The vibrant culture, yummy local cuisine and incredible Muslim heritage – southern Spain holds the true essence of the nation’s identity and more. For 781 years, it was home to the Moorish empire, and till this day, southern Spain is infused with the preservation of Islam in its walls and stories 😍


Credit: Giphy

So if you’re looking for your next getaway, add this to your bucket list because this Muslim-friendly itinerary is all you need for a truly amazing and unique Spanish experience like no other!

Make your dream holiday come true!

Fly with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for an amazing in-flight experience, Muslim-friendly meals, and the latest entertainment.

BOOK NOW!

P.S. Enjoy these amazing fares with KLM’s Dream Deals promotion when you book from now till 18 September 2018!

  • Singapore to Madrid from SGD 785 all-in | to Europe from SGD 849 all-in
    • Travel period: 12 Sep 18 – 15 Jun 19
  • Malaysia to Madrid from MYR 2,520 all-in | to Europe from MYR 2,500 all-in
    • Travel period: 4 Sep 18 – 15 May 19
  • Indonesia to Madrid from IDR 10,700,000 all-in | to Europe from IDR 8,900,000 all-in
    • Travel period: 4 Sep 18 – 30 Jun 19
Route: Madrid-Seville-Granada-Cordoba-Madrid
Getting there

We took a flight to Madrid on board KLM with a short transit in Amsterdam. Suzana and Zarifah flew from Singapore while I travelled from Kuala Lumpur. After an overnight flight, it was great to see their familiar faces at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

If you’re concerned about your in-flight meals, you need not worry! KLM offers halal food onboard all of its flights to and from Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and Amsterdam. That’s right, all the meat served onboard these routes is halal, AND all the meals are alcohol-free too, so you can choose directly from the menu 😋

#HHWT Tip: If you’re departing from other locations, be sure to select MOML meal during booking so that they’ll have it ready for you!

Right from the moment we stepped on board, we were greeted by the friendly and reassuring smiles of KLM’s flight attendants. You can also immediately start enjoying the In-flight entertainment options even before take-off. So we took this chance to catch up on the latest movies and our favourite TV shows!

P.S. We received a surprise gift from the KLM crew. A Dopper bottle (slim designed bottle with a cap that doubles as a cup) and a Miffy plush dressed in the KLM uniform! You can order it via Shop@KLM and have it delivered to you on board. It’ll also make a lovely surprise for your family and friends.

And what’s more, the long flight to Amsterdam (12h40m from KL and 13h5m from Singapore to be exact!) was refreshingly comfy as we were seated in Economy Comfort. The seats are located at the front of the Economy class cabin, so you need not wait too long to receive your meals and services on board. With the excitement that comes with every holiday, you’ll also be one of the earliest to disembark. Best of all, we had extra legroom and seat recline – definitely highly recommended for long-haul flights ☺️

With a short stop in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, we got to freshen up before heading out into the Spanish summer heat.

#HHWT Tip: We found a multi-faith prayer room (with prayer mats and garments provided) at the 2nd floor transit area in Lounge 2!

Staying online in Spain

We landed in Madrid-Barajas Airport Terminal 2 and were immediately hit by the 30-degree weather. Once we got our luggage, we picked up an essential item we can’t live without – portable WiFi with unlimited Internet! It costs about €7 per day and you can choose your pick-up and drop-off points too.

WiFi hotspots are hard to come by in Spain. So be sure to order online at Wifivox before travelling and you can opt to collect it or have it delivered to you when you arrive in Spain 🙂

#HHWT Tip: If you’re transiting in Madrid, you can choose to collect the portable WiFi at the Left Luggage Service in Terminal 1 for an additional fee of €5.

Heading to Southern Spain

There is a train station located at the Madrid-Barajas Airport’s Terminal 2 and 4. But since we visited 3 different cities in the South by train, buying the intercity tickets online prior to the trip got us a free shuttle ride (bus no. 203) from the airport to the Atocha Renfe train station! If you haven’t bought your intercity train tickets, you can buy a bus ticket on board (€1.30 per person). Prepare small change as they don’t accept big notes.

Alternatively, take the Metro from Terminal 2 to Terminal 4, then change train towards Atocha Station. From here, take a 5-minute walk to the Atocha Renfe train station.

Here’s how to buy a Metrocard from the auto machine. Select Single Journey – Zone A – Atocha Renfe. This would cost you about €4.50 per person plus €3 airport supplement fee. You could also opt for a Multi card for €2.50 (plus €5 per person) if you’re travelling with other people! A single Multi card would allow a maximum of 10 individuals to travel together. Buying a Metrocard from the machines can be confusing. So when in doubt, approach one of the friendly officers for help!

#HHWT Tip: It’s best to buy your intercity train tickets online – the earlier you buy, the cheaper they are! Tickets tend to sell out.

1. Seville

By Train: 2h32m

Price: €40-90 per person

First stop, Seville! Seville was the capital of southern Spain during the Moorish dynasty, and it is as beautiful as it is historic. As we stood on the pebbled lane outside of our apartment, waiting to be let in, we were already charmed by the colourful buildings, the distant bustle of cafes, and tourists snapping photos in front of beautiful doorways.

Getting around

It’s easy to get around Seville city on foot but it can be challenging to wheel your luggage around on the cobbled streets.

If you’re travelling with a luggage, we recommend you to get a metered taxi from the train station to your accommodation. We were worried whether our 3 big luggage would not fit in a regular sedan car but surprisingly the driver was able to load them comfortably in the boot! A taxi ride to the city centre would cost you around €5-10 including a small surcharge for transportation of big luggage.

