Granada in 1 Day: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Ready to visit one of the most beautiful cities in Spain? Granada is a destination to fall in love with and with only one day to explore its streets you need to select the activities with great care, today I explain how you should do it!

Katherine Betances

Katherine Betances

9 min read

Granada in 1 Day: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Alahambra, Granada | © Willian Justen de Vasconcellos

Located in southern Spain, you will find hundreds of activities to see and enjoy in Granada. Its thousands of visitors each year are soon swept away by the fast pace and fun of the vibrant city. If you have 24 hours to see and enjoy this small but charming destination, congratulations! With a well-organized itinerary it is certainly possible to see the best of the city in a quick visit.

Before I start explaining the itinerary of activities to spend a day in the city of Granada, keep in mind that the program of activities that I share today covers a full day from early morning until late at night, without contemplating your arrival or departure from the city.

1. Wake up early to have a traditional breakfast

Cafeteria Casa de Todos| ©Javier de Gonzalo
Cafeteria Casa de Todos| ©Javier de Gonzalo

Like many other cities in southern Spain, the food in Granada is delicious. So, I invite you to wake up early, walk through some streets in the center and look for a good place to enjoy a traditional breakfast.

As you will soon realize, there are plenty of alternatives, as well as different price ranges. Although in theory Granada is a cheap city to visit, the truth is that, as in any tourist center, prices tend to rise especially in times of high influx.

Here are some excellent alternatives of places to have a good breakfast in Granada, all located near the next point of the itinerary.

  • Café Abencerrajes: The café opens its doors at 07h in the morning, making it one of the best alternatives to make the most of your day in Granada.
  • Casa de Todos: This traditional fafeteria opens its doors at 08h in the morning; another excellent alternative for early risers.
  • Café 4 Gatos: With pretty tables offering spectacular views of the Alhambra complex, this small traditional coffee shop is open from 08:30h.
  • Crepería Cafetería Elvira81: Open from 09h, this is an excellent place to enjoy a typical Spanish breakfast, a favorite among visitors.

2. Take the Alhambra tour

Alhambra of Granada| ©Damien RAMOS
Alhambra of Granada| ©Damien RAMOS

A determining factor in understanding the history and development of the city, the Alhambra is the finest example of Moorish architecture in all of Europe and the most visited attraction in Granada. It is a unique architectural jewel of its kind and a must-see during any stay in the city.

The best way to see the Alhambra is to purchase ticketsin advance and, if possible, book a guided tour of the Alhambra that includes a tour of the Alhambra and other major attractions.

Due to the popularity of the historic enclave, tickets can sell out. If you want to secure access on your day of visit, do not delay.

Located atop Al-Sabika Hill, the attraction is a walled citadel built to showcase Nasrid power and wealth. You will find numerous palaces, imposing gardens and a totally innovative system of engineering and architecture for the time in which it was built.

  • Hours: Daytime visits from 08:30 to 20:00; Nighttime visits to the Alhambra from 22:00 to 23:30 (the schedule may vary slightly at different times of the year).
  • Entrance fee: The visit to the entire complex is around 36€ per person.
  • Duration of the visit: There is a lot to see in the Alhambra, I recommend booking 3 hours to see the entire complex.

Book your guided tour of the Alhambra

3. Take a Lunch Break

Dining at Garnata Restaurant| ©leonor tallon
Dining at Garnata Restaurant| ©leonor tallon

Due to the vastness of the complex and all that you will see inside, the tour of the Alhambra will take several hours to complete, so either during or after you will need to take a break for lunch.

Fortunately in this area of the city there are plenty of options, so here are some interesting suggestions to consider. Choose one or the other according to your particular tastes or budget.

Lunch inside the Alhambra

  • Parador de Granada If you want to have lunch inside the complex with stunning views of the palaces, this restaurant is the best alternative. The gastronomic offer includes Granada and Andalusian dishes and a tasting menu with all the best of the menu and wine that costs about 50 €.

Lunch in the surroundings of the Alhambra

If you prefer to eat in the surroundings of the Alhambra, the offer of good restaurants is abundant.

If you have finished your tour of the complex you may consider having lunch at any of the following establishments, all located just a few minutes from the complex.

4. Get fabulous views of the city

Viewpoint of Granada| ©CARLOS GIL
Viewpoint of Granada| ©CARLOS GIL

Granada is a city famous for its incredible panoramic views. Granada's many viewpoints are scattered throughout the city and almost all point to the Alhambra complex that towers imposingly over the houses and buildings at its feet.

The San Marcos viewpoint is the most popular and worth a visit at any time of the day or any time of the year; other viewpoints such as San Miguel, San Cristobal viewpoint or Mirador de la Churra are also impressive places to visit, especially if you have more time to explore the city like 3 days in Granada or more.

However from the Alhambra fortress itself you can get fabulous views of the heart of Granada and the surrounding area. Inside the enclosure you will find strategic places such as the Nasrid Palaces or the Generalife from which you can enjoy panoramic views of the Albaicin district, the Sierra Nevada and the villages of the Alpujarra.

All this from the beautiful ornate windows that characterize the buildings of the Alhambra A final tip? Take your camera ready and bring out your creative side.

5. Take a tour of Carrera del Darro

Carrera del Darro, Granada| ©Matt Kieffer
Carrera del Darro, Granada| ©Matt Kieffer

Leaving the Alhambra behind, it is time to take a leisurely stroll along what is arguably the most beautiful street in Granada, the famous Carrera del Darro.

