One day Granada itinerary
Avoid visiting Granada as a day trip. Instead stay overnight at Granada as there is lot to see and do late in the evening (Albaicin and flamenco show in the caves). This itinerary with helpful tips takes you thru the key attractions that you can cover in a day.
Alhambra is what Granada is known for. Alhambra tickets are in great demand. Book your ticket online from the official site at least a month in advance. (If your credit card is rejected by the online system or if you face any such issues, call +34 858 953 616 ).
Please note that your ticket will have a specific time slot for entry to Nasrid Palace. This is to ensure that number of visitors inside the palace is regulated. Get to know the best time slot so that you can book appropriately. For a day visit to Granada, it is advantageous to visit Alhambra in the first half of the day.
The Alhambra has been the seat of many rulers of many different people throughout time. So enjoy the history that can be seen and felt throughout this truly outstanding construction. Here is a great visit plan for Alhambra.
The Alhambra’s decorative gardens, once intended for royalty to relax and unwind can now be seen by all of us. They are adjacent to the Alhambra and can be visited as part of the same ticket. Keep a look out for pomegranates(granada in Spanish).
2. Granada Cathedral and Royal Chapel
After your visit of Alhambra, head to Granada Cathedral and Royal Chapel located in the heart of the city. Though they have separate tickets, both these monuments are part of the same structure that was built by queen Isabella.
At the cathedral, ask for the well organized informative self guided audio tour. The audio tour takes less than an hour, though the initial introduction is pretty long and detailed. If you’re running short on time, skip the chapel.
3. Free Tapas
Granada is the city of free tapas. As part of your Granada itinerary, you must visit one of the traditional Granada tapas bar. My personal favorite tapas bar in Granada is Bodegas Castañeda, a good old style tapas bar with great food and excellent selection of wines. They take reservation, so do reserve your table as soon as you reach Granada.(+34 958 21 54 64)
4. Buying souvenirs at the Moorish silk market
The area around cathedral called Alcaiceria was once a Moorish silk market. Today, the silk merchants have given way to small time traders selling souvenirs but the atmosphere is unmistakably a Moroccon bazaar.
5. Albaicin and Mirador San Nicolas
This is a old Moorish neighborhood best visited late in the evening. Get a little lost amongst the flower pots, tiny squares and magnificent view points. For an amazing view of the Alhambra, arrive at Mirador San Nicolas before sunset.
6. Merienda - late snack
Albaicin is an interesting neighborhood with lot to see even late into the night. If your energy is running low stop for a merienda (late afternoon snack between 5:00-8:00 PM). Be sure to visit one of the many cafes that are housed in old Moorish buildings with beautiful gardens.
7. Flamenco show in caves of Sacromonte
The south of Spain is home to Flamenco, and Granada is unique in that many of its shows are held in the cuevas (caves) of Sacromonte. Head underground and stare into the piercing gaze of a flamenco dancer. The shows are touristy but definitely a must-do.
You can make a flamenco show cum dinner booking at Cuevas los Tarantos. It is one of the most well known flamenco caves in Granada hosting Zambra .They offer hotel pick-up and drop service, welcomed by tourists on a rushed one day visit to Granada.
What you cannot do in a day in Granada
Alhambra day and night
The Alhambra offers two very distinct atmospheres in day time and night time. Unfortunately, if you’d like to see or do anything else in the city you just won’t have the time to take in both experiences in a single day.
Basilica San Juan de Dios
This gold covered basilica is a bit out of the way for your single day trip. If you’d like to visit it, perhaps swap it out for the Granada cathedral, or stay a bit longer and do them both!
With more than one day in Granada you could easily spend much more time in the Alhambra and grab many more free tapas! Check out this post on Granada in two days.
- Be prepared for a long day and lots of walking. You can use the small red buses to get to Alhambra and Albaycín. You get a single ride for €1
- There is actually a hop on hop off train. Starting at €6 per person it’s not a bad way to navigate what is quite a hilly city. Especially for people with limited walking ability or young children this is a great alternative.
Focus on Alhambra and Albaicin
With only 1 day in Granada, you should focus on things that are unique to Granada and cannot be experienced anywhere else in Spain.
Spend morning half of the day at Alhambra
You should make sure you know the best time of the day to visit Alhambra. Make sure to book your tickets in advance.
Do not worry if Alhambra tickets are sold out, you still have options.
Spend the rest of your day at Albaicin
Use the second half of the day in Granada to visit the Albaicin Quarter with a plan, including a walk around Sacromonte caves.
Don't plan for Flamenco, Tapas, or Churches
On just a day trip, you will not have the time to watch a Flamenco show in Granada; instead save that experience for Madrid or Seville or wherever else you have more time.
