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RomanticBreaks

Destinations for lovers (Picture: ORDI CAMÍ, Alamy)

Sarah Woods, author of ‘101 Romantic Weekends in Europe’, finds a wonderful choice of destinations for lovers, among them luxury treehouses in Nice, a lovers’ walk in Dubrovnik and a honeymoon hotel on the island of Mykonos. First she starts with Granada’s Alhambra Palace...

The Alhambra Palace in Granada

GRANADA

W

hen Grace Kelly and her Prince Charming honeymooned in the 15th century splendour of Granada’s Moorish Alhambra Palace in the 1950s – following a fairytale ceremony in which the bride wore a stunning silk taffeta dress paired with a 70m tulle veil – the world’s gaze turned to its romantic grandeur. With her new husband Prince Rainier, Grace embodied the dazzling radiance of a starry-eyed romantic dream as she tripped around the Alhambra Palace – Spain’s Moorish jewel and Granada’s glittering architectural treasure. Built on a hilly terrace on Granada’s southeastern edge, the Alhambra (meaning ‘the red one’) is the opulent former residence of the city’s royal court under Arabic rule. A masterpiece of SpanishIslamic architecture, the building is a celebration of ornamentation boasting

impossibly intricate patterns of swirling vines and Arabic script interwoven onto gilt-laden panels of rich crimsons, black, blues and gold. Stucco pillars, coloured tiles, turrets, domes and spires characterise this stronghold of the Moorish Kings. Wrapped in a mile-long protective wall, the fortress had the capacity for 40,000 men and today forms the centrepiece of Granada’s aura of magical romance. Stroll through resplendent gardens of enchanted pools and fountains to the Parador de San Francisco, Granada’s 15th century former convent, past ancient trees, huge arched windows and leafy, paved courtyards. Stay overnight and request a room overlooking the gardens for a truly unforgettable romantic vista across the rose bushes, orange trees and myrtles. Moorish poets wrote of ‘a pearl set in emeralds’ in reference to the palace’s alabaster stone and lush, green garden setting. Listen to

nightingales in the moonlight, to the gentle sounds of bubbling cascades amidst marble columns, horseshoe archways, exquisite mosaics and reflective pools. As the inspiration for Manuel de Falla’s evocative opera El Romance de Granada, the Alhambra Palace (Qal’at al Hamr) is the symbol of a city hand-crafted for romancing. Though lavish and grand in scale, Granada is not without its simple magic – few things are as memorable as watching the sun fade from the Mirador de San Nicolas as the city slowly illuminates the Alhambra in a spectacular golden glow.

CONTACT Hotel Alhambra Palace Tel: 00 34 958 22 14 68 Fax: 00 34 958 22 64 04 www.h-alhambrapalace.es

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