The 20 Best Things To Do In Granada
When it comes to choosing the 20 best things to do in Granada it can be quite a tough decision, as the city is simply brimming with places to go, things to do, and sights to see.
Whether you want history and culture, natural beauty and scenery, or a night out on the town, Granada is a city that has something to offer for everybody.
That said, while there are more things to do in Granada than we could possibly fit into one list, there are some that are simply more unmissable than others.
So sit back and relax, as I take you through the 20 best things to do in Granada, to make sure it’s a trip you’ll never forget.
See Also: Where To Stay In Granada Spain
1. A Visit To Alhambra Fortress
Without question, the most famous attraction in Granada, the walled fortress of Alhambra dominates the city’s skyline.
Located on a small hill on the south-eastern border of the city, it was built in the 11th century as a military stronghold. Two centuries later it was developed into a palace and royal residence by Muhammad I of Granada and was considered home to a number of sultans, senior officials, and servants.
After being partially destroyed over the years, it has since been restored to its former glory and now stands as a museum dedicated to teaching its past to current generations.
2. Learn Flamenco In Sacromonte
Flamenco is one of the most famous art forms in Spain. A rich and vibrant culture that can transform a location in a heartbeat. Heavily influenced by the Romani Gypsies, it only makes sense that Sacromonte, an area known as the gypsy neighborhood, is the best place in the city for it.
While listening to the local guitarists play in the streets and people dance in bars and restaurants, it is the academy that teaches flamenco that really stands out.
What better way to dive into the history of the culture than by learning it from a place so close to its heart.
3. A Visit To Abadia Del Sacromonte
A beautiful, 17th century structure, built by archbishop Don Pedro De Castro. Lying in the hills just outside Sacromonte, the views from the abbey are almost as impressive as the building itself, making the journey worthwhile to see those on their own.
Inside the abbey is a library containing some of the most important artifacts and documents in the history of the region and beneath it lies a maze of catacombs which are home to numerous chapels.
On the first Sunday of every February, the pilgrimage of San Cecilio takes place in Granada, a popular festival where people end their journey at the fabled abbey.
4. Stay In A Whitewashed Cave In Sacromonte
The traditional homes in the area of Sacromonte are whitewashed caves, carved into the hillside, often known as troglodyte houses.
Typically built and lived in by the Romani people after they took over the area, there are now some available to rent to tourists.
What better way to experience the culture of the area by living in the incredibly unique dwellings that the locals have called home for centuries.
5. Visit Granada Cathedral
Constructed in the early 16th century in the Spanish renaissance style, this stunning cathedral was constructed on the former site of the city’s Mosque, a popular occurrence throughout the region of Andalusia as Christian communities began to take over the lands previously ruled by Muslim sultans.
Located in the district of El Centro, the cathedral is equally popular for both its historical significance as well as its beautiful architecture.
No trip to Granada would be completely stopping by to see it for yourself.
6. Visit The Royal Chapel Of Granada
Located next to the Granada Cathedral, the Royal Chapel was designed in the Isabelline style, the most prominent type of architecture during the reign of Queen Isabella II and King Ferdinand II.
This location plays incredible historical significance in the region, as it is the final resting place of both the aforementioned monarchs, whose marriage initiated the unification of Spain.
In a city full of history, this may still be the most important location in Granada on that front, so is an absolute must-see.
7. Stay In The Alhambra Fortress
While the previously mentioned Alhambra Fortress largely operates as a museum and historical monument these days, they do still allow incredibly lucky guests to stay within its walls.
What better way to not only give yourself a treat but to also get into the minds of the historical figures that once inhabited Granada than to sleep in the same location their royalty once slept.
Places are incredibly limited, so if this is something that you’re interested in then make sure you book well in advance.
8. Visit The Realejo Convent
Founded in the 16th century by Mother Maria De San Sebastian, this beautiful convent lies in the heart of the area of Realejo.
While not necessarily one of the more famous attractions that Granada has to offer, its incredible collection of sculptures and works of art make it a hidden gem of the city. This has the added benefit of making it a much more serene and less populated attraction, allowing you to enjoy it at your own pace.
9. Go For A Meal In La Chana
La Chana is an area that is currently beginning to emerge as a tourist destination. Located a little way out from the center of town, near the university, it’s traditionally viewed as more of a residential area.
However, in recent years it has seen a boom due to its thriving restaurant industry. Considered to be home to a number of the best restaurants in Granada, this gives you the perfect opportunity to get out of the city for a little while and see what life in the area is really like, while sampling some of the finest food you’ll encounter on your entire trip.
10. Indulge In A Traditional Turkish Bath In Genil
When still in operation as the royal residence of the sultans, the Alhambra featured some of the grandest Arab baths in the world. While they are, unfortunately, no longer in operation, there is still a way for you to experience them.
The Macia Real De La Alhambra Hotel in Genil has created The Royal Arab Baths Of The Alhambra- a precise replica of the baths that once stood in the palace.
Now you have the opportunity to relax in a traditional Turkish style bath and be pampered like the royalty of a bygone era once did, all while visiting a part of the city you may otherwise have missed.
