Now we’re not saying to come to Granada and not see the Alhambra. In fact that should be the very first thing on your list to do and we have a blog post here with everything you need to know before you do. But there is so much more when it comes to what to see in Granada.
And so that’s what this blog post is dedicated to. All the other awesome parts of the city and things to do in Granada that should also be on your travel itinerary.
What To See In Granada
As there’s so many Granada tourist attractions, we’re going to go ahead and split them up into sections. So in this guide to Granada you’ll find viewpoints, shopping, green spaces, cultural activities and of course nightlife.
But first, let’s just quickly run you through the different Granada neighbourhoods you’ll be visiting so you can get your bearings on where things are in relation to each other.
Situated opposite it, this historic Arab neighbourhood is an extension of the mighty Alhambra. Separated only by the river Darro, cobbled, narrow streets, dotted with pretty white washed houses, wind their way up the hillside from the northern banks.
Throughout the old Arab Quarter you’ll find remains of the old city wall and several grand gates. There’s also lots of important churches and Islamic buildings such as the Dar al-Horra Nasrid palace and the El Banuelo Arab baths.
There’s plenty of restaurants and markets selling spices and dried fruits in Albaicin, but you’ll have to seek them out amidst rabbit warren esq street plan. But that only adds to its charm. Having a wander around here has to be one of the top things to do in Granada.
This pretty neighbourhood spills down Valparaiso hill and backs onto the east of Albaicin. Traditionally the home of the Granadian Romani, it is known as the Gypsey Quarter, and is characterised by the unusual cave houses that they built inside white washed caves.
Legend has it that there is much buried treasure in the area which was once just olive groves. When the once ruling Moors fled following the Granada war between 1482 and 1491, they are rumoured to have left it here hoping to return again one day.
During the day you’ll find Sacromonte pretty quiet, but come nightfall it comes alive with flamenco music and dancing. A definite must see in Granada. The Sacromonte Caves Museum and Sacromonte Abbey with catacombs are also here.
Otherwise known as the old Jewish Quarter, this ancient, central neighbourhood spreads between Granada’s two rivers; the Darro and the Genil. Under Moorish rule it was a bustling Jewish community, but when the Catholic Monarchy took over it was tragically destroyed.
These days it’s still a vibrant community but instead with busy bars serving Granada’s famous tapas. There’s lots of attractive street art here. Plus plenty of shaded plazas to chill out in inbetween wandering the alleyways. Don’t miss the gorgeous Plaza Campo del Príncipe.
The church of Santo Domingo and the Casa de los Tiros are also popular Granada tourist attractions in this neighbourhood. The small Sephardic Museum of Granada (Museo Sefardí de Granada) is also here.
Adjoined to the north west of Realejo is the small commercial area of Bib-Rambla. The centro of Granada if you like. Located at the heart is the stunning Plaza Bib-Rambla which is buzzing with life. It’s been the main meeting place in Granada for centuries.
Cafes and bars line the square with 17th century Fountain of the Giants rising up from the centre. And depending on the time of year you visit there will be different markets. During summer it’s often fresh flower stalls but there’s also a magical Christmas market in winter.
Jutting off in all directions from the square you’ll find shopping galore as alleyways open up into fascinating bazaars with all kinds of treasures on offer. The majestic buildings of The Royal Chancellery and The Granada Cathedral are also in this part of the city.
How To Get Around Granada
The main Granada tourist attractions are all within walking distance of each other. However the hillside neighbourhoods of Albaicin and Sacromonte can be strenuous so you may want to get a little help for those areas in particular.
There’s four urban tourist routes criss-crossing the city. There’s the C30 (Alhambra – Centre), C31 (Albaicin – Centre), C32 (Alhambra – Albaicin) and C34 (Sacromonte – Centre). You’ll need to pick up a Credibus travel card and can find more info on that here.
There’s a small hop on hop off city train that’s very reasonably priced and runs every 30-60 minutes. You can get 1 or 2 day tickets. And there’s a city centre red route that goes up to Albaicin and a green route that goes to The Alhambra.
Renting an electric bike to zip around the city and make easy work of those hills is also a fun option. Padlock and helmets are included in the rent.
Things To Do In Granada
Okay time to start putting some detail into your Granada itinerary. We have an entire blog post dedicated to the best tapas bars in Granada so check that out next. Here we’re covering cultural activities, viewpoints, shopping, green spaces and the best nightlife spots.
