jardinesalberto.es
Mirador de Morayma, alle Pianista Garcia Carrillo, 2. Tel: +34-958-228-290. Set in the ancient Albaicín district, this charming carmen-restaurant with outdoor terraces is named after the young wife of Granada's last Arab king, and boasts a tragically romantic history as well as lovely views across to the Alhambra. www.miradordemorayma.com
Restaurante LaGayedra, Tendillas de Santa Paula, 6. Tel: +34-958-207-437. A sibling of gay bar Six Colours, this restaurant has affordable set menus featuring international dishes, and is particularly recommended on weekends when dinner is followed by a camp (and often incomprehensible) Spanish drag show. www.gayedra.com
Bar Casa Julio, Calle Hermosa (by Plaza Nueva). A fun and affordable way to dine is to follow Ruta de Tapas and enjoy a drink and a tapas at each place you visit. This little tapas bar, with a typical Andalus-tiled interior, specializes in seafood and is popular with locals. A small glass of local beer or wine costs from €1.50 accompanied by a free tapas. Other recommendations include Bodegas Espadafor (Calle Darro), Bar Sevilla (Calle Oficios, 12) and Los Diamantes (Calle Navas, 26) but the secret to avoiding tapas tourist traps is to follow your instincts, seek out a busy place in a backstreet, and have fun.
Fondo Reservado, Cuesta de Santa Inés, 4. Tel: +34-958-221-024. Located upriver from Plaza Nueva in historic Albaicín, this fun gay bar is known for its drag shows. Although the shows are mainly in Spanish, foreign visitors might be treated to a familiar Cher or Beyonce number. www.fondoreservado.es
El Rincón de San Pedro, Carrera del Darro, 12. Situated directly below the Alhambra's floodlit towers on a charming little street just upriver from Plaza Nueva, this gay-friendly bar occupies a 400-year-old building, today decorated in deep shades of blue and a mix of Moorish and industrial styles. The DJ plays chilled house music.
InfraRojo, Plaza de los Lobos, 9. The city's latest gay venue has a slick red and black bar with industrial style décor upstairs, and a buzzing baby dance club with DJ in the basement. Hosting regular themed parties and events, it's favored by a young, hip, student crowd. www.facebook.com/infrarojo
La Sal, Santa Paula, 11. Granada's oldest gay bar still in existence, today this bijou dance bar is most popular with young lesbians, who pack the dancefloor till 4 A.M. at weekends. The décor is regularly redone to reflect the changing seasons.
Six Colours, Tendillas de Santa Paula, 6. Tel: +34-958-203-995. This popular video pub proudly shows its true colors – and the bartenders proudly show off their muscles in an annual calendar! It's a relaxed and unpretentious place that's idea for a quiet weekday drink, and is reliably rammed till 3 A.M. with cute, friendly locals at weekends. www.sixcolours.com
Tic-Tac, Horno de Haza,19. Tel: +34-654-277-107. This small disco pub is the only place here with a darkroom, so it's a popular pick-up spot with men of all types and ages, from students to hairy bears. Open till late, there are also regular drag and stripper shows.
Discoteca El Zoo, Moras, 2. Located behind Fuerte de la Batalla, and open till 7 A.M., this is Granada's "last call" for straights, gays, insomniacs, and anyone else not wanting to go to bed. With house music, dated disco décor, and a mixed, wasted crowd, this slightly seedy after-hours spot can be an acquired taste – but might be just what you're looking for.
ATTRACTIONS AND EVENTS
Alhambra and Generalife, Calle Real de la Alhambra. Tel: +34-908-444-221. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is one of Spain's most visited tourist attractions. Although you can explore much of it at your leisure, admission to the famous Nasrid Palaces is strictly controlled: only 300 visitors are allowed inside per designated half hour slot. You can buy tickets in person or online (www.alhambra-tickets.es) up to 90 days in advance, but they can sell out quickly so it's worth planning ahead. Pre-booked tickets can be collected from the Alhambra's ticket office or from a ServiCaixa terminal in any branch of Spanish bank La Caixa. www.alhambra-patronato.es
Huerta de San Vicente, Calle Virgen Blanca. Tel: +34-958-258-466. This former summer home of the García Lorca family is where Federico García Lorca lived from 1930, and where he wrote many of his best-loved works. Today it's a fascinating house-museum, with original furnishings and artworks. www.huertadesanvicente.com
Hammams de Al-Andalus Baños Arabes, Santa Ana 16. Tel +34-902-333-334. Built on the site of what's believed to be an ancient hammam, these newly constructed Arabic baths provide a relaxing and atmospheric traditional bathing experience. A two hour session is €21, baths plus massage packages start at €30. www.hammamspain.com
Dimension Aerea, Aeropuerto de Granada. Tel: +34-958-446-019. Offering a host of aerial adventures with prices from just €80, including 45-minute aerial sightseeing tours of Granada, the Alhambra, and the Sierra Nevada mountains, romantic sunset flights, pilot-for-a-day experiences, and aerobatic flights incorporating loops, rolls, and spins. www.dimensionaerea.com
Zambra "La Rocío", Camino del Sacromonte, 70. Tel: +34-958-227-129. Previous visitors to this popular flamenco cave in Sacromonte include Bill Clinton—they have a photo on display to prove it! Flamenco shows are often sold as a package including coach transfer, a meal, or a walking tour (but it's possible to negotiate if you just want the show) and are a colorful way of seeing flamenco in a traditional but unusual setting. www.granadainfo.com
Pink Week Sierra Nevada, Organized by Multicolor Viajes, this gay ski and snowboarding event is held every March or April in the ski resort of Padrollano in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Europe's southernmost ski resort and just 33km from Granada. www.multicolorviajes.com
Festival Internacional de Música y Danza, Dating to 1952, this renowned celebration of classical music and flamenco takes place in venues throughout Granada during June and July, including the Ahlambra palace, the Generalife gardens, the Cathedral, and intimate churches, cafés, and clubs. www.granadafestival.org