Granada is a city with a great number of monuments to see and plans and activities to do. I would say that, to get the most out of your visit, you would need to spend at least 4 days in the city. But three days is enough to visit all the neighborhoods, monuments and places concentrated in the city without having to leave its borders.
In 72 hours we have plenty of time to spend a good time to explore the famous Alhambra and its surroundings without leaving anything aside, have another day to explore the monuments of the historic center of the city and an extra day to visit the rest of places that Granada gives us.
Day 1: The Alhambra, the Generalife
The first day of this itinerary has a clear objective. To get to know its main monument, the Alhambra, and the surroundings of this place, recognized as one of the most important tourist spots in Spain.
The route starts early in the morning at the Alhambra itself and ends at the Paseo de los Tristes at sunset to enjoy the views. Finally, the day ends in an ideal area for dinner and a stroll through Granada at night.
The Alhambra in Granada
The starting point of this three-day itinerary in Granada could not be other than its most famous monument and its main symbol, the Alhambra.
This monumental complex consists of several palaces and buildings that were the home of the rulers of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada and later of the Royal family of the kingdom of Castile after the reconquest. Such is its importance that it is regularly among the 2 or 3 most visited monuments in Spain.
It is advisable to start visiting early in the morning to avoid more queues and avoid the hottest hours, especially in summer.
It is necessary to buy the ticket weeks in advance as the demand is very high and therefore can only be purchased by reservation, especially in high season.
The general admission of the Alhambra includes the Alcazaba, the Nasrid Palaces, the Generalife, the Palace of Charles V and the Bath of the Mosque, which are its main attractions.
The Alhambra opens its doors every day of the week at 8:30 am. Starting the visit at that time, which I recommend, you will have enough time to tour the Alhambra quietly, about 4 hours.
Logically you can also choose the option of hiring one of the guided tours of the Alhambra.
The Generalife is part of the monumental complex of the Alhambra, although it is located outside of it, practically next to it.
It is the royal residence of the sultans of the Alhambra and consists of its palace and its beautiful gardens full of fountains. These gardens are unique and the oldest of their kind in Europe.
The Palace dates back to the 12th and 13th century and grows around the well known courtyard of the irrigation ditches, the heart of the building and one of the most photographed places in Granada.
The Generalife is open daily from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm in spring and summer, and from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm in autumn and winter. 2 hours are enough to visit it and follow our itinerary to the next stop. You can find all the information about the tickets in this link.
What is known as the Bañuelo is no more and no less than the oldest Arab baths in Spain and one of the best preserved.
They are discreetly located in a private house near the Alhambra and are open to the public every day of the week.
It is, together with the Alhambra and the Generalife, the essential monument to visit to know all the facets of the Arab Granada. The entrance fee is about 5 euros per person but on Sundays you can visit it for free.
Paseo de los Tristes
Known by the name of Paseo de los Tristes because the funeral processions used to pass through here, its real name is Paseo del Padre Manjon.
This street where the Bañuelo is also located is a beautiful walk at the foot of the Alhambra and offers spectacular views of it.
Assuming you visit it late in the afternoon, it is a perfect area to end the day enjoying the walk and putting the icing on the cake by having dinner in one of the many tapas bars that are on the same walk.
If you prefer, another option is to walk to the Plaza Nueva and choose from the many tapas bars around Elvira Street, one of the most traditional in the city for dinner.
Day 2: Granada Cathedral, the Albaicin
After visiting the Alhambra area, the second day will be reserved for a tour of the historic center of the city. The starting point is the impressive Cathedral of Granada in the heart of the city.
After getting to know it, we will continue exploring the center on foot until we reach the Alcaicería area and the Albaicín where we will finish this second part of the itinerary.
Granada Cathedral and Royal Chapel
After the reconquest in 1492, the Catholic Monarchs wanted Granada to be a symbol of Christianity and ordered the construction of a Gothic temple worthy of being the burial place of the kings.
You will see the spectacular result during your visit to the cathedral of Granada. It is the most imposing building in the city center and a must-see.
The monumental complex of the cathedral is composed of, in addition to the temple itself, the old Lonja and the church of the Sagrario next to the cathedral.
But the highlight is the Royal Chapel, a project of the Catholic Monarchs to become the burial place of their bodies at their death. Although they died before the chapel was completed, their bodies were later moved and still remain there today. It is one of the most outstanding places in Granada for its historical weight and artistic value.
