Immerse In The Capital Of Al-Andalus
No province in Andalucia captures its Moorish past quite like Granada. The provincial capital, which goes by the same name, is home to the magnificent Alhambra palace-fortress built by Nasrid emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada in the mid 13th century.
The area around the Alhambra known as Albaicín is a maze of Moorish and Medieval streets full of teahouses and hidden gardens.
Granada is the birthplace of flamenco brought to the city when gypsies settled there in the 15th century.
For outdoor lovers, the Sierra Nevada mountains are a wonderful escape, as are the Costa Tropical beaches less than an hour’s drive away.
Visit Andalusia like a Local!
Most Famous Attractions in Granada
Whether you are trying to cram everything into a single day or spread the Granada experience over a week, you will never run out of things to see and do in Granada. However, if there is one thing you cannot miss, it would have to be the spectacular Alhambra.
- Alhambra – The Alhambra in Granada is the most beautiful example of Moorish architecture to be found anywhere in Spain. – Buy tickets in advance
- Capilla Real – The royal chapel is the final resting place of Spain’s Catholic Monarchs Isabel I de Castilla and Fernando II de Aragon. The chapel also contains a small museum that houses Botticelli’s Prayer in the Garden. – Get tickets here
- Generalife – The Generalife was the country estate of the Nasrid rulers of the Emirate of Granada and is a place of relaxation and contemplation. – Get tickets in advance
- Mirador de San Nicolas – The Mirador de San Nicolas is a viewing point and the best location to get a stunning photo of the Alhambra at sunset.
- Sierra Nevada – The Sierra Nevada is Europe’s most southerly ski resort and home to the highest mountain on the Iberian Peninsula Mount Mulhacen (3,379m).
- Flamenco in Sacromonte – To see flamenco in its purest form, attend a show in the Sacromote district of Granada. – Get tickets here
Best Accommodation in Granada
Mainly due to the Alhambra, Granada is firmly rooted on the tourist trail and has plenty of different types of accommodations to suit all budgets. Whether you are merely looking for a place to sleep or want 5-star service, you will have not trouble finding it in Granada.
Favored by backpackers and those on a tight budget, hostels provide dormitory style and private rooms with shared bathrooms.
Situated in a medieval building in the center of Granada, El Granado Hostel is a perfect place to chill out while visiting the historic city of Granada. Prices start at 16€ per night. – Check hostels here
Mid-range accommodation in Spain generally tends to be family-run businesses often located within historic buildings. Mid-range hotels offer guests a combination of value-for-money and often feature bigger rooms and more amenities.
Set in a 19th-century building, the Hotel Inglaterra*** is close to Granda’s main attractions and eateries; this is an excellent hotel for exploring the Albaicin on foot. Prices start from 45€ per night. – Check hotels here
Traveling with your family to Granada can be quite expensive if you want to stay in a hotel, so we recommend renting an entire apartment on AirBnB.
A three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with free parking can be had for as little as 50€ per day. – Check hotels here
Set in an old Hieronymite convent, the AC Palacio de Santa Paula Hotel is located in the historic center of Granada near the Albaicín.
How to get to Granada
Granada has its own airport Federico García Lorca Granada Airport (GRX), which is around 14 kilometers west of the city. Domestically Granada is served by Iberia and Vueling.
International flights are a bit thin on the ground except for U.K. low-cost carrier EasyJet. You may be better off flying into Malaga and then driving or taking the bus. – Check flights here
Granada is connected to the rest of Spain via high-speed AVE trains despite this it is still quicker to take the bus if you are traveling from Malaga. Trains to Madrid take three hours and Seville four. – Check train schedules here
Granada has frequent buses from other parts of Spain operated by ALSA. The bus station in Granada is slightly outside of town, so you will need to take a local bus or taxi to get to the center of the city. – Get tickets here
Spain has one of Europe’s most modern road networks allowing you to get to Granada easily by car. The journey from Malaga to Granada takes around 90 minutes, while Madrid takes approximately five hours. – Check car hire here
Granada Travel Guide: Booking Resources
In order to make travel planning as easy as possible, we gathered below a selection of our favorite companies. We love them for being reliable and offering the best deals in Southern Spain. All of the recommended companies have top-notch customer service and have been tested by us first-hand.
- Skycanner – Find the best flight deals to Southern Spain
- Omio – THE company to book train or bus tickets online. It’s also a great way to check schedules and stay flexible.
- Discover Cars – Has the best-discounted rates on car rentals in Andalucia
- GetYourGuide – Find the best tours in Southern Spain. They offer great value and we found their prices to be some of the most competitive ones in the market.
- Booking.com – To book the perfect hotel for your Southern Spain trip. We particularly love their review section.
- VRBO – From stunning beach-front villas or gorgeous city apartments, Homeaway has the best offers when it comes to vacation rentals.
- Airbnb– Explore Andalucia like a local and stay with local homeowners. It’s a great way to connect.
