12 Fun Things To Do in Granada On a Budget

Fun Things to do in Granada on a Budget

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Granada is a southeastern Spanish city that takes siestas very seriously!

It sits at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, an ideal hideaway on hot days.

While it is not as bustling as Barcelona or Madrid, there are still fun things to do in Granada on a budget.

Its proximity to the coast (Marbella and Malaga) make it a very appealing city beach combo trip.

So, let’s take a look at what to do in Granada!

Best Things To Do in Granada

1. Treat Yourself to Tapas in Granada

Without paying for it! Ordering a round of drinks in Granada comes with a plate of tapas.

This plate can be anything from small hamburgers to fish and breadsticks.

One of the limited free things to do in Granada.

Free tapas were greatly appreciated since we were dog-sitting in Granada to keep our travel costs down!

Tapas with Drinks in Granada Spain

2. Drink Tinto De Verano

Sangria is for tourists, and Tinto De Verano is for locals.

The Spanish love this red wine diluted with soda and lemon (above image).

When summers reach highs of 40 degrees, you’ll appreciate this refreshing beverage.

On average, a glass costs €3 and is sold everywhere!

For alternative but more expensive drinks, check out Bohemian Jazz Cafe.

This bar just oozes cool with its throwback decor and eclectic soundtrack.

If Granada’s nightlife sounds a little too tame for your style of travel, consider Ibiza instead.

3. Visit Granada Alhambra

A visit to the Alhambra is atop everyone’s Granada travel guide bucket list.

You can’t miss the Palace of Granada, literally.

It overlooks the city from the top of the palace grounds, which makes for a nice nature walk for those on a tight budget.

The fortress was originally built by the Romans but was further developed by the Moors.

Palace tours are very popular in Granada. It is advised to get up early to avoid waiting in long lines, especially in the hot sun.

Alternatively, you can skip the line and book a guided tour here before you go with GetYourGuide.

If the above option has sold out, the Alhambra gets very busy during the summer months, so you can try this slightly more expensive ‘line skip’ ticket.

Both tours include a walk through the Generalife Gardens and a local tour guide discussion about the history of the palace.

Tickets are sent instantly; you don’t have to print them out.

English or Spanish, not your first language? No stress, tours are also led in French and Italian.

A visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the #1 thing to do in Granada on Trip Advisor.

Official Alhambra statement: “Due to the great demand, booking is recommended” – buy your Alhambra tickets here today.

Blue skies over Granada Alhambra and green tress surrounding

4.  People Watch at Plaza Nueva

Plaza Nueva in Granada is a tourist hub of restaurants, ice cream shops, and a meeting point for many of the tours in Granada.

Sip a cerveza and watch the world go by.

5. Walking Tours in Granada

Several companies offer walking (or segway) tours in Granada, but I highly recommend the tour of Sacromonte – the ‘gypsy’ caves of Granada.

This 2.5-hour walking tour meets at a central point in Granada and teaches you about the history of Albaicín and Sacromonte.

The local guide also discusses life in the caves dug into the mountain, where some still live today!

Although the path is sometimes tight, a family with a young baby and pram managed it; massive kudos to them!

You see incredible views of the city, including the Alhambra. Read more below.

Tour group walking through Sacromonte in Granada Spain

6. See Sacromonte, the Famous Cave Houses

Wondering what to see in Granada? Well, see the city from Sacromonte.

For six centuries, immigrants have made their way to Granada and found refuge in the Cerro de San Miguel hills.

Rejecting the norm, these travellers dug into the mountain and created homes.

In the beginning, there were 1000 cave homes; after one earthquake and two floods, there are now approximately 150 caves, some with solar panel electricity!

The prime location of these caves put these ‘modern gypsy’ homes at stake.

If the men in suits have their way, the Sacromonte caves will no longer stand, so visit quickly.

Could you live in a cave? Book your tour here.

I highly recommend taking this hike to Sacromonte because you walk through the white houses of the Muslim area, see the best views of Granada, especially the Alhambra, from the top, and get an insight into how the bohemians of Granada live.

There is even a bar!

Cave cut into hills at Sacromonte in Granada

7. Take a Sip at the Magic Fountain of Youth

Overdosed on the tapas and Tinto?

No stress; the solution lives at the back of the church at the viewing point in Sacromonte – the Fuente del Aceituno. 

Take a sip and let the years fade away…

Stone fountain against wall called Fuente del Aceituno Granada I

8. Self-Guided Tour of Granada Cathedral

Granada Cathedral or Catedral de Granada (Plaza de las Pasiegas) is imposing and difficult to miss! 

The dramatic building is 115.40 m long and 65 m wide.

You can take a tour of the Spanish Renaissance masterpiece, including an audio guide.

Blue skies over Cathedral Granada Spain

9. High Kicks for Granada Flamenco Shows

Beat that city angst away by clicking your fingers with a flamenco show in Granada!

This dance is partially native to the Andalusia region, and every budget has a gig.

Most of Granada’s flamenco shows take place in the Albaycín area.

It is expected that guests, which consists of dancers and a musician, are silent during the performance.

Shows can be found as low as €20 and can be booked before you go to ensure you get a seat! 

Choose your preferred time here.

One of the best things to do when it rains in Granada.

See a Flamenco show in Albaycín – Reserve here.

10. Dine at Chikito

While Hemingway used Paris for inspiration, Federico García Lorca and the  “El Rinconcillo” lived, drank and dined in Granada, and Chikitos (Plaza del Campillo, Nº9) is one of the locations that the group of writers and poets used to meet.

Today, visitors can dine at this historic restaurant which serves big portions at touