Alhambra & So Much More – Things to do in Granada

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! The drinks are always flowing. The city is buzzing.

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!

The Alhambra

First off, the Alhambra. We have to start with 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 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.

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This was taken minutes after Zach crashed our drone into a tree. Not a moving tree. The tree was just sitting there. For how big his head is, sometimes I’m not sure there’s anything between those two ears of his. If there’s ever a drone crashing competition we will sign him up 🏆 Anyways, if you ever go to Granada, you literally can’t miss the Alhambra. This beauty sits on top of a big hill and lights up beautifully at night. Look pretty good during the day too. Basically how Zach felt about Julie when they first met. If you’ve ever been to Granada did you go inside or admire the beauty from the outside? Do you prefer the view during the day or night? . ••••• #granada #granadaspain #alhambra #travelingcouple #couplesthattravel #travelspain #traveleurope #eurotrip #creativetravelcouples #beautifuldestinations #husbandandwife #alhambragranada #europevacation #getaway #vacationmode

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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!

View from Sacromonte

We hiked up Sacromonte for 2 reasons:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Things to do in Granada – Sacromonte

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).

View from San Nicolás – 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, stick to Sacromonte at sunset.

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…

Things to do in Granada – Mirador San Nicolás

Walk the City

Granada is right up near the top of our favorite cities on earth to walk around. Our favorite thing to do is to pick a destination, a mile or two away, and to wander 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.

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As you probably know by now Zach’s stick shift skills were extremely shitty throughout our trip, and that’s putting it nicely. Imagine my blood pressure when we had to somehow get the car out of our hotel parking ramp, which consisted of a sharp right turn surrounded by nice cars (sick brag) and cement walls then immediately up a steep hill out of the basement. After stalling the car twice (3 times?) and rolling backwards down the hill a few times, a few near-heart-attacks, he did it! . Do you prefer driving a manual or automatic? . ••••• #granada #granadaspain #travelspain #explorespain #visitgranada #europevacation #spainvacation #travelblogger #traveler #gotravel #europeanarchitecture #explorethecity #exploremore #travelmoreworryless #traveloften

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Photo opportunities ABOUND in the city, and to be honest we felt like we were the only ones in the city. Granada is not a huge tourist town, and any tourists that are here typically are found 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.

You know what this means? You will have 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 dancing!

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!

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.

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 beer 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 this. 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, and experience Granada the best way you know how!

El Bañuelo

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.

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.

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!

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You know it’s gonna be a good day when you start drinking at 10am, which basically means every day in Granada is a good day. We literally did not have to pay for food while we were there, since it is tradition to get free tapas with every drink you order! Think about that, every time you get a drink you get a free plate of food. It is so sustainable! Granada clocks are always set to cervesa o’clock, which may be why we loved this city so much. That is until Julie had to carry Zach home piggy back at the end of the night. . Tell us a story of a time you may have had a little too much fun 😉 🍸. Best ones get a story shoutout! . • • • #granada #granadaspain #elbañuelo #travelspain #europevacation #travelcouple #coupleslovetravel #couplesofinstagram #coupleswhotravel #creativetravelcouples

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More Photos Exploring Granada

Another great part about Granada? All the hiking in nearby National Parks!

Hiking National Parks in South Spain

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About the author

We are Zach, Julie, and Kobe, the creators of Ruhls of the Road! We would love to hear from you, send us a message!

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