Jessica Bergin is a Barcelona-based Australian writer who’s worked in the travel industry for half a decade. Her passion for adventure, travel, culture and lifestyle has helped her navigate a successful career as a travel writer and content creator. Here’s her tips on what to do and see on your first visit to Granada, Spain.
Nestled in the eastern end of Andalusia, Granada boasts breathtaking views and a fascinating fusion of Islamic and Renaissance architecture. Sitting on the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Granada hones in on a handful of opportunities for adventure and nature enthusiasts too. If you want to plan a trip to Granada, look no further!
After five years of living in Spain, it’s safe to say I know this country very well. Andalusia, also known as Southern Spain, is one of the all-time favourite destinations.
Whether you’ve got 2 or 3 weeks in Europe, be sure to squeeze in a trip to Granada. To help you plan your trip, I’ve pieced together a list of must-see attractions in Granada. From visiting the Alhambra Complex to winding through the white streets of Albayzín, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. So, let’s get to it! Here are the Best Things to do in Granada, Spain.
Albaicín affords breathtaking views of the gardens of Alhambra and an opportunity to delve into the region’s rich history. You can stroll through the whitewashed alleyways and appreciate the intricate Moorish tiles adorning the townhouses. Nearby, you can discover the Church of San Salvador and the Great Mosque of Granada, both of which are highly recommended attractions in Granada.
If you’re seeking to indulge in the local culture and traditions, be sure to attend one of the Flamenco shows in Albaicín. This mesmerizing performance of dance and music has its roots in the Andalusia region and is guaranteed to leave you spellbound. Albaicín, the charming neighbourhood, offers a perfect blend of entertainment and cultural experiences, making it an essential destination for any traveller.
If you’re planning a trip to Granada, be sure to catch a Flamenco show. Known as the “cante jondo” among Spaniards, Flamenco is an Andalusian art form that’s famous worldwide for its footwork, hand clapping, passionate singing, and body movements, all brought to life by a live guitarist. To experience this cultural phenomenon at its finest, you should visit one of these top Flamenco spots in Granada: Cueva de Rocio, Casa del Arte Flamenco, and La Alborea. These venues are renowned for their stunning Flamenco performances that will leave you in awe. So, don’t miss out on the chance to add a Flamenco show to your bucket list and make your trip to Granada an unforgettable one!
Alhambra & Generalife
If you’re considering a journey to Granada, it is highly recommended that you allocate some time to visit the iconic landmarks of Alhambra and Generalife. These historic sites are celebrated for their breathtaking tilework, age-old architecture and exquisite gardens.
To ditch the long queues, it’s advisable to purchase your tickets on the internet and arrive early. The Nasrid Palaces are an absolute must-see, and it is advisable to plan for a few hours of exploration time in the complex. It is also important to remember to wear comfortable shoes for your visit to ensure utmost comfort.
Carrera del Darro
As you stroll along this street, you’ll be enchanted by the picturesque River Darro and the lush greenery that surround it. The Renaissance architecture and ancient Moorish stonework create a charming contrast that’s sure to catch your eye. Don’t miss the Puente del Cadí – a stunning plant-covered bridge that looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale! For the ultimate evening experience, head to one of the bars along Carrera del Darro for a sunset drink and soak up the stunning views of Granada.
This vibrant neighbourhood in Granada is a must-visit, featuring cave houses, rich gypsy culture, and authentic Flamenco shows. Take a stroll down the steep streets of Camino del Sacromonte in the late afternoon, enjoying the sounds of Flamenco in the background. As the sun sets, indulge in some delicious tapas while admiring the stunning views from some of the best viewpoints in Granada. Make sure not to miss out on the Casa de la Sevillana, Museum of the Sacromonte Caves, and Sacromonte Abbey, all located in this neighbourhood.
Nestled within the quaint Carrera del Darro, one can find an unassuming exterior that houses the traditional hammam. This cultural gem is a gateway to the strong Moorish influence that once thrived in the area, and it provides an excellent opportunity to immerse oneself in the city’s rich history and culture. However, the real treasure lies within the walls of El Bañuelo. The interior boasts a stunning display of soaring columns, graceful arches, star-shaped ceiling openings, and inviting chambers that date back to the 11th century.
From the first step inside the hammam, visitors are transported to a world of splendour and wonder. The tranquil atmosphere is complemented by the delicate aroma of infused oils, which offer a sensory experience like no other. The intricate geometric patterns, which adorn the walls and ceilings, provide a glimpse into the ancient Moorish culture and the exquisite craftsmanship of the time. For those on a budget, the Monumentos Andalusies ticket is an excellent option, granting entry to El Bañuelo and other historical sites in the area for a mere €5.
The Sierra Nevada
If you’re looking for a refreshing escape from the city of Granada, exploring the Sierra Nevada mountains is a must-do activity. It’s a quick 30-minute bus ride away from the city centre, offering breathtaking views of the rugged landscape. The mountains offer plenty of opportunities for adventure, including hiking on winding trails, taking a dip in the river, and crossing suspension bridges. Don’t forget to stop by La Barberia in Monachil for a refreshing drink. If you visit between December and April, you can hit the ski slopes for an unforgettable icy experience. Escape the crowds and connect with the natural beauty of Granada.
The Granada Cathedral is a stunning example of Renaissance and Baroque architecture, with a Gothic floor plan that’s sure to impress. Take time to admire the intricate stained glass windows, detailed paintings, delicate sculptures, and beautiful doors. If you want to learn more about the cathedral’s history, you can book an audio guide. And when you’re ready for a break, head over to Bar Rollo for some fantastic views of the cathedral while enjoying a refreshing tinto de verano. This is one of the best things to do in Granada during the summer. Could it get any better?!
Although Granada is often overlooke for popular destination like Seville, Barcelona and Madrid, it sure is worth adding to your travel bucket list. So, now that you’re familiar with the top things to do in Granada, what are you excited to see?