For sightseeing, the best way to experience Seville’s culture and attractions is by walking! There’s also a tram service in the city centre that brings you to the major attractions. If you’re planning to take the buses and trams, buy the one-day card (€5) or 3-day card (€10) from the train station kiosk for unlimited travel.

Where to stay?

The best area to stay in is Santa Cruz and Centro as all the major attractions, shopping streets and eats are within walking distance.

Day 1
Dinner at El Rincon de Beirut Restaurant
  • Hungry after the long journey? Start off with a delicious meal at this Halal Lebanese restaurant!
  • Did you know that locals have their lunch much later than 3pm? Don’t be alarmed if you see many shops closed between 2 to 5pm. This is the famous Spanish siesta where the locals take a break in the middle of the day! At 8pm, we had the place all to ourselves. That’s because dinner is usually served after 10pm.

  • We had the Shish Tauok (chicken shish kebab), Hamburguesa Crispy de Pollo (crispy chicken burger) and Moussaka Limasol – all for the price of €27.80.
  • The portion is quite big and we could easily share it between the 3 of us. Yummy AND cheap, what’s not to love about it?

  • If you love all things cheesy with a crunch, give the moussaka a try. This eggplant-based dish filled with ground beef, spinach and topped with cheese also has grounded cashew nuts in the filling.

Note: All the opening hours of the eateries mentioned in this article might differ during other seasons. Please do call ahead to check!

Opening Hours: 12pm – 12am daily

Contact: +34 955 11 87 07

Catch the sunset at Plaza de Espana
  • Nearby the restaurant is one of Seville’s most iconic landmark known for its mix of Moorish Revival and Renaissance Revival styles of Spanish architecture.

  • Take a stroll down the curved corridor, admire the fountain and flowers in the square and the colourful tiled Provincial Alcoves at the foot of the building.

  • Fun fact: Calling all Star Wars fans! Did you know Plaza de Espana was featured in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones in the scenes when Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala arrived on Planet Naboo?

Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm daily

Day 2
Visit the Torre del Oro
  • After breakfast, head on to Torre del Oro aka the Tower of Gold. Perched on the bank of Guadalquivir river, this 13th century watchtower now houses the Maritime Museum of Seville.

  • What’s unique is that the tower has a 12-sided (dodecagonal) wall.
  • On the first and second floor, the museum shows the build and reconstruction of the tower as well as Seville’s naval army’s glory days.

  • Climb up to the top for a panoramic view of Seville and spot other iconic monuments in the distance.

Opening Hours: 9.30am – 6.45pm, Monday to Friday. 10.30am – 6.45pm, Saturday to Sunday

Entry Fee: €3

Drop by City Expert Seville (Visitor Centre)
  • Get a comprehensive map of Seville, book guided tours or buy a ticket for the Hop-On Hop-Off sightseeing bus here!

  • You’ll also find a wonderful selection of quality souvenirs such as the embroidered flamenco shawls with fringes or a flag of Spain.
  • For something truly unique to southern Spain, we recommend getting the abanico (hand fan). Bring home a hand-painted, colourful abanico that’ll remind you of the Spanish summer!

Opening Hours: 9.30am – 8pm daily

Walk through history at Catedral de Sevilla & La Giralda
  • This UNESCO World Heritage Site was where Seville’s Aljama Mosque once stood in the late 12th century.
  • When King Ferdinand III captured southern Spain, he ordered for the mosque to be converted into a cathedral instead.

  • Admire the incredible beauty of the Moorish elements that are still preserved here – the minaret (La Giralda), the north door shaped like a horseshoe (the Door of Forgiveness), the fountain of ablution and the Patio of the Oranges.

#HHWT Tip: Buy your ticket online to skip the long queue outside, especially in the summer. Summer in Spain can reach high temperatures of 40° so wear a hat and stay hydrated when you’re outdoors.

  • Did you know that the cathedral houses Christopher Columbus’s tomb? The 4 bearers represent the kingdoms of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Navarra.

  • Standing high at 103 metres, La Giralda is now the church’s bell tower.

  • Visit the tower for a breathtaking panoramic view of Seville. Instead of stairs, the tower has 35 inclining ramps which is about 17 storeys high.
  • Did you know back when the Almohads ruled Seville, the muazzin would ride up the tower on a horse or donkey to make the call to prayers?
  • At the top, you’ll be greeted by a remarkable bird’s eye view of the city, the courtyard below and Santa Cruz neighbourhood.

Opening Hours: 9.30am – 4pm on Monday to Saturday, 2.30pm – 6pm on Sundays (Summer)

11am – 5pm on Monday to Saturday, 2.30pm – 6pm on Sundays (Winter)

Entry Fee: Adult €9, Students €4, Children (below 14 years) Free

Savour local dishes at Alcazar Restaurant
  • The “climb” up the tower would have worked up your appetite. Luckily, located right across the street is a Moroccan restaurant that serves Halal Spanish dishes!

  • We ordered seafood paella (Spanish rice dish cooked in a shallow pan) with mussels and prawns – and the portion was huge! For €28, you could easily share it between 3 people.

  • The flavour was smoky, with a lemon tang that cuts out the seafood aftertaste. As it was our first time, we didn’t know what to expect. We thought it tasted good albeit a bit too moist.

#HHWT Tip: It pays to learn a phrase or two in Spanish like “Thank you” (Gracias), “Excuse me” (Con permiso), and “Bill, please” (La cuenta, por favor). But in general, we didn’t have trouble communicating in English even with the language barrier.

Opening Hours: 3pm – 12am daily (Summer hours)

Contact: +34 622 40 53 50

Watch a flamenco show at La Casa del Flamenco
  • Seeing a flamenco show in Seville is an absolute must! Experience the emotions, the culture and stories as told through dance and song.