And tapas bar hopping is a great experience in many Spanish cities, so skip tapas hopping plans in Granada. Finally I suggest that you will not be able to squeeze in a Granda Cathedral visit on a 1 day trip.
So, with only one day in Granada, focus on the Moorish gems unique to Granada - Alhambra and Albaicin.
Granada in one day is a rushed and tiring itinerary. Hopefully, you are staying at Granada for the night and not rushing back to Seville.
One day Granada Itinerary
For a typical tourist, places of interest in Granada are The Alhambra, Albayzin quarter, and the Cathedral complex.
Alhambra is the must-see palace-fortress complex, and Albayzin is a unique neighborhood in all of Spain which has retained its Moorish heritage. Alhambra and Albayzin are on opposite hills with Carrera del Darro and a small river separating them. Cathedral and Royal Chapel are in Granada city center.
Be sure to book tickets to Alhambra in advance. It is impossible to plan a one day visit to Granada without having booked tickets to Alhambra in advance. While booking your Alhambra ticket, opt for afternoon slot at Alhambra.
Cathedral of Granada
Start your one day itinerary in Granada with a visit to Cathedral of Granada and the adjacent Royal Chapel. Granada Cathedral is in the center of the city, 'Gran Via 1', and definitely merits a visit for its impressive facades, grand altar and several chapels.
Granada cathedral was built by Queen Isabella on the site of the Mosque after the Catholic win over the Moors in the late 1400s. Beware of the Rosemary scam at the Cathedral. Local gypsies will approach and offer a present with a rosemary sprigs and then proceed to 'read' your palm to foretell your future. They will then persistently charge 40 Euros for their service. Just shoo them when they approach you.
Alhambra in the afternoon
From Granada city center, board city bus to Alhambra. Before you start to Alhambra, be sure to stop in at any La Caixa Bank ATM and take the physical print-out of your Alhambra ticket.
From the bus, get off at Justice Gate for easy access to Nasrid Palaces. As indicated in this visit plan to Alhambra, it will take at least 3 hours to explore Alhambra complex.
The best way to unwind after a long day is to do it the traditional Arabic way in a hammam.
If you are energetic, you can skip the hammam and instead go to San Nicholas for flood lit view of Alhambra
Dinner and Flamenco show
While the show at Cuevas los Tarantos does give a good flavor of Flamenco, it tends to appear touristy. If you are visiting Granada for a day on Thursday, head to Peña La Platería for an authentic Flamenco show.
Granada day trip from Seville
It is better to stay in Granada for a night than do it as a day trip from Seville. The train or bus takes around 3.5 hours from Seville. You will spend half the day traveling and in the limited time you have at Granada, you will be lucky if you can manage to visit Alhambra
Granada in a day
Here are some tips to get the most out of your one day trip to Granada.
1. Book all tickets in advance
I cannot emphasize this enough! The Alhambra must be booked in advance. You can book up to 90 days in advance, so book right away.
It is the most visited attraction and tickets are in demand. If you are unable to get tickets, read this post on what to do when Alhambra tickets are sold out..
2. Visit Alhambra in the morning slot
Especially in the summer, select the morning slot to visit Nasrid Palaces. This way you will be done by lunch and have a large part of the day to visit other attractions in Granada besides Alhambra.
3. Go on an evening walking tour of Albaicin
The evening is the best time to visit the Albaicin. Start with a walking tour that also takes you to Mirador San Nicolas. Then stay as late as possible to enjoy the exotic ethnic atmosphere.
You can use Maribel Guide to plan a self-guided walking tour (Page 20) or sign up for one of the free walking tours. If you are short of time take a whirlwind tour of Albacin by minibus (bus#15 from Plaza Nueva).
Alternately, If cave houses hold your fancy, plan a trip to Guadix where locals have been living in underground caves for hundreds of years. However, be informed that by train, Gaudix is an hour away from Granada.
4. Skip the flamenco
Flamenco shows in Sacramento caves are popular with tourists. However, if you have only one day in Granada, skip the flamenco show. It is too touristy.
5. Eat cheap
In Granada, tapas come free with drinks, as a long-standing tradition. Skip fancy restaurants and head for the casual tapas bars.
6. Don’t miss Mirador San Nicolas
Visit the Mirador San Nicolas at sunset when you are visiting the Albaicin. This viewpoint is the best place to get a panoramic view of Alhambra. You can reach Albacin either by taxi or the circular minibus #C1.
7. Stay near the Alhambra
If you plan on staying overnight in Granada, choose one of the convenient hotels within Alhambra or those close to Alhambra. Some hotels in the list even have on site car parking.
8. Use luggage lockers in Granada
When on a day trip to Granada (with no overnight stay), you can use the left luggage facility at either the bus station or at Alhambra.