Granada is more than only the Alhambra. Make sure you spend at least 2 days in Granada and visit these other attractions in addition to Alhambra.
Must see attractions in Granada, besides Alhambra
1. Albaicin, the moorish quarter
Go to Albaicin for the Moorish atmosphere, the rich history, the arab-moroccan food and the Mirador San Nicolas viewpoint.
The Albaicin is on a hill across the Alhambra and separated by the Darro valley. Albaicin is was where the Moors lived until the Christian reconquista scattered their population.
Full of Islamic - Christian architecture, churches and large walled homes called carmenes, things to see and do in Albaicin quarter, will keep you occupied for at least half a day..
2. Sacromonte, the gitano quarter
The Sacromonte caves were the original homes of the gitano gypsy community which was at one point 50,000 strong in Granada.
While most of the caves in Sacromonte have turned commercial, hosting Flamenco shows, it is worth going to see the place to get a sense of what the Sacromonte caves were like decades ago. You will still see some caves occupied by families, near the old Moorish wall in Sacromonte.
Visit the Centro Interpretation del Sacromonte to understand the history of the Sacromonte caves and the way of life of the Roma people (as the gypsy communities are now called).
3. Granada Cathedral and Capilla Real, The Royal Chapel
The Granada Cathedral has a Renaissance facade that sits on a Gothic floor plan, and with a striking interior of gold and white. You can see many beautiful side chapels at the Granada Cathedral. For your visit focus on Capilla Mayor with the stained glass dome.
The Royal Chapel is in a separate building behind the Granada Cathedral, and is the burial place for Spanish Royalty. King Ferdinand, Queen Isabella, and their family are buried in the Royal Chapel. You will be surprised to see how small the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella are!
Shopping - Stop by Alcaiceria, near the city centre, after your visit to the Granada Cathedral and Royal Chapel. The moorish silk market is a nice place to buy souvenirs. Browse the Alcaiceria and shops around Puerta Real and Cuesta de Elvira, for handicrafts, furnishings and pottery.
4. Monasterio de la Cartuja
Just off the Albaicin, Monasterio de la Cartuja is a grand, baroque monastery run by Carthusian monks. It was, some say, built to be a Christian rival to the Moorish Alhambra.
There are numerous important paintings by Bocanegra and sculptures by Mora, in La Cartuja monastery. You can also see lavishly decorated sagrario (sanctuary) and the sacristia (sacristy), the two highlights of La Cartuja.
5. Granada Science Park
If you are traveling with kids, spend a couple of hours at the Granada Science Park. The highlight of this science park is a 50 meter tall observation tower.
There are many things for children to see and do in Granada Science museum as it is filled with interactive displays and experiments. There is also a butterfly park and planetarium in the Granada Science Park.
Of all the options listed, I recommend Albaicin as the only worthwhile thing to see in Granada after Alhambra.
Spend 1 day and 1 night in Granada.
- Start at Alhambra in the morning and spend half a day with a good visit plan of Alhambra.
- Then, spend the late afternoon and evening in Albaicin moorish settings. I found this useful post on what you can see in Albaicin.
Use any time that you will save, to go to Cordoba and see the Mezquita. Many people end up spending extra time in Granada and miss the must-see Cathedral-Mosque of Cordoba.
Spend the night in El Centro historic city centre or the Realejo part of Granada. That way you do not waste time traveling within Granada.