The Best Things to do in Granada, Spain

The 15 Best Things to do in Granada, Spain

Granada is a captivating city, abundant in history and magnificent architecture. The Spanish city is a melting pot of culture, with powerful influences going back to Roman and Moorish times. Throughout the streets, architecture, culture, and beauty from Europe and North Africa rub shoulders, producing one of the most enigmatic and interesting places you’ll ever visit!

From world-famous palaces and beautifully manicured gardens to age-old spas and a dynamic nightlife scene, you’ll never be at a loss for cool things to do in Granada. And thanks to its location on the southern coast of Spain, the city enjoys a warm and dry climate, making it a great place to visit at any time of year.

Whether you want to take it easy and discover the city at your own pace or pack as much as possible into your vacation, Granada has got you covered!

With so many fantastic things to see and do, it can be difficult to know where to begin. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the absolute best things to do in Granada. Add these activities and attractions to your Granada bucket list, and get ready to have an amazing vacation exploring one of the most fascinating cities in Spain.

Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 15 Best Things to do in Granada, Spain

15 Fun Things to Do In Granada

1. Be Amazed by the Alhambra

Best Things to do in Granada: Alhambra

The Alhambra is the most-visited landmark in the whole of Spain, so you’ve got to check it out during your trip! The UNESCO World Heritage Site was built in the 13th century and was originally the residence of Moorish rulers.

The sprawling complex is huge and covers more than 34 acres. As it’s so big and offers so much to see, you can easily spend a full day exploring the grounds.

There are three parts of the Alhambra that you’ve absolutely got to check out. The Nasrid Palaces are amazing! Make sure you see the Comares Palace, which used to be the palace of the sultan.

The Palace of the Lions is worth seeing, too. It contains the Court of the Lions decorated with 124 towering marble columns. 

Don’t miss the chance to explore the Alcazaba. The 11th-century military fortress is the oldest part of the Alhambra. It has several towers you can climb for fantastic views over the complex and the rest of the city.

Take a guided tour

2. Find Peace at Generalife

Fun Things to do in Granada: Generalife

Although it’s technically part of the Alhambra, Generalife is so magnificent and large that it deserves its own entry. Because of its size, you’ll probably need another full day to explore it, too.

Generalife was the Alhambra’s Summer Palace. With its lush and alluring gardens, it’s where the sultans could escape from the intense Andalusian heat. The best time to visit is during the spring when the flowerbeds are brimming with colorful flowers.

No matter when you visit, you’ll always have the chance to admire the perfectly trimmed hedges, creative topiaries, elegant archways, bubbling fountains, and geometric pools. Take a stroll along the palace’s paths and see where you end up!

For some of the best sights in Granada, follow the walkway that connects the north and south sides of the complex. From here, you get a panoramic view of Albaicín, a gorgeous old Arabic neighborhood!

3. Discover the Cave Houses of Sacromonte

What to do in Granada: Cave Houses of Sacromonte

Granada is full of enchanting neighborhoods just waiting to be explored. And without a doubt, Scromonte is one of the best.

Located on Valparaiso Hill, northeast of Albaicín, Sacromonte was previously a gypsy town. Today it’s best known for its tiny cave houses carved into the rockface. Thousands of people have embraced the simpler way of life and continue to live in the caves today!

While many of the caves are used as homes, others have been converted into flamenco halls where you can watch incredible performers show off their skills. If you hang around until the evening, you’ll be able to catch one.

If you find Sacromonte as fascinating as we did, you can learn more about the culture and traditions of the area at the Museo Cuevas del Sacromonte.

While you’re in the neighborhood, it’s also worth checking out the Sacromonte Abbey. Built in the 17th and 18th centuries, the abbey is another architectural wonder and offers stunning views of the Alhambra, Albaicín, and even the Sierra Nevada mountaintops.

4. Take a Quiet Stroll around Carmen de los Mártires Gardens

Cool Things to do in Granada: Carmen de los Mártires Gardens

When you’re in need of some peace and quiet, one of the best things to do in Granada is to take a walk around the Carmen de los Mártires Gardens.

Hidden away at the top of the hill close to the Alhambra, this beautiful green space is reliably peaceful and calm. As it’s usually overshadowed by the Alhambra, few people take the time to visit, making it a great place to go to escape the crowds. During the hottest months, the natural shade also provides some much-needed respite from the sun.

The French garden with its pristine flowerbeds and pond was our favorite. But the British garden with its triple-layered fountain came a close second. It’s also worth visiting the Nasrid patio to see if you can escape the maze. 

If you bring a picnic with you, there are plenty of areas where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch. Before you leave, make sure you find the tower in the center and climb the spiral staircase to the top. From here, you get a wonderful view of the gardens and the rest of Granada.

5. Devour Jamón Serrano de Trevélez

Fun Things to do in Granada: Jamón Serrano de Trevélez

If you love charcuterie, one of the must-do things in Granada is to try jamón serrano de Trevélez. People say it’s the best cured ham in the world, and we totally agree!

