Granada is a city in Andalusia with a history rich in diversity. It was the Taifa of Granada in the 11th century and the capital of the Nazrid Kingdom between the 13th and 15th centuries. After the Catholic monarchs reconquered the city, it became the Kingdom of Granada. In this city, there is something for everyone’s taste: Muslim palaces, Catholic churches, museums, and old houses. In this article, I present 10 places you can visit in Granada.
Arrival in Granada
We arrived in Granada at night, and we took a taxi from the bus station to our apartment, located in Albayzín. There we met our host to help us install. The neighborhood is beautiful. The first thing our host did was to take us to San Nicolas viewpoint, near our apartment, to see the Alhambra at night.
Buying the Granada Card.
1. The Alhambra
I don’t think is necessary to say that the Alhambra is the number 1 attraction to visit in Granada and thus a must. We decided to schedule our visit for our second day because we wanted to be well rested and relaxed. By the way, to enter the Nasrid Palaces they will appoint a specific time. You have to comply and be there at that time because they allow only a limited number of people at the same time.
Although there was already a building on the hill of Sabika in the 9th century, it’s until 1238 that they started using it as a royal residence. During the reign of the first Nasrid king, Muhammad Ibn Nasr (also known as Ibn Al-Ahmar or Muhammad I) the Alhambra begins to flourish.
What to see in the Alhambra
The Alcazaba is the oldest part of the Alhambra. Military and defense center of the complex. In the reign of Muhammad I, they built the Watch Tower and the Keep Tower. They built a water supply for the Alhambra and began the construction of the palace.
The Nasrid Palaces are the most beautiful buildings in the Alhambra. With its colorful mosaics, inscriptions and ornate arches that look like lace. You will see the Mexuar, the Comares Palace, the Court of the Myrtles, the Palace of the Lions and the Patio of the lions. These rooms functioned as a seat for administration and for the enjoyment of the court.
The Generalife is a villa with wide natural spaces and gardens. The Muslim monarchs used these palaces for retirement and rest. The use of gardens and various water sources try to recreate paradise on earth. The general admission for the day visit to the Alhambra costs € 14.00. On the official site, you can check other prices and guided tours.
Museum of Fine Arts
Inside the Alhambra, in the Palace of Charles V, you can visit the Museum of Fine Arts. The construction of this building began in 1527, after the capture of the city by the Catholic Monarchs. It is another example of Renaissance architecture in Spain. The Museum of Fine Arts was inaugurated in 1834 inside the old Dominican Convent of Santa Cruz la Real. On the year 1958, they moved it to the Charles V palace. The collection is made by paintings and sculptures from the 15th century to the 20th century. The ticket costs € 1,50.
Albayzín is one of the oldest and most representative neighborhoods that you can visit in Granada, and it’s simply charming. Its location is on an elevated part of the city, along the Darro River. The best thing is to walk Carrera del Darro to avoid getting lost in the narrow streets. it gets an Arabian air from the terraces, wells, narrow alleys and arches that still survive from the Muslim reign.
I recommend that you book your accommodation in this area. You will have a more authentic experience and access to many viewpoints where you can see the Alhambra. Besides, at night the restaurants and small shops provide a lively vibe you might enjoy.
3. Mirador San Nicolas
Although there are several viewpoints in Albayzín, this is the most popular you can visit in Granada. It has a super boho atmosphere, like the neighborhood itself. Often you will find musicians filling the air with that peculiar Andalusian sound which traps you in a gypsy fantasy. You can bring some snacks and sit down to watch the sunset fall on the Alhambra.
Near San Nicolas, is the Great Mosque of Granada, with its own terrace overlooking the Alhambra. Visitors who are not Muslims can enter just up to the gardens.
4. Sacromonte Caves
The Sacromonte Caves are near the Albayzín. The origin of these caves dates back to the 15th century. After the conquest of the city of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs, Jews and Muslims were banished from the city and came to inhabit these caves. Later the gypsies would also come here.
It’s possible to walk from the Albayzín. For example, from San Nicolás, the distance to the caves is 1.5 km and it would take about 20 minutes to get there. You can also take the bus line C4 in Plaza Nueva and it will take you to Sacromonte 2 stop from where you can walk to the caves. In this museum, you can see a recreation of the homes that existed in the caves. The cost of the ticket is € 5.00.