Granada Cultural Activities
El Bañuelo Arab Baths
These 11th century Arab baths are one of only a handful of Islamic buildings that were saved from destruction by the Catholic Monarchs. And that’s only because a private house was built on top. Restored to their former glory, they are a fascinating insight into Moorish Granada.
They are located on Carrera del Darro and you’ll need a ‘Monumentos Andalusíes’ ticket. They are just €5 and also include entry to the Dar al-Horra Palace, the Horno de Oro House and the Corral del Carbón. Alternatively, entrance on Sundays is free.
Hammam Al Ándalus
It’s not possible to actually use the El Bañuelo Arab Baths, but there is a replica close by where you can do so. At Hammam Al Ándalus you can unwind with alternate periods of bathing in the hot, cold and steam rooms.
There’s also a relaxation room where you can sip on mint tea and unwind to soothing Andalusian music. It’s pure chill. And you can even go all out and book a 15/30 minute relaxing massage too.
Sacromonte Caves Museum
As part of this awesome museum you can visit eleven cave houses and learn all about the history and traditions of the Sacromonte neighbourhood.
You’ll get a real insight into how life would have been when Gypsies first settled in this area and be able to see traditional trades and crafts on show, such as basketry, ceramics and weaving. You’ll also learn about the unique history of flamenco, but more on that in abit.
Palacio de los Olvidados
Under Moorish rule, people of Christian, Jewish and Islamic faith lived alongside each other easily in Granada. But once the Catholic Monarchs took over reign that all changed.
The Alhambra Decree of 1492 ordered all Jews to ‘leave the kingdom, never to return’ with the ‘death penalty and confiscation of belongings to be applied’ if not obeyed.
This museum, near the Alhambra, is dedicated to the history of Jewish Granada and the Spanish Inquisition. Established by the Catholic Monarchs in order to ‘purify’ Spain and impose Catholicism there’s also a collection of torture instruments from that 350 year era.
Museo Sefardí de Granada
Under Catholic rule almost all traces of Granada’s sephardic past were wiped out and any mosques and synagogues that weren’t demolished were drastically remodelled and converted into Catholic churches.
In 1494 specifically, 20,000 Jewish homes in the old Jewish neighbourhood of Realejo were destroyed to make way to build a new hospital and a cathedral.
This intimate museum, set inside what would have a typical house and presents objects of day to day Jewish life. There’s also city maps and a Sephardic-themed library. The Chevalier family who run the museum also offer guided tours of the Jewish quarter.
The entrance fee is €6 and you need to make an appointment by phone (00 34 610 06 02 55).
Granada Cathedral & Royal Chapel
Built on top of the main mosque after the conquest of the city, Granada Cathedral was built to make a statement and that it does. Dominating the heart of the city, you literally cannot miss this magnificent grandiose piece of architecture.
Ordered to be built as a place for their own burial, the adjoining Royal Chapel is where Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand rest. They chose to be buried in Granada as they viewed their conquest of the Muslim Nasrid kingdom here their most important achievement.
Another major Catholic church in Granada is that of Basilica of San Juan de Dios. Again built to house he body of an important person, St. John of God, saint of the sick is buried here. The insides of these places are beyond spectacular. They really were built to impress.
Best Granada Viewpoints
In such an attractive city there are of course lots of viewpoints in Granada, most of which will however require a climb up to them. But what you’ll be rewarded with will be all worth it.
Mirador de San Nicolas
An incredibly popular spot that gets very busy at sunset so you’ll need to get there early to secure yourself a space. The views from this Albaicin lookout are directly over the whole of the Alhambra complex with the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains in the background.
Mirador de San Cristóbal
Set further into the Albaicin hills is this gem of a Granada viewpoint. Located next to a plaza and church with the same name, the Dar al-Horra Palace is in the foreground with The Alhambra in the distance. Climb the scenic staircase, Cuesta de San Cristóbal to get there.
Mirador de San Miguel Alto
Situated on the border of Sacromonte, this is one of the less crowded viewpoints in Granada. Stretching out before you are views of the symbolic Albaicin white washed houses opening up to a sweeping panoramic over the Alhambra. It’s a steep walk up some stairs and a dirt path.
Paseo de los Tristes
If climbing the hills isn’t for you this is a great option as it’s a flat walk along the River Darro from downtown Granada to get there. You’re looking up at the Alhambra from here. But it’s still an impressive view and the stroll along the cobbled streets to reach it is just as endearing.
Where To Shop in Granada
Granada is an absolute treasure trove when it comes to shopping. Especially if you love things like beautiful ceramics, coloured glass lamps, pretty mosaic trinkets and bohemian inspired clothing.
