15 Amazing Things to Do in Granada Spain On Your First Visit

Things to do in Granada

From the first moment you arrive in Granada, you’ll realize it’s unlike any other Spanish city. The diverse neighborhoods and unique architecture tell the story of one of the most important places in Spain’s history. So what is there to do in Granada Spain? Join us as we take you to the Alahambra, tapa hopping, and to all the best things to do and see in Granada! 

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15 Best Things to do in Granada Spain

1. Tour Alhambra de Granada

One of the best things to do in Granada will be easy to find from the start! Towering high above the city is an ancient fortress. The history of the Alhambra de Granda stretches over many centuries and empires!

It was first built in the early 13th century and construction only continued after the Christian Monarch’s regained power. The blend of cultures and religions come together in some astounding architecture that overlooks the city of Granada! Make sure to visit the Generalife and museum on your trip to the Alhambra. 

→ Alhambra de Granada: One Day Guide to Spain’s Most Impressive Castle

Book a Alhambra Ticket and Guided Tour with Nasrid Palaces

Best Things to Do in Granada Spain

2. Go Tapa Hopping

Tapas are a lifestyle in Spain and this is exemplified no better than in the city of Granada! If you’ve been to Spain before then you may know the drill… Order a drink and get a delicious Spanish snack right?

Well, at most tapa bars in Granada it’s done differently. Instead of a menu, you’re simply served whatever tapa is fresh and ready with your drink. What a concept! Below are some of our favorite tapa bars for when you get hungry in Granada.

  • Los Diamontes
  • Bar La Riviera
  • Bodega La Mancha
  • Om Kalsum 
  • Avila Tapas

Things to Do in Granada Tapas

3. Shop at Alcaiceria Market

You may have got a taste of Arabic history at the Alhambra, but it won’t be the last time! One of the best things to do in Granada Spain is to walk through the famous Alcaiceria Market.

What’s now a small colorful side street used to be the home of the main bazaar during the Nasrid dynasty of the 13th-15th centuries. Take a trip to the narrow walkway and do some shopping before seeing more of the area.

Granada Spain Alcaiceria Market

4. Explore Sacromente Neighborhood 

Sacromente is a special neighborhood in Granada that once housed the gypsy or “Roma” population of the city. They made their homes in caves up in the hills.

Some of these 15th century homes are now restaurants where you can experience some great music at night. Also, make sure to stop into the cave museum on your visit to Sacromente.

Sacromonte Neighborhood

5. Catch a Flamenco Show

Speaking of the Sacromente neighborhood… This is one of the best places to see traditional music and dance in Spain!

Flamenco is an art that’s been practiced in Spain for hundreds of years. These performances can be found throughout the country, but it’s certainly special to see inside of a cave in Sacromente.

Book a Sacromonte Flamenco Show at Cuevas Los Tarantos

Flamenco Dancing

6. Visit an Ancient Arab Bath

Another one of the best things to do in Granada for history lovers is to see the Arab baths. Also known as El Banuelo, the oldest Arab bath in the city dates back to the 11th century!

Centuries ago it was a place for men and women to relax and bathe. After the Christian conquest of Granada, many of these were destroyed. This one, in particular, sits on the Darro river and is the most well preserved of the few that remain in the city.

 Book a visit to the Hammam Al Ándalus with Optional Massage

Granada Spain Albaicin Neighborhood

7. Try Arabic Food in Albaicin Neighborhood

By now you can see the rich Arabic history of Granada and what a big part the culture still plays in the city. The actual Arabic section of Granada is called Albaicin and is full of color and life.

After taking a stroll through the many shops of Albaicin, sit down for a delicious meal! This area of Granada has a plethora of Syrian, Lebanese, and North African restaurants to enjoy. Even if you only have time to grab a Doner Kebab, you won’t regret eating a meal in Albaicin! 

Granada Spain Arabic Food

8. Visit the Cathedral of Granada

Still looking for what to do in Granada Spain? Well, there is plenty more to see! The Cathedral of Granada is the stunning centerpiece of the city which was built on top of a former mosque starting in 1518. Incredibly, it took 181 years to complete! The large face of the cathedral hovers over a beautiful square with nice cafes to stop for a drink. 

