There is so much fun to have and so many things to do in Granada it will make your head spin. The Granada tapas are the best in Spain in our opinion, and the Alhambra at the center of the city is a truly amazing structure. Even the Granada hotels are super cool! Let’s take a Granada tour that covers all of the incredible things to do in Granada, so you’ll have the time of your life in Southern Spain.
Granada is the best city in Spain. Why? Because there are countless things to do in Granada. The culture is magnificent. The food is fantastic – and free? More on that later… The drinks are always flowing. The city is buzzing. There seems to always be something going on in Granada.
We will never forget our time in Granada, and neither will you. Let us be your guide and you’ll have the stay of a lifetime!
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We have to start our post on things to do in Granada with the most famous structure around: the Alhambra. This is without a doubt the crowned jewel of Granada.
The Alhambra is a palace and fortress located on a hilltop in the center of Granada, Spain, and OH BOY is it worth the trip. Why? Lots of reasons!
Number one, it is a stunner. Enormous, looming over the city night and day, the Alhambra is a quintessential Granada site and photo opportunity.
Second, this place is a gigantic, beautiful piece of history! It is over 1000 years old! The Alhambra was built 800 years BEFORE Columbus sailed to North America! And it still is one of the prettiest buildings in Europe. Unbelievable.
Finally, you should see the Alhambra because it is a once-in-a-lifetime thing to see, and it is very hard to get tickets! We know that because we COMPLETELY FAILED at getting them. Our loss is your gain, because we now know how to get tickets, and more importantly when to get them, for your trip to Granada.
The official Alhambra website gives the following instructions on the best way to plan your tour:
- Due to the great demand of tickets and to the restriction in the number of visitors per day, advance booking is recommended.
- You will only be able to access the Nasrid Palaces in the time indicated on your ticket. If you do not enter at the designated time, you will not be able to visit this space.
- Due to the large crowds it is advisable to arrive at the monument in advance, especially on weekends and holidays.
Best to book your tickets at least 2 months before your trip to ensure you get in. DO NOT wait until the day or week before, people! Your Granada tour will not be complete without a trip to The Alhambra.
View from Sacromonte
The Sacromonte is a hill right outside Granada that offers a unique experience. You can walk up the hill, or if you’d rather rent a bike that is a great way to get around the Sacromonte (and all of Granada) as well.
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We chose to walk up Sacromonte. There are 2 reasons why you should put this on your Granada itinerary:
- The view of the Alhambra is perfect. Emerging through the trees, the beautiful structure presides over the remainder of Granada, spread out to the horizon below.
- Sacromonte is home to preserved gypsy caves, which are definitely worth the tour! It is amazing to see a village built into the side of a mountain and live a day in the life of a gypsy in medieval Granada.
Side note: Sacromonte is the place to be if you want to see an authentic Flamenco show. Here’s how to do it, from one of our favorites Rick Steves:
A long flamenco tradition exists in Granada. Sacromonte is a good place to see zambra, a flamenco variation with a more Oriental feel in which the singer also dances. Two popular — or at least well-established — zambra venues are Zambra Cueva del Rocío (Camino del Sacromonte 70) and María la Canastera. I’d just go and explore late at night (with no wallet and €30 in my pocket) rather than booking an evening through my hotelier (many offer to make these reservations for guests).
San Nicolás – View the Alhambra at Night
At sunset, make sure you make your way to San Nicolás for perhaps the best view of the Alhambra and Granada as a whole. Full disclosure, there will be quite a few tourists here around sunset, because San Nicolás is no secret. If you want to avoid the crowds, you can stick to Sacromonte at sunset and get an incredible view from there as well.
If you brave the crowds, you’ll get a stunning view of the palace lit up in all its glory. We were fine elbowing our way through a few strangers, probably because we’d had a few pitchers of Sangria by then…
Walk Around Granada
Granada is right up near the top of our favorite cities on earth to walk around. You will stumble across so many cool sights and cute shops and restaurants that you wouldn’t have found otherwise. One of our favorite things to do in Granada was to pick a destination a mile or two away, and to wander towards that destination through the city.