The Corral del Carbon
This place is another example of the deep imprint left by the Arabs in Granada. The corral del Carbon is an alhondiga, a building used to house merchants and traders.
Located in the heart of the city, near the cathedral, the corral del Carbon is the only building of the style preserved in Spain and a remarkable example of Andalusian architecture. Since the entrance is free, you can not miss this place dating from 1336.
The name Alcaiceria is of Arabic origin and designates an area of the cities of Al-Andalus used for crafts and trade, especially in silk.
As one of the most important places of the Al-Andalus, Granada could not not not have an Alcaiceria and today it is preserved keeping intact its original function.
It is located in the historic center of the city, also very close to the Cathedral, and in this market you can buy today many samples of handicrafts, souvenirs, souvenirs and all kinds of productsthat are a perfect souvenir of your trip.
that are a perfect souvenir of your trip to Granada.
In the afternoon and after visiting the main monuments of the historic center, it's time to move a little north to visit the most famous and oldest neighborhood of Granada, the Albaicin.
This is a neighborhood of Arab origin and is said to be like a city within a city. Its steep streets and houses predate even the Alhambra, and in fact the neighborhood is located on the hill just opposite where the famous Alhambra was later built.
With time and calm you can walk its streets, see the facades of its white houses, enjoy the many viewpoints of the neighborhood overlooking the Alhambra, such as San Nícolas, and ultimately discover why this neighborhood was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994.
Farewell the day watching the sunset from one of its viewpoints is an unforgettable experience. In addition, you can eat some tapas in the area before returning to your hotel.
Day 3: Monastery of San Jeronimo, Sacromonte
After the first two days we can say that we will have visited the main monuments of Granada. But the visit will be incomplete.
There are still several places to visit, perhaps less frequented, but also very surprising. Most of them are in a different route through the city center and ending in the Sacromonte area and its peculiar caves.
It is a more relaxed and flexible route, perfect to end a three-day trip to Granada.
Monastery of San Jeronimo
The first stop on our third and last day in Granada is the monastery of San Jeronimo, in honor of the patron saint of Granada.
This was one of the first buildings and the first monastery to be built in Granada after the reconquest. Two elements of the monastery stand out, the inner courtyard formed by 36 arches and the church.
The latter was sacked by the French during their occupation centuries later, but still retains much of its artistic heritage. The clearest example is its spectacular altarpiece in the main chapel, a work for which it is justified to pay the 4 euros entrance fee and visit this beautiful building.
Basilica of San Juan de Dios
If after visiting the Cathedral of Granada you have fallen in love with it, which is quite likely, you should know that it is not the only baroque church in Granada. The Basilica of San Juan de Dios
was commissioned by the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God to house the remains of this patron saint of the sick.
In fact the tomb of the saint is located inside and is one of the most interesting parts of the basilica.
Located on San Juan de Dios street, near the monastery of San Jeronimo, on the outside it may look like just another church to see, but when you enter the interior you will be amazed by the decoration of the church in gold colors.
It is, in my opinion, one of the least known jewels of Granada but one of the most surprising.
To the list of Gothic buildings that the Catholic kings ordered to be built in Granada we must add the Royal Hospital.
After the reconquest, this building was erected to care for the war wounded and later served as an asylum for combatants. Today it is the seat of the University of Granada.
The hospital's interior courtyards in Mudejar style, the most famous of which is the marble courtyard. The main façade and the gardens of the triumph, located next to this building, are not to be missed. A
lthough it is not the most impressive building in the city, it is a very comfortable and quick visit to make this route through the best of Granada even more complete if possible.
Although the Albaicín is the most emblematic neighborhood of Granada, this does not mean that it is the only one worth visiting in the Andalusian city.
In fact, tours of the Sacromonte neighborhood usually go hand in hand with those of the Albaicín, although it has two elements that make it unique: its cave houses and the fact that it is the birthplace of flamenco in Granada.
Being located on the slopes of a hill opposite the Alhambra, the gypsies who once inhabited it took advantage of the orography to make their houses inside the land in the form of caves.
Many of these caves are places of worship among flamenco lovers as they are used for flamenco shows in a unique environment.
In this sense, the best known are the Cueva de María la Canastera and the Cueva de La Rocío. Also in one of its caves there is a museum designed to show the history and traditions of a neighborhood where Arabs, Jews, Castilians and gypsies have lived together.
A mixture that has inherited the multicultural charm of the neighborhood and is an ideal place to end this three-day itinerary through the city of Granada.