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When Spain tours make their way to the southern portion of the country, many travelers may be surprised to notice a somewhat distinct change in culture. The Moorish influence on the region is evident in a number of famous buildings, particularly in the city and province of Granada. The city's interesting history is apparent around every corner, and there are numerous landmarks where you can experience it firsthand.
The most famous tourist destination in Granada is undoubtedly the Alhambra, a fortress-turned royal palace that has stood since AD 889. The impressive structure stands as one of the most striking remnants of the Moorish rule of Spain, which lasted from around 711 to 1492. The large complex is home to ornate decorations and breathtaking architecture that makes it standout among the most iconic Spanish structures.
During your trip to the Alhambra, there are a few highlights you should make a point to visit. The Court of the Lions marks the heart of the complex, and has become especially appealing in the last couple years. This is largely thanks to an extensive restoration, so now you can get the full effect of what the beautiful aches and fountains looked like their prime.
Though the Alhambra may be a staple of tours of Spain, Granada is home to many other appealing destinations as well. For instance, a walk along the Carrera del Darro provides you with some of the most picturesque views of the city.
After you've wrapped up your time in Granada, taking a trip west to begin a tour of Portugal may be in order. Though much smaller, this neighboring country offers much of the same cultural and historic appeal, whether you're taking in a soccer game at Estadio da Luz or riding one of Lisbon's famous electric trams.
Look down in wonder at Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral from your glass-walled pod on the London Eye, then gaze out over the Louvre and the Champs-Elysees from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The scent of rich pine forests lingers in the breeze as the 13th-century ruins of Turaida Castle are revealed before your eyes in the lush Gauja River valley in a medieval sanctuary untouched by the march of time.
The aroma of dark roasted Viennese coffee hangs thick in the air as you tread the cobblestone laneways and bask in the elegant architecture, atmospheric cafes and refined restaurants in one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.
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