  • The small hall provided us with good acoustics. A guitarist, a singer and 2 dancers – we saw some of the best flamenco talent on stage that night.

  • We might not understand the language but the emotions were clearly felt through their skilful guitar strumming, soulful singing, the energetic movements and their dramatic expressions.

This is truly a cultural experience you wouldn’t want to miss! Buy your tickets online for a faster entry.

#HHWT Tip: Try to arrive early so you can pick your seats – the best seats in the house are the first and third (high chair) rows facing the front of the stage.

Showtime: 7pm and 8.30pm daily (Autumn & Winter). 8.30pm and 10pm daily (Spring & Summer)

Duration: 1 hour

Entry Fee: €18

Day 3
Relive the lives of royalties at Royal Alcazar Palace
  • Visit one of the oldest palaces in the world that’s still in use!
  • The palace was built for a Christian king on the site of the fallen Abbadid Muslim Fortress in the 14th century. But the mosaic ceramic tiles, the arches and courtyards are reminiscent of the Moorish era.

  • This is the Patio de las Doncellas (the Courtyard of the Maidens). If you’ve seen pictures of Seville, you might’ve come across this sight.
  • Inspired by the Alhambra Fortress in Granada, the Royal Alcazar features similar styles in its tile designs, arches and gardens.

  • It was incredible to see the mix of Gothic and Moorish design seamlessly come together. If you look hard enough, you will even see ‘Allah’ repeatedly carved into the plasterworks and inscriptions around the palace.

  • We were amazed by these aesthetically designed rainwater tanks, known as The Baths of Maria de Padilla, that also combined water engineering which directed the stream of water through the grotto at the end of the corridor.

  • Fun fact: The Baths of Maria de Padilla and the water garden were featured in Game of Thrones Season 5. It was the kingdom of Dorne in Westeros where the infamous House Martell ruled!

#HHWT Tip: Buy your entry tickets online and skip the long queue!

Opening Hours: 9.30am – 5pm daily (October to March), 9.30am – 7pm daily (April to September)

Entry Fee: Adult €12.50, Students €4, Children (under 16 years) €1

Visit the Metropol Parasol
  • If you’re up for a long walk, head to the largest wooden structure in the world!
  • Shaped like a mushroom, the Metropol Parasol is an architectural wonder and sits in the old quarter of Seville.

  • The ticket counter and elevator are located below street level and the upper levels have terraces where you’ll get one of the best views of the city.

  • With your ticket, you can redeem a free postcard from the gift shop and a free drink at the restaurant located on the ground level of Metropol Parasol. So hold on to your tickets!

Opening Hours: 10am – 11pm on Sunday to Thursday, 10am – 11.30pm on Friday to Saturday

Entry Fee: €3

Enjoy authentic Spanish dishes at BBQ House Restaurant
  • You can’t leave Seville without indulging in a feast at BBQ House!
  • This highly recommended Halal Spanish restaurant serves barbecue dishes and tapas (appetizers). If you think that sounds good, it tasted even better.

  • We ordered the calamares fritos con ali oli (deep fried squid with ali oli sauce), gazpacho (cold tomato soup), croquetas de pollo (chicken croquette), tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette with potatoes) and grilled mixed meat skewers and lamb chops platter.

  • The gazpacho was cool and refreshing and the croquettes were crumbly on the outside and soft on the inside.
  • As good as the tortilla de patatas was, it filled us up quite fast so we had to pace ourselves.

  • But the star of the night was the grilled mixed meat platter for €17.50 which is reasonably cheap for such a huge portion.
  • The meat was tender and juicy, and the lamb chop was only seasoned with salt and pepper. Paired with their flavourful BBQ or chilli salsa sauce – it tasted heavenly!

P.S. Look out for our HHWT sticker when you’re out and about!

Opening Hours: 12.30pm – 12am on Sunday to Thursday, 12.30pm – 1am on Friday to Saturday

Contact: +34 854 70 44 78

Make your dream holiday come true!

Fly with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for an amazing in-flight experience, Muslim-friendly meals, and the latest entertainment.

BOOK NOW!

P.S. Enjoy these amazing fares with KLM’s Dream Deals promotion when you book from now till 18 September 2018!

  • Singapore to Madrid from SGD 785 all-in | to Europe from SGD 849 all-in
    • Travel period: 12 Sep 18 – 15 Jun 19
  • Malaysia to Madrid from MYR 2,520 all-in | to Europe from MYR 2,500 all-in
    • Travel period: 4 Sep 18 – 15 May 19
  • Indonesia to Madrid from IDR 10,700,000 all-in | to Europe from IDR 8,900,000 all-in
    • Travel period: 4 Sep 18 – 30 Jun 19

We caught an early train in the morning to our next city. If you’re staying in hotels, hostels or Airbnbs, you could ask the receptionist or host to help you book a taxi.

Unfortunately, the direct train to and from Granada has been facing disruptions for years. If you’ve bought a train ticket, get down at Antequera Santa Ana station and board the bus to Granada. Don’t worry, it’s a continuous journey and the bus services are provided by Renfe.

2. Granada

By Train & Bus: 3h26m

Price: €30-40 per person

Coming from quaint Seville, we were pleasantly surprised by how busy Granada was in comparison. Sitting at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the weather can get quite erratic with the beating hot sun and the sudden burst of cool wind.

Getting around

The beautiful, bustling city is spread out with steep roads and busy intersections. So if you’re travelling with a big luggage in tow (like us!), the metered taxis queued outside the train station will help get you to your accommodation without breaking a sweat.

