Welcome to Granada, a picturesque city where history comes to life at its best. Impressive last Moorish stronghold in Spain, a ravishing mix of cultures that intertwine perfectly with each other, winding cobbled streets of the old town, hypnotizing gypsy Flamenco shows, stunning views at every step… Granada has it all and even more. And all of that makes this city one of the most visited destinations in Spain, even for a one-day trip! Vamos, let’s discover the best things to do in Granada, Spain in one day.
For us, a visit to Granada was a one-day trip from Almeria, one of our favorite cities in Andalusia in which we were staying for a few weeks. We started exploring the city early in the morning, about 8:30 AM, and without too much rush we managed to see most of the spots we had on our list. Remember, the earlier you start the more time you’ll have to see the attractions with fewer crowds.
In this post, we’ll show you the exact places we visited in Granada, and we’ll also include some other places you can choose from. Feel free to follow this guide with the best things to do in Granada in one day, and modify it to your needs. At the end of the post, you’ll also find a map of Granada with all the spots marked. There is information about great places to stay and eat too! Ok, so without further ado, let’s dive in and discover great things to do in Granada, Spain in one day.
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FAQ Granada, Spain
Granada is one of the biggest cities in Andalusia, in southern Spain. The city sits at an altitude of 738m a.s.l at the foothills of the picturesque Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s the capital city of the Province of Granada.
Granada is definitely best known for Alhambra, one of the best-preserved Islamic fortresses in Europe. It is also known for its Arabic and gypsy quarters, flamenco shows, traditional hammams, and charming winding old town streets.
Many adore Granada, and some don’t really like it. But is it worth visiting? Yes, even just to form your own opinion. There are many attractions and things to do in Granada, and chances are high that everybody will find something great for himself.
One day in Granada is enough to see all the main city landmarks and get a good feel of what Granada is all about. But it’s definitely not enough to see all that the city has to offer. So if you want to experience the city better, at a slower pace, and also go beyond the touristy things we recommend spending about 3-7 days in Granada.
Yes, Granada is a walkable city and the best way to discover all its charms is on foot. Its historical center is fairly small and all main landmarks are within walking distance from each other. But bear in mind that Granada is a hilly city and you’ll be going up and down. If you have problems with mobility you can easily take advantage of buses or taxis driving through the city.
Granada gets very hot in the summer months, temperatures can easily go above 40°C which definitely doesn’t guarantee pleasant sightseeing. So the best time to visit the city is spring (March-May) and Autumn (September-October) when the average temperature is around 20-25°C. When we visited in mid-March of 2022 we experienced pleasant temperatures of about 25°C and very unpleasant crowds at every step. If you want to avoid crowds you should probably choose winter months to visit Granada.
Things To Do In Granada, Spain In One Day
Alhambra is Granada’s main landmark, and for many the main reason to visit the city. What’s more, it’s also one of the most visited attractions in Spain! It sits atop a high hill proudly overlooking the city, and beautifully blending into the landscape with the Sierra Nevada mountains in the background. Alhambra was named UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Visiting this impressive monument is definitely the number one thing to do in Granada, Spain in one day.
Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex that was built in Granada in the 13th century by the Moorish Nasrid Dynasty after the fall of Cordoba in 1236. It was the center of their power for the final years of their control over Andalusia. After the Reconquista and surrender of the Emirate of Granada in 1492 to Spanish rulers, Alhambra became the Royal Court for catholic monarchs, Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II.
Nowadays, Alcazaba is a well-preserved complex that consists of 3 parts: Alhambra, Nasdir Palaces, and Generalife. It’s a perfect place to dive into the ancient Islamic world.
Alcazaba is a military fortress from the 13th built on the site of a former fortress from the 11th century. It’s the oldest part of the Alhambra complex which was the centrepiece of a fortification system. Standing on a high hill, it offered great panoramic views over the surroundings, very useful for protection against invaders. Nowadays, you can wander around the ramparts, explore towers, take a look at the foundations of ancient buildings, and admire fantastic views over Granada and Sierra Nevada mountains and the city.
