Granada must be one of the most adorable cities I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. When people ask me what I liked the most about Granada, my answer is EVERYTHING!
Its old buildings (some dating from the eleventh century AD), its narrow steep streets through which no car fits, the spectacular views of the city from the viewpoints, and if it that wasn’t enough, set at the top of a hill, so everyone can appreciate it, the spectacular Alhambra.
If you go to Granada my recommendation is to stay at least 4 days to truly enjoy the city. The most important thing in Granada is to walk it, get lost in its streets, go around without any specific direction, it doesn’t matter, you’ll find yourself lost in its history, it’s a really charming place.
Apart from walking it, there are also other places that are important to see once you are there. Here is a list of the main places to visit and things to do in Granada.
1. Fall in love with the Alhambra
Considered one of the wonders of the world, the Alhambra is one of the main places to visit in Granada. This citadel will leave you speechless. The monumental complex of La Alhambra is where the Nasrid kings lived with their entire court between the 12th and 15th centuries.
The Alhambra at Night
The Alhambra is formed by the Alcazaba, the Nasrid Palaces, the Generalife gardens, the Palace of Carlos V, and an infinity of courtyards, fountains, and impressive samples of Moorish art. It’s essential to walk through all its rooms and palaces, see the Patio de Los Leones, be amazed by the Arabic writing and decoration, relax in the gardens of the Generalife, and especially fall in love with the place!
If you are planning to visit Granada, my recommendation is to buy your tickets to the Alhambra in advance, because they sell out pretty fast. Here you have some ticket options to choose from:
Maybe you think I’m crazy but once you are there you won’t get enough of this place by walking it just once.
Paseo de Los Tristes literally means promenade of the sad. It is a beautiful cobblestone street next to the Darro River at the foot of the Alhambra. Walking the Paseo de Los Tristes is one of the essential things to do in Granada, and I was lucky that my hostel was just a few steps away from this incredible little street.
Paseo de Los Tristes, Granada, Spain
This promenade began to be known as Paseo de Los Tristes in the 19th century when the funeral processions began to pass through here. However, currently, it’s one of the happiest streets of Granada and is full of places where you can sit and enjoy a wine and a tapa while you contemplate the Alhambra.
Paseo de Los Tristes
It’s such a magical place!
3. Watch the sunset from the Mirador de San Nicolás
It’s a viewpoint located in the Albaycin neighborhood. From there you can see the Alhambra and the Generalife and the impressive Sierra Nevada behind them. In there, you will find not only the spectacular views of Granada but also an excellent bohemian atmosphere. My recommendation for you is to take a beer and watch the sunset from there. I promise you’ll remember that forever.
Mirador de San Nicolas
You can either go there by walking, or you can climb by taking the bus.
4. Lose yourself in the Albaycin
Another place to visit in Granada is the Albaycin, the most beautiful neighborhood in the city. My best recommendation is to lose yourself in this neighborhood. The narrow and steep streets will take you back to the Nasrid era. I warn you that climbing these steep streets isn’t going to be easy but the place is so amazing that will worth every step. I can’t stress enough how much I fell in love with this neighborhood, I went there 3 out of the 4 days I stayed in Granada.
A walk through the old city is essential to really appreciate Granada. Here you can find the majestic cathedral, haggle in the souk of the Alcaicería, taste tapas in one of the little shops, look for little gifts in the original stores. I’m not a person who likes to shop too much but I spent hours in the Alcaicería buying gifts, and running a little out of money on my trip…
6. Again lose yourself in the Sacromonte
Located on the hill of Valparaíso, this neighborhood is a natural viewpoint of balconies and beautiful flamenco caves with spectacular views of the Alhambra and the mountains. It’s famous for its typical Andalusian houses, viewpoints, and gypsy roots.
My recommendation is to lose yourself in the neighborhood, just like that. However, if you want something more specific, you can take a Guided Walking Tour to learn all the history this place has to offer.
Views from Sacromonte
One of the most magical moments I experienced in Granada was in this neighborhood, I was walking around, losing myself in the steep streets of this place, suddenly I turned around and saw the sun setting behind the Alhambra, it was one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen.
7. Watch a Flamenco show
As I’ve mentioned before, the Sacromonte neighborhood is one of the best places to visit and witness a flamenco show in Granada, but we can’t forget the Albaycin which also has very popular flamenco places. And, if you have my good luck you can even find a street flamenco show in the Plaza Nueva.
In these places you can book your ticket for a Flamenco Show:
8. Visit the Cathedral of Granada and the Royal Chapel
The impressive cathedral of Granada is the first Renaissance cathedral in Spain and one of the largest in the country. It shows a completely round Altar, something with no precedent in the history of architecture, and the works of the popular Granada artist Alonso Cano.
Right next to the Cathedral is the Royal Chapel, in there are buried the Catholic Kings, his daughter Juana la Loca, and her husband, Felipe el Hermoso, among others. The Royal Chapel was built in the Gothic style between 1505 and 1517.
9. Go inside The Madrasah
Located in the center of Granada, next to the Cathedral. It was founded in 1349 by the Nasrid King Yusuf I of Granada.
The name of Madrasah comes from the Arabic word “medersa”, which means school or university since it was the first university that Granada had. The exterior of the building is modest, however, it’s worth paying €2 to see the upper room with Mudejar coffering and especially the oratory with an architecture comparable to the Alhambra.
Photo Credit: unknown author
10. Visit the Basilica of San Juan de Dios
This is an authentic jewel of Baroque art, dedicated to the patron saint of Granada, San Juan de Dios. It was ordered to build in the 18th century. The inside is loaded with gold and silver ornaments, magnificent murals and altarpieces, and lights. Its rich Baroque decoration makes it one of the most spectacular churches in the world.
Photo Credit: unknown author
11. Be amazed by El Bañuelo
El Bañuelo is defined as Arab public baths dating from the 11th century, is one of the oldest, most important and conserved in Spain and one of the oldest works of Muslim Granada.
This is one of the few places of its type that were saved from the destruction of the Catholic Kings, since, among Christians, Arab baths had a reputation comparable to brothels.
The visit will not disappoint you, you’ll be able to transfer yourself to the 12th century. The light entering through the octagonal skylights of the ceiling will be difficult to forget.
12. Walk around the Tea Houses street
Another street of Granada that you can’t miss is Calle Calderería Nueva, also known as the Tea Houses street of Granada, because of the number of tearooms you can find in there.
Walking along this street, buying a souvenir of Granada, and having an authentic Moorish tea in one of the many teashops on the street is an excellent plan for this part of the city.
Photo Credit: unknown author
I’m not exaggerating when I say that Granada is one of the most magical and incredible places I’ve seen in my life, it’s a place you have to go to!
It may not be a very big city, but staying only one weekend doesn’t cover everything there is to see. When you see photos of Granada it may seem like a beautiful place, but trust me, when I say that until now I haven’t seen a photo that does it justice. You really have to see it, walk it, know it, live it, to really appreciate its spectacular beauty.
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