Jamón serrano de Trevélez comes from Trevélez, a small village in the hills just outside Granada. The incredibly dry climate with cold winters and cool summers provides the ideal conditions for naturally curing the ham outdoors without any additives or preservatives. 

This makes the ham pinker in color and richer in flavor than other kinds of jamón serrano. It’s really unlike any other cured ham you’ll ever try in the world! In fact, it’s so good you can easily eat a plate full of the stuff on its own.

You’ll find jamón serrano de Trevélez available in most bars, cafes, and restaurants, as well as many charcuterie and grocery stores. If you’re in Carrera de La Virgen, pop into Ibérica and buy some slices. The owner is a professional ham slicer and will artfully carve as much ham as you want straight from the leg. 

6. Become an Art Lover at the Museo de Bellas Artes

Granada Things to do: Museo de Bellas Artes

If the weather isn’t going your way, one of the top things to do in Granada is to spend a few hours at the Museo de Bellas Artes. It’s the city’s leading fine arts museum and is home to more than 2,000 pieces of art.

Museo de Bellas Artes opened in 1839 and was the first public museum in Spain. It was located in many different places up until 1958 when it found its final home inside the Palace of Charles V. Today, it features a permanent collection spread throughout nine rooms and a temporary exhibit in one room.

Some of the highlights include important religious sculptures and paintings that date back to the 16th century. The Burial of Christ sculpture by Jacobo Florentino is a particularly popular and revered piece. As well as the artwork, the gallery also has a library that focuses on Renaissance and Baroque sculptures and paintings.

7. Let Your Hair Down at the Feria de Granada

Cool Things to do in Granada: Feria de Granada

For one of the most fun things to do in Granada, visit during May. At this time of year, one of the biggest and best festivals takes place – the Feria de Granada! The exact dates depend on when Easter occurs, but it’s always sometime in May.

Similar to the famous Feria de Sevilla in Seville, the Feria de Granada is a lively event filled with music, color, and laughter. Fairgrounds are set up on the outskirts of the city, turning Granada into a temporary amusement park.

Each fairground is divided into three sections: one for rides and attractions, one for show tents, and another for more food stands than you’ve ever seen before in your life. All the fairground areas are decorated with brightly colored lights, making them look incredible after dark!

During the festival, you can expect almost constant music concerts, plenty of dancing, impressive parades, family-friendly shows, and flamenco performances. It’s definitely worth checking out if it coincides with your travel dates.

8. Gaze at the Magnificent Catedral de Granada

Granada Bucket List: Catedral de Granada

The city’s cathedral is one of the top Granada attractions. The outstanding building stands in the center of Old Granada and is instantly recognizable for its combination of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles.

Work on the imposing Catedral de Granada began in 1518, and it took more than 180 years to finish construction. It’s still not truly finished to this day. Two 262-foot towers were originally planned for the cathedral, but only half of one was ever completed.

During the almost two-century-long construction process, several architects and artists were involved in the project. That’s why you can see so many different styles in the building.

The inside of the cathedral is even more stunning than the outside. Step through the entrance, and you can discover the chapels, which were constructed at different times and feature distinct styles.

Almost every inch of the church has intricate details and complex engravings. There’s so much to see it’s impossible to take it all in during one visit!

9. See the Oldest Arab Bath in Granada at El Bañuelo

Granada Things to do: Oldest Arab Bath in Granada at El Bañuelo

Arab baths, also known as hammams, were hugely popular throughout Granada when the area was under Moorish rule. They were a popular meeting point where people would socialize, bathe, get a haircut, have a massage, or simply relax.

El Bañuelo is the oldest and most well-preserved Arab bath in all of Andalucia. While you can’t take a relaxing steam bath yourself, you can walk around the hammam and imagine what it would have been like hundreds of years ago.

The baths were built in the 11th century and, unlike almost all the other Arab baths in Granada, were spared from being destroyed. In the 20th century, the famous architect and restorer Leopoldo Torres Balbás renovated the baths, adding beautiful marble floors among a handful of other additions.

El Bañuelo is made up of three different rooms. There’s the cold room that acted as a changing room, the tepid room where people had massages, and the hot room which housed the baths. 

Experience a traditional Hammam

10. Snap the Best Photos at Granada’s Miradors

Cool Things to do in Granada: Miradors

For some of the best views in Granada, stop by the city’s many miradors. The Spanish name for a lookout point, a mirador is a unique signposted spot where you can see a remarkable view that you won’t get anywhere else!

The city is absolutely full of them. Our favorite one was the Mirador de San Nicolás. It’s in the Albaicín neighborhood and is one of the best places from which to admire the Alhambra. 

You see the impressive palace in the foreground and the Sierra Nevada in the background. It makes the perfect picture!

Nearby, next to the San Cristóbal church, you’ll find the Mirador de San Cristóbal. From here, you can see all across Albaicín and its many attractions. From the Alhambra and the cathedral to the Palace of Dar al-Horra and Convent of Santa Isabel la Católica, you can see every inch of the village from here!

