Most people who come to Granada come for one specific reason…to see the Alhambra. While this is an amazing place, and a stunning piece of the history not just of Granada, but Spain as a whole, there are so many other places that need to be on people’s checklists.
This list shows 19 different things to see and do during your trip to Granada, so you can be sure you’ll never be bored.
The Alhambra is a complex of palaces and fortresses built in the mid-13th century by the Nasrida family, who ruled Granada at that time. This part of Spain was Islamic for the longest time, with a large number of Muslims and Jews living there. In 1492, the Spanish Inquisition reached these lands and forced the surrender of the city to Catholic rulers. Some of the population left Granada. A large number of Muslims and Jews escaped to the Ottoman Empire, and some of the population who were unable to leave were converted to Christianity or killed.
Queen Isabella, who liked the Islamic style after seeing the Alhambra, decided not to destroy the palaces. She wrote a law that forbade the rebuilding or destruction of the Alhambra. Here, Christopher Columbus was received by the Queen and was granted the reward for his expedition.
Not to mention Napoleon, who fell in love with this place. Unfortunately, insatiability prevailed and he decided that the Alhambra should not be reached by anyone but him. So, leaving the place, he laid a blast all over the perimeter and ordered the palaces to be blown up. Fortunately for us, one of the soldiers was aware of Napoleon’s plan. He managed to stop the chain of explosions and only 40% were destroyed, which is a great loss for humanity.
The Alhambra is striking in its beauty. Muslim style can be noticed in everything. Beautiful carved arches, painted tiles, the detailing is simply incredible. One of the features is the water supply; unsurprisingly there are many fountains throughout the Alhambra. Some of them were built in the days of Muslim Granada, while others are Christian. You can easily distinguish them by the water pressure. Those who have a lower water pressure were built in Muslim times, and those with a stronger pressure in times of Christianity.
In the Alhambra you will be able to get an audio guide to help you get to know the place better. It takes at least three hours to see all parts of the Alhambra. There are also snack shops and souvenir shops on site.
All ticket information for the Alhambra and how to buy them here.
The museum of Fine Arts is located in the Alhambra on the second floor of Carlos V Palace. Carlos V was the grandson of queen Isabella. For his honeymoon he came to the Alhambra and afterward decided to build a palace on its premises. The style of the palace is from the Renaissance, which is very different from the rest of the palaces.
The gallery of Fine Art is divided into four main sections: Renaissance, Granada Baroque, 19th-century painting and the beginning of the 20th. Ticket price is 1, 50 euros (keep in mind you still have to pay if you have Granada Card)
It is worth it to visit, especially for such a small price and it will take you just a little time, since the museum itself is quite small. Take a look at this painting of fruits with a black background, in the middle of it you will see a child holding a spear (or that’s what I thought it was). This painting was my favorite one just because you don’t expect to see anything.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: From 10 AM to 8 PM ; Sunday: From 9 AM to 3 PM; Monday – closed;
Price: 1.50€ ;
One of the main places to visit in Granada next to the Alhambra is the Granada Cathedral. A Catholic church that began to be built a little later than other churches in Spain, since Muslims ruled Granada for the longest time. The cathedral is impressive in its size, although looking at the facade of the building does not immediately tell how big the area is, as the church is surrounded by many narrow streets with innumerable shops and even more tourists.
It seemed to me that the cathedral always has a queue, but usually it is not large. We only waited 10 – 15 minutes to enter. You can get an audio guide for free when you enter. The ticket costs 5 euros and is included in the list of attractions on the Granada Card (I recommend for those who spend 4 – 5 days in Granada). Personally, I was most impressed with the organ. In fact, it is not one organ, but two huge organs located in the middle of the cathedral opposite each other. Also, in the middle of the cathedral there are several chapels on different sides, and behind the central part there is a sacristy in which you can also enter.
Address: Calle Gran Vía de Colón, 5, 18001 Granada ;
Price: General admission: € 5.00 / Children under 10 years old and disabled: free admission
Behind the Granada Cathedral there are inconspicuous doors leading to the Royal Chapel. Queen Isabella and her husband King Ferdinand of Aragon and their daughter Joanna the Mad and her husband Philip the Handsome are buried here. The facade of the chapel is made in the Gothic style. The chapel is the oldest part of the church and the largest chapel in Spain. The chapel contains paintings from the personal collection of Queen Isabella, namely Hans Memling and Rogier van der Weiden, Botticelli and Perugino. The chapel also houses some relics of Catholic kings.