- Hostelworld – If you travel to Spain on a budget, Hostelworld has the largest selection of hostels in Andalucia.
- Adrenaline Hunter – If you are an adventurous kind of traveller, Adrenaline Hunter will be your favorite resource ever. From kitesurfing to kayaking, it’s basically heaven for outdoor lovers.
- SafetyWing – Never travel without travel insurance. A stupid accident can quickly turn into a financial nightmare. With SafetyWing you can travel worry-free.
- Transferwise – Withdraw money without hidden fees and avoid exchange charges + get a free Mastercard debit card to spend money abroad.
When to go to Granada
The best time to visit Granada in May/June and September/October. The summers in Granada can be scorching, and with it being peak tourist season, you could find yourself waiting in lines.
For skiers, try and visit late in the season during April to ski the Sierra Nevada in the morning and be on the beach for lunch. Granada is one of the few places in the world where this is possible.
What to eat in Granada
As a melting pot of gastronomic influences, Granada is much more than just tapas, but you will be pleased to know that just like in other parts of Andalucia, it is typical to be served a tapa with your drink.
- Habas con Jamon – During the Spanish Inquisition, it was essential to show that you embraced Christianity and was easily done by eating pork, something Jews and Muslims would not do. Habas con Jamon is a simple dish of ham and beans.
- Tortilla del Sacromonte – Born in the Roma quarter of Granada, Tortilla del Sacromonte is an omelet that contains mutton brains and nuts. This omelet is typically eaten on the day of San Cecilio (February 1).
- Plato Alpujarreno – Originating in the mountains, Plato Alpujarreno is Granada’s take on comfort food. The dish comprises regular and black sausage, cured ham, potatoes, and a fried egg.
- Jamon de Trevelez – When we think of Spanish ham, the first thing that comes to mind is the delicious Jamon Iberico from Huelva. However, Granada has its own ham from the mountain village of Trevelez that has the Spanish royal family’s seal of approval.
- Queso Montefrieno – As well as having what National Geographic called when of the best panoramic views in the world the mountain village of Montefrieno produces award-winning goat cheese.
What to do in Granada for Outdoor lovers?
Granada province is home to one of Andalucia’s two national parks, the Sierra Nevada boasting the two highest peaks on the Iberian Peninsula.
Not only is the Sierra Nevada popular with skiers, it’s clean, fresh air attracts hikers, mountain bikers, and rock climbers from around the world.
- Ski the Sierra Nevada –Containing 124 runs suitable for all skiing and snowboarding levels, the Sierra Nevada has the distinction of being the most southerly ski resort in Europe.
- Sea Kayaking – head to the lovely seaside town of Nerja and rent a sea kayak to explore the cliffs and secret coves as you paddle along the coast to Maro. This area of the coastline is a protected marine park, making it one of the best places in Spain to go snorkeling.
- Hiking in the Sierra Nevada – Being a national park, the Sierra Nevada is geared up for outdoor lovers and has numerous hiking trails throughout the park. For an unforgettable adventure, try and reach the higher elevations as the sun is setting.
- Canyoning – Granada offers the choice of both the Rio Verde Canyon and the Lentegi Canyon, for people who want to rappel, jump, slide, and swim their way down scenic river canyons.
- Ruta del Gollizno -Overlooked by the Moorish Castillo de Moclín, the Ruta del Gollizno is a three-hour circular walk where neolithic man left his mark, and important events of the Spanish Civil war took place.
What to do in the surroundings of Granada?
One of the great things about making Granada your base is that you are close to both the mountains and the beach.
Despite the city of Granada having so much to see and do, it is sometimes fun to get away and go on day trips to nearby places. Below are some of our favorite places to visit while in Granada.
Visit the white villages
Appearing like cubes of sugar clinging to the sides of mountains, the pretty white communities of the Alpujarras were the last bastions of the Moors. Unlike the arid landscape below, the Alpujarras have a lush green landscape thanks to the melting snow and are home to Spain’s famous mineral water, Lanjaron.
Visit Nerja and Frigiliana
Used as the setting for a long-running sitcom called Verano Azul (Blue Summer), Nerja is a pretty seaside town and the home of one of Spain’s most visited attractions, Nerja Caves. – Get tickets here
Not far from Nerja is Frigiliana, a historic village often called the prettiest in Spain.
Ubeda and Baeza
Regarded as being jewels of the Renaissance, the UNESCO World Heritage towns of Ubeda and Baeza in Jaen make an excellent day trip from Granada. – Book tours here
If you were amazed by the Alhambra and want to dive deeper into Moorish Spain, visit Cordoba and its impressive Mosque-Cathedral. While in Cordoba stroll around the old Jewish quarter and learn all about the Spanish Inquisition. – Read more about Cordoba here
Crowned by the Puente Nuevo over the Guadalevin River, Ronda is the home of modern bullfighting and was a favorite place for American author Earnest Hemingway. Steeped in history, including a famous battle between the armies of Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great, Ronda is a day trip well worth making.