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Best tours and day trips from Granada

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

12 min read

Best tours and day trips from Granada

©Clark Van der Beken

There are few places with more charm and more beautiful than Granada to enjoy a very special trip. A city full of magical corners to discover and an absolutely fascinating natural environment.

There are many ways to get to know Granada, but a tour of its main tourist attractions is one of the best. The ancient capital of the Nasrid kingdom receives millions of visitors a year and the sheer number of tours on offer can be overwhelming. To make it easier for you to choose, here are the best ones to get to know the city, its monuments and its surroundings.

1. Visit the Albaicin and Sacromonte neighborhoods of Granada on foot:

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Casas-cueva del Sacromonte | ©-JvL-
Casas-cueva del Sacromonte | ©-JvL-
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When visiting a city for the first time, one of the things I like to do most is to get lost in its streets to get to know its real and authentic side. The one that normally any local inhabitant sees on a daily basis.

If you are one of those travelers like me who enjoy these little details, then I highly recommend this walking tour through the neighborhoods of Albaicín and Sacromonte in Granada, two genuine places with a interesting history and views to fall in love with.

With this visit through the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighborhoods in Granada you will know some of the pearls that are hidden in the labyrinth of medieval streets that form the capital of the Nasrid kingdom and that have made it world famous.

What does this tour consist of?

The Albaicin and Sacromonte neighborhoods are two of the most amazing places to explore during your trip. If you haven't walked through them, you can't say you've been to Granada because this is the heart of the city.

At the agreed time you will depart from Isabel la Católica square with your group to start this tour of the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighborhoods of 2 and a half hours.

Led by a specialized tour guide you will discover the wonderful architecture of the two oldest and most traditional neighborhoods of Granada, a delight for the eyes!

What will you see?

This Andalusian city has a lot of history behind it, so the explanations of a guide in certain places such as the Albaicin and Sacromonte are indispensable if we want to understand the past and present of the ancient Nasrid kingdom.

Step by step, gliding through the passages and arches of the center of Granada, I had the opportunity to see some treasures such as the Mudejar church of San Gil and Santa Ana, the monument to Queen Isabel the Catholic, the magic of the cave houses of Sacromonte, the beauty of the Paseo de los Tristes at the foot of the Alhambra or the Mirador de San Nicolas, whose views of the Andalusian palatine city and Sierra Morena took my breath away. It was here that I understood that it is not only the Alhambra that the people of Granada yearn for!

In addition, this tour is very entertaining because you will not only see tourist attractions but you will learn about the myths and legends that circulate around Granada, the Albaicín and Sacromonte as well as about characters that once inhabited these neighborhoods, such as the heroine Mariana Pineda, the lovers of the Aljibe or the gypsy Chorrohumo, whose figures have remained forever in the popular imagination.

The tour ended in the same square from where the group departed. Before leaving, do not hesitate to ask your guide for any kind of recommendations to complete your visit to Granada. They know a lot and will be happy to help you.

Itinerary

  • Viewpoint of San Nicolas
  • Church of San Gil and Santa Ana
  • Sacromonte
  • Paseo de los Tristes
  • Plaza de Isabel La Católica
  • Plaza Larga

Languages

This tour is available in Spanish and English.

2. Get inside the Alhambra: Entrance to the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife with audio guide.

Palacio del Partal, La Alhambra | ©Cayetano Gros
Palacio del Partal, La Alhambra | ©Cayetano Gros
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When we think of a trip to Granada, the first thing that comes to mind is its legendary Alhambra, one of the most beautiful monuments in Spain and a cultural reference of Hispano-Muslim art in the West.

Its beauty has inspired travelers from all over the world for generations and every year it is visited by millions of people, so I recommend you to get your tickets for the Alhambra in Granada at least a month or two in advance.

Don't forget to buy your tickets for the Alhambra in advance as there is always a lot of demand and tickets are usually sold out. You can also opt for a guided visit to the Alhambra: where in addition to visiting it a guide will explain all the secrets of the palaces, gardens and fortresses that compose it. The visit with a guide is always more enjoyable and entertaining.

What you will see following the audio guide

  • The Alhambra
  • The Nasrid Palaces
  • The Alcazaba
  • The Generalife
  • The palace of Charles V
  • El Partal Palace

Why I like this option

Firstly, because if you are not seduced by the idea of joining a closed group you can always opt for this free visit accompanied by the audio guide, which will complement everything you see.

And secondly because with this skip-the-line entrance to the Alhambra, you will be assured a direct entrance to the monument at the chosen time. This is a site that raises real passions and there are usually long queues at the ticket offices to visit it. If you do not want to queue for an eternity I advise you to buy these tickets online, which will make your visit much easier.