A ticket to the Royal Chapel also costs € 5 (but free with the Granada Card), and you will also be given a free audio guide at the entrance.
Please note: Photography in the chapel is forbidden.
Address: Calle Oficios, s/n, 18001 Granada ;
Price: General admission: € 5.00 / Children under 10 years of age and disabled: free admission
The Sacromonte Abbey is located on Mount Valparaiso. It is easy to get to by bus C34. For those who like walking, the way up the mountain will take half an hour.
To get inside Sacromonte Abbey you need to book a time for a visit. Groups are not usually large and the excursion lasts only 40 – 50 minutes. Since most of the Abbey has been demolished and is still in decline, the guide takes you only to the first floor of the main building, to caves where there are different small chapels, and to a church where you can see the original Gypsy Cross.
On the first floor there is a small museum with ancient books and religious artifacts. After the excursion, be sure to walk to the observation deck, it offers incredible views of the entire city and the charming Alhambra.
We brought along a drone, so we managed to take some photos of the destroyed building. If you want to see more, there is a video at the end of this page.
Address: Camino del Sacromonte, s/n, 18010 Granada ;
Hours: Tours in English take place everyday at 2 PM and 5:30 PM and they last for about 1 hour. There are tours in Spanish every 30 minutes from 10:30 AM to 1 PM and 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM.;
Price: Admission fee (with guided tour) is 5 euros; Free admission for children under 10 yrs.
This palace was the residence of the wife of Sultan Muhammed the 11th – Aixo. The palace is built around a central patio. On one side of the patio there is an observation tower and on the other you can see a wonderful plaster works which has an inscription from the Nazrid era.
You are allowed to go to the very top rooms in Palacio Dar al-Horra, so prepare your cameras, because the view is splendid. I especially loved the shape of the windows, that frame the view nicely.
The palace is built on a slope, which is why from the second floor you can enter the garden. It is not very big nor really cute, but I liked the big beautiful palm tree, which looks a bit out of place.
On the first floor there are few rooms with different exhibitions. The most interesting is the astronomy one. It is just fascinating how people back then were able to come up with all these complicated mechanical inventions.
Overall, I enjoyed this palace a lot, especially the view from the palace tower. It took us half an hour to explore every corner of Palacio Dar al-Horra.
Price: € 3.65
Do not miss this spot! It is a great view point located on the top of Albaycin (the white neighbourhood). It has a spectacular view of the Alhambra. It is a small square where usually someone playing a music surrounded by restaurants with open terraces. Usually there are lots of people. But even so you always can find a comfortable spot for yourself to take pictures or just to sit and watch the sunset. As usual in crowded places there are people who sell souvenirs or handmade jewelleries.
To get there you need to climb up a bit, but it definitely worth it.
Please note: the best time to come here is the golden hour. I do not advise to go to Mirador San Nicolas before 3 PM since the sun will be right in front of your eyes.
Hours: all day ;
Flamenco is one of Spain’s national cultural symbols alongside bulls and tapas. And Granada is the best place to get to know flamenco. In the Sacromonte neighbourhood in a whitewashed narrow cave that is decorated with copper scoops, cups and plates, is the show. Just a few inches from you, talented flamenco dancers fervently tap to the rhythm of the music. The show takes place every hour, starting at 8 pm and up to 11 pm, the dancers change their costumes several times, and they serve you drinks during a short break.
Tip for you: There are much fewer tourists at the 8 PM show as compared to the 9 PM and later ones.
Why do flamenco shows take place in caves? The Gypsies actually lived in the Sacromonte caves and day to day dealt with their daily chores. In the Common Space, sometimes families spontaneously began to dance flamenco with their music and the audience around them. Neither a big stage nor any special equipment was needed. Here was born and became the best flamenco dancers. Gypsy families still continue the tradition of dancing in caves.
Interesting fact: Anthony Bourdain also visited one of these caves on his trip to Granada.
Click here to book your ticket.