Here’s a few of our favourite places in the city to grab a bargain.
Found between Plaza Nueva and Plaza Bib-Rambla, this place was part of Granada’s Moorish silk market. These days the narrow streets form a huge bazaar full of exotic souvenirs, colourful fabrics, painted ceramics and stained glass lamps.
Tucked up in the hills of Albaicin this place has been run by the same family since the 1850’s. Less of a tourist spot and more of a local hardware and homeware shop. But if you’re after any handmade pottery this is the place to come. The tiles are exceptionally beautiful.
Plaza Larga Market
Every Saturday in a pretty square at the top of Albaicin you’ll find this eclectic flea market. It sells everything from fruit and vegetables to jewellery and ceramics. There’s also gorgeous Arabic fabric on sale here. It’s impossible to leave this place empty handed.
This rare find is a literature and music lover’s dream. This second hand book and record shop in downtown Granada makes for some seriously good browsing. We could spend hours here. There’s also comics and posters spanning the decades.
If seeking out cool second hand togs is your thing there’s lots of vintage clothing up and down Calle Trinidad, Calle Escuelas and Calle Gracia in downtown Granada. Try Ropero Vintage, La Buhardilla Vintage and ContraBanda Granada to name just a few.
Granada Parks & Green Spaces
One of the most endearing things about Granada is the stunning architecture, but the city also has some gorgeous parks and green spaces. It can be very busy around the main tourist hotspots so it’s nice to have a few places for some downtime slotted in your itinerary.
Next to Plaza de la Universidad you’ll find this serene garden. As part of the university it’s only open on weekdays from 8am – 10pm, so you’ll need to time your visit. It’s only small but it’s packed with history dating back 200 years and wild species native to the Sierra Nevada.
Carmen de los Mártires
Located a little out of the way, but worth the detour, these romantic gardens are a haven of peace and tranquillity. Even said to rival that of the Alhambra’s Generalife. And there’s peacocks. Entrance is free but Opening times vary depending so do check that.
Federico García Lorca
A really pleasant large park situated around the former summerhouse of the revered Spanish poet Federico García Lorca. There’s a rose garden, a pond with turtles and a children’s playground. Plus plenty of shade to escape the summer heat.
Jardines del Triunfo
Originally an Arab cemetery, these now landscaped public gardens have some magnificent fountains. There’s an awful lot of history here and Arabic fortifications can still be found at the entrance to the park. The site was also an infamous place of public execution until 1840.
Top Granada Nightlife Spots
Have you even been to Granada if you haven’t experienced this vibrant and playful city after dark. Here’s some of our favourite things to do in Granada at night.
Flamenco in Sacramonte
Fascinatingly, Flamenco dancing in Granada is rather different from that of elsewhere in Spain. It has a distinct style as the Gypsies of this area mixed traditional Spanish flamenco with Arab belly dancing.
And what better to place to catch a Flamenco show than in caves in which it originated. Founded in 1972, Cuevas los Tarantos is one of the best places to watch an authentic live performance.
Venta el Gallo with it’s stunning roof top terrace and Peña la Platería in Albaicin are also great shouts for traditional flamenco dancing clubs.
Hit The Jewish Quarter
If you want to get off the beaten track a little when it comes to Granada nightlife, Realejo is your spot. There’s loads of great more local bars around The Campo del Príncipe square.
But in particular you should try Bar Candela. It’s totally unassuming from the outside, but inside you’ll find good music and a great atmosphere. Then there’s the more upmarket B-Heaven on the rooftop of the Barceló Carmen Granada hotel with 360° panoramic views.
Paripé is an awesome friendly and vibrant cocktail bar that spills out onto the terrace outside. The mojitos are seriously on point. Papaya Drinks is a top spot for things to do in Granada in the late night drinks category of this neighbourhood.
As for nightclubs in Granada, well they don’t start livening up until well after midnight. With the partying continuing through to the morning, especially on weekends. But owing to the city’s sizable student population, there’s plenty of choice.
Anywhere around Calle Reyes Católicos, Paseo de los Tristes and Calle Pedro Antonio de Alarcón tends to have a good vibe going on. But probably the most popular is Mae West. A huge club with lots of commercial music and numerous rooms open until dawn.
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Yorkshire born & bred, Sarah is a professional blogger who loves to travel. Pushing her boundaries with new adventures is her jam, so you likely won’t find her in one place for too long. Also a serious Marmite addict.