11. Visit The Granada Charterhouse
A monastery for cloistered monks, a term given to those who completely segregate themselves from the outside world, that was built on what was once a farm, surrounded by bodies of water and trees.
Featuring a plethora of works of art, courtyards, and beautiful 16th century architecture, it is a stunning complex that is as easy on the eye as it is historically significant.
Located on the outskirts of the Realejo district, in an area full of landmarks and historic sites, it’s well worth the trip to learn about a way of life many have little idea about.
12. Visit Las Sierras Subbeticas Natural Park
After so much time in the city, it might be nice to break it up with a little bit of nature and this natural park is a perfect place to do so.
The sprawling mountains cover the landscape, topped by pine trees and all variety of Mediterranean plant life. It’s also home to numerous species of birds, reptiles, and other animals, some of which are exceedingly rare or endemic to the region.
While it’s quite a way out from the center of the city and will need a car to enjoy, if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the perfect place to get it.
13.Visit The Mosque Of Granada
Considering the Muslim history of the region, it only seems right to explore the holy site of its modern-day practitioners.
While by no means as grand in scale or design as its historic counterpart, the current Mosque Of Granada is still a beautiful piece of architecture. Built in 2003, near the site of the original Grand Mosque, this is the perfect place to come after you have visited the more historic locations to see how both the area and culture has evolved.
14. Visit The Palace Of The Marques Del Salar
Located in the heart of Granada, near the edges of the Centro, Sacromonte, and Realejo districts, this 16th century place truly demonstrates the spirit of Granada.
Featuring just over a square mile of beautiful renaissance era architecture, flowered gardens, and patios, this stunning monument is the perfect place to appreciate the artistic history of the city or to unwind with a relaxing stroll through the grounds.
It has also now been converted into a museum of perfumes, so there is the opportunity to expand your knowledge as you take in the beautiful aromas.
15. Visit The Museo De Bellas Artes De Granada
A building which in English translates to The Granada Museum Of Fine Arts, it can be located inside the Palace Of Charles V.
A beautiful 16th century palace, located within the walls of the Alhambra, it features a blend of renaissance and mannerism architecture and was constructed by Pedro Machuca, an associate of the legendary architect Michelangelo.
The museum focuses mainly on religious art and houses a number of culturally significant paintings.
16. Visit The House Of Castril Archaeological Museum In Sacromonte
A 16th century renaissance style palace, located in the heart of the Sacromonte district, on the banks of the River Darro.
One of the finest examples of this type of architecture in Granada, it is a fantastic place to come and admire the building and grounds while you learn a little history.
Considering the abundance of fabulous architecture throughout Granada, what better stop to make than a museum that teaches you about the differing styles of all the cultures that have called Granada home throughout the centuries.
17. A Night On The Town In Centro District
While there’s plenty of culture and history to be enjoyed in Granada, sometimes on a vacation you just need a chance to let loose for a while.
Well in this city the Centro district is the perfect place to do just that.
With a wide array of bars and restaurants that stay open late into the night, featuring a great choice of food and drink, dancing and live music, there’s something for everybody to enjoy on a night out in Centro.
Its location and transport links also make it perfectly situated so you don’t have to worry about cars or parking and can focus purely on having a night to remember.
18. Explore The Famed Streets Of Albaicin
One of the most famous regions in the city, Albaicin is famed for its maze of winding, medieval streets and paths.
Weaving in and out of beautiful, historic buildings you are treated to some truly wonderful sights. There are traditional style Arabic tea rooms, beautiful local bars and even the old silk market building to explore as you roam at your own pace.
It is also considered to have some of the best views of the Alhambra in the entire city and watching the sun set over it is an experience you can’t miss on a trip to Granada.
19. Experience The Culture Of The Jewish Quarter In Realejo
While the majority of the city features largely Muslim culture and architecture, Realejo was known as the Jewish quarter of the city and has a separate vibe all of its own.
What better way to break up your trip and make it a little more diverse than by exploring this fabulous area and experiencing the unique history, culture and architecture it has to offer.
Take the opportunity to view Granada through different eyes than the majority of the city provides and allow yourself to get the full picture of what life in this city was once like.
20. Visit Monasterio De San Jeronimo
The Royal Monastery Of St. Gerome is a Roman Catholic monastery built in the early 16th century. Accepted to be the first church in the world to declare the immaculate conception of Mary, a somewhat controversial topic throughout the ages, it is still operated today by the same order as at its construction.
Famed for its renaissance architecture, it features two separate cloisters, each with their own gardens and distinctive artwork.
There are beautiful chapels, gates and statues, both original and newer, that make this a truly remarkable sight to behold.
Granada is an incredible city, with a rich, diverse history, brimming with things to do, see and learn.
With so much on offer it can be hard to make sure you tick off everything you want to see to leave you feeling you’ve gotten the full Granada experience.
That said, with this guide of the 20 best things to do in Granada, it should give you a fighting chance to ensure you see the majority of its most beautiful and fabled sites.