Best things to do in Granada, Spain
What are the best things to do in Granada, Spain?
by Haley of Haley Blackall Travel
Perched on Sabika Hill above the historic town of Granada, is the world’s greatest Moorish fortress, the Alhambra. The Alhambra, translated as red castle, is a massive complex spanning over 26 acres with 30 towers. It features a mile of fortified wall and many smaller buildings. The famous Andalusian complex was home to many rulers over Spain’s tumultuous history.
Start your Alhambra journey at one of Spain’s finest Renaissance buildings, the palace of Charles V. The building has a circle within a square design with a 2 tiered colonnade. Place yourself in the center of the circle for the grandest site.
Next visit the oldest standing structure of the Alhambra, the Alcazaba, or fort. With its ramparts and three towers the primary function of the Alcazaba was defence against external forces. Climb up the watchtower at the Alcazaba for unparalleled views of the surrounding Albayzin and Sierra Nevada Mountains.
But, what draws most people to visit the Alhambra is the Nasrid Palace. This well preserved Moorish jewel features an intricate and elegant architectural style complete with ceramic tiles, filigreed windows, stucco stalactite ceilings, plaster work and even calligraphy. Faded colours of red, blue, green and gold shimmer throughout.
Just outside the walls of the Alhambra complex is the lush Generalife Gardens. The moorish sultans would escape here during the intense heat of the summer months. Save this estate for last to reflect on your epic trip to the Alhambra.
The Alhambra cannot be visited without prepaid entry tickets and is open 8:30AM to 8PM daily.
Flamenco in the caves
by Noel of This Hawaii Life
- El Tabanco.
- La Casa del Arte
- Jardines de Zoraya
- Peña la Platería.
- Venta El Gallo
The cathedral in Granada is a must-see in any Granada itinerary. It is situated in the heart of the city and is a really impressive building- both inside and out. The building of the Cathedral of the Incarnation was instructed by Queen Isabella. It was built on the site of an old mosque. Work began in 1523 and took five years to complete.
The Spanish architect Enrique Egas began work on the foundations. He was a master of old Gothic so his design was for a Gothic cathedral. He left the project prematurely and was replaced by Diego de Siloé, a Spaniard who had trained in Italy and loved the Renaissance style.
The result is a stunningly beautiful Renaissance cathedral- built on Gothic foundations. This is the reason why there is only one tower on the facade as two would have been too heavy for the foundations.
The facade of the cathedral is impressive with a central triumphal archway and inside, the grand altar is stunning. There are five naves, all at different levels and many side chapels and each of them is in a different architectural style. Today, the cathedral is the 4th largest in the world.
Milijana Gabrić of World Travel Connector
It’s no secret, spectacular southern Spain road trip is one of the greatest road trips in the world everyone should take once in their lifetime.
Magnificent Granada is certainly one of the highlights of southern Spain. And visiting picturesque Albaicín, besides the world-famous Alhambra Palace, is one of the highlights of Granada. Actually, the glorious Alhambra palace belongs to the stunning Albaicín neighborhood.
Beautiful Albaicín is an old Arabic quarter in Granada and a World Heritage site of Spain. Hilly Albaicín reflects the medieval Moorish past of Granada at its best. The complex and unique history of Granada is evident in every corner of Alabicin.
It can be seen along lovely Carrera del Darro street, in historic 11th-century El Bañuelo hammam, the interesting church of San Juan de Los Reyes with an Almohad-era minaret, and church of San Salvador with Moorish elements in Albaicín to name a few.
Charming narrow and winding alleys of Albayzin and typical Moorish-style houses with high walls, flower-filled balconies, and stunning gardens are nothing less than breathtaking.
Thus, when in Granada, head to Albayzín, wander the picturesque streets of Albayzín, admire old Moorish houses, visit the Arab Baths, and see the churches of San Salvador and San Juan de Los Reyes.