The easiest way to get around Granada city is by walking. But if you find it hard to climb the steeper hills to Alhambra or Albaicin, then we recommend you take the bus! The bus services are convenient and frequent with a one-way ticket costing only €1.40. Make sure you have your small change ready when you buy it on board.

Where to stay?

The most convenient area to stay in is Centro as it’s in the heart of the city and just walking distance to major attractions, restaurants and shopping streets.

But if you want to live out the history and charm of old Granada, you could easily find a homestay or hotel in Albaicin. The area is uphill but the winding cobbled streets, beautiful old houses and various Halal restaurants you’ll come across along the way makes it all worth it.

Day 4
Explore the alleys of Albaicin
  • Get a feel of the old Granada by exploring the Arabic quarter, Albaicin.
  • Till this day, you’ll hear melodious Quran recital playing on speakers coming from the shops and homes as you climb up the hill.

  • Quite a number of the Muslim community in Granada still reside here too! We were so happy to see the many Halal eateries and convenience stores on our way up.

  • Climbing up Albaicin on the rough, cobbled street can be a bit challenging for some. Luckily, there are a few shops you can drop by for a quick break.
  • Freshen up with a glass of orange juice and a local snack like the empinadilla (fried pastry with minced meat filling). It’s similar to Malaysian and Singaporean curry puffs!

  • We headed to Mirador San Nicolas which is a popular viewpoint where tourists can get a panoramic view of the Alhambra fortress on the hill opposite it.
  • On a beautiful sunny day, the square is packed with locals and visitors alike – with lively musicians, painters and sellers peddling knick-knacks.

#HHWT Tip: If you’re not up for an uphill walk to Albaicin, catch the red C31 bus for €1.40 one-way. Also, be aware of your surrounding as pickpockets are known to target tourists in this area. 

Take a break at Granada Mosque
  • Hidden next to Mirador San Nicolas is Mezquita Mayor de Granada.

  • As you walk through the gate, you’ll be greeted by this welcoming view. If you need to rest and recharge (especially during the summer heat, this quiet garden is the perfect spot!)

#HHWT Tip: You’ll also get a better view of the majestic Alhambra all to yourself from here!

  • Before entering the prayer hall, you’ll see this beautifully tiled wall where the men take their wudu’. The mosaic design resembles the iconic tilework of the Alhambra.
  • If you see a barrier put up in front of the prayer hall, just approach one of the staff and they’ll let you in.

  • Did you know that the building of this mosque took 500 years to happen? With the help of funding from various Islamic countries, it was finally opened to the public in 2003.
  • After decades of Islam being missing from Granada’s landscape, where mosques were demolished and churches built, the opening of this mosque signified the undimmed existence of Muslims in the city.
  • Relax in the peaceful hall and admire the gorgeous mihrab that’s decorated with marble and wood.

#HHWT Tip: Most mosques in Muslim-minority countries are self-funded and rely on donations for maintenance, so it’ll be great if you could spare a change or two towards donations. 

Opening Hours: 11am – 2pm and 6pm – 9pm daily

  • There are a few souvenir shops on the way down from Albaicin.
  • If you’re wondering why there are so many leather bags on display, it’s because leather products are one of the bestselling merchandise you could get in Granada and Cordoba!
Buy souvenirs at Alcaiceria Market
  • If you can’t find anything to your liking, visit the Alcaiceria and the shopping streets next where you will find quality gifts to bring home!

  • Located in the shopping area in the city, the Alcaiceria market consists of interconnecting alleys that were formerly the Arabic market, a place where spices and fabrics were sold.
  • Today, most of the shops sell souvenirs ranging from pashminas and coin purses to leather bags and clothes.

#HHWT Tip: Be careful not to get scammed! Always haggle for a lower price and keep a look out for better deals.

  • If you see many shops closed during lunchtime, this is the famous Spanish siesta people always talk about!
  • During summer (and sometimes in other seasons too), many shops would close for a midday break for their siesta from 2pm to 5pm and sometimes until 8pm. So plan your shopping well!

P.S. In Spain, most local shops and eateries don’t update their opening time online. It’s best to have back up options or try to contact the eateries in advance through their social channels!

Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm daily

Enjoy homemade dishes at Papas Elvira Restaurant
  • Owned by a very friendly Muslim lady, Wasila, Papas Elvira is a small eatery that serves Halal local and Middle Eastern dishes.

  • Her diners were mostly regulars and she kept a constant flow of chatter as she cooked.
  • Best of all, most of the dishes here are made using her own homemade recipes!

  • Don’t underestimate the simple presentation of this dish because every bite was oozing with homemade goodness. We ordered the empanada atun (tuna empanada), tortilla de patatas (we’ve taken quite a liking to this Spanish omelette), moussaka and beef kebab – for a grand total of €14.50.
  • The food was tasty, cheap and served with a grand smile – what’s not to love?

#HHWT Tip: Cool off in the summer with Papas Elvira’s homemade mint lemonade!

Opening Hours: 12pm – 12am daily (Summer hours), 10.30am – 12am daily (Winter hours)

Contact: +34 667 68 07 09 

See how others worship at Catedral de Granada
  • The Granada Cathedral was built in the 16th century on the site of the former Great Mosque of Granada.
  • Its grand Renaissance interior with Gothic exterior design became a rare Renaissance masterpiece which is why this cathedral is worth a visit!

  • The stained-glass windows are works of art by famous Spanish artists who did it for free. And the gold, intricate sculptures of the main multi-tiered altar tell stories of how Spaniards glorify Christianity from the time of Queen Isabella.

  • We think learning about the histories of other cultures and religions really helps us better understand the locals! No better way to learn than on your travels, right? 🤗

#HHWT Tip: The cathedral is in a complex next to the Royal Chapel. So make sure you’re at the right entrance before buying a ticket!

Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm on Monday to Saturday, 3pm – 5.45pm on Sundays

Entry Fee: Adult €5, Students €3.50, Children (up to 12 years) Free

Have kebabs for dinner at Shawarma King Restaurant
  • Take a break from all the sightseeing and explore the less touristy side of Granada.
  • Head to Camino de Ronda where there are plenty of cheap restaurants like Shawarma King as it is nearby the University of Granada.

  • We ordered the chicken, beef and mixed meat doner (Turkish) kebab. The filling was delicious and they’re very generous with their meat and veggies! Considering their big portion, €7 for a meal is very cheap.

Opening Hours: 1pm – 4am daily (Summer hours)

Day 5
Go on an Olive Oil Tour
  • Since Spain is the largest olive oil producer in the world, we decided to change it up a little by booking ourselves an Olive Oil Tour!
  • Request for a pick-up from your hotel.

  • Did you know that olive, pomegranate and citrus trees were brought to Spain by the Moors in the 10th century and now Spain’s produce is well-known worldwide?

  • We stopped at an olive grove to learn more about the olive types and picking processes. You might have noticed the olives you find in supermarkets come in different colours. Well these are because they were picked at different ripening stages (black being the most matured)!
  • This tree is more than 2000 years old. And the older the trees, the better the quality! The best quality of olives are harvested and processed between December and March.

  • We arrived at Niguelas, a tiny, ancient village on the outskirts of Granada near the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
  • The 15th century mill here is believed to be the oldest olive oil mill in Spain!
  • Back then, olive oil was processed for personal consumption. It basically fed the entire village!

  • After a visit to the mill, we went next door for a sit-down olive oil tasting. Here’s what we learned:
  • Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality grade
  • The best olive oil are produced in southern Spain mainly in Cordoba, Granada and Jaen
  • Organically grown olive oil that is produced in Spain has a leaf logo on the bottle
  • Seville is known for producing orange-flavoured olive oil which tastes great with bread and makes for a healthy dessert

#HHWT Tip: Take a spoonful of olive oil daily as a supplement because they believe that it makes you look younger!

Verdict: While the tour was educational and truly a unique experience, we think it’s more value for money to visit during the harvest season between December and March. If you decide to go on the tour, book online in advance as slots are limited.

 Tour Hours: 10am – 1pm (morning tour), 4pm – 7pm (evening tour) (Summer hours)

Price: €38

Walk through the palaces of Alhambra Fortress
  • The Alhambra complex of palaces and fortress is like heaven on Earth for the Moors of the 13th century.
  • The incredible architecture, intricate carvings and blooming gardens are truly a sight to behold! It is also the greatest surviving relic of ancient Islam in Spain.

#HHWT Tip: This must-visit attraction is very popular and we highly recommend you buy your tickets months in advance during peak season because of the timed entry to the Nasrid Palaces.

  • You could easily spend half a day here! Walk through the beautiful gardens and palaces of this impressive citadel that sits atop the Sabika Hill.
  • You’d also get a view of the city and Albaicin from here.

  • From the entrance of the Nasrid Palaces, look out for lavish Islamic tiling and ornately decorative plasterwork. This Patio del Mexuar leads to the courtyards within.

  • This is the Patio de los Arrayanes (Court of Myrtles), named after the myrtle bushes delicately framing the central pond. Seville’s Royal Alcazar Palace’s Courtyard of the Maidens was designed after this courtyard.
  • Fun fact: The pond was installed to reflect the arches and walls and cool down the palace during hot summers.

  • Walk through the doorways at the end of the courtyard and you’ll find yourself in the Patio de los Leones (Court of Lions).
  • The fountain in the middle of the marble floor is famously known for the individually unique twelve marble lions encircling it.

  • On the northside of the courtyard is a chamber known as the Hall of Two Sisters (Sala de las dos Hermanas).
  • This is where the women of the palace lived. The honeycomb dome is among the finest in Alhambra. The Nasrid Palaces is as grand as is it breath-taking. You definitely can’t miss this!

#HHWT Tip: Print your tickets out and enter through the Gate of Justice to visit the Nasrid Palaces. Take note of your entry time as you can only enter the Nasrid Palaces within the 30-minute slot printed on the ticket!

  • As you leave the Nasrid Palaces, you’ll pass by the ruins of the 13th century Moorish castle. This is all that’s left of the original fortress.

  • The Palacio del Generalife was the summer palace of the Moorish kings in the 13th century.
  • It has gardens like this with lush landscapes overlooking the Nasrid Palaces on the other side.

#HHWT Tip: If you’re not up for the uphill walk to Alhambra, catch the red C30 or C32 bus from Gran Via and Plaza Nueva for €1.40 one-way.

Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm from Tuesday to Saturday, 9am – 3.30pm on Sundays. Closed on Mondays.

Entry Fee: Adult €14, Children (up to 12 years) Free

Indulge in kebab pizza at Nemrut Kebap-Pizza Restaurant
  • If you’re tired and hungry from exploring the great Alhambra, head back to the city for a kebab pizza nearby the shopping streets.

  • Everything we ordered from the lamb kebab pizza to the mixed meat rice with fries turned out to be so tasty!
  • Our plates were clean within minutes – that’s how good it was. And the best part is this restaurant has outlets in other cities in Spain too!

#HHWT Tip: Always ask for recommendations to get your money’s worth (and leave with a happy tummy)!

Opening Hours: 10am – 1am daily (Summer hours)

Contact: +34 918 01 26 95

Beat the heat at Heladeria Los Italianos
  • Cool down in the summer heat at this popular ice cream shop!

