The best things to do in Granada, Spain

Granada is a must-see when visiting Andalusia in Spain. Read all the info on the best things to do in Granada, how to get around and where to stay

Granada is definitely one of our top favorite cities in Spain. This lovely and snug city is located in the south of Spain, and is a popular tourist destination in the country. The city is famous for its historical monuments like the Alhambra, stunning landscapes, and a rich culture filled with Moorish influences. In this blog post, we’ll give you all the information you need to explore Granada. We’ll give you information on how to get around in Granada, the best places to stay and the best things to do in Granada.

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How to get around in Granada

Granada has good public transport and there are also many taxis and car rental services. Below, we’ll give you an overview of the best options on how to get around in Granada.

  • The first and best option to explore Granada is by foot. Granada is a compact city, and many of the main tourist attractions are located within walking distance of each other. Exploring Granada by foot is definitely a great way to explore the city and take in the different aspects of this city.
  • Another way to get around in Granada is by bike. Although there are some hills in Granada, the city is definitely bike-friendly and there are many bike rental companies. The city has a number of bike paths and there are many beautiful parks and areas to explore on two wheels.
  • Public Transportation – The city has an excellent public transportation system, with its red painted city buses. The buses are frequent, reliable, and affordable, and they cover most of the main areas of the city.
  • Another way of transportation, although slightly more expensive than the previous options, are taxis. Taxis in Granada are readily available and can be hailed on the street or called to pick you up. Taxis are metered, and prices are reasonable. We do however recommend to ask for an estimate of the fare before getting into the taxi.
  • Although a car is not the best way for getting around in Granada itself, renting a car can be a good option if you want to explore the surrounding areas of Granada, such as the national parc Sierra Nevada or the rugged region of Alpujarras. There are many car rental companies in Granada, which offer a variety of vehicles to suit different needs and budgets.

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What are the best things to do in Granada?

There are plenty of things to do in Granada and below we give you a summary of the things we liked the most during our time in Granada.

Visit the Alhambra

The Alhambra is a wonderful collection of palaces and fortresses that are located on a hilltop overlooking Granada. This stunning monument is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is definitely one of the most visited tourist attractions in Spain. And although it can get crowded, you cannot visit Granada without visiting the Alhambra. It is a masterpiece of Islamic art and architecture, and it offers breathtaking views over Granada.

To fully appreciate and explore the Alhambra, it is recommended to allow at least three to four hours for your visit. You need to book the tickets upfront and make sure you’re at the right time at the entrance of the Nasrid palaces! At this website, you can book official tickets for your visit to the Alhambra.

the alhambra best things to do in Granada
A visit to the Alhambra is definitely one of the best things to do in Granada

Explore the Generalife

The Generalife is a garden complex located adjacent to the Alhambra and was originally built as a summer palace for the Moorish royalty in the 13th and 14th centuries.  The gardens are considered as one of the finest examples of Moorish landscaping in the world. There is a variety of  water features, colorful flower beds, fruit trees and herbs. The Generalife also includes several buildings that are worth a visit.

Generalife fountain Alhambra Spain best things to do in Granada
Wandering in the Generalife, with its many flowers and fountains, is a great way to start your visit to the Alhambra

Get lost in the Albaicin neighborhood in Granada

The Albaicin neighborhood is a historic and charming part of Granada. This ancient Moorish quarter has narrow cobblestone streets, white-washed houses and offers stunning views of the Alhambra and the mountains of the Sierra Nevada. Walking here feels like stepping back in time and it’s easy to get lost in the alleys and hidden plazas. There are many traditional tea houses, shops and restaurants to enjoy the local cuisine. There are some highlights in the Albaicin neighborhood you definitely need to visit:

albaicin best things to do in granada spain
Name plates decorate the white-washed houses in the Albaicin neighbourhood

The Mirador de San Nicolas

This viewpoint offers stunning views of the Alhambra and Granada. It’s a popular plaza to watch the sunset, listen to flamenco music and watch artist creating their artwork.

mirador viewpoint best things to do in Granada
Best views over Granada

Palacio Dar al-Horra

This historic palace was built in the 15th century as the residence of the mother of Sultan Abu al-Hasan Ali, who ruled the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. The palace blends Islamic and Spanish architectural styles and we especially loved the beautiful central courtyard.

palacio dar al horra best things to do in granada spain
The beautiful courtyard of the Palacio Dar al-Horra

El Bañuelo

This old Islamic bathhouse is believed to have been built during the 11th century but it was only discovered in the early 20th century. Despite its small size, it is considered to be one of the finest examples of medieval Islamic architecture in Granada. This bath house definitely was one of the highlights of our trip to Granada.