Located at the foot of the Alhambra and parallel to the tributary of water known as the Darro River, this important road connects the Plaza Nueva of Granada with the Paseo de los Tristes.

On your walk along Carrera del Darro you will find numerous buildings from the sixteenth century, beautiful landscaped facades and several really nice Moorish style houses. Among the places of major tourist attraction it is possible to name the Church of Santa Ana and El Bañuelo, an ancient Arab hammam where tourists and locals can take a Turkish bath.

6. Walk up to the Granada Cathedral and the Royal Chapel

Granada Cathedral at night| ©Gotardo González
Granada Cathedral at night| ©Gotardo González

Leaving Carrera del Darro behind, but staying in Granada's Downtown District the next stop I recommend is to visit the city's cathedral.

Considered one of the essential visits of the city, more than a religious temple, the Cathedral of Granada is a space to enjoy the art and the fusion of styles so characteristic of Granada's architecture.

Designed by Alonso Cano, the façade of the Cathedral of Granada is, to say the least, imposing, with hundreds of impressive architectural elements and details. However, a visit to admire the interiors of the Cathedral is practically mandatory.

For its part, the Royal Chapel is the final resting place of the Catholic Monarchs and here you will find hundreds of personal objects of the Spanish monarchy and the tombs of Queen Isabella, her daughter Juana and her son-in-law Felipe.

The Royal Chapel is located right next to the Cathedral of Granada, which is why most tours and excursions include a joint visit to both temples.

  • Hours: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:30 pm; Sundays from 3:00 pm to 5:45 pm.
  • Admission fee: From 5 € the adult ticket. Free for children under 12 years old.
  • Duration of the visit: The Cathedral, the Chapel and other surrounding buildings take a maximum of 2 hours to visit.

Book a guided tour of Granada

7. Go shopping in the Alcaicería

The Alcaicería| ©Eric Titcombe
The Alcaicería| ©Eric Titcombe

Leave the Cathedral behind and head to the Alcaicería, where an ancient Arab souk and a popular silk market once stood. Today it is a labyrinth of narrow streets full of stores with all kinds of products.

If you are looking for souvenirs or other curiosities, this is the perfect time to buy them! The Alcaicería is considered the best place to go shopping in Granada; beyond the typical souvenirs you will find typical Arab crafts, handmade jewelry, spices and textiles.

-Directions**:** From the Cathedral, the Alcaicería is only a minute walk away.

8. See the façade of the Corral del Carbón

Corral del Carbon| ©Shadowgate
Corral del Carbon| ©Shadowgate

End your tour at the Alcaicería and head to Corral del Carbón, a historic building located just a few minutes walk from the Alcaicería and an important site in Granada's history.

This building is the only Arab alhóndiga that remains standing today; its purpose was to serve as a shelter for merchants who moved long distances and whose route made them stop in Granada. Although certainly the most attractive of the building is its facade, if you want to know the interior the visit is free and the tour is quite short.

  • Schedule: If you want to visit the interior, the schedule is from Monday to Friday from 10:30 am to 8:00 pm. Saturdays until 14:00h and closed on Sundays and holidays.
  • Admission fee: Admission is free.
  • Duration of the visit: It is a short visit of approximately 15 minutes.

9. Have a coffee and rest in the Bib-Rambla Square

Bib-Rambla Square| ©Chris Yunker
Bib-Rambla Square| ©Chris Yunker

Leave the Corral del Carbón behind, take Reyes Católicos street and turn right to reach the most important public square in the center of Granada: Bib-Rambla.

Take a stroll around the Bib-Rambla square to soak up the atmosphere of the city, then sit down in one of its nice cafes and enjoy a snack to rest before the next adventure. You will also find numerous stores where you can buy curiosities.

This place is one of the most historic areas of the city and its origin dates back to the time when the Nasrid Kingdoms occupied the city.
the Nasrid Kingdoms occupied this part of Spain.

As you will soon realize, it is a place much loved by the locals and is one of the favorite places for locals to hang out or just watch the afternoon go by. Feel free to do the same!

10. In the evening, take a tapas tour with a tour of the Albaicín

Tapas and Wine Tour| ©rob thompson
Tapas and Wine Tour| ©rob thompson

Two other typical Granadian activities that I recommend to all my traveler friends visiting the city for the first time are the Spanish tapas tasting experience and a tour to see the best of the Albaicin neighborhood.

The visit to El Albaicin allows you to get to know one of Granada's ancient Moorish neighborhoods.

It is one of the most charming areas of the whole city, one of the most deeply rooted, a place where the Arab influence and legacy in Spain can be felt in every street and monument.

The best way to experience a tour of the Albaicin, especially if you are making a short visit to the city, is to hire a private tour.

Fortunately, in Granada you will find numerous local companies that offer them. A historian guide accompanies you through the narrow streets of the Albaicín and for tasting stops as part of one of the best tapas tours in Granada.

I recommend booking as far in advance as possible, especially if your trip to the city coincides with the high season months, which are the spring months in Granada.

  • Schedule: May vary slightly depending on the company you choose. Generally the night tours start between 7 and 8 pm.
  • Price: Approximately 40€ per traveler. The price includes guide and tasting.
  • Duration: You should reserve between 2 and 3 hours for this experience.

Book a tapas tour in Granada