Granada is considered one of the best cultural and artistic hubs in Spain and it oozes of Andalusian charms. After living there for six months, I fell in love with this magical city. It offers tourists the chance to explore Moorish culture with an artistic, hippie atmosphere. The locals are friendly has a wide range of activities. From viewing the lovely Moorish architecture to enjoying world-class street art, this Granada itinerary provides a glimpse into this gem of a city.
How to get there
Granada can be a bit of a challenge to get to, but it’s worth the extra effort! You’ll most likely want to fly into Malaga (AGP) or Seville (SVQ) and take a bus–Granada doesn’t have a main airport. From Malaga, it is about an hour and half, while from Seville it is about three hours. It might seem like a drag, but Granada is truly a special place and is worth the extra travel.
If you want to take the train, Spain now has a very functional system that is cheap and gets you there in a little bit more time than it does to take the bus.
When to go
Granada is pleasant most of the year, though you want to avoid the deepest winter months and the hottest summer months. January and February can be a little cold (however, there is almost never snow) and July and August can be a brutally hot. Spring and fall are the best time, and they are also less crowded than other busy times during the year.
How to get around
The best way to get around Granada is to walk. While there is a tourist bus (it’s super cute and looks like a train), the city isn’t that big, and it is easy to get around. It takes at most about an hour to get from one end to the other. If you do plan on taking the tourist bus, you can board it at a number of different spots throughout town.
Where to stay
Granada has a number of places that are great to stay, and whether you choose to Airbnb or stay at a hotel or hostel, it’s most likely to be located in the city center. Here are some spots that I would recommend.
Calle Placeta Peregrinos, 1
+34 958 22 5528
This beautiful hotel is also reasonably-priced and located in a refurbished building. Along with being a great value, it’s also located right in the heart of the city center, making it a pleasurable spot to stay when you aren’t out exploring.
Cuesta del Realejo, 22
+34 958 04 5616
This affordable spot has a pool, clean rooms, and gorgeous balcony overlooking the city. For an easy walk to the main sights and a comfortable hotel to stay. For a little bit of luxury, make sure to order the available breakfast in bed.
Cuesta de Gomérez, 16
+34 958 21 6230
This clean, well-priced hotel offers a great terrace and large rooms. This spot is located close to the Alhambra and offers an easy walk to Granada’s most famous monument. It’s also a great way to experience one of the best neighborhoods in the area.
Day 1-The Alhambra and Hammam Al-Andalus
Start your three-day Granada itinerary by exploring the most popular monument in the city–the Alhambra. The Alhambra is also considered to be among the most-visited tourist site in Spain which means it is usually crowded. It is best to come here in the morning before the crowds start arriving at the attraction or choose to buy your tickets online beforehand so you can make sure to get in. You should also book your tickets in advance if you are planning to visit the iconic Nasrid Palaces. It is best to spend three to four hours just wandering around the Alhambra if you can in order to enjoy the complexity of its design and the mind-blowing architecture.
In the afternoon, you can then go for lunch at one of the authentic restaurants close to Alhambra to enjoy the local vibes–you might even have a chance to listen to some flamenco music. After lunch, head down the Cuesta de Gomerez, surrounded by a serene tree-lined path. Since you will do plenty of walking while you are at the Alhambra, you’ll want to visit the Hammam Al-Andalus in order to enjoy a luxurious spa experience. Just by stepping inside, you will feel like you stepped back in time to the Moorish era of Granada. The spa features decorated Arab-style baths perfect for rejuvenating and taking a break from exploring the region. You can then complete the day by going on a thrilling tapas crawl for dinner on Tapas Row. This will also give you the chance to enjoy the iconic tapas culture of the city while you also eat like the locals hopping from one bar to another.
Day 2-The Albayzin, Casa de Zafra, and Sacromonte
On the second day in the city, start by wandering around the most historic and majestic neighborhood around. The Albayzin features picturesque, whitewashed houses with winding narrow streets to explore. The neighborhood looks like something out of a fairytale and it is best to just get lost meandering the cobblestone streets. Begin your walk around the Casa de Zafra–an old Moorish house that was later converted into a Christian convent. You’ll find a small local history museum where you can gain insight into the story of this fascinating barrio (or neighborhood). After that, check out El Banuelo nearby, which is an 11th-century Arab bath that is still in working condition. The bathhouse is considered the oldest example of Moorish architecture that survives till today. When you are ready for lunch, you can find lots of hidden restaurants around the area.
After lunch, head to the other side of the city where you can explore the gypsy cave houses in Sacromonte. If you are willing to pay a small fee, you can enjoy a traditional flamenco performance and get a chance to peek inside these unique homes–many of which are still occupied today. Serving as a refuge for those expelled from the main neighborhoods during the Spanish Inquisition, this spot is perfect for photos and a chance to experience the Granada of old.
Day 3-The Cathedral and the Royal Chapel
On the third and final day of your Granada itinerary, you can start in the morning by visiting the iconic cathedral located in the heart of the city. The Royal Chapel is also not far from the cathedral and is known as the final resting place of the popular monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella.
After exploring some of the older Catholic buildings, have lunch at one of the numerous family-run restaurants and make sure to try out some of the mouth-watering local cuisines. Then head to the serene Parque Federico Garcia Lorca just southwest of the city center. This park offers a quick respite from the hoards of tourists that tend to take over in the afternoon. It was constructed to honor the most famous poet in Granada who died an untimely death during the Spanish Civil War. If you have some extra time, make sure you visit Huerta de San Vicente’s former home that now serves as a museum devoted to Lorca and can be found in the middle of the park. For a final activity, grab a beer, some tapas, and enjoy your last few hours in this glorious city.
Do you have any recommendations for Granada?
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