  • Located near the Granada Cathedral, the store was packed with throngs of locals and tourists alike!
  • Add this shop to your list and join the long queue to order over the counter.

#HHWT Tip: Don’t panic if everything on the menu is in Spanish! Just ask the friendly lady at the counter for their English menu.

Opening Hours: 9am -12am daily. Closed during Winter.

Contact: +34 958 22 40 34

When you’re leaving Granada, remember that it’s not a direct commute so leave ample time to get to the train station early. We took the bus from the train station to Antequera Santa Ana and then hopped on to the train headed straight to Cordoba.

3. Cordoba

By Bus & Train: 3h12m

Price: €30-50 per person

When we arrived in Cordoba, we were welcomed by strong gusts of cool wind! The weather looked cooler than in Seville and Granada. Cordoba, known as the Pearl of The Moorish Spain, was the Islamic hub during the Moorish dynasty.

It’s common to see old pillars and parts of buildings blended in with new structures.

P.S. Most tourists make a day trip to Cordoba from Seville or Granada.

Getting around

The best way to explore the city is on foot. The narrow, intertwined alleys are picture-worthy and holds many hidden gems that you otherwise might miss.

Alternatively, you could travel by bus to the outskirts of Cordoba. Tickets can be bought on board for €1.30 one-way.

Where to stay?

The best area to stay is in the Old Jewish quarter (Juderia) area. It’s the heart of old Cordoba and nearby the Mezquita-Catedral of Cordoba. There are plenty of restaurants within walking distance!

Day 6
Explore Calahorra Tower
  • Start your Cordoban visit with the Calahorra Tower. Located near the Roman Bridge on the banks of Guadalquivir River, the tower is symbolic to Cordoba which was the all-important capital of the Islamic Emirate back in the 8th century.

  • Now, it houses the museum of Andalucian life (Museo Vivo de Al-Andaluz) depicting how Cordobans lived in the 10th century.
  • Learn the history as told through audio and visual displays that really gives you a feel of what it was like back then.

  • Climb up to the open roof for this postcard-perfect view of Cordoba. Watch the busy foot traffic on the 1st-century Roman Bridge below and see the obvious difference of the old quarters and the new.

Opening Hours: 10am – 4pm daily (May to September), 10am – 6pm daily (October to March)

Entry Fee: €4.50

Savour more paella at El Patio Andaluz Restaurant
  • Before visiting Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba, explore the narrow alleys with colourful homes and shops.
  • There are a few Halal restaurants nearby but we chose this pretty restaurant as they serve local dishes, yay!

  • Try their paella mixto (chicken and seafood paella) and the popular Spanish snack patatas a la brava.

  • Verdict: We prefer this paella best! It was not too moist and the lemon tang balanced out the seafood aftertaste perfectly.

Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm daily (Summer hours)

Contact: +34 957 47 32 74

Visit historic Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba
  • The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is one of the most important Moorish monument and former mosque in the Islamic Kingdom.
  • Its symmetrical iconic red-and-white striped horseshoe arches itself makes this attraction worth visiting.

  • The architectural design of the mosque sets the tone for most Moorish buildings and monuments throughout southern Spain.

  • Built in the 7th century, the original mosque’s columns are still preserved to this day.
  • When the additional chapel was built in the 16th century, they made sure to imitate the columns’ design and placement so that the entire layout of the mosque-cathedral is symmetrical.
  • The 856 columns here are made of jasper, onyx, marble and granite sourced from all over Spain which was very impressive back in the olden days.

  • This was the former mihrab of the mosque. The gold decorating the dome, arches and doorway makes this the most lavish area in the mosque!

  • The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba needs to be on every Muslim’s bucket list. It was such an extraordinary feeling as we walked through the grounds, reliving the time of Islamic ruling.

  • Torre Campanario or the bell tower used to be the minaret of the Great Mosque. For an extra €2, you can climb up the 40-metre tower (12-storey) for a panoramic view of Cordoba. It was quite a workout!

Opening Hours: 10am – 7pm daily

Entry Fee: Adult €10, Children (up to 10 years) Free

Take a bus ride to Medina Azahara
  • Travel 8 kilometres outside of Cordoba city to the newly awarded UNESCO Heritage Site (as of July 2018)!
  • Known as the shining city, Medina Azahara was once the administrative capital of Andalusia.

  • Visit the museum before heading to the archaeological site located 2 kilometres away.
  • The museum gives you an overview of the history, the construction and a visual display of the then luxurious citadel.

  • Although it’s bare and in ruins (and only 12% of it has been excavated!), the citadel’s layout design and engineering inspired other cities in southern Spain.
  • Built by Caliph Abd ar-Rahman III in the 10th century, the beautiful arches you see here today have yet to be restored to its original glory – where it glistened with ebony, ivory and multi-coloured marble.

#HHWT Tip: Book tickets online! Make sure to include return bus tickets to the city inclusive of the bus ride to and from the archaeological site.

Opening Hours: 9am – 9pm from Tuesday to Saturday, 9am – 3pm on Sundays. Closed on Mondays.

Entry Fee: Bus tickets – Adult €9, Children (up to 12 years) €5. Entry is €1.50.

Taste the flavours of Asia at PadThaiWok
  • Okay we admit it. After 6 days of savouring Spanish and Middle Eastern food here, we were starting to miss the taste of home. So we had wok noodles before turning in early for the day.

  • The huge portion is quite unlike the usual Pad Thai you get at home. There was so much veggie and one bowl could easily be shared by the 3 of us.

Opening Hours: 1pm – 4.30pm on Monday. 1pm – 4.30pm & 8pm – 12am Tuesday to Sunday.

