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Albaicín, Granada

Spain's insider take:

Calle Elvira, a street of tapas bars and nightlife hot spots, lies just behind the Gran Vía de Colon—the main artery of the bustling city center. This marks the beginning of the Albaicín neighborhood with its walled gardens and mazelike alleys, the historic quarter where the Muslims were once forced to live after the topple of Moorish rule by the Catholic Monarchs. These days the neighborhood still retains its Arab heritage and plays host to a full-fledged economy, with restaurants, bakeries, health-food shops, halal grocers, and cafés where patrons sit on cushions smoking hookah pipes. Take time to explore the Albaicín's labyrinth of whitewashed alleyways. Check out the fantastic views of the Alhambra against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains from Plaza Mirador de San Nicolas, a lookout point with a lively bar and restaurant where everyone goes to see and be seen.

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