Granada is an extraordinary place to visit. Located in the southern region of Andalusia, it’s a small city at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains that receives millions of visitors a year. And for good reason. Last stronghold of the Moorish kings, it’s infused with a unique history and culture that all seems to be visible at every turn. Head to Granada and you’ll be wowed by the majestic views from above and below. The city holds some of the most celebrated sites in the whole country!

But Granada is not all monuments and dusty churches. The city boasts elegant modern buildings, interactive science museums, Arab-style baths, and loads of nearby natural landscapes to explore and enjoy. There’s even a delightfully laid back hippy atmosphere that still feels polished and comfortable. There’s so much to do in this city! Check out some of our top picks for what to do in Granada on your trip through Spain. 

Spend the Day at the Alhambra

the Alhambra

A trip to Granada is not complete without a visit to this impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site. A stunning Moorish palace, the Alhambra is evidence of the Nasrid dynasty’s last gasp before fleeing the advance of the Christian Reconquista. It’s a sprawling complex of rooms with domed marquetry ceilings and intricate glazed tile work. The tranquil pools and gardens, with fountains and streams built into the architecture, are an oasis of beauty and calm. Book tickets in advance with Spain Savvy to avoid lines, as visitors are limited and tickets sell out months ahead. Wear comfortable footwear (it’s a huge palace!) and don’t forget sun protection if you’re visiting in the spring and summer.

Wander the Albayzín

AlbayzínThe city’s historic Moorish quarter, the Albayzín (or Albacín) is all narrow, winding cobblestone streets, hidden nooks and crannies, and white-washed buildings. You’ll find Arab-style tea houses serving typical desserts like baklava, gazelle horns, and fragrant almond pastries. Tetería El Bañuelo is a Spain Savvy favorite, with its cozy courtyard, stunning views, and delicious spread of pastries. You can also dine or stay in a restored Carmen, traditional houses in the Albayzín separated by a high wall from the street. They’re almost like secret gardens nestled into the hills, with flora-filled courtyards and coveted views of the Alhambra. Ask your Spain Savvy travel designer for recommendations tailored to your tastes and budget. 

Snap a Photo at the Miradores

Mirador de San NicolasConsidering Granada is city built on a hill (or several) you’ll not only get a little workout here and there, you’ll also get some truly spectacular views. Granada has various miradores, or lookout points, from the north side of the Darro River that reveal views of the majestic Alhambra, and the Sierra Nevadas showing off in the background. If you happen to head during chillier months, you’ll even get a view of those mountain peaks dusted in snow. It makes for quite the fairytale photo! The Mirador de San Nicolás is by far the most visited lookout point and worth the trek. You can also keep going further up from that point to the Mirador de San Miguel Alto, which is a bit less crowded and more popular amongst locals. The sunsets from both are unforgettable.

Search for Free Tapas

Tapas riceWhen it comes to dining, Granada is known throughout Andalusia for its free tapas. Anytime you order a beverage, be it a glass of wine or a soda, many bars will also offer you a free tapa. You can occasionally choose, but most spots serve you the house tapa or tapa of the day. Los Manueles on Reyes Católicos, just around the corner from the Cathedral, is a classic traditional Andalusian tapas bar worth visiting. We were once served a delicious and monstrous pork meatball with our glass of tempranillo! We also love Los Diamantes for the best fried fish and seafood in town. Other free tapas you might come across vary from rice dishes to Iberian ham to spicy chicken skewers. It’s a fun culinary adventure you can’t miss! We’ll be sure to add on some additional personal recommendations for your trip. 

Soak in the Arab Baths

Hammambaths Al Andalus
Courtesy of Hammam Al Ándalus Granda

Next to the Darro River, with the Alhambra towering above, are Granada’s Arab bathsthe Hammam Al Ándalus. Built into the original ancient Arab baths of the period, the spa and bath experience feels like stepping back in time. It’s an ideal place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the city, while still feeling like you’re having a unique local experience. There are various packages to choose from and each includes a 90-minute “Water Journey,” where you can migrate from salt pools to ice pools to jacuzzi-style baths. Add on a massage or other highly recommended treatments to renew those tired traveler’s legs. 

Visit the Science Park

Parque de las Ciencias Granada
Courtesy of Parque de las Ciencias

If you’re looking for something to do in Granada on a rainy day, Parque de las Ciencias is a great option. It’s also just a fascinating place. And if you’re traveling with kids, even better. All the exhibits are interactive and there’s loads to do. Biodome. Butterfly House. Learn about birds of prey with a daily display of falconry. There’s even a planetarium.

Head to the Beach

Playa de la RijanaIt’s hard imagine that white sands and crystal waters are just an hour away when you’re nestled into the hills of the city. But it’s true! Escape the summer heat and take advantage of the many beaches and coves along the Costa Tropical of Granada, all within about 50 miles from the city. Puerta del Mar, Playa de la Guardia, Playa La Rijana, and La Herradura are all fantastic and close options. Each has its own attraction, bet it family-friendly or a more tourist-free hideaway.

Hit the Slopes

Ski slopes Sierra NevadaSkiing in Spain? Yes, you heard us right! The snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains, which cozy up to the city, are less than an hour’s drive away. Ski season usually runs from the beginning of to December through the end of March. A one-day pass is very affordable at just 30€ for adults and 25.50€ for kiddos. You can also rent the necessary snow gear like skis and snowboards in case you don’t feel like schlepping your gear own across the country.

Granada really does have something for everyone. Here at Spain Savvy we almost always recommend it as a stop on any itinerary through southern Spain. Ready to add it to your trip? Contact us today and get started on that dream custom itinerary through Spain!