Hours: 8 PM to 11 PM;
This monastery was built after the conquest of the city by Christian Queen Isabella and her husband King Ferdinand and is the first monastery in Granada. Not as famous with tourists as the Granada Cathedral, but no less attractive. The main courtyard is closed with 36 arches. In the middle of the courtyards grow orange trees, which are typical for the region.
On the first floor there are open rooms for various purposes, but special attention is paid to the church, which you enter through inconspicuous doors (maybe only inconspicuous for me).
It’s something incredible and breath taking. For one thing, it was unexpected for me to get from a fairly simple, albeit beautiful, courtyard to a chic church with a golden altar. And second, the detail of the paintings and statuettes on the walls and ceiling is absolutely wonderful.
I definitely recommend visiting this place, especially if you have Granada Card
Address: Calle Rector López Argueta, 9, 18001 Granada ;
Hours: Mornings from Monday to Sunday: 10 AM – 1:30 PM.
Evenings: 3:30 PM – 6:30PM in winter and 4 PM – 7:30 in summer time. ;
Price: 4 euros; Children under 10 years: free
These two homes were built in the 16th century and belonged to two Arab families who became new Christians after the capture of the city by the Catholic king and queen. They were named Lorenzo el Chapiz and Hernan Lopez el Feri
Unfortunately, you cannot see two buildings completely. On the second floor of the first house there are offices and the other part belongs to the school of Arabic Studies. Two patios are open to visitors and a lovely garden. The garden offers stunning views of the Alhambra and Albaycin. This place is one of the Andalusian historical sites. It is nice to see that the restoration work is underway here and everything is in good condition.
Hours: Monday to Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM hours.
Price: 2 euros
The Casa Horno de Oro or the House of the Golden Oven was built at the end of the 15th century and extended after the Cristian conquest. It is constructed around a rectangular patio with a beautiful reservoir. On the both sides of the patio you can see the arches of the Nasrid era, supporting the upper floor.
This is one of the best preserved Moorish structures in Albaycin. You will not find here much to see except the cute patio and a small photo exhibition which is not really related to the house of Horno de Oro, but it is a good example of Moorish structures.
Hours: September 15th to Apri 30th: Monday to Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM hours; May 1st to September 14th: From 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM and 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Price: The ticket is called Monumentos Andalusíes, which you can buy on here. It will allow you to visit the Bañuelo, the Dar al-Horra Palace, the Horno de Oro House and the Corral del Carbón.
During the visit to the Andalusian monuments don’t forget to visit the Archaeological museum. It is located on Carrera del Darro between Casa Horno de Oro and Casa de Zafra. It said that this museum was the first to be open in Spain, though different headquarters were in different buildings until it was moved to Casa de Castril (Castral Palace ).
The palace has a beautiful facade in the Renaissance style and it is built as well around a cute patio. Two floors are open to the public, but the second floor is more like a view point than a museum.
We didn’t spend long time inside, about 15-20 minutes was all it took to take the pictures, to look at all the exhibits, and to check the second floor view.
Address: Carrera del Darro, 41-43, 18010 Granada;
Hours: From September 1th – June 30th: Tuesday to Saturday from 9 AM to 9 PM. Sundays and public holidays from 9 AM to 3 PM.
From July 1 to August 31: Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays from 9 AM to 3 PM.
Price: EU Citizens free. Other countries: 1.50 euros
Casa de Zafra is one of the old Moorish houses built in the 15th century and a good example of Nasrid style. You can see the way Arabs families lived before the conquest of Spain by Christians. Constructed as the other typical houses around the rectangle patio with a reservoir in the middle.
Personally I liked Zafra house just because the reservoir is quite big compared to the others and I got a great reflection of the arches in the water on my pictures.
Other than wandering on the first and second floor and seeing an unrelated photo exhibition there is not much to do. But if you want to see Andalusian architecture you definitely should visit this place.
The Banuelo or Cosa Nogal Baths as you may already know was an Arabic bath, which consists of three rooms. Right now, you can’t really tell which is which, but it actually had a cold room, a warm room and a hot room. They were constructed by using Roman elements.
The first room you enter from the patio is a cold room, the second room is the warm room or bayt al-wastani and the third of course is the hot one.
The Banuelo is a part of the Andalusian monuments and it reminds you of Nasrid style, although some says that it was constructed much earlier.
It was the first place of Andalusian monuments I visited and I really like it. First? There wasn’t anyone else (I mean tourists) so we had the whole place to ourselves. And second I was really impressed with the whole idea of such a bath at that time when people in Europe were afraid of water and were taking a bath like once a year. By the way, pay attention to the ceiling as it has beautiful stars carved through which allow sunlight to permeate the space.
Address: Carrera del Darro, 31, 18010 Granada;
Price: The ticket is called Monumentos Andalusíes, which you can buy on here. It will allow you to visit the Bañuelo, the Dar al-Horra Palace, the Horno de Oro House and the Corral del Carbón.
This building was built by Muhammed the 5th and it was used for different purposes. At first it was a shelter, then a warehouse for goods. After the conquest it was an inn, then it was used as a coal storage and an open-air theatre.
It was declared a national monument in the 19th century. In the 20th century it was restored and later opened to the public.
I didn’t find this place that interesting at all. The two things that you need to pay attention when you will go to see this place are the horse-shoe arch in Nasrid style and a courtyard which is cute but once again nothing special. You need less than 5 minutes for this place. I would not write about this place, except it is located right in the centre and you probably will pass this place few times anyway, so might as well check it out.
Address: Calle Mariana Pineda, 21, 18009 Granada;
Hours: Monday to Sunday from 9 AM to 8 PM ;
Price: Free of charge;
The House of Los Tiros is a museum of art and tradition in Granada. It was a part of a city wall in the 16th century. Now House of Los Tiros holds a library about the art and traditions in Granada.
It was built around a patio as all Moorish houses and has two floors. Currently on the second floor is the place where you want to go. There are lots to see. The building itself is quite interesting and worth your time. When I saw the ceiling in the hall, it reminded me of big clocks you usually see at the train stations. On the walls you can see parts of the old paintings and written history on what it looked like with a wooden ceiling.
The museum contains a lot of pottery from Granada, some weapons, paintings of important families and old furniture.
Address: Calle Pavaneras, 19, 18009 Granada ;
Price: free for EU citizens. Other countries 1,50 euros
It was built in the 13th century (it was built before the Alhambra) and belonged to the Arab queens in Granada. This place was used during Ramadan. It has the typical Moorish style with arches, ornaments and is surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Right now, just part of this construction remains from the Arab building and it is located inside a modern building. It is just one room with arches as an entrance. It has an inscription from the Koran, “God is One”. The walls are decorated with beautiful plaster ornamentation and coloured tiles, and the windows are framed by the horse-shoe arches.
Address: Plaza de los Campos, 6, 18009 Granada;
Price: free of charge
When we travel we do not usually go to places like Science parks, but it was included in our Granada card, so we decided why not. I will tell you now, we did not regret it.
First of all, want to tell for those who (like us) have the Granada card, it does not include the Bio Domo and the Planetarium, everything else you can visit freely. The planetarium is in Spanish, so for those (again like us), who do not speak Spanish it would not be a big interest. However, the Bio Domo you should visit (4 euro per person). Why? Because of the animals of course! And some of them like monkeys, lemurs and birds are not in cages. Also it has a huge aquarium.
Tip for you: The Science Park has a siesta time as well, so you might want to come in a morning and visit all the places before they would be closed. Siesta time from 2 PM to 4 PM or 5 PM (depends on the exhibition).
Address: Av. de la Ciencia, s/n, 18006 Granada ;
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 AM to 7 PM. Sundays from 10 AM to 3 PM;
Granada is famous for their tapas culture, and if you have the opportunity you should definitely do a tapas tour. We did one through this company and it was absolutely worth it. You will go to a variety of different restaurants/bars and try many different tapas along with drinks.
The tour guide was able to explain not just what the food was, but also about Granada’s history. She also gave us great recommendations for our drinks and taught us a lot about how to do tapas properly. I suggest you do this tour your first night in Granada, so that you can properly go out for tapas every night for the rest of your trip. If you want to read a ton about all our favorite tapas in Granada, you can see Cody’s article, A Comprehensive Guide To Tapas In Granada.
Hours: from 8 PM to 11 PM;
Price: 40 euros per person;