20 Best Things To Do in Granada, Spain

by | Dec 23, 2018 | Europe, Latest Posts, Spain

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Best known for its magnificent Alhambra Palace, there’s a wealth of things to do in Granda, a city in Southern Spain’s Andalucia region. Granada is the perfect spot for a European break and we spent some magical days exploring everything that Granada has to offer. We’ve put together our list of the best things to do in Granada and the best sights in this incredible city. From delicious tapas and the meandering neighbourhood streets to the incredible Alhambra Palace, Granada has something for everyone. Here are our 20 best things to do in Granada!

We’ve included a map at the bottom of this post which includes the location of all the places mentioned and a link to a interactive Google Map.

 

1 | The Alhambra

The crown jewel of Granada is undoubtedly the palace and fortress of Alhambra which, with almost 10,000 visitors every day, it is the most visited tourist attraction in Spain. The stunning hilltop palace overlooks Granada and is visible from all over the city. The name La Alhambra comes from the Arabic meaning ‘Red One’, a reference to the iconic red brick which adorns its walls and it is magnificent to see. The huge complex includes the Nasrid Palaces, the Gardens at Generalife and the Museum of Fine Arts.

The Alhambra shares a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation with the Generalife Gardens and the nearby residential area of Albaycin. Anyone visiting Alhambra will soon realise that the designation is warranted as the site is absolutely stunning.

Best things to do in Granada tip: With over 3 million visitors annually, the Alhambra Palace and the Generalife Gardens are the most visited sites in Spain. As a result, you will have to book your tickets well in advance on the official booking site. Tickets go on sale 3 months in advance and, during busy summer periods, tickets sell out at least a month in advance. We visited Alhambra at the first entrance time, which was perfect as the Nasrid Palace was not too crowded.

The Alhambra against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada Mountains

 

2 | Nasrid Palaces

A visit to Alhambra should start with a walk through the beautiful Nasrid Palaces. The palaces comprise a series of buildings and courtyards built to resemble a flowing garden. This is the most popular part of La Alhambra and has assigned visit times due to the limit of people in the palace at a given time.

Some of our favourite spots were the Lion Courtyard with its intricate design. the Oratory and the pond of the Arrayanes Courtyard.

The decorative walls inside the Palace are incredible


The Lion Courtyard at Nazarines Palace


Arrayanes Courtyard

 

Best things to do in Granada tip: : Don’t attempt to drive to La Alhambra as parking is difficult and the roads are narrow and winding. Instead, hop in a taxi to the summit from your hotel a short time before your entrance ticket.

 

Where to Stay in Granada

We recommend staying as close to the city centre as possible as this will allow you to easily explore the city on foot. There are two main areas to stay in Granada: in the more residential area of Albaycin or in the city.

 

  • Santa Isabel la Real: a restored house from the 16th century perfectly located in Albaicin. This hotel is perfect for exploring the city and the views are spectacular. This hotel is perfect for anyone wanting the best location for exploring Albaycin and Alhambra – check prices now!
  • Granada Five Senses Rooms & Suites: also located close to the Granada Cathedral, this clean-look, modern hotel is perfectly located for anyone exploring Granada. With a huge variety of tapas bars on your doorstep and the major sights within a short walk, this hotel is perfect for anyone looking for a decent modern hotel, with an unbeatable location – check prices now!
  • Hotel Palacio De Santa Paula: we chose to stay at this beautiful hotel located 5 minutes walk from Granada Cathedral. A former convent, the hotel has been beautifully restored around the historic building. The central courtyard, used for evening dining and breakfast, is one of the most visually stunning places we’ve eaten in! – check prices now!

the stunning dining courtyard at the Hotel Palacio De Santa Paula

 

Click here for the best Granada Hotel prices!