Nasrid Palaces is a royal palace complex, which is a real masterpiece of Islamic architecture where you’ll experience true splendor in its greatest form. It lies at the heart of Alhambra and consists of three main parts: Palace of the Lions, Comares Palace, and Mexuar. While in Nasrid Palaces, take your time to admire geometric designs, carvings, inscriptions, courtyards, patios, marble statues, fountains, pillars, and so much more… There is plenty of intricate details to discover.
Generalife is a beautiful, lush, and well-maintained garden complex with a palace, which is a former summer residence of the Nasrid rulers. Just walk around and enjoy colorful flowers, perfectly trimmed hedges, fountains, and of course stunning views over Granada City. It’s a true pleasure to walk around that area of Alhambra.
There is an entrance fee to visit Granadas’ Alhambra, and you can choose among a few types of tickets. General ticket allowing you to visit the entire complex costs €19.09 for adults, and €12.73 for kids aged 12-15; younger children can enter for free (June 2023). You have to buy tickets online earlier. For current prices and opening hours please visit alhambra-patronato.es website.
Useful tips for visiting Granada Alhambra:
- You need to book your tickets in advance online, best a few weeks earlier
- Don’t be late for your booked time for Nasrid Palaces
- Reserve at least about 3-4 hours for your visit
- Don’t forget your ID or passport – you’ll need it in several places
- Tickets have QR codes, and you don’t need to print them – just use your phone
- Arrive early to avoid huge crowds
- There parking lots in the area where you can leave your car, but are not free
One of the best things to do in Granada is to visit some of its viewpoints that offer stunning views over Alhambra and the city. There are plenty to choose from if you want to see the Granada from every angle. Here are the most popular ones.
Mirador de San Nicolas
Mirador de San Nicolas (eng. San Nicolas Viewpoint) is located in the Albaicin neighborhood, right next to the 16th-century church with the same name. Undoubtedly it’s the most popular viewpoint in Granada. It offers great views over Alhambra with Sierra Nevada mountains in the background, as well as the city. Mirador de San Nicolas is very crowded and very loud.
Travel tip – just a few steps from San Nicolas Viewpoint you’ll find the Mosque of Granada (es. Mezquita Mayor de Granada) with a small garden and amazing views over Alhambra. What’s best about it – it’s fairly uncrowded and quiet, and you can admire views in peace.
Mirador de San Cristobal
Mirador de San Cristobal (eng. San Cristobal viewpoint) is located in close proximity to Mirador de San Nicolas, next to the church of the same name. It offers nice views over the city and the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Mirador de San Miguel Alto
Mirador de San Miguel Alto (eng. Saint Michael Viewpoint) is one of the highest Granada viewpoints and to reach it you’ll need to hike a bit. Viewpoint offers good views over the city and Alhambra, and it’s much quieter and less crowded than the ones mentioned above.
Granada Old Town Streets & Squares
The Old Town of Granada is full of many charming streets and squares perfect for you to discover. While strolling among Granada’s main points of interest don’t miss visiting its main shopping area, lively Plaza de Bib-Rambla, and adjoining streets. It’s a place full of shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, and street performers.
The next places you can’t miss are located right beneath the Albaicin neighborhood on the banks of the Darro River – Plaza Nueva and Carrera del Darro. These are the oldest squares and streets in Granada, where you’ll find a few ancient stone bridges and many Renaissance buildings. In the past, on Carrera del Darro funeral processions used to take place which indicates why its name can be translated to “the street of the sad ones”.
If you’re on a hunt for unique souvenirs head to Alcaiceria Market which once was home to the Moorish silk market. Among its narrow and colorful streets, you’ll feel like at a street market in Turkey or Morocco. In many shops, you’ll find things like painted ceramics, jewelry, colorful clothes, stained glass lamps, carpets, and so many more to choose from. For a similar experience, you can also head to Calle Calderia Nueva, which is known as the little Marrakech of Granada.