We stop at shops when Julie feels like it, stop at cafes when Julie is hungry, basically just do whatever Julie wants to. Zach is just responsible for us getting there.
Photo opportunities ABOUND in the city, and to be honest we felt like we were the only ones exploring Granada this way! Granada is not a huge tourist town, and any tourists that are here typically are found somewhere near the Alhambra.
This is ESPECIALLY true from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. Like most Spanish towns, everything shuts down for the mid-day siesta in Granada. Many restaurants and shops will not be open around this time, so make sure you’re prepared!
We recommend you take full advantage of the siesta! After all, it is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in local culture, and be perfectly okay taking a mid-afternoon nap! We did, and it was magnificent. After your siesta, you’ll have all the more energy to hit the town for an evening of tapas, Sangria, and maybe even Flamenco dancing!
Granada Food – Free Tapas!
You heard us. F-R-E-E T-A-P-A-S. Five finger discount. As in put your wallet away and dive in face first to some scrumptious Spanish eats! The Granada food is so so delicious.
Every single bar or cafe we went to had free tapas, and we went to quite a few (not to brag), so you will easily be able to find free tapas on your trip. In fact, we challenge you to find a place that doesn’t have free tapas.
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Now, the tapas are free, but they don’t just give you a plate of them when you arrive. You have to order a drink first. We did not pay for food throughout our entire time in Granada, however we did have to pay for our drinks, and the Sangria was so yummy!
Thankfully, you don’t HAVE to order alcohol to take advantage of the free tapas, it comes with coffee and other drinks as well. However it is very well within Spanish culture to enjoy a sangria or two with lunch, so feel free to fire away!
Tinto de Verano: You HAVE to try Tinto de Verano on your trip to Spain! Tourists drink Sangria (which we also love), locals drink Tinto de Verano. It is a mixture of lemonade and red wine, and OH BOY is it awesome. Refreshing and delicious!
After all, you’re on vacation, so kick back and relax! Order a beer or two, stuff your face with all of the Granada food you can find, and experience South Spain the best way you know how!
El Bañuelo is an ancient bath house located in central Granada, right at the base of the hill leading up to the Alhambra. No longer a functioning bath house, El Bañuelo is now a small museum open to tourists and locals, and is one of the best things to do in Granada for tourists.
Our advice: go on a Sunday. Admission to El Bañuelo is free on Sundays, and though we thought it was extremely cool, there are better ways to spend our money in Granada. Besides, we are always looking for the best ways to see a new city on a budget.
The bath house is pretty small (the entire tour takes about 15 minutes) so we recommend taking advantage of free entrance on Sundays. You can get some awesome pics on the inside though!
Where to Stay in Granada
There are many Granada hotels and Airbnbs that offer incredible places to stay during your time here. We recommend staying somewhere near the city center, near one of the sites you plan on visiting during your time in Granada.
One of the best places to stay in Granada would be over near the Sacromonte hill. From there, you will have beautiful views of the Alhambra day and night. On top of that, you’ll be near many amazing Granada restaurants and Flamenco dance shows which will make your stay more exciting and authentic.
Granada Photo Album
Hiking Near Granada
Another great part about Granada? All the hiking in nearby National Parks! Sierra Nevada and Sierra de Tejeda are both very close. If you are going from Seville to Granada, or Granada to Seville, then you will pass by a few of these awesome hiking destinations.
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You need clothes to travel. Heck, maybe you don’t. We don’t judge. If you want to hop around the world in your birthday suit then go right ahead! But if you want to cover up, here are a few of our favorite clothing items we love, and we think you’ll love too!
We recommend doing your research ahead of time and finding some awesome hikes to do during your adventure across South Spain. 2 of our favorite hikes ever were Rio Verde in Sierra de Tejeda and Los Cahorros in Sierra Nevada, both of which we talk about in the article.
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Thank you for reading our post on things to do in Granada! We truly hope you enjoyed it, and we know you will have an incredible experience in this wonderful city. If you liked this article, please Pin the images below to your Pinterest!
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