 

 

3 | The Gardens at Generalife

Alongside the Nasrid Palaces, Generalife is the major Alhambra attraction. Once a place of relaxation and leisure for the Kings of Granada, these incredible gardens are the oldest surviving Moorish gardens in the world. The name means ‘garden of the architects’ and the setting on the top of the hill overlooking Granada and the Dorros river is breathtaking. The highlight of the gardens is the Patio de la Acequia, the water garden courtyard, with its long pool and fountains.

Best things to do in Granada tip: Once you leave the Nasrids Palace make sure to visit the gardens at Generalife. The Gardens are located close to the main entrance of Alhambra and can get very busy at peak times.

Alhambra has stunning gardens

 

4 |  Granada Museum of Fine Arts

The Museum of Fine Arts is a beautiful collection of 2,000 pieces of renaissance and baroque art and sculptures. It is located close to the entrance to the Nasrid Palaces in the Alhambra complex. If art isn’t your thing, it is still worth exploring the entrance courtyard of the Museum. The interior is a two-floored columned courtyard and a stunning sight in Granada.

The entrance courtyard to the Museum

 

5 | Albaicín

Albaycin is packed with hidden corners and squares, all connected by the whitewashed traditional buildings and steep cobbled streets. Walking through the narrow streets of the Moorish Albicin neighbourhood is like stepping back in time. The winding streets meander up and down the hill and are overlooked by the majestic Alhambra Palace offering fantastic views. It is one of the most interesting parts of Granada to explore.  Each turn you take will provide a new view of Alhambra and another beautiful setting. 

Just one of the stunning views from Albaycin


The winding streets of Albacin

 

6 | El Huerto de Juan Ranos

One of the best things to do in Granada is to enjoy a cold drink on a warm summer evening while taking in the view of the magnificent La Alhambra. We discovered El Huerto de Juan Ranos while exploring the Albaicin area of Granada and adored the al fresco setting and stunning views of Alhambra.

The views from El Huerto de Juan Ranos are spectacular, with uninterrupted panoramic views of the Alhambra palace.

Best things to do in Granada tip: The best time to visit El Huerto de Juan Ranos is in the late afternoon just before sunset. You should be able to get a seat and the views are amazing. 

View of Alhambra from the El Huerto de Juan Ranos terrace


The best seat in Granada!

 

7 | The Miradores of Granada

There are a number of miradores, or lookout points, dotted on the hills throughout Albaycin. The most popular of these is the Mirador de San Nicolas, once described by Bill Clinton as ‘the most beautiful sunset in the world’, with its panoramic views of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The Mirador de San Nicolas is located just behind El Huerto de Juan Ranos restaurant and is always buzzing with locals and tourists taking in the views across Granada.

Best things to do in Granada tip: We visited this square for sunrise and sunset and loved both times. The square gets extremely busy at sunset so aim to get there early if you’re planning to take photos and want to secure a good spot!

The view from Mirador de San Nicolas

 

There are a number of other Miradors that you can easily visit while exploring the Albacin area.

Mirador de San Cristobal 

For a nice view of the city and Alhambra make a stop San Cristobel viewpoint as you make your way down from Albaycin and into the city.

Mirador de San Cristobal 

 

Mirador de la Lona

Facing away from Alhambra, La Lona offers the best view across the city of Granada. It’s also a great option for sunset.

Mirador de la Lona

 

Mirador de Los Carvajales

Los Carvajales is the lowest of the viewpoints, located lower down the hill of Albaycin. Despite this, it still offers incredible views of Alhambra. The view of the palace through the trees from here is great.

Mirador de Los Carvajales

 

8 | Sacromonte

While visiting Albaycin it’s worth taking a few hours to walk through the nearby neighbourhood of Scaromonte, which is home to Granada’s Roma community. The area is very different compared to the rest of Granada, with many cave dwellings and whitewashed streets to explore. The views from the top are stunning, with panoramic views across neighbouring Albaycin and Granada. There are lots of restaurant options dotted along the main street, Camino del Sacromon, and in the evenings the area is a great place to see traditional flamenco dancing.

Sacromonte as seen from Alhambra