11. Spend the Day at Parque de las Ciencias de Andalucía

Granada Bucket List: Parque de las Ciencias de Andalucía

One of the best things to do in Granada as a family is to spend a day at Parque de las Ciencias de Andalucía (the Granada Science Park). It’s so much more fun than it sounds and is the most-visited museum in all of Andalucia.

The park is huge and covers more than 17 acres. Spend just a few hours here, and you’ll learn fascinating facts about pretty much everything. All the modern and well-presented exhibits are divided into two main buildings.

Macroscopio houses all kinds of displays about the human body, and Foucault’s Pendulum Building is bursting with exhibits on mechanics, physics, and chemistry. There are tons of opportunities for interaction, which is great for kids who like learning hands-on.

Don’t forget to visit the Planetarium for its super-impressive shows. The staff use 110 mirrors to project more than 7,000 stars onto the screen. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before!

The park also features a botanical garden, butterfly house, and 165-foot-tall observation tower with a viewing terrace.

12. Snack on Breua de Pollo

When you’ve got a jam-packed Granada sightseeing itinerary, and you need a snack you can eat on the go, find someplace that sells breua de pollo.

They’re small parcels of flaky pastry stuffed with chicken that’s been infused with cinnamon and saffron. They’re the perfect balance of sweet and savory and do an amazing job of reflecting Granada’s Arabic roots. 

The outside is crisp and golden, while the inside is soft and succulent. Sometimes there’s a hint of nuttiness from almonds or pine nuts, and the sweetness is added by raisins, sultanas, or dates. The combination of herbs and spices is so good that we were always left wanting more! 

Breua de pollo goes by different names. We found it was most commonly called breua de pollo, but we also saw it referred to as pastela or pastela moruna, especially if it was larger and more pie-sized.

One of the best places in Granada to grab a breua de pollo is from Restaurante Biloba in the center of the city. The small and trendy restaurant does a classy, sophisticated version of the dish that can’t be beat!

13. Shop ‘til you Drop at Plaza Bib-Rambla & the Alcaiceria Market

Must do things in Granada: Shop ‘til you Drop at Plaza Bib-Rambla & the Alcaiceria Market

For a little break from sightseeing, head to Plaza Bib-Rambla and the Alcaiceria market for some retail therapy. These are the two best places to go shopping in Granada and are also where you’ll find countless cafes where you can stop for a coffee and chocolate churros.

Plaza Bib-Rambla is surrounded by bustling streets lined with all kinds of stores. From artisan boutiques run by a single person to giant international brand stores, whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it here. 

The Plaza itself is also worth visiting. Here you’ll often find street sellers offering fresh flowers and street performers showing off their skills.

Nearby you’ll find the Alcaiceria market. This giant souk is a wonderful place to pick up one-of-a-kind souvenirs and gifts. From colorful glass lamps, hand-painted ceramics, gorgeous wood furniture, and handmade jewelry to carved wooden sculptures, exotic clothes, stunning sandals, and leather bags, you’ll be spoiled for choice here!

14. Admire the Decorations on Día de la Cruz

Best Things to do in Granada: Día de la Cruz

Every year on May 3, locals throughout Granada celebrate Día de la Cruz (Day of the Cross). It’s one of the most popular festivals in Spain and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the country.

On this day, the city’s streets are transformed with floral decorations to celebrate the festival. From store windows and restaurants to statues and squares, everywhere you look, you’ll see flowers. Some are tied into classic bouquets, while others have been fashioned into the shape of crosses.

The festival dates back to the 17th century, when an alabaster cross was put on display in San Lázaro. The locals celebrated the cross by singing and dancing around it. As the years went on, the tradition spread, and it’s now celebrated throughout almost every city in Spain.

In Granada, locals also dress up in traditional flamenco clothes and dance through the streets. If you want to join in, grab an outfit from a store (many sell flamenco clothing in the run-up to the festival) and blend in!

15. Fill up on Free Tapas

Fun Things to do in Granada: Free Tapas

One of the must-do things in Granada is to try as many free tapas as you can. It sounds unbelievable, but almost every bar throughout the city will give you one free tapa of your choice for every drink you order. It’s a fantastic way to eat out without going over budget.

After you order your drink, the server will point to the menu from which you can select your tapa. They can vary from olives, cheese, and cured ham to small hot sandwiches, deep-fried calamari rings, and Spanish omelets.

Some places only offer free tapas around certain times. We found freebies were almost a sure thing when we ordered drinks from 1 pm to 4 pm and 9 pm to 12 am. 

We recommend stopping by Bar La Buena Vida if you’re in Almireceros. This tapas bar has a huge menu of free tapas to choose from. 

Ávila Tapas in Verónica de la Virgen is another great choice. Make sure you try the roast pork (cerdo asado). It’s incredible!

There you have it! The 15 best things to do in Granada. What’s your favorite thing to do in this beautiful Spanish city? 

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