20 Top Things to Do in Granada Spain

Granada has a rich Moorish heritage that dates back over 700 years. This is the Alhambra, a complex with palaces, courtyards, and gardens where the Emirs from Granada could escape the summer heat.

You can walk along the streets of this Moorish-era city or explore the cave dwellings in the historical gypsy neighbourhood, known for its flamenco performances. The Sierra Nevada’s majestic peaks will keep you looking to the east.

Let’s take a look at some of the top things to do in Granada, Spain.

Top things to do in Granada Spain
Photo by Kate Holovacheva: Things to do in Granada Spain

1. Alhambra

Things to do in Granada Spain
Photo by Victor Lavaud: Top things to do in Granada Spain

It is difficult to describe this magnificent sight in a few words. The Alhambra is a castle, palace, summer retreat, and enclosed town all rolled into one.

It was constructed in the 1200s and the 1300s by the Nasrids, who ruled over the Emirate de Granada during the last centuries of Muslim control in Andalucia.

It became the Catholic Monarchs’ royal court, Isabella I and Ferdinand 2 after the “Reconquista”. You can book well in advance to spend a day exploring royal chambers, tranquil courtyards, and Moorish palaces.

We would recommend you to get the Skip The line Fast Ticket for Alhambra this would save enough time for you to squeeze some more things to do in Granada Spain.

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Things to do in Granada Spain

2. Generalife

You might need to spend another day just to view the Alhambra’s magnificent grounds.

These stately, lush gardens are fragrant in spring and feature beautiful flowerbeds, well-trimmed topiaries and hedges, fountains and geometric pools, as well as other architectural delights.

The most striking part is however the Generalife Palace at the top of the hill, where the Emirs spent their summers in shade.

Here, the fountains would cool the air by evaporating on the patio’s stones. Sometimes you can also get the combined tickets for Alhambra and Generalife which would be a nice deal for your when you are planning your trip from Granada Spain.

3. Albayzin

Top things to do in Granada Spain
Photo by Matteo Bordi on Unsplash: Things to do in Granada Spain

To reach Plaza Nueva’s Arab quarter, go north and ascend the hill. This is also part of Granada’s UNESCO Site.
This is the area where the Moorish population wanted to stay in Granada after the reconquest. It’s hard to miss the influence of their architecture.

The Muslims were eventually expelled, and their mosques became churches. The street plan, as one would expect from a Medina is a maze of narrow alleyways with tall white townhouses. These Moorish tiles, hand-painted and decorated with Moorish patterns, are beautiful and well worth a closer look.

Things to do in Granada Spain

4. Granada Cathedral

Things to do in Granada Spain
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This magnificent cathedral is Spain’s second-largest and was built on top of Granada’s mosque at the beginning of the 16th century. It was built during a period of transition in fashion. Therefore, the foundations are gothic, even though the interior and main structure are from the Renaissance.

Diego de Siloe was the person who tried to reconcile these styles. His efforts earned him much contemporary praise.
Take in the cathedral’s brilliance by standing in the main chapel. Next, look out at the stained glass windows, sculptures, and paintings to the sides.

Things to do in Granada Spain

5. Royal Chapel

The cathedral houses the burial place of two of Spain’s most powerful rulers.

Here are the Catholic Monarchs Isabella I, Ferdinand II, and the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II. They had successfully completed the Christian retaking of Spain from Moors at end of the1400s.

Domenico Fancelli, an Italian sculptor, designed their beautiful tomb from alabaster.

Their tombs, Joanna of Castile, and Philip I are also in Royal Chapel. Also, Miguel da Paz (the Prince of Portugal who was stillborn) is the grandson of the Catholic Monarchs.

Things to do in Granada Spain

6. Alcaiceria

Top things to do in Granada Spain
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This was where Granada’s Great Bazaar was located in Islamic times. Here merchants could display their silks along many streets.

Today, there is only one passageway with souvenir shops. Some are more interesting than others.
Fajalauza ceramics are Moorish-style earthenware that is hand-painted with blue and green motifs. They make a great gift for Andalusia and Granada.

Taracea is also authentic: Inlaid furniture and other wooden decorative objects with intricate patterns.

Things to do in Granada Spain

7. Sacromonte

Things to do in Granada Spain
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Another of Granada’s traditional neighbourhoods is east of Albayzin, right in front of Alhambra.
Sacromonte was the new home of the city’s gypsy population after it was retaken by the Catholic Monarchs.
The neighbourhood is located on Valparaiso’s steep slopes, surrounded by pines and cactuses. In the 16th century, settlers started to build their homes from the rock face.

You’ll be amazed at the variety of cave dwellings as you walk past them. Their dimensions are determined solely by the terrain.

These caves offer the best chance to witness a flamenco performance.

Things to do in Granada Spain

8. El Banuelo

Although they might seem simple from the street, the Carrera del Darro baths are truly a rare find.

Many bathing establishments were destroyed after the re-conquest due to their scandalous reputation as brothels.

These baths survived only because they were located under a private house that was constructed at the time of the city’s capture. This will give you a rare view into a hammam built in the days before the Emir.

It is fascinating to note that the capitals of the columns supporting the arches within the arches have been formerly attributed to Roman or Visigothic structures.

The ceilings of all the chambers are star-shaped, creating strange rays of light.

Things to do in Granada Spain

9. Corral del Carbon

The Corral del Carbon, a warehouse and shelter built for merchants in the 1200s, is the oldest monument still standing.

The structure, like the Arab baths, is open to all.

It was a place where traders could store their goods and rest at night when they came from far away to Alcaiceria.