Another great thing to do in Granada is to visit the Albaicin neighborhood, also known as Albayzin. It’s the former Moorish quarter located on the hill facing the Alhambra. Albaicin is definitely one of the most authentic and captivating areas in Granada. What’s interesting, this area largely retained its medieval street plan which dates back to the Nasrid period (13th-15th centuries). Albaicin neighborhood was declared a World Heritage Site in 1994.
Take a nice stroll among narrow cobblestone streets full of charming whitewashed houses, do some shopping in one of the small craft shops, take a sip of coffee in a restaurant, and of course admire views over Granada from one of many viewpoints. Believe us, it’s a real pleasure to get lost among Albaicin neighborhood streets (until you reach the very busy and loud Mirador de San Nicolas). But remember that Albaicin is located on a steep hill and you’ll have to get a little tired to get there.
Granada Cathedral (es. Catedral de Granada) was built in the 16-17th centuries, on the grounds of a former mosque. It was ordered to be built by King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella after regaining power over the region but unfortunately, neither of them saw it finished as the construction took… 181 years! Due to that fact, you can spot an architectural mix of Renaissance, Baroque, and Gothic styles. Granada Cathedral is the second largest cathedral in Spain.
Entrance to Granada Cathedral is not free. Normal ticket costs €5, and reduced €3.5 (June 2023). You can buy tickets online or in the Cathedral’s ticket office. For current prices and opening hours visit ticketsgranadacristiana.com website.
Royal Chapel of Granada
Royal Chapel of Granada (es. Capilla Real de Granada) is a mausoleum for Catholic royalty, located right next to the cathedral. It was built between 1505-1517 by the order of Queen Isabella. Inside, you’ll find a crypt, the tombs of a few Catholic monarchs (like King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella, or their successors Joanna of Castile and Philip I), as well as a museum.
Entrance to Royal Chapel is paid. Normal ticket costs €5, and reduced €3.5 (June 2023). You can buy tickets online or in the Royal Chapel’s ticket office. For current prices and opening hours visit ticketsgranadacristiana.com website.
Sacromonte is another of Granada’s traditional neighborhoods located on Valparaiso Hill, very close to the Albaicin and Alhambra. It’s a former gypsy quarter most famous for the troglodytes’ houses which have been converted into flamenco caves hosting dramatic flamenco dance shows. From Sacromonte you can also get a good look over Alhambra. You can also venture higher on a hill to see the real, non-touristy part of the neighborhood, but to be honest, we didn’t feel very welcome there.
If you want to learn more about the Sacromonte neighborhood and see recreated cave homes you can visit Museo Cuevas del Sacromonte. The entrance costs €5 (June 2023). You can buy tickets online or in the museum’s office. For current prices and opening hours visit sacromontegranada.com website.
Travel tip. For us, visiting the Sacromonte neighborhood was quite boring and we didn’t notice anything special about it. If you want to see better cave houses in which thousands of people still live, take a trip to Guadix. It’s located only about 50km from Granada.
More Things To Do In Granada, Spain In One Day
Here are some more interesting things to do in Granada, Spain. Feel free to modify the itinerary so that you can make the best of your time in the city, doing things that really interest you.
El Banuelo – ancient Arab baths
El Banuelo is the oldest and best-preserved ancient Arab baths in Spain, dating back to the 11th century. Baths were the place where people were going to wash themselves, socialize, and do business. Unfortunately, after recapturing Granada most of them were destroyed as they were perceived by the Christians as places of debauchery, brothels. El Banuelo survived only because it was set in a private house.
El Banuelo is located on Carrera del Darro. Entrance is paid, and costs €27.3 when bought with a “Dobla de Oro” Alhambra ticket, or €5 at the ticket office. For current prices and opening hours visit tickets.alhambra-patronato.es website.
If you’re looking for a cool thing to do in Granada in the evening you can’t miss seeing the flamenco show. Most of the shows are taking place in the caves in the Sacromonte neighborhood, and are usually preceded by traditional dinner. Some of the best-rated places are Cueva la Rocio, Jardines de Zoraya, and Cuevas Los Tarantos. Most of the places need booking in advance.
