Standing at the Mirador del Cerro del Sol, staring out over the deep valley at at the distant snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada, you would be forgiven for thinking you were in the heart of the Spanish wilderness. In fact, you would find yourself in the Dehesa del Generalife, the sprawling natural park perched atop the hill behind the Alhambra. Tall pines and dense underbrush make the Dehesa del Generalife a true wilderness in the heart of Granada, however the interspersed football pitches and stone grills make this the perfect place to while away warm days away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
How to get to the Dehesa del Generalife
The Generalife is the range of hills sitting to the East of Granada. Part of the Alhambra itself, the summer palaces, is located within the Generalife. To get to the Dehesa, simply head up to the main visitor entrance of the complex, then continue for about 5 minutes until you reach a roundabout. From there, take a left and continue straight until you reach a dirt track, taking you into the Dehesa.
There are several main viewpoints in the Dehesa del Generalife, one offering breathtaking views of the Alhambra from above, with the city in the background, and the other offering a clear view all the way to the Sierra Nevada.
If you take a left as you come into the Dehesa, after a 15 minute walk you’ll reach the Silla del Moro, located directly above the Alhambra, allowing you to see into the heart of the gardens and palaces. Head up at sunset to enjoy a convivial atmosphere as couple, friends and families gather to watch the spectacle.
At the other end of the Dehesa you’ll find the Mirador del Cerro del Sol. This is about a 90-120 minute round walk from the entrance, depending on whether you stop for a picnic or some photos on the way. Here, you’ll find yourself standing on the edge of a precipice, staring straight up the valley in the heart of the Sierra Nevada at the summit of Pico Veleta.
The Mirador de la Abadia also offers a pretty spectacular view from a more accessible location in the centre of the park.
Picnic Spots and exercise
If you’re here for a picnic and a few cervezas in the sun, head to the ‘Llano de la Perdiz’, the sundial, in the middle of the Dehesa. Here you’ll be treated to stone grills, picnic benches and grassy lawns protected by the shade of the pine trees.
Just a stone toss from the sundial is a large football pitch, so bring a ball for a kickabout or some shots on goal. There’s also a series of exercise stations doted around the park, with a billboard explaining how to use them and in what order. The whole circuit should take you about an hour.