Granada City Guide
Granada is located in the southern Spanish province of Andalucia. It’s one hour from the Mediterranean, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada and at the point where four separate rivers meet. Granada sits amongst gentle hills, in a Mediterranean climate which means the summers are hot and dry while the winters are cool and wet.
Why visit Granada?
The list of reasons why could be a mile long while there is not a single reason not to visit Granada. If you go only for the Alhambra, the magical, enthralling, life altering Alhambra, that would be enough. But there is plenty more to go for too. The cliff sides that tumble down in the valley, full of flamenco caves and the gypsies who made the dance what it is. The sunsets over the city, the way the city and the Alhambra light up at night. The tapas. The sangria. The list really is a mile long.
Best time to visitSpring and Autumn are the most enjoyable times, both weather and crowd wise in Granada. July and August see soaring temperatures but are also the months when much of Europe takes their holidays so all the attractions and the city itself get jam packed with people. You’ll be plenty warm in May and June or September and October, but you’ll enjoy a bit more quiet than you would in those peak summer months, also, prices tend to be a little bit lower.
Top things to see and do
- The Alhambra: A visit to Granada would be nothing without at least a day wandering around the magical Alhambra. Be sure to book tickets in advance as they do sell out.
- Flamenco Show: Head up into the hills and get stuck into a cave with the gypsies that have been dancing the flamenco for generations.
- Sacromonte Neighborhood: Your search for flamenco may lead you to this neighborhood. A place where the past seems not to have changed. Go for a wander.
- Eat Tapas: In Granada, each time you order a drink, a tapa magically appears on your table. Eat, and drink, away!
- Royal Chapel of Granada: An ornate Catholic mausoleum built in the 1500’s is worth a stop while you’re here.
- Albaicin: The Arab quarter, a throwback in time to narrow lanes, small shops selling trinkets, ethnic tea houses lined with sitting cushion, wafting aromas of moroccan mint and kebabs.
- Mirador San Nicolas: The best place to see the Alhambra. A viewpoint where locals gather to relax and tourists come to gape at the palace-fortress against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada capped with snow in the winter.
- Walking tours: A great way to see the city, outside of the Alhambra which has its own tour. Start at Plaza Nueva and take themed tours that uncover the secrets of Granada.
- An Arabic bath and massage at a hammam in Granada. A Hammam, or Bañuelo, is an intrinsic part of Moorish culture.
- Shopping for Marquetry boxes and other traditional souvenirs
Where to stay in Seville
El Centro is touristy and central, great bars, good value restaurants and cafes. Close to everything including the cathedral and Alhambra; very walkable but also very touristic.
Outer neighbourhoods are good alternatives with tapas bars, diverse people watching, street art, history and nightlife. Some could be closer to Alhambra and the Generalife gardens.More : Where to stay
Getting around in Seville
Due to it’s narrow, hilly streets Granada does not have a great public transportation network and your best bet for getting around quickly and efficiently is to use your own two legs. Due to the hills involved this may not be the best option for some. There’s a hop on hop off train which is narrow enough to squeeze through some of Granada’s streets. And a fleet of buses and minibuses. Distances are short and taxis are popular too.More : Essential information
Day trips from Granada
Very nearby Granada are beautiful little rural escapes. Cool off by one of the rivers and just enjoy nature. There’s not much to do beyond relaxing and eating. There’s also options in the Sierra Nevada hills with skiing in the winter months, and trekking to horseback riding in the rest of the year. Public transport exists but frequencies are not as great as in the rest of the regionMore : Day trips ideas
What to eat and drink in Granada
A short trip to Granada may tempt you to be functional about food. Don’t! There is a lot to get food-local with, just know the essentials.
- Gazpacho: A cold tomato based soup served up in the hot summer time months. Where: Parador de Granada Huevos Rotos con Jamon (eat): literally ‘broken eggs with ham’ this is a typical, simple Spanish dish, great for sharing. Where: Restaurante Diagonal
- Bacalao Frito : Fried bacalao, a typical fish found throughout much of Spain. Where: La Botilleria
- Flan : When you’re ready for something sweet this is an egg based dessert typical throughout the country. Where: Cafeteria La Riffena Beer or Sangria: Order away, but go for a smaller size, because each time you order a new drink a new tapa comes, the smaller the drink, the faster you finish, the sooner you order another and get a second tapa.
- Spices: Smells and tastes from all over the world. Available in the market around the Cathedral.