Once inside you will have from 3 to 6 hours to visit all the corners of the Alhambra, its history, its legends, the meaning of its symbols and much more, in a relaxed way and at your own pace.

Languages

The audio guides are available in Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, German, Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Korean and Japanese.

3. Enjoy a night tour of the Albaicín and Sacromonte in Granada.

Night view of Granada and the Alhambra from Sacromonte | ©José Sáez
Night view of Granada and the Alhambra from Sacromonte | ©José Sáez

If something struck me about Granada during my trip is that its essence changes from day to night. Every moment shows the different facets of Granada, small details in a unique city that never ceases to fascinate you.

When the sun goes down, Granada transforms and with it the atmosphere of its squares and streets. Also its neighborhoods. The Albaicín and Sacromonte are the oldest and most authentic of the Nasrid capital. If you have not walked through them, you can not say you have known Granada because here is the heart of the city.

I confess that I have a predilection for contemplating illuminated cities at night, but the Albaicin and Sacromonte neighborhoods exceeded all my expectations. They are two of the most amazing and beautiful places you can explore during your trip to Granada in this night tour::.

What does this tour consist of?

The sunset is an ideal time to take a quiet and romantic stroll through the most traditional neighborhoods of Granada. The hustle and bustle that invades the most touristy streets during the day gives way to the quiet of the night, the sunlight slowly fades and with the moon appears before us the most enigmatic version of the city.

The atmosphere is conducive to get carried away by these neighborhoods of Granada, making a trip back in time with a guided tour where the Andalusian Granada arose centuries ago. Taking into account all the stories and legends that surround the neighborhoods of Albaicín and Sacromonte, I think the experience is much more enjoyable touring these places with a local guide who will show you the jewels that are in these streets declared World Heritage Site in 1984.

You can't leave Granada without visiting these picturesque neighborhoods at least once in your life.

What will you see on this tour?

The adventure starts at 8 PM at Calle Cárcel Baja nº 2. Ahead you will have 2.5 hours to visit the main sights of the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighborhoods such as:

  • The Carrera del Darro (one of the most beautiful and oldest streets in the world).
  • The church of San Gil and Santa Ana (a small temple with a Mudejar air)
  • The Plaza Nueva (where the Royal Chancery building is shrouded in legends of ghosts)
  • The viewpoint of San Nicolás (in the Albaicín, from where you will have the best panoramic view of the Alhambra).
  • The caves of Sacromonte and its tablaos flamencos (where at the end of the route you can go back to have a good party).
  • Among many other places!

Itinerary

  • New Square
  • Church of San Gil and Santa Ana
  • Carrera del Darro
  • Albaicín
  • Mirador de San Nicolas
  • Sacromonte

Languages

This tour is available in Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, Italian, German and Spanish.

Isabel's Traveller Tip

This is the perfect tour for the summer. Strolling at night through the Albaicin and Sacromonte you will get to know the charm of these neighborhoods without being hot and enjoying a gentle breeze.

Take a private tour of the Alhambra, the Nasrid Palaces, the Generalife and the Alcazaba in Granada.

El Generalife | ©Shadowgate
El Generalife | ©Shadowgate
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The Alhambra in Granada is a world icon, a palatial city unique in Europe and all a benchmark of Islamic architecture and art in Spain.

Visiting this legendary Nasrid fortress, the last living trace of this dynasty in Spain, is a dream. A must that every traveler should do at least once in a lifetime. Not in vain, it is considered the eighth wonder of the world according to the New7Wonders Foundation.

Being the most visited monument in Spain, the best way to get tickets to see it is booking them online well in advance. My advice is to do it at least a month or two before your travel date.

With this skip-the-line ticket to the Alhambra in Granada you will have direct access to the interior without waiting. In addition, you will have the opportunity to explore in a private tour the most important corners of the palatine city accompanied by an expert guide in art history just for you and your companions. Cool, isn't it?

What does this tour consist of?

If you want to live a unique experience during your visit, the main advantages why I recommend you to take this tour of the Alhambra in Granada are several.

  • First of all, you will be able to access the monument quickly and without waiting to start your private tour of the Nasrid palatine city.

  • Secondly, during the 3-hour tour of the interior, you will be accompanied by an expert guide who will be exclusively at your disposal and that of your companions. You will visit the palatine city at your own pace, with total tranquility and advancing at your own pace through the different rooms.

  • In addition, being a private tour of the Alhambra you will have the possibility to customize it. That is to say, you will be able to choose yourself in which sites of the tour to spend more or less time, the explanations about the history of the monument, if you want to focus more on one aspect or another of the fortress, etc.

  • Finally, the guide adapts completely to your preferences while he will discover details of the Alhambra in Granada and tells you curiosities and legends about this monumental complex.

What will you see?