Being in Sacromonte you can also visit the Abbey. You must visit the abbey with a guide and it costs €4,00 euros. The duration of the tour is approximately half an hour. On this occasion, I could not visit Sacromonte because we got lost trying to find the address 🙁 . I will have to let it for the next time.
The Alcaicería is an old Muslim neighborhood where the souk or market was located. In this market, mostly they traded with silk. A wall surrounded the area in the style of a citadel, with doors that they closed at night. In 1843 it was destroyed by a fire and rebuilt in a neo-Arab style. Nowadays you can find Arab crafts such as colorful lamps, textiles, jewelry, and different souvenirs. Walking these alleys while looking their different products will transport you to another era.
6. Cathedral and Royal Chapel
The Cathedral of the Incarnation is an example of the Spanish Renaissance. Its construction concluded in the year 1563. It is made up of several chapels being the most important the Royal Chapel. In this chapel are the remains of the Catholic Monarchs, Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. Also buried here is their daughter, Joanna The Mad and her husband, Phillip the Handsome.
Despite belonging to the same architectural complex, the visit to these religious buildings is separate. Each ticket cost €5 euros. If you like churches and architecture, it’s worthy to enter, but seeing them outside is enough. In the Royal Chapel, you can see the tombs of the king and queen which you might find interesting. As we bought the Granada Card we could enter both.
NOTE: On this area, there are several gypsies who offer you a sprig of rosemary “for free”. They take your hand to read it and then they ask you for money. Don’t accept anything because they will not stop bothering you until you give them some coins.
7. Monastery of San Jeronimo
This is another religious architectural ensemble corresponding to the Spanish Renaissance style. Its construction began in 1504 and after going through several deteriorations, it was restored between 1916 and 1920. Inside there is a central yard where you can rest and relax a bit. The altarpiece inside the church is richly embellished. The price of the ticket is € 4,00.
8. Huerta de San Vicente
La Huerta de San Vicente was the summer house of the famous writer Federico Garcia Lorca and his family. It belonged to the family from 1926 to 1936 shortly after the murder of Lorca. Some photos taken between those years, confirm that the furniture exhibited in the house-museum is original. The tour is guided and takes approximately 30 minutes
When we entered I think we were only 5 visitors, but it was ok because the house is not very big. You can see the room where Lorca used to write his novels. Also several drawings of his hand and Salvador Dalí‘s, who was a great friend of the writer. The only bad thing is that it’s not allowed to take pictures.
They have some postcards and books that you can buy as souvenirs. I bought a DVD of a movie about his life that is very interesting. To enter the house you have to buy a ticket for € 3.00. You can visit the garden or park for free. It’s a recommended museum if you like literature or are admirers of this author.
The Banuelo, Arab baths of the XI century, are located on Carrera del Darro street. Despite the destruction of Muslim buildings in the reconquest of Granada, these baths managed to survive. They are under a private house through which it’s possible to access. Recently they started charging a fee to visit them, but on Sundays the entrance is free.
10. Some museums
The Granada Card included the entrance to the Caja Granada museum and the Science Park. I didn’t enter the Science Park, but as you can figure out by the name, it’s a museum related to scientific knowledge. If you have children, it’s an option to visit as they carry out many activities for children. They have a planetarium and a biodome where they keep some species of living beings. General admission is € 11.00 if you want to visit the museum and the biodome, the planetarium costs € 2.50. You can check other rates on your site
Caja Granada is an interactive museum that teaches about life and history in Andalusia. It has 4 rooms, where you can see a model with different landscapes in the area, and audiovisuals that tell you about the daily life of Andalusia. It is interesting and entertaining (not a must visit though), children might like it because it’s interactive. General admission is € 4.00.
Also, there are several ways in which you can enjoy Granada. For example, having a tea and an Arab dessert in one of the beautiful tearooms in the Albayzín and near Plaza Nueva. By the way, in Plaza Nueva, sometimes there are street performances like flamenco dances.
There are many more places that you can visit in Granada. These are the ones that I visited or wanted to visit. The important thing is that you choose well what you want to see and organize your time.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and helps you a little to plan your trip to Granada. If you have any questions or contributions you can leave your comments in the box below. ⇓ And I would appreciate it if you share it on your favorite social media. You can also subscribe to receive notifications for the next posts. Until next time, bon voyage!