Located in the south of Spain in the region of Andalusia, the city of Granada has become an icon of Spanish culture. Due to its sunny weather, open plazas, and "traditionally Spanish" ambiance, it has become a favorite for many traveling through Europe. If this isn't reason enough to peak your curiosity, here are the top 9 things to do when in Granada that may have you researching flights (or trains) sooner than you thought.
1. Visit the Alhambra: Named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alhambra is a beautiful palace and fortress that overlooks the city of Granada with an accompanying backdrop of the Sierras (and yes, it’s as epic as it sounds). The buildings and surrounding gardens are an exotic mix of Spanish and Moroccan influence. You can also wander around a park that surrounds the palace grounds. Note that you must reserve a ticket for the Alhambra, and since they book up fast (especially in tourist season), it’s wise to buy them online beforehand. (Toasty Travel Tip: If you’re traveling through Andalusia, Spain, be sure to see the Alcazar in Seville which is equally as stunning.)
2. Catch the Sunset From a Mirador: If you want to see the Alhambra from a different angle, go to the Mirador San Nicolas, an open plaza with a few restaurants and an incredible view of the palace. Expect to hear a Spanish guitar playing, local vendors sending their handcrafted jewelry, and good vibes as you soak up the Spanish sun. If you want to see the city from a little bit higher up, walk up to the San Miguel Hermitage where you’ll have an amazing view over both Granada, the Alhambra, and the Sierras.
3. Walk Around Albayzín: Just behind the Mirador San Nicolas, you’ll find narrow winding streets lined with white buildings and Spanish red-tiled roofs with a mix of Moroccan influence. The district has a strong hippy community, so make sure to check out some of the shops here. Or, for a little extra sum’n-sum’n, try doing a yoga class (we did an acroyoga workshop which was an absolute blast!). Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the district of Albayzín has its fair share of open plazas where you’ll be sure to hear someone (or a few) people strumming on the Spanish guitar, playing soccer, juggling, or slacklining.
4. Go to a Flamenco Show: Andalusia is known for their flamenco shows, so if you’re traveling through the region, it would be a sin not to see one. The ambiance with the singers, the guitar, and the dancers is an authentic and passionate world of its own. Note that you can see flamenco shows in caves in Granada, so be sure to check that out if you’re into that kind of thing.
5. TAPAS: Okay, now for the important stuff. When it comes to tapas, Granada doesn’t mess around. Not from Spain? It’s alright, I’ll break it down for you. Walk into a tapas bar, order a beer or a wine for €2 or under, and get a tapa with it; this can mean anything from paella to chicken and chips to bread with meat on it. Vegetarian? No worries. There are plenty of places that offer vegetarian options. We went to Restaurante Los Manueles, Bodegas Castañeda, and Bar Aixa which were all great.
6. Go to a Teteria: As I mentioned, Granada (due to both historical and geographical influences) is a beautiful mix of Spanish and Moroccan culture. That means that there is a plethora of authentic Arab tea houses where you can sit and enjoy a delicious, piping hot cup of tea. Many also serve Moroccan pastries and sweets which are equally as delicious. While a bit touristy, Calle Calderería Nueva offers a fair selection of teterias.
7. Eat a Kebab: Really there’s no explanation needed for this one. Just do it, you'll thank me later. (Vegetarian? Get the falafel ones which are just as good.)
8. Check Out the Cathedral: As with any big Spanish city, Granada has a big cathedral. It’s about €5 to get in (at the time of this post), so if you’re into more of the historical side of travelling, make sure to take a gander.
9. Go On a Hike: The Sierras are so close to Granada so there are countless trails where you can wander off for miles. So take a sandwich, hike up into the mountains, and enjoy some Spanish sunshine from up top.
And there you have it! If you have any other suggestions for what to do or where to go in Granada, please feel free to add any tips or ideas in the comment section below. Happy traveling!