Situated beneath the Alhambra is Granada’s main square, a spacious public plaza known for its cafés, bars and views which span the city’s rich history.
Historic buildings, pavement café’s and a position in the heart of the old city make Plaza Nueva a popular place for visitors and locals alike. The name may translate as “New Plaza” but the square is in fact one of the oldest in the city. It was built in the 16th century to cover up part of the River Darro and create more space.
Take a good look at the plaza and some of its buildings. On the north side is the Real Chancilleria (Royal Chancery) that was built at the same time as the square and served as a law court and prison. Today, this grand building with its Baroque and Renaissance façade is the headquarters of the High Court of Andalusia.
Walk across the plaza and step inside the Iglesia de San Gil y Santa Ana. The 16th-century church was built on the site of a former mosque and features several chapels and religious sculptures and paintings. The church’s bell tower was converted from the mosque’s minaret.
Granada is well known throughout Spain for the quality and variety of its tapas dishes, the appetizers served with beer and wine. Sample some of the regional tapas in one of the square’s many bars and cafés. Take a seat at an outdoor terrace and enjoy the views up the hill to the Alhambra, the Moorish palace-fortress that dominates Granada’s skyline. Opposite the Alhambra you’ll see part of the old Moorish quarter, the Albaicin.
The plaza is a good starting off point to explore the Carrera del Darro, one of the most photographed streets in the city. The scenic cobblestone thoroughfare leads off the square and runs parallel to the Darro River. It passes centuries-old palaces, churches and homes and is crossed by stone bridges. Another road leading out from the square is the Cuesta de Gomerez that goes all the way up to the Alhambra.
Plaza Nueva is in the center of the old city, a 5-minute walk from the cathedral and a 30-minute walk from the Alhambra.