The building had a number of interesting architectural elements like the star-shaped skylights, and intricate geometric patterns. There are several rooms: a cold room, a warm room, and a hot room, as well as a central courtyard with a fountain.

el banuelo best things to do in granada spain
One of our favorites things to do in Granada: El Banuelo

Cave houses at Sacromonte

The Sacromonte is a neighborhood located on a hillside above the Albaicin neighborhood. It’s famous for its cave houses, flamenco shows, and because it is on a hill side, it offers stunning views of the city.

The Alcaiceria souk

This historic bazaar is located in the heart of Granada and here you can buy a variety of goods like ceramics, textiles, and souvenirs. It is a great place to shop for souvenirs.

The Cathedral of Granada

The cathedral of Granada (also known as the Cathedral of the Incarnation) is a masterpiece of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Construction began in the early 16th century and continued for over two centuries. The inside of the cathedral is worth a visit. One of the highlights is the Royal Chapel, where the Catholic Monarchs, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, are buried. From the bell tower, you get stunning views of the city and the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Attend a flamenco show

Flamenco is everywhere in Granada and it’s an important part of the cultural heritage. There are many flamenco venues in the Albaicin and Sacromonte neighborhood where you can experience live performances. Or you can attend a flamenco class or workshop and learn the this dance form yourself.

Indulge in tapas

Granada is known for delicious food, including the famous tapas. In Granada, when you order a drink at a bar, you will often receive a free tapa alongside it. Our favourite tapas during our time in Spain were patatas bravas (fried potatoes with a spicy sauce), pan con tomate (bread rubbed with fresh tomato and garlic) and of course the famous jamón ibérico.

Overall, Granada has something to offer for every traveler, from historical monuments to natural landscapes and cultural experiences. So when in Andalusia, Granada is a must-visit destination!

Alhambra roses best things to do in Granada Spain
Around every corner there is something new to discover in Granada

Where to stay in Granada?

Below, we give an overview of some mid-range priced hotels in Granada that offer great value for money.

Hotel Casa 1800 Granada

Check prices and availability: BOOKING.COM

Hotel Casa 1800 Granada

This beautiful hotel is located in the Albaicin neighborhood of Granada. It’s only a short walk to the cathedral of Granada. The hotel has elegant rooms and all rooms are equipped with air-conditioning and a private bathroom. The perfect place to indulge in some elegant luxury!

Hotel Palacio de Santa Inés 

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Palacio de Santa Inés Granada

This hotel is housed in 2 mudejar buildings in Granada’s most snug neighborhood Albaicin. There is beautiful courtyard with a fountain and decorative ornaments. All rooms have a private bathroom and some rooms even offer a view over the Alhambra.

Hotel Granada Center 

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Hotel Granada Center

This hotel is situated a 10 minute walk from the historic center of Granada. All modern rooms have air-conditioning and a private bathroom.  In the morning, there is a splendid breakfast buffet.

Casa del Capitel Nazarí 

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Casa del Capitel Nazari

This hotel is an old palace situated in the Albaicin neighborhood. There is a wonderful courtyard. All rooms have air-conditioning, a private bathroom and tiled floors. As it is located in the Albaicin neigborhood, most of the tourist attractions are within walking distance.

Hotel Párraga Siete 

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Hotel Parraga Siete

This stylish hotel lies in the center of Granada, a 5 minute walk from the Granada cathedral. The hotel offers modern rooms with air-conditioning.

What to take with you when visiting Granada?

Below we give you some tips on what to bring with you when visiting Granada.

Comfortable shoes – Granada is a city with many hills and cobblestone streets. And if you want to fully explore the Alhambra and Generalife you’ll need to cover some distance. So definitely bring comfortable walking shoes with you when visiting Granada.

Sun protection – The sun in Granada can be intense, especially during the summer months. So make sure to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with you to protect yourself from the sun.

Water bottle – When it’s hot, it is important to stay hydrated. The tap water in Granada is drinkable, a refillable water bottle is the most sustainable option.

A camera – pictures make the best memories. With so many picturesque locations, a camera is a must-bring item for your trip to Granada.

Lonely Planet Andalucia– A good guidebook will provide you with all the information you need for your trip to Granada.

Spanish phrasebook – Although most of the people of Granada speak English, it can be fun to know some basic Spanish phrases or words

Daypack – A lightweight daypack to carry the above essentials. We like the Vaude daypacks as they are a sustainable brand that make convenient daypacks.

the alhambra palace best things to do in Granada

We hope you liked this post and you are now ready for your visit to Granada. If you have any questions or suggestions, let us know in the comments!

Matthias and Mieke

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