13 Best Things To Do in Granada

Granada is a fascinating city where there is much more to see besides its iconic Alhambra. I tell you the must-sees so you can make the most of your trip.

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

12 min read

13 Best Things To Do in Granada

The Alhambra in Granada | ©Kevin Mcmahon

There are few places with more charm and beauty than Granada to enjoy a special getaway. Its fascinating history, its magnificent art, its rich tapas and the joy of its people are reasons enough to discover the city with the most beautiful sunset on the planet.

In the capital of the ancient Nasrid kingdom there are many dream places to see. Here are some of them!

1. Visit the Alhambra in Granada

Patio of the Lions| ©Jorge Gobbi
Patio of the Lions| ©Jorge Gobbi

The Alhambra is a cultural reference of Hispano-Muslim art in the West and one of the most beautiful monuments in Spain. There is no doubt that it is the first monument that you have to see when you arrive in Granada.

The Alhambra is a jaw-droppingjewel of universal art and it is logical that it arouses the interest of millions of travelers who head to Andalusia to admire the charms and beautiful views of this ancient Andalusian palatine city.

How to visit the Alhambra in Granada?

Given its immense extension and its large number of spaces, my advice is to book a guided tour of the Alhambra to tour the entire monumental complex without losing detail, learning about its history.

Many of the secrets of the Alhambra in Granada would go unnoticed without the help of a guide, as there is so much to see in this unique monument.

How to book your tickets?

I recommend getting tickets for the Alhambra in Granada at least a month or two in advance of your travel date, as it is a very popular monument with limited seats that tend to sell out quickly.

Getting the most out of the Alhambra

To see this monument, the most visited in Spain, it is recommended that you get well informed about everything before you go. Take a look at these posts where I leave you the best tips to get to know the Alhambra:

Book tickets for the Alhambra

2. Be amazed by the Mirador de San Nicolás

Enjoy the beautiful views of the Alhambra from the viewpoint of San Nicolas.| ©Arkangel
Enjoy the beautiful views of the Alhambra from the viewpoint of San Nicolas.| ©Arkangel

Another of the essential plans to do in Granada during a getaway is to contemplate the sunset from the viewpoint of San Nicolas. "The most beautiful in the world" according to Bill Clinton, president of the United States, during a fleeting visit to the Andalusian city in 1997.

He wasn't wrong! From here you will have the best panoramic view of the Alhambra in Granada with the imposing Sierra Nevada in the background. In addition, you will enjoy unbeatable views of the Nasrid palaces, the Alcazaba or the Generalife.

Actually, the views are wonderful at any time of day but the feeling of watching the sun slowly setting behind the Alhambra while coloring its walls, towers and palaces in reddish tones is simply magical.

How to get to the San Nicolás viewpoint?

This viewpoint is located in the highest part of the Albaicin neighborhood in Granada. You can get there by walking up the Paseo de los Tristes or by bus taking lines C1 or C2.

Another option is to cross the Plaza Larga and take the Alhacaba slope. And of course, you can always book a tour of the Albaicín to get there in the company of a guide and a group of tourists.

Book a tour of the Albaicín

3. Explore the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighborhoods

Stroll through the picturesque streets of the Albaicin.| ©L'odyssée Belle
Stroll through the picturesque streets of the Albaicin.| ©L'odyssée Belle

The Albaicín and Sacromonte neighborhood s are two of the most fascinating and ancient places to explore during your trip to the capital of the Nasrid kingdom.

In fact, if you have not walked through them many people say that you can not say you have been in Granada because here is the soul of the city.

If you are one of those travelers who love to know a city getting lost in its streets to discover its most authentic and real side, one of the things to do in Granada that I recommend is to book a tour of the Albaicin and Sacromonte.

Book a tour of the Albaicin and Sacromonte

4. Tour the Cathedral of Granada

Inside the dome of the Cathedral of Granada| ©Bobo Boom
Inside the dome of the Cathedral of Granada| ©Bobo Boom

It is true that the Alhambra is the queen of all eyes, but during my trip to Granada, one of the biggest surprises I had was to contemplate the majesty of the cathedral, the second largest cathedral in Spain and a must-see of the city.

At the end of the Reconquest, the Catholic Monarchs chose the space where the main mosque of the city was located to build this temple as a symbol of the triumph of Christianity over Islam and the last Muslim kingdom of Spain.

You can simply enter and visit it or book a tour to the Cathedral of Granada to learn all about its history and architecture.

Why visit the cathedral of Granada?

There are many churches in the city, but this cathedral is an icon because we are in front of one of the masterpieces of the Spanish Renaissance. It is also a temple that impresses with its large size and to see it towering over the center of Granada is an unforgettable sight for the traveler.