Contact: +34 957 41 93 10

4. Madrid

By Train: 1h45m

Price: €50-60 per person

The vibe in the central capital of Spain is tremendously different from the south. Sadly, we were only here for just one night as we caught our flight home the next day. So we soaked up the Spanish urban culture as much as we could!

#HHWT Tip: Be aware of your surroundings! We were advised by locals to wear our bags on the front as there are many cases of pickpockets in the city, especially when you’re in a crowd and in Metro stations.

Getting around

The best way to get around the vast city is by taking the Metro! Get the reloadable Multicard for €2.50 and top up at any Metro station. If you plan to take the Metro everywhere, buy the tourist day pass for €8.40 or the 7-day pass for longer trips. It is available from the ticketing machine at any Metro station and can be used on all Metro network and buses.

Where to stay?

The best area to stay in is Sol-Gran Via as it is located near major attractions (Royal Palace of Madrid) and shopping streets with plenty of Halal restaurants around. You could also stay in Atocha area if you want to avoid the shopping crowd and still be near attractions (Prado Museum and Retiro Park). Atocha is also recommended if you’re staying in Madrid only for a short while.

In general, Madrid is well-connected by its Metro train network so any accommodation near a station is ideal!

Day 7
Visit the Royal Palace of Madrid
  • A trip to Madrid is incomplete without visiting the royal palace. While it is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, they only use this palace for official ceremonies and choose to live in the more modest Palace of Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid.
  • The old Alcazar fortress, a former Moorish castle, used to stand in this very spot but was demolished to make way for this palatial home in the 18th

  • P.S. Did you know that King Carlos III has a collection of 721 clocks in this palace?

  • Although photos aren’t allowed in most areas of the castle (except in the foyer where you’ll find this gorgeous dome), the beautiful paintings, sculptures and various instruments on display tells the history of Spain.
  • The grand décor and architectural design varies in every room, showing off different styles and signatures of famous painters and architects. You have to see it for yourself!

#HHWT Tip: Book tickets online to avoid queueing under the hot sun.

Opening Hours: 10am – 8pm daily (April to September), 10am – 6pm daily (October to March)

Entry Fee: €10

Direction: Take Metro to Opera (Line 2, 5)

Beat your hunger pangs at Nemrut Doner Kebap Restaurant
  • Drop by Nemrut Doner Kebap just around the corner from the Opera Metro station.
  • Although the service isn’t as friendly as the outlet in Granada, the food is just as yummy (and cheap!).

Opening Hours: 12pm – 12.30am Sunday to Thursday. 12pm – 2am Friday to Saturday. (Summer hours)

Contact: +34 915 59 52 89

See the home of Real Madrid CF, the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
  • If you’re a Real football fan (see what I did there?), you need to go for a tour of the richest football club in the world!
  • Learn the histories, get a panoramic view of the stadium, visit the changing rooms, walk the tunnel and more.

 

  • What’s a visit to the stadium without bringing home some original merchandise? From jerseys to Adidas kicks, enamel pins and keychains, there’s something for every budget.
  • You could also personalise the jerseys with your name and lucky number!

#HHWT Tip: There are no tours on match days or event days. Call to check availability as they don’t reply to emails. Buy the tickets online! All tickets have a one-year validity period.

Opening Hours: 10am – 7pm Monday to Saturday. 10.30am – 6.30pm Sunday and Holidays

Entry Fee: Adult €25, €30 (with audio guide), Children (up to 14 years) €18

Direction: Take Metro to Santiago Bernabéu (Line 10)

Contact: +34 91 398 43 70

Go on a spree at the shopping streets
  • Madrid is also Spain’s shopping central. The shopping streets stretch from Plaza Mayor all the way through to Puerta del Sol and Gran Via!

  • Did you know that popular fashion brands like Zara, Mango, Bershka, Bimba Y Lola and Loewe all originated from Spain? You’ll see many of these shops around – sometimes even 3 Zara outlets on the same street.

#HHWT Tip: After having skimmed through the popular outlets like Zara in the different cities, we noticed that Madrid outlets have better (and latest) selections of the season’s collection – even the items on sale.

But if you want something uniquely Spanish, then look for Casa Hernanz!

Casa Hernanz
  • Specialising in espadrilles (popular Spanish summer sandals), Casa Hernanz has been in business for over a century!
  • This family business has been producing hand-stitched espadrilles in various colours and styles.

  • With prices starting from 4, the humble shop sees hundreds queueing to buy their sandals every day!

#HHWT Tip: While waiting, take photos of the ones you want to buy and be prepared with your back up options too. This way, you can show the sales assistant your choices easily when you reach the front of the line!

Opening Hours: 9am – 1.30pm, Monday to Friday. 10am – 2pm on Saturdays. Closed on Sundays.

Direction: Take Metro to Tirso de Molina (Line 1) or La Latina (Line 5)

Primark
  • Primark may not be Spanish but this Irish brand that’s big in the UK and popular among tourists for its cheap clothing and lifestyle items is definitely worth a visit!

  • The 5-storey Madrid outlet is HUGE, with sections selling clothes, cosmetics, bags and footwear, home accessories and so much more.

  • There’s even a huge section on the second floor dedicated to Harry Potter goodies! From t-shirts and pyjamas to pillows and duffel bags, Potterheads would reel at the sight of it all.

Opening Hours: 9.30am – 10pm Sunday to Thursday. 9.30am – 10.30pm Friday to Saturday.

Direction: Take Metro to Gran Via (Line 1, 5)

Savour Spanish favourites at Sabor City Restaurant
  • There are plenty of Halal restaurants nearby the shopping streets. And just a 7-minute walk from Primark is Sabor City.
  • This restaurant serves Halal local dishes in a classic diner setting.

  • We tried the black rice paella (squid ink seafood paella), Galician octopus (cooked octopus and boiled potatoes in olive oil and paprika dressing) and Roman style calamari (fried squid rings).
  • The paella and calamari were delicious but we found the octopus dish to be quite different from other Spanish dishes.
  • Plus, this was the first Halal eatery we came across that serves this dish – it’s definitely worth a try!

Opening Hours: 8am – 2am daily (Summer hours)

Direction: Take Metro to Sol (Line 1,2,3)

Contact: +34 620 86 61 67 

Day 8
Start your day with famous churros at Chocolateria San Gines
  • You can’t leave Madrid without first making a stop at its oldest chocolate shop – Chocolateria San Gines.
  • Since it first opened in 1894, this 24-hour cafe has been steadily famous for two things – Spanish churros and chocolate!

  • There’s always a queue at the door at any given time of day. Here’s why it’s been a hit for centuries with locals and tourists alike.

  • Light and crunchy churros dipped in their cup of melted house brand chocolate, it’s a simple recipe for success!
  • The chocolate is smooth with the right amount of sweetness, complementing the taste of the airy dough. Trust us, it’s the perfect snack to have any time of the day (in fact, we had it for breakfast)!

Credit: @chocosangines on Instagram

  • P.S. Their chocolate products make good souvenirs too. Ranging from €6-25, bring home milk chocolate coins, orange and chocolate discs, even mugs!

Opening Hours: Open 24 hours

Direction: Take Metro to Sol (Line 1, 2, 3)

Essential tips
Plan your arrivals in time for check-in

Most accommodations wouldn’t mind holding on to your luggage prior to check-in time. But if you’re planning to stay in Airbnbs, request to drop off your luggage early. We were lucky our hosts were accommodating.

Credit: Lock and Go Madrid on Facebook

But don’t worry! There are also luggage lockers services available:

Seville – near Seville Cathedral

Granada – near Granada Cathedral

Cordoba – at Cordoba bus station (nearby train station)

Madrid – near Atocha train station

Explore Spain like a pro with these apps

Download these apps so you’ll never get lost in translation:

Google Maps – save the locations of places you want to go so you’re able to access it offline

Google Translate – it comes in handy especially when ordering food or asking for directions

Metro de Madrid – map your Metro journey here so you’ll know which station and line to take

KLM app – have your boarding pass ready and receive live updates on delays and gate changes, all on your mobile phone

 

Getting to the airport

From the city, take the Metro train from Atocha station to Nuevos Ministerios (Line 6 & 10). Then switch to the Airport line and alight at your Terminal. P.S., be prepared to lug your bags up and down Metro’s many staircases.

Since we had our 3 huge luggage filled with equipment and goodies, we decided to take a taxi to the airport which would cost €20-30. 

Flying home

There’s nothing quite like a Spanish adventure. As much as we didn’t want to leave beautiful Spain, home (and work) was calling. We downloaded the KLM app and it was literally an all-in-one app!

We checked in on mobile and received our boarding pass straight to our phone. You can even opt to receive it via Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger! This made the check-in process at the airport a breeze. All we had to do was show our boarding pass at the luggage drop and then scan our boarding pass at an automatic till to enter the departure area. Super convenient!

During our transit in Amsterdam, we found the airport map on the app very useful. From restaurants and shops to lounges and boarding gates, there’s no fear of getting lost especially when you’re on a tight schedule. 

Make your dream holiday come true!

Fly with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for an amazing in-flight experience, Muslim-friendly meals, and the latest entertainment.

BOOK NOW!

P.S. Enjoy these amazing fares with KLM’s Dream Deals promotion when you book from now till 18 September 2018!

  • Singapore to Madrid from SGD 785 all-in | to Europe from SGD 849 all-in
    • Travel period: 12 Sep 18 – 15 Jun 19
  • Malaysia to Madrid from MYR 2,520 all-in | to Europe from MYR 2,500 all-in
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    • Travel period: 4 Sep 18 – 30 Jun 19

 

While I flew back to Kuala Lumpur, Suzana and Zarifah caught the flight back to Singapore. But we can’t tell you how much we enjoyed our flight home. Nobody looks forward to spending long hours in an airplane. But the services on board were nothing short of amazing.

The friendly flight attendants with winning smiles, witty (albeit short) conversations in between meals and personal in-flight movie recommendations, we’ve never felt more at home – if home was 30,000 ft in the air, that is.

Personally, I have never been able to fall asleep in airplanes, but I slept for 8 hours straight, snuggled in the Economy Comfort seat. As for Suzana and Zarifah, their airplane has KLM’s seat-to-seat chat function! So even if you’re sitting apart from your family and friends, you’re still able to chat with them via the monitor. It’s also useful if you need to have a private conversation without others listening in.


Credit: Giphy

So there you have it! Everything you need to know for an amazing Muslim-friendly trip in southern Spain 😉 In just 8 days, you would’ve experienced the best of all that Spain has to offer. From savouring the lively culture and incredible food to mind-blowing Islamic history and stunning architecture, it’s time to cross this off your bucket list!

What are you waiting for? Hop on KLM’s comfy flight and let their cheerful flight attendants give you the right start to what’s going to be an once-in-a-lifetime adventure 😉

This article was brought to you by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

3 comments

  • Hi guys!I will be going to Granada this December and your itinerary really helps me a lot in my planning. May I ask which street (the name) of Albaicin did you guys take to walk up to explore that area in Day 4?Your response would be much appreciated. Thank you!Regards,Rashidi
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