But for the best moments of your Granada trip, head to the famous Plaza de San Nicolás in Albayzín to enjoy the panoramic views of the Alhambra Palace with the Sierra Nevada in the background. Make sure to go there for sunset! And be careful, as falling in love with Alhambra, Albayzin, and Granada is granted!
by Lavina of Continent Hop
Granada is one destination in Andalusia that people frequent for its history, culture and stories.
The Alhambra sits perched here and can be clearly seen from most places in the city. The city experienced Umayyad, Visigothic and Roman influences and the architecture reflects these clearly.
The Hamman-Al-Andalus is one remnant of the times gone by and is definitely something one must try when in Granada not just because it is a stunning piece of architecture but also because the spa by itself is very calming and relaxing and helps one destress after exploring Granada in the hot sun.
It is one of the best examples of the Ottoman Empire and visitors feel they’ve stepped into an Arabian style story when they visit the spa.
Built when the Moors ruled Granada, the entire spa is lit dimly and pathways lead the weary traveler through arches to the main chamber where the baths are located.
You can opt for a massage and a vigorous scrub for which timings are specified when booking and you can continue to then use the baths before and after your treatment.
The scrub is carried out by using Kessa gloves and while it seems really harsh to start with, once done the body feels super soft and exfoliated.
Various sections have different temperatures and one is encouraged to move between the baths going from lukewarm to hot and vice versa.
In addition to this, there’s also a steam room and the whole experience lasts for about 3 hours.
The Hamman provides everything one will need, and you should only carry a change of clothes if you feel like it! Swimsuits are advised.
by Vicki of Vicki Viaja
Vegan Tapas at Hicuri
by Daniel of Urban Abroad
With its long list of notable tourist attractions and with historic neighborhoods dotted around such as El Albaicín the city of Granada retains its authentic medieval layout. One place to keep an eye out for when exploring the city is the Hicuri Vegan restaurant.
Not only does its bold Vegan sign and folkloric artwork attract people from the outside, but the smell of the food will also lure them inside too. After experiencing the menu it is hard to look at any other menu in Granada the same way.
Expect prices from around 10 Euros per meal, as well as meal deals (menu del dia) for those looking to try more than one dish. The staff, the service, and the quirky interior are all so well presented that they instantly warrant a generous tip.
This relaxed atmosphere makes it a pleasant place to visit (and revisit) during any length of stay in Granada. The desserts are the most impressive, especially the cheesecake which usually comes as part of the evening menu.
Granada is great for those who are interested in sustainable travel and for vegans or anyone subject to special dietary requirements. They can still enjoy Spanish and continental style food without feeling left out.
by Joanna of The World in my Pocket
Granada is one of the best cities in Andalucia when it comes to food and tapas. There are so many amazing places to eat in town. And great tapas bars where you get free small dishes with every drink order.
As a first time visitor, it can be overwhelming not knowing what or where to taste the best food. This is why one of the best things to do in Granada is going on a food tour in Granada, on your first day. The guides are local and can recommend so many hidden places, that only the locals know about.
The food tour includes not only tastings of local products and traditional dishes that you can only find here, but also a great history lesson.
The food tour takes around two hours and includes very different stops, from a jamon shop to a small chocolate producer, from an olive oil specialist to a cheesemonger, from a fusion tapas bar to one of the oldest restaurants in town.
You will try three dishes on the tour which are part of the city’s heritage: the Remojon Granaino, the Asparagus Casserole and the Pionono. The last one is a dessert created in Granada to honour Pope Pius IX. It is an upside down cake served with a biscuit in the shape of the papal Mitre.
Hike Los Cahorros de Monachil
One of the best things about Granada is that it is the gateway to Sierra Nevada national and natural parks. That means there are a whole lot of outdoors opportunities once you have explored the city and the Alhambra.
One of the absolute best adventures is in Monachil, just a 15-minute drive from the city center. Los Cahorros de Monachil is a fun hiking adventure for the whole family that takes about 4 hours to complete.