You will take a trip back in time to learn what the Islamic kingdom of Granada was like in the Middle Ages, who ordered the Alhambra to be built, why it was erected and how it became the residence of Christian royalty in 1492.

It is not only an important monument from a historical point of view, but also from an artistic point of view, as it is an icon of Andalusian architecture and art in Spain. If you like cultural visits, in the Alhambra in Granada you will find a fascinating monument full of art and history that will leave you amazed.

That is why to better understand its significance in the history of the country I suggest you take a guided tour, which is always much more interesting and complete than doing it on your own.

Itinerary

  • The Alhambra
  • The Generalife
  • The Alcazaba
  • The Nasrid Palaces

Languages

This private tour of the Alhambra in Granada is available in Spanish, English, French and Arabic.

5. Escape to the Alpujarra Mountains of Granada

Enjoy the natural beauty of the Alpujarras
Enjoy the natural beauty of the Alpujarras
image|url=https://res.cloudinary.com/hello-tickets/image/upload/v1618306716/post_images/granada-212/excursiones-tours/5985998884_ba4f137b34_o_Cropped.jpg|caption=Enjoy the natural beauty of the Alpujarras ©Simon Harrod:::

The Alpujarras are a magical place in Granada. A territory between Granada and Almeria that, at an altitude of more than 1,200 meters, looks from the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada to the Mediterranean Sea. It is difficult, if not impossible, not to fall in love with the beauty of this natural landscape dotted with a multitude of picturesque white villages.

The first time you visit the Alpujarras you are overcome with a feeling of emotion when you contemplate such impressive landscapes, the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the unique architectural features of its singular villages.

Why visit the Alpujarras?

This excursion to the Alpujarras is the perfect complement to a trip to the capital of the Nasrid kingdom. It was a great experience, of which I took a wonderful souvenir and that I recommend you to do during a trip to Granada.

In my opinion, the reasons why you should go are the following:

  • Its historical background will allow you to learn more about Granada's Andalusian past through the unique architecture of the towns of the Alpujarras. After all, this was the last stronghold where the Moorish population lived in Spain.

  • On the other hand, this excursion to the Alpujarras is a golden opportunity to enjoy a day outdoors exploring the natural park of Sierra Nevada, where the highest mountain range in southern Europe is located. Ecotourism and hiking lovers will be able to visit the beautiful landscapes of one of the most unique areas of Spain.

  • Tasting the typical gastronomy of a place is one of the best ways to get into its culture. Andalusian cuisine is one of the richest in Spain and on this excursion to the Alpujarras you will have the opportunity to attend a tasting of ham and wine to get to know the flavors and textures of the land of spices.

How is the excursion to the Alpujarras?

The fantastic thing about this organized excursion to the Alpujarras is that it gets you to Granada and back in the same day, so you don't have to worry about how to get there or how to get around the villages of the region. Everything is organized so that visitors can relax and enjoy every moment of the trip to the fullest.

The adventure starts early, at 8:30 AM, when the group sets off for the Alpujarras from Granada. On this trip to the south of the province you will pass through these villages:

  • Lanjarón: famous for its famous spa of medicinal mineral waters.
  • Orgiva**: the heart of the Western Alpujarra, known for the twin towers of the church of Nuestra Señora de la Expectación.
  • Carataunas**: the smallest village in the Alpujarras, both in number of inhabitants and in extension.
  • Pitres**: another of the smallest villages of the Alpujarras characterized by the Moorish influence of its architecture.
  • Trevélez**: the highest village in Spain, located at 1,476 meters above sea level, and the best producer of Serrano ham in the Alpujarras.
  • Pórtugos**: its town center and the spring of ferruginous waters on the outskirts of the municipality are two postcard-worthy enclaves. Beautiful!
  • Bubión**, Capileira and Pampaneira: They are considered the most beautiful villages of the Alpujarras and have been declared historical-artistic sites. They are located in the Poqueira ravine, one of the most extraordinary natural areas of Granada ideal for enjoying the views.

Isabel's Traveller Tip

During the excursion to the Alpujarras you will walk a lot. Remember to wear comfortable clothes and shoes, as well as protect yourself from the cold in winter and the sun in summer.

What to do after a tour in Granada?

Relax in the Hammam experience ©Logan Stone
Relax in the Hammam experience ©Logan Stone

Even the most experienced traveler feels exhausted, with tired legs and sore feet from all that walking after a guided tour or excursion lasting several hours during their vacation. I'm sure you're familiar with that uncomfortable feeling, right?

Don't worry, I have the solution! The best way to recharge your batteries and relax after a busy day is to visit the Arab baths of Granada.

Reserve some time in your trip to enjoy the ancestral Andalusian hammam and all its health properties. In my article :The best Hammam in Granada I explain all the details of this ritual with which you will be able to rest your body and mind and prepare them for your next adventure. Don't miss it!