granada

10 things you may do in Granada, Spain

Granada is a mix of East and West, a city of sultans and kings, majestic and eclectic. Here we started our journey around Andalusia – straight from the dessert. 

alhambra1. You say Granada – you think Alhambra. This magnificent complex of palaces and courtyards crowns the city. Move slowly from hall to hall, from courtyard to courtyard, each time being astonished by the beauty. Feast your eyes on Moorish carvings on dry plaster and stone, colorful mosaic, marble fountains, shaped trees.

2. Visit a gigantic Cathedral, full of light, a mix of barocco, Renaissance and gothics. See the tomb of king Ferdinand and queen Isabel in the Royal Chapel. In their rule, Christopher Columbus discovered America, the Reconquista was completed and Spain was unified. 

granada market3. Stock with tea and spices in small Arab shops across the Cathedral. Shop for souvenirs at Bib-Rambla square. 

4. Dine with plate of thinly sliced jamon. Try an unexpected, but tasty combination: broth with jerez. Finish with rioja or cold sangria. No hope to stay 100% sober in Andalusia.

albazyn

5. Become lost in the maze of streets of Albayzin – the medieval Moorish quarter of Granada. Feel yourselves in a time machine – it seems that nothing changed here through the ages: high white walls without windows, stone pavements. If you climb to mirador (viewpoint) of Saint-Nicolas, you will get the best view on Alhambra from the top.  

6. Order several types of teas and oriental sweets on a carved metal tray in a teteria – Moroccan tea room at the narrow street Calle Caldereria Nueva). Relax after a long day of walking and slowly sip the rich hot drink.

Granada7. Meet a weird, almost a kilometer-long religious procession consisting of very serious dressed-up people. After some inquiries, we learned that this is a celebration of anniversary of the statue of Maria Santisima de la Misericordia. 

8. Taste a signature dessert of Granada: pionono – little sponge cakes soaked in syrup and topped with creme or chocolate.

granada9.  Get to Carthusian Monastery decorated with unusual type of marble – it looks like vanilla cake doused with liquid chocolate. And to San Jeronimo (see photo) – from the outside it seems just another monastery with square inner courtyard with orange trees – like thousand other monasteries in Spain. But step inside and the church decorations will blow your mind.

10. Plan minimum 3 hours for the Science Museum. Learn the human body compositions, see how giant butterflies are leaving their cocoons in a real time, measure your weight on Jupiter and Mars, experience an "earthquake room" or an imitator of a car crash. 

 

Important practical tip: order your Alhambra tickets in advance for a specific date and time here or at another authorized website. Otherwise you risk spending hours and hours in a line to the ticket box, without a guarantee to get inside. The quantity of tickets for each day is limited. You may order tickets online three months before the date of the visit. 

We were trying to book the entry tickets month before the visit on the above website and they were sold out! But we found another option – and even a better one – Granada Card. It includes not only Alhambra, but also the Science Museum, the monasteries, some smaller museums and public city transport. For us, a two-day Granada Card economically paid off. You can order it on the website choosing the date and time of Alhambra visit. Pick up the card from the city information center at Plaza del Carmen. 

Note that a time indicated in your Alhambra ticket is the time of entrance to the inner palace. Allow at least 30 minutes to pass the controls, walk through the park to the palace and place the bags into a storage room if needed. 


21 Comments

  • Michelle W

    06.03.2017

    I've been to Granada twice, and I can vouch that this is a great lineup of things to do! Also your point about making sure to order Alhambra tickets in advance is definitely solid advice. I didn't do it the last time, and we almost weren't able to get in!

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      06.03.2017

      True story! Some of my friends were very angry and disappointed, since they did not care to order the tickets in advance, they spent 4 hours in the line with a child (!) and were only able to buy the tickets for the next day!

      Reply
  • Gokul Raj

    06.03.2017

    Albayzin does look like a dreamy place. I would love to get lost there.

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      06.03.2017

      It’s absolutely jaw-dropping!

      Reply
  • Punita Malhotra

    06.03.2017

    Granada is such a lovely town. And you've included so many tidbits on how best to explore it. We only managed the Alhambra. Wish I had read this post before we went.

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      06.03.2017

      Alhambra is the major highlight of Granada – if you did this, no need to be sorry about the rest :))

      Reply
  • TravellingDany

    06.03.2017

    Granada's architecture is one of the most beautiful in the world. Yet I've noted down a visit to the Arab shops around the Alhambra Cathedral, I didn't think about it!

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      06.03.2017

      I agree. It’s not around Alhambra, the shops are next to the City Cathedral in the center.

      Reply
  • clare

    06.03.2017

    I haven't been to Granada but its a place I really want to visit.  The Alhambra looks so beautiful its a place I really want to see.  The monastery too looks beautiful and I would love to see it when I visit.  

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      07.03.2017

      Definitely worth a visit!

      Reply
  • Heading to Spain next months for 90 days and we will be spending a few days in Granada. Thanks for all the wonderful tips!

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      07.03.2017

      Good luck! Have a great trip!

      Reply
  • Corinne

    06.03.2017

    Elena, I do love Granada, especially the Arab part of town with all of its great food.  I know I live by my stomach!  

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      07.03.2017

      Oh, yeah, the food! Totally understand you!

      Reply
  • stacey sandlin

    06.03.2017

    wow Beautiuful churches, markets for shopping and jamon with sangria it does not get much bettert than that! Seems like and awesome place!

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      07.03.2017

      It is, indeed. Thank you!

      Reply
  • Viki

    07.03.2017

    I watched the Easter processions in Ronda, Seville and Malaga last year and I was blown away! I was left speechless and just wanted to march with them!

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      07.03.2017

      Wow! You managed to see all of them! Either you are very lucky or a very good planner!

      Reply
  • Dhaval Parmar

    11.03.2017

    I totally understand what you mean about hotels and else things ! I’d definitely pick an airbnb… especially if I had to live in one for the rest of my life! But maybe that’s cheating Obviously I’d pick some sort of swanky hotel then! Great post, thanks for sharing.

     

    Reply
  • Melody Pittman

    02.05.2017

    Your pictures are great! I have visited Spain, but never Granada. I would definitely want to check out the streets of Albayzin and bring home souviners from the Arab shops with tea and spices. I like the tip for planning a minimum of three hours at the museum; I know that I often underestimate how much time I will take going through a museum!

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      03.05.2017

      Thanks a lot! The largest attraction in Granada is definitely Alhambra – it is a world wonder, no less!

      Reply

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