It starts along the river where the trail is wrapped in lush green trees and plants. Then you’ll cross the river several places across hanging bridges. The longest one is 63 meters long which makes it one of the longest ones in Spain. This hangs above a swimming hole and gives you spectacular views of a waterfall cascading down below you.
The next section of the trail follows a canyon where the rock wall covers the path, so you need to crawl under it or hold onto metal handles pinned into the rock to pass. It is surely not for the faint hearted, but it is not very far down below you. So, as long as you take care you will be safe.
The loop back is on dirt track taking you above the canyon and takes you through olive groves and farmland before it winds back down to the road for the last part of the walk.
Related post: Best hikes in Spain
Ski Trip in the Sierra Nevada
by Alison of Alison in Andalucia
If you’re visiting Granada during the winter months, why not take a trip to the ski fields of the Sierra Nevada?
The ski resort of Pradollano has over 100 kms of ski runs for all abilities with 19 green (very easy) runs, 41 blue (easy) runs, 50 red (difficult) runs, and seven black (very difficult) runs.
For snowboarders there’s a snow park with facilities to suit everyone from beginners to experts, as well as the option to go Nordic skiing if you prefer.
If you’ve never skied before there are plenty of ski schools offering beginner lessons and you can also hire all the equipment you’ll need for a day on the slopes.
Thanks to its high elevation, the Sierra Nevada has a long ski season (usually from November to May). However, even if you don’t ski or snowboard it still makes a great day trip from Granada. You can ride the gondola or chairlift to check out the views over the mountains and then enjoy a walk back down to the village where there are plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy.
Getting to the Sierra Nevada is easy as there are several daily buses from Granada to Pradollano which take around 30 minutes.
Day trip to Malaga
Málaga is the perfect day trip from Granada. Just 1 and a half-hour drive, and you’ll be in the beautiful coastal city of Málaga.
Whether you love going to the beach or having a full day packed with cultural activities, this city is for you.
Cultural activities in Málaga include a visit to la Alcazaba, a fortress palace with beautiful gardens and incredible views of the port and city. Next to La Alcazaba, you can’t miss the opportunity to visit Roman theatre and Gibralfaro viewpoint and castle.
For anyone who loves museums, there are also plenty of options. One of the must-see museums includes the Picasso museum. It features some of the most impressive paintings and works of Picasso.
If you prefer a relaxing day walk through the port and visit to La Malagueta beach.
Last but not least, you can’t leave Málaga without trying the food. Málaga traditional food includes espetos de sardinas (sardines skewers), ensalada malagueña (a refreshing potato salad) and tortas locas (a sweet made of pastry and filled with custard).
El Pimpi is by far the best tapas restaurant in the city. Not only does it include great food but views to la Alcazaba and live flamenco.
Day trip to Cordoba
By Becki from Meet Me In Departures
The UNESCO listed city of Cordoba is an easy day trip from Grenada and can be reached in under two hours. You can easily see the highlights of Cordoba in a day.
The city boasts an exciting mix of architecture ranging from Roman, Jewish, Catholic and of course Islamic. In just a day, you’ll be able to visit the iconic Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba (Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba), the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs (Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos), the Roman Bridge and Jewish Quarter.
Start the day early by wandering around the quaint cobbled streets of the historical centre. It’s easy to get lost in these narrow winding streets of the Jewish Quarter. Head towards the gigantic Mosque-CAthedral. Plan for a couple of hours inside, even longer if it’s at peak time. The interior is jaw-droppingly beautiful, with the different styles of architecture blending harmoniously together. The red and cream arches stretch as far back as you can see, along with the multitude of columns inside. Head to the centre of the building, where you can look up the spire to see the Catholic influence in style.
If you happen to be in Cordoba in May, then your visit will coincide with the Los Patios de Córdoba takes place. This is when every courtyard and alleyway in the city are heavily decorated with colourful flowers, and makes the incredibly photogenic city even more beautiful.
What’s on your list of best things to do in Granada?
Hopefully, this compilation inspired you to try a few things during your stay in Granada. Do you have anything to add this list? What was your favorite thing to do in Granada? Comment below!