The beautiful double-arched gate leads you to the central courtyard, where you will find the lodgings which today are the offices of the city’s orchestra.

On summer evenings, the courtyard hosts occasional plays and flamenco performances.

Things to do in Granada Spain

10. Granada Charterhouse

You can either take the bus to the monastery, just north of Albayzin, or walk for 20 minutes through the bustling streets.

Construction started in the 1500s right after the city had been reclaimed. However, it wouldn’t be finished for 300 years.

It is a baroque masterpiece in Spain, with lush decorations that will amaze most visitors.

There is an outside cloister with rows of Doric columns dating back to the 1600s. From this courtyard, there are rooms with paintings depicting martyrs who died.

The sacristy also has a dome that Antonio Palomino, a 17-century baroque master, painted.

Things to do in Granada Spain

11. Tapas

Top things to do in Granada Spain
Photo by Brigitte Tohm: Things to do in Granada Spain

Tapas are a well-known part of daily life. But what many people don’t know is that tapas originated in Andalusia.

You can go to a bar in Granada and order a beer, glass of wine, and get a free tapa from a special menu.

Although many of these bars may look unassuming from the outside, they are often some of the best.

Tapas include everything from olives and Jamon Serrano to small panini sandwiches, patatas bravas and deep-fried Calamari.

Some picks include Bar La Buena Vida on Almiceros, or Bar Avila on Veronica on Veronica de la Virgen. There are also Tapas Tours.

Things to do in Granada Spain

12. Sierra Nevada

This national park is located just behind Granada’s eastern suburbs. It has both the highest peak (Mulhacen) in Iberia at 3,478m and the southernmost ski resorts in Europe.

You will need to take about half an hour to travel from the centre of Granada to these magnificent mountainscapes.

The best thing about the climb is how the vegetation changes as you go higher.

In the woods around the resort, you will find loft Scots pines where wild cats and boar can roam.

Because of its elevation, the Ski Station at Sierra Nevada enjoys a good season. It runs from December through April.

Tip: You can book a top-rated 4WD Safari of Sierra Nevada here (this is a must-do!)

Things to do in Granada Spain

13. Carrera del Darro

This street runs beneath the Albayzin district and follows the course of the River Darro, which flows through the city from the site where the old walls were.

It is one of the most romantic walks in the country, and not only in Granada.

You can see down to the river, lush vegetation and its banks as the street narrows to a few metres.

The renaissance buildings in the old city are visible to the left. Many of them use stonework from Moorish original buildings.

You’ll eventually reach the Puente del Cadi, which is the remnants of an impressive Moorish bridge that emerged from the Alhambra’s woods.

Things to do in Granada Spain

14. Science Park

You may need a break after a long day of exploring the historic city. This modern attraction is located just 15 minutes south of the centre.

Two main buildings are located here: The Macroscopio houses a variety of exhibits, including a “Journey into the Human Body” as well as installations that tell the story of Al-Andalus Islamic scientists.

Foucault’s Pendulum building, however, is concerned with physics and chemistry.

Here you will find the Planetarium, which uses 110 mirrors to project 7,000 star images onto the screen.

15. Plaza de San Nicolas

The church of San Nicolas is located at the top of Albayzin District. It is fronted by this square.

It is surrounded by the Sierra Nevada’s vast peaks, which provide a stunning view of the Alhambra.

You’ll need to take a break after climbing this hill. So, grab five of these benches and relax.

Things to do in Granada Spain

16. Plaza Bib-Rambla

Plaza Bib-Rambla, is a one of the oldest plazas in the city and is known for great social life. The plaza is surrounded by 19th century buildings and the centre of the plaza consists of a fountain.

There is a lot of shopping destinations in the square and also consists of many bars, restaurants and cafes.

Things to do in Granada Spain

17. Carmen de los Martires

If you are someone who likes peace and quiet, this is the place to be. Carmen de los Martires is a place right next to Alhambra and is secluded place. There are many garden styles that are found in the are. These gardens date back to the 19th century and are a mix of English, French and Moorish style elements.

This place is a delightful place to wander around and has few hidden paradise spots!

Things to do in Granada Spain

18. Basilica San Juan de Dios

This beautiful Basilica was built during the 18th century and has a golden coated interior. This beautiful Basilica has sparkling gold and shiny silver coatings to showcase the wealth and has fantastic frescoes that cover the walls. One of the highlights of the Basilica is a golden alter specially in light.

Apart from the extraordinary interior, the exterior is equally astonishing. The exterior is exceptionally noticeable as it displays a Baroque style of architecture.

Things to do in Granada Spain

19. San Jeronimo Monastery

San Jeronimo Monastery is the first established monastery in the city which was built in the late 15th century. This marvellous building displays a Renaissance building and both the exterior and interior are equally astounding.

The beautiful architecture also includes the enormous altarpiece and is home to the community of sisters. The complex includes a courtyard and a garden to enhance the beauty of the complex.

20. Palace of Charles V

Top things to do in Granada Spain
Photo by Diego Allen on Unsplash : Things to do in Granada Spain

If you will be visiting the Alhambra Palace, the Palace of Charles V is not to be missed! This palace was commissioned by the Roman Emperor himself as a tribute to Their Majesties Ferdinand and Isabella, who happened to be his grandparents.

This beautiful building displays Renaissance style of architecture and is laid out in a circular pattern with colonnades. This palace is home to the Museum of Fine arts as it houses over 2000 art pieces.

That was or detail post around top things to do in Granada Spain. Do let us know if you think we have missed something awesome to do in the city.

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