Ideally, any visitor should really allow at least three days to properly explore the city (see our full Granada guide here), but if you’re only visiting on a whistle-stop tour, here are a few unmissable things to do in Granada in a day…

One: Visit the Alhambra

When visiting Granada, the Alhambra palace is always going to be high on any visitor’s itinerary. With its intricate carvings, magical gardens and marvellous views of the city you’ll need at least two or three hours to take in this breathtaking monument. Make sure you book well in advance (Alhambra-patronato.es) to avoid disappointment.

Two: Walk from Plaza Nueva to Sacromonte

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Granada seen from The Sacromonte Barrio (Source: FlickrCC SnippyHollow)

A stroll from the city’s central and crowded Plaza Nueva up to the iconic gypsy barrio, Sacromonte, is the best way to discover Granada’s historic area either before or after you’ve seen the Alhambra. Along the way, you’ll find plenty of interesting sites such as El Bañuelo – a free to visit, Arab bathhouse dating from the 11th century – and Paseo de los Tristes, probably the city’s most popular spot to grab a coffee or a tapas and admire the view of orange trees and Alhambra towers looming above.

Once you’ve reached the top of Cuesta de Chapí­z – a steep hill that will leave you gasping for breath – take a left past Jardines de Zorraya (a well-known Flamenco venue) and carry on until you reach Plaza Larga. This is a bustling square filled with fruit markets, timeworn cafes and nattering old Spanish ladies. Pure Granada.

From Plaza Larga take the right turn up Calle Agua del Albayzin, which will take you the rest of the way to Sacromonte. A great place to stop and admire the view is Sacromonte’s tiny Chiringuito, which offers cheap beer and soft drinks. With the Alhambra perched on one side of the valley and the Albayzin tumbling down the other, there really is no better view in town.

Three: Explore the City Centre

cathedral, granada

The Cathedral of Granada (Source: FlickrCC maveric2003)

Back in the city centre, if there’s time, head to the Corral del Carbon (Alhambra.info). This building dates back to around 1336, when it was used as an inn for merchants of the silk trade, but over the years has had many uses. It’s an excellent example of a Moorish-dating construction.

The Cathedral in Granada is famed for many reasons and definitely worth a visit. Those with an interest in Royal Spanish history would enjoy a visit to the Capilla Real, where the Catholic Kings Isabel and Ferdinand are buried.

ferdniand, isabel, reyes catolicos, granada, capilla real, royal chapel

Catholic King & Queen Ferdinand and Isabel at The Royal Chapel (Source: FlickrCC z_wenjie)

Close to the Cathedral, Plaza Bib Rambla was once the entrance to the city of Granada. Still an important place for festivities and markets, this picturesque square is a great place to stop off for a cool beer or a coffee in the heat of the day. The nearby streets of the Alcaiceria where silver and exotic silks were once traded still have the feel of a Moroccan souk today.

Four: Grab a Tapa

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A Busy Tapas bar on Calle Navas, Granada (Source: FlickrCC daquellamanera)

Come lunchtime you’ll want to make the most of Granada’s tapas scene, famed for its agreeable pricing structure; that’s to say, tapas come for free with any alcoholic or soft drink. One of the best spots to find a wide selection of tapas bars is the Realejo neighbourhood, just up from the Town Hall, cross over Calle San Matias and you’ll find tapas bar after tapas bar. The streets are quite narrow and some of the outdoor furniture virtually blocks your path as you weave your way through the standard bundle of bodies. The atmosphere is electric and the food made fresh. For more foodie recommendations check out our Granada restaurants guide.

Five: Explore the Albayzin

albayzin, albaicin, granada

The Albayzin Barrio, Granada (Source: FlickrCC julianrdc)

Also not to be missed are the Arab tea shops and hookah bars along Caldereria Nueva, close to Calle Elvira. This is in the lower part of the Albayzin and is an emblematic part of Granada.

If you continue up Caldereria Nueva and follow the cobbled path that leads upwards at the top, you will eventually arrive at el Mirador de San Nicolas, easily the city’s most popular viewpoint since it is directly opposite the Alhambra behind which the Sierra Nevada mountains are visible. The view is best on a clear winter’s day, when the mountains, underneath a bright blue sky, are covered in snow.

six: See Flamenco

If you’re lucky you’ll hear the sound of flamenco guitar from buskers in squares or from open windows. Flamenco whether it be dance, song or guitar takes a lifetime of learning. Granada is an atmopheric place to see flamenco. The caves in Sacromonte are a famed gypsy area and flamenco performances are held throughout the day in several clubs, our recommendation is Venta El Gallo. Other places to see flamenco not in Sacromonte are, Tablao Jardines de Zoraya and Peña La Platería.

Planning a daytrip to Seville, too? Have a read of our post on ‘Seeing the Best of Seville in a Day‘ to get some ideas.


Lindsay Gregory

Lindsay is the Co-founder and Collection Curator of The Luxury Villa Collection. She's constantly in search of the most authentic and original travel experiences, coupled with the best villas, to help you see Spain in style.

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