Granada Science Park
Granada Science Park (es. Parque de las Ciencias) is located only about 4km from the city center, easy to get to by bus or car. It’s a great place for both small and big ones. Inside you’ll find for example an interactive museum, planetarium, botanical garden, butterfly park, and a 50m high view tower. For current prices and opening hours visit parqueciencias.com website.
How to get to Granada, Spain?
Where to park in Granada?
If you’re traveling by car you can choose from many parking lots in the city. We left our car for a whole day in the Alhambra parking lot, which is located right next to the Alhambra and about 30min to the city center on foot.
Airports near Granada
The closest airport to Granada is located in Granada, about 20km from the city center. The next ones are located in Malaga (135km away) and Almeria (160km away). All airports offer bus or train connections with Granada. To learn more about connections that might interest you visit rome2rio.com website.
To Granada by train
Granada has a train station so you can get there easily by train from cities like Malaga, Almeria, or Seville. You can check out a map of available connections on acprail.com. For example, a journey from Almeria will last about 2h15min (€16-22), and 1h20min from Malaga (€15-21).
To Granada by bus
From many places, you can also reach Granada by bus. For example, a trip from Malaga will take about 2h (€9-29), from Guadix 30min (€5-13), and 2h from Almeria (€22-35). Most routes are operated by the ALSA bus service, so you can also check available connections on the ALSA website.
Camping Granada Spain
If you’re traveling by camper you’ll be happy to know that there are quite a lot of campings in and near Granada. Check out Camper Park Beas de Granada, Camping Granada, Camping Las Lomas, or Area Camper Granada as we think they might interest you.
Things To Do In Granada, Spain In One Day – Summing Up
So here you have it, the best things to do in Granada, Spain in one day. Quite a lot to choose from, right? We hope you’ll find our guide useful and you’ll have a nice time in the city choosing the best attraction for yourself.
Our opinion about Granada
As for our opinion, we didn’t really enjoy Granada. Why? Mostly due to the fact that we really hate crowds and loud and busy cities. Granada had all of that and it was overwhelming for us. If a visit in the low season looked like that then we don’t even want to know how it looks in the high season. The city itself also wasn’t really spectacular for us, and we think that there are more interesting places in the area like Guadix, Almeria, or Cabo de Gata Natural Park. But should you skip Granada? We won’t tell you that – go and discover the city yourself, form your opinion, and then let us know if you enjoyed it.
Restaurants, accommodations, and map
Check out various recommended places below.
Where to eat in Granada?
Here are your best, high-rated options in Granada:
Where to sleep in Granada?
Palacete 1620 Premium Suites/Only adults
Palacete 1620 is a luxurious and exclusive adult-only boutique hotel located in Granada. The hotel offers premium suites that are elegantly designed and furnished, providing a sophisticated and comfortable stay for guests. With its prime location in the heart of Granada, guests can easily explore the city's attractions.
Hotel Boutique Puerta de las Granadas
Hotel Boutique Puerta de las Granadas is a charming boutique hotel nestled in the heart of Granada. The hotel combines modern comfort with traditional Andalusian architecture, offering guests a unique and cozy stay. With its convenient location near the Alhambra and other major attractions, guests can easily explore the city's rich history and vibrant culture.
Hostel Nut is a trendy and vibrant hostel located in the heart of Granada city. It offers a comfortable and social atmosphere for budget-conscious travelers. With its central location, guests have easy access to popular attractions such as the Alhambra and the historic Albayzin neighborhood.
Sercotel Granada Suites
Sercotel Granada Suites is a modern and comfortable hotel located in the heart of Granada. It offers spacious suites with contemporary design and a range of amenities for a pleasant stay. Guests can enjoy the convenience of a fully equipped kitchenette, a living area, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The hotel's central location allows easy access to Granada's major attractions.
Vincci Albayzin Hotel
Vincci Albayzin Hotel is a stylish and contemporary hotel nestled in the historic Albayzín district of Granada. The hotel boasts elegant and spacious rooms with modern amenities and tasteful decor. It's set around a beautiful traditional Andalusian-style courtyard.
Accommodations photos source: booking.com