Dedicated to Santa María de la Encarnación, the cathedral is impressive on the outside because of its towers and its great baroque facade, although, in my opinion, it is the interior decoration that takes your breath away.

Everything about it is spellbinding.

Book a tour to the Cathedral of Granada

5. Enter the Royal Chapel of Granada

Detail of the tomb of the Catholic Monarchs.| ©Wenjie, Zhang | A Certain Slant of Light
Detail of the tomb of the Catholic Monarchs.| ©Wenjie, Zhang | A Certain Slant of Light

Attached to the cathedral is the royal chapel, a space for history lovers. Here is the Gothic style tomb where the remains of the Catholic Monarchs, their daughter Juana I of Castile, her husband Philip the Handsome and her grandson the infant Michael of Portugal rest.

The history of the city has been closely linked to the figure of the Catholic Monarchs since they both arrived in Granada in 1482 to complete the Reconquest of Spain. After the victory, the couple decided to dedicate their lives forever to Granada and build their tomb chapel here.

You can also take the opportunity to visit inside the Royal Chapel Museum-Sacristy. In addition, in this case I also recommend you to book a visit to the Royal Chapel and the Cathedral, otherwise the experience will not be the same.

Book a visit to the Royal Chapel and the Cathedral

6. Take an excursion to the Alpujarras

Dreamlike landscapes of the Alpujarras| ©Carlos Alejo
Dreamlike landscapes of the Alpujarras| ©Carlos Alejo

It is difficult not to be overwhelmed by the beauty of this unique natural landscape, full of springs and dotted with a multitude of picturesque white villages hidden among deep valleys at an altitude of more than 1,200 meters.

Visiting the Alpujarras is a great opportunity to delve into the history of the last Moorish populations that inhabited Spain and to enjoy a day outdoors doing something different.

Once there, you can take the opportunity to explore the natural park of Sierra Nevada, home to the highest mountain range in southern Europe and the imposing Mulhacen peak, the highest in the Iberian Peninsula!

How is the excursion to the Alpujarras?

I highly recommend you to book a day trip to the Alpujarras, as everything is organized for you to relax and enjoy the most of this trip to nature.

You can visit some of the most beautiful villages of the Alpujarras such as Bubión, Capileira and Pampaneira, Pórtugos, Lanjarón and Trevélez (the best producer of Serrano ham in the Alpujarras), among many others.

Other places to visit during your trip to Granada

If you have several days of travel, it may be the perfect opportunity to visit other Andalusian cities. For this reason, I leave you here some suggestions and explain you how to go to places as charming as Nerja or Cordoba.

Book an excursion to the Alpujarras of Granada

7. Go out for tapas in Granada

Enjoy the delicious tapas of Granada| ©Andrew Nash
Enjoy the delicious tapas of Granada| ©Andrew Nash

Tapas in Spain is an art, but in Granada it is something out of this world. And if you ask me for those essential things to do in Granada, you can never miss going out for tapas in the city center.

For those who don't know it, tapas in Granada works like this: you go to a bar, order a drink and with it they bring you a free tapa. It's that easy! In fact, you can have lunch and dinner based on tapas at ease and spending less money than in a restaurant.

But the trick of tapas in Granada is to know where to go so that the quality of the tapas is powerful. For example, there are places where you can choose the tapas with your drink, places where you will be assigned the tapas you want and bars where as you order drinks the quality of the tapas you will be served will increase.

Where to go out for tapas in Granada?

  • Taberna Gamboa (Lepanto street, 11)
  • Los Diamantes (street Navas, 28)
  • Bella Kurva (Calle San Jerónimo, 19)
  • Bodegas Castañeda (1-3 Almireceros St.)
  • La Bella y la Bestia (14, Cárcel Baja St.)
  • La Sitarilla (Calle San Miguel Alta, 7).

At the end of your tapas tour, what about booking a flamenco show in Granada? It is the perfect plan.

Book a flamenco show in Granada

8. Pamper your body with a hammam ritual

Relax with a hammam ritual| ©Haley Phelps
Relax with a hammam ritual| ©Haley Phelps

If after so much sightseeing around the city you feel tired and need a break to recharge your batteries, I suggest you book in the Arab baths of Granada to enjoy the ancient Andalusian hammam ritual and all its health properties.

It's amazing! If you have never been to the hammam before, this trip to the ancient Nasrid kingdom can be a good opportunity to have fun with an original and different plan to do in Granada.

What are the Arab baths in Granada?

It is not the typical spa but the Arab baths are characterized by bringing to the present the philosophy of the traditional hammam that was practiced in Al-Andalus during the Middle Ages.

In addition, its Andalusian style decoration creates a very pleasant and intimate atmosphere.

Why do I recommend this activity?

If there is something that fascinated me about the hammam ritual, it was the relaxed atmosphere that can be perceived in its rooms, where time seems to stand still and silence reigns, only interrupted by the murmur of the water of the thermal pools.

