In 2010, Michelle and Sasha Obama traveled to Spain for a five-day visit. While most family vacations are low-key opportunities to relax, this is not the case for an Obama vacation. Michelle and Sasha stayed in Marbella, and a PR company estimated that their stay lent over $100 billion worth of publicity to the city.


On the first full day of their vacation, the Obama’s toured Granada, a city in Andalusia beside the Sierra Nevada mountains. Perhaps, they were familiar with American author Ernest Hemingway’s advice on Spanish travel: “If you were to visit only a city in Spain, this should be Granada.”


Check out the list below for a few facts about Granada that perhaps drew the attention of both the Obamas and Hemingway:

1. The Alhambra is Granada’s most well-known, most-visited tourist destination. The UNESCO World Heritage Site was born as an unintimidating fortress in 889, but has evolved into a grand, majestic palace. The palace was originally developed under Moorish emirs, but was further modified after the Moorish expulsion by the Reyes Católicos in the late fifteenth century. Today, the Alhambra is a historic jewel and offers unparalleled views of Granada.

2. The Royal Chapel of Granada is a mausoleum in Granada where the remains of the Reyes Católicos – Isabel and Fernando – rest. The chapel is adjoined to the Granada Cathedral, a grand structure built atop Granada’s former main mosque. The placement of the cathedral over the mosque was no mistake; it remains a physical reminder of Catholic Spain’s history of expelling and oppressing former Jewish and Moorish inhabitants.

3. Sacromonte is a district situated in the hills of Granada, known for its beautiful gypsy cave dwellings carved into the hills. Much of the original gypsy inhabitants and culture no longer remain, but Sacromonte offers traditional flamenco shows and great views of the city below.

4. Though the Reyes Católicos built over Granada’s old mosque, they could not totally expel Muslim culture from Granada. El Albaicín is an old Muslim district with small winding paths, Arabic restaurants and hookah bars, and shops. A walk through el Albaicín will make you forget that you’re in contemporary Spain and take you back in time to a city that flourished under Muslim rule.

5. Granada’s food culture also has a lot to offer, especially through free tapas. In bars and restaurants, with each drink you order, the waiter or waitress will bring over a free tapa. The free tapas don’t cost much for restaurants, but add a lot to consumer experience. In PR, offering something free or out-of-the-ordinary can help you connect with a target audience.


Besides free tapas, how else do you think travel can help to develop unique approaches to PR? Share your ideas below in the comments section or on Twitter @ryanlawlessness