Cathedral of Granada Spain

9. Step Inside the Royal Chapel

Right next door to the Cathedral you’ll find the Royal Chapel. These historical sites are some of the best things to do in Granada Spain, so it’s great that they are so close to each other.

In 1504, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella marked this city as their final resting place. Over the next 12 years, it would be built in Gothic style and the bodies of the Catholic Monarchs would be moved there.

Today, you can visit the museum of the Royal Chapel and learn about the over 500 years of amazing history of this building.

 Book a Guided Tour of Cathedral and Royal Chapel

Granada Spain

10. Marvel at the Sierra Nevada Mountains

One thing that will immediately catch your eye when visiting Granada Spain is the gorgeous Sierra Nevada mountain range. It peaks at over 11,000 feet and serves as the magical backdrop behind the Alahambra and city.

In the winter you’ll even see snow-topped mountains. In fact, one of the best things to do in Granada Spain is to go skiing!

Sierra Nevada Mountains

11. Hike Above the City 

There are some amazing mountains, rivers, and even waterfalls you can hike to around Granada. Unsurprisingly, many of the best trails reside in the Sierra Nevada mountains we just told you about.

In the summer months, you can take a shuttle up and hike to the highest point in mainland Spain! Not up for any wild hiking trails? Don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of exercise just walking to the sites through the hilly streets of the city.

Granada City Hike

12. Stroll Carrera del Darro

Granada is filled with many gorgeous walking streets, and one of the most scenic is Carrera del Darro. The small road features colorful buildings on one side and the flowing Darro river on the other. Its position directly underneath the Alhambra also shows you just how high up the fortress sits!

Granada Spain Carrera del Darro

13. More Monestairies and Basilicas

Although the Cathedral is the most famous religious site in Granada, there are many more monasteries and basilicas worth visiting.

Each has its own special architecture which tell the story of the city. It’s here you can truly see the switch from Islam to Christianity at the turn of the 16th century. Below are more of the must-visit churches to see on your visit to Granada Spain.

  • Monastery of St. Jeronimo
  • Basilica of San Juan de Dios 
  • The Cartuja Monastery

Monestairies and Basilicas

14. Stop into Granada Central Market 

Mercado Central is the perfect spot to visit for foodie lovers in Granada! Take a stroll through the famous market that’s located just steps from the Cathedral.

Here you’ll find a mix of locals shopping for their daily produce and fish, as well as tourists enjoying food and drinks. We loved tapa hopping around the Central Market and taking in all the daily commotion around us.

Things to Do in Granada Spain Guide

15. Watch Sunset From Plaza de San Nicolas

With how hilly Granada is there is no shortage of great places to watch the sunset. However, there is one place that trumps them all! At Plaza de San Nicolas you will have the perfect view of the Alhambra with the Sierra Nevada mountains in the background.

To add to its allure, every night there is a group of men that play traditional music. It’s common to bring your own drinks and take in the magical colors as the sun sets over Granada.

Plaza de San Nicolas Sunset

Have any questions on this article or want to share more of the best things to do in Granada Spain? Leave us a comment below! 

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

 Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

Where to Stay in Granada Spain

Ultra LuxuryAlhambra Palace – Located just outside the Alhambra walls, this luxury hotel has incredible views of the city and Sierra Nevada mountains! Enjoy the Moorish style decor while being just steps from the famous castle. 

Fun VacationHotel Casa 1800 Granada – In the heart of the Albaicin district, this beautiful property is the perfect spot to stay in Granada. Next to many incredible landmarks with comfortable rooms and amenities. 

Central Hotel – NH Collection VictoriaAmazing 19th-century accommodation in the historic center. Walking distance to the Cathedral, Alcaiceria Market, and other major attractions.

Hostel Stay – Toc Hostel Granada – Awesome hostel to explore the city of Granada from. Make friends at the bar and shared lounge before sightseeing in one of Spain’s best cities.

For more places to stay in Granada Spain you can explore the latest prices here!

PIN FOR LATER 

Granada Spain Pin

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Spain Travel Planning 

 Flights: We always find the best flights using Skyscanner. Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly between cities in Spain than driving or taking the train! 

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic Spain road trip! 

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for thousands of activities around Spain. You can book a tour of the Madrid Royal Palace, skip the line and explore the Alhambra de Granada, or even jump on a Tenerife Dolphin cruise! 

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

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