Your senses will be awakened by the perfumed air and the Andalusian music playing in the background. You will feel for a moment that you have traveled to that time of splendor of the ancient Al-Andalus!

Book tickets to the hammam Al-Andalus

9. Get on the Granada tourist bus

View of the Alhambra and Granada from the Sacromonte at sunset.| ©Victoriano Izquierdo
View of the Alhambra and Granada from the Sacromonte at sunset.| ©Victoriano Izquierdo

There are many ways to get to know Granada, but doing it aboard a tourist bus is a comfortable and easy way to see its main tourist attractions.

In my experience, you will enjoy the visit much more and you will learn a lot about history, art, legends and curiosities, as they usually have an audio guide.

I recommend you to book a place on the Granada tourist train to avoid running out of seats and to start organizing your route based on what you are going to see on it.

Reserve a seat on the Granada tourist train

10. Have a cup of tea in the Calle de las Teterías (Tea Shops Street)

Taste the traditional Moorish tea| ©alexis.stroemer
Taste the traditional Moorish tea| ©alexis.stroemer

Nothing better than going to Calderería Nueva street in the Albaicín neighborhood to enjoy an authentic Moorish tea and the best Arab pastries in the city.

Also known as the street of the Teterías, this place is full of stores with some of the goods displayed on the outside, reminiscent of the souks of the Middle East but without leaving Granada.

In addition to drinking tea in its Andalusian-style shops, you can also take the opportunity to buy some souvenirs of your stay in the ancient capital of the Nasrid kingdom. There is a little bit of everything! From postcards, shishas and lamps to sarongs, bags and jewelry. You're sure to find what you're looking for.

11. Take a hot air balloon ride in the sky over Granada

Take to the skies of Granada in a hot air balloon| ©star5112
Take to the skies of Granada in a hot air balloon| ©star5112

If you are looking for strong emotions during your trip and you do not have vertigo, one of the best things to do in Granada is to take a balloon ride.

Can you imagine flying over the city at dawn while you have a bird's eye view of the Alhambra, the Albaicin district, the Sacromonte caves and Sierra Nevada? Aboard the balloon you will see the city from a privileged and unusual perspective, one that very few people get to know.

No one who has not ridden in a balloon before can describe that feeling of floating gently in the air, letting yourself go through the wonderful blue sky of Granada as the city begins to awaken and the sun radiates an incandescent glow over the mountains.

12. Fall in love at Paseo de los Tristes

Paseo de los Tristes| ©Sara Amaro
Paseo de los Tristes| ©Sara Amaro

Granada is a unique city in itself, but one of the places that contribute to give it that magical air is the Paseo de los Tristes, one of the most beautiful and historic corners of the Nasrid city.

It is a beautiful avenue that follows the course of the Darro River between the bridges of the Chirimías and Aljibillo and has privileged views of the Alhambra at its feet.

The fame of the Paseo de los Tristes is well deserved as it is one of the most beautiful and bohemian places to see in Granada for a romantic walk, especially in the moonlight and among the vegetation that surrounds it.

Did you know that...?

Its official name is Paseo del Padre Manjon but it is nicknamed this way because it used to be the way to the city cemetery and the scene of sad funeral processions.

13. Soak up the culture in the museums of Granada

Science Park| ©euphro
Science Park| ©euphro

Although Granada is a small city, it is home to an unparalleled architectural and artistic heritage. It is not surprising that the cultural and museum offer of the city is so varied and wide, there are spaces for all tastes! Here are some of my favorites:

  • The Museum of Fine Arts: it is the most important art gallery in the city that has pieces dating from the fifteenth to the twentieth century.
  • Museum of the Alhambra: here you can see the Hispano-Muslim art objects recovered from the Alhambra and the Generalife.
  • Archaeological Museum: it houses the archaeological findings of different peoples (Iberians, Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs) who left their mark in Granada.
  • Casa de los Tiros (House of the Shots): it traces the history and traditions of Granada through images, engravings, paintings, bibliographic collections, plans and pieces of local craftsmanship.
  • Manuel de Falla House-Museum: it is the place where the composer lived and you can see his personal objects, original furniture, his piano, among others.
  • Lorca House-Museum: it was the summer residence that the poet Federico García Lorca had on the outskirts of the city and where he wrote works such as "Romancero Gitano" or "La casa de Bernarda Alba".
  • Parque de las Ciencias de Granada: it is the first interactive science museum in Andalusia and a highly recommended plan to do with the family.

Choose the right date for your trip

Knowing this beautiful Andalusian city will be magical whenever you go but if you organize your trip with the best possible plans according to the time of the year, I assure you an unforgettable trip. Keep reading and you will know what are the best activities:

Maybe you prefer to know which are the best months to visit Granada: