Granada is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain (in my opinion). Surrounded by the magnificent Sierre Nevada mountain range, the city offers so much to do for everyone. Rich in culture from traditional to modern. You simply cannot go to Spain and not take a trip to this marvellous city.
Traditional architecture, markets, tapas, mountains, caves, and of course the Alhambra all there ready to be explored.
After exploring Granada throughout my time in Spain I have finally devised this essential guide to Granada, Spain.
How to get there
Granada has a small airport, operating flights from Madrid and weekly ones from London.
Another option is to fly into Malaga and take the direct bus from the airport that leaves every hour. It takes around 2 hours and is most peoples preferred way to get to Granada.
Things to do
The Alhambra– Probably considered to be the No.1 attraction in Granada. Built in the 1200s and 1300s during the final centuries of the Muslim control of Andalucia.
Standing tall with pride over the city as if it is protecting it somehow. Words cannot describe the beauty of this place.
You will have to book tickets in advance to get inside as tours are always fully booked. Or you can simply enjoy the ‘free’ areas (general life) of the gardens and grounds at your own leisure.
You will be completely mesmerised by the colourful flowerbeds, tall palm trees, fountains, geometric patios and views of the surrounding areas.
Tickets cost from 14€ for adults and 8€ for kids.
Granada Cathedral– Spains 2nd largest cathedral which was built on top of a mosque in the 16th century. Some of the outer features of the building are gothic but the interior features are from the Renaissance.
What used to be ‘the great bazaar’ during the Islamic control of Andalucia. A wander through here will surely fill your pockets with souvenirs.
A charming traditional neighbourhood. Home to the famous cave houses. A stroll around the cobbled streets will take you to another part of Granada’s history. Enjoy a beer at the top at sunset and watch the sunset over the Alhambra.
Pro tip: Take a beer with you to enjoy, there are people selling them up there but for extortionate prices.
Also if you want to see a traditional Flamenco show then this is the place to go.
Lies just beyond the city. It is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The drive out from the city towards the mountains is extraordinary as you see the landscapes change within a short distance.
Carrera de Darro
A romantic walk that runs just below the Alhambra and along the little river Darro which flows where the old walls of the city would have been.
There are lots to see on this short walk, from traditional Moorish buildings flourishing plant life down by the river.
Plaza de San Nicolás/ Mirador San Nicolás
The most beautiful views of the city and rightly so. The views of the Alhambra and Sierre Nevada are simply breath-taking. Enjoy the traditional music and relax with the view and take it all in.
Ice-Cream at Los Italianos, Gran Via- A locals favourite and as soon as spring hits and the doors open again after the winter break, then expect to see queues of people down the street.
Tapas- Home of the free tapas. You buy a drink and most places will bring you the ‘house’ tapas. Get another drink and you will get the next tapas on offer. It’s like with every drink you get, you move on up a level of Tapas.
There are of course other places where you can choose your tapas. The culinary trail in Granada is an adventure in itself.
Moroccan Markets and Teashops- Because of the rich Moorish history in Andalucia and especially in Granada, exploring the Moroccan Bazaars when in Granada is a must.
You can pick up cheap leather goods, jewellery, tapestries, ceramics and Moroccan inspired lamps at a cheap price. If all the exploring was too much for you then pop into one of the many tea shops and enjoy a sweet mint tea.
Relax at a traditional Arabic bath- When in the south of Spain this is something that must be done. It’s become one of my favourite things to do.
Enjoy the traditional baths and saunas with complimentary tea. You could pay extra and get a massage too. A perfect way to wind down after a long day exploring.
I personally recommend Baños de Elvira. It is less crowded, only allows a small number of people in at a time. You will need to book though. It is located just off Gran Via.
Where to stay-
Luxury – Hotel Catalonia Granada.
Stylish and Modern with Spacious, clean and bright rooms
Special amenities include a spa and wellness centre that offers beauty treatments, massages, sauna and swimming pool. There’s also a rooftop terrace with Great views swell as a fitness suite.
Mid-Range– Palacio Cabrera-Lillo
Apartment Style accommodation with a contemporary, boutique design.
Centrally located and comfortable.
The building itself originates from the 19th Century and some of the original features are still there.
All amenities – WIFI, AirCon and fully working kitchen and Bathroom.
All rooms are soundproof which is a blessing if you have ever stayed in an old Spanish building.
Budget- Granada Inn Backpackers
Set around a traditional Andalucian patio. where you can sit and relax and meet new people.
The dorm rooms are incredibly clean and spacious and the shared kitchen has everyone you would need.
The staff are extremely friendly and there’s always something going on which is perfect for the solo traveller.
Where to eat-
Famous for the tapas and trendy cafes. Granada is a foodies delight.
A lively restaurant under a hostel. It offers a wide range of food, from traditional Spanish to a taste of Asia.
There’s live music and a wide variety of drinks on offer including a cool, extensive cocktail menu. The atmosphere is amazing but you will need to book in advance as it is very popular especially with the locals at the weekend.
If fish tapas is your thing, then this is the place to be. Known for having the ‘best’ tapas in Granada. Open since the 1940s. This place has one of the liveliest atmospheres on the tapas scene. The tapas gives you a unique taste of the mediterranean. Get there early to get a place to sit or you will end up standing where ever there is space for you.
Have you been to Granada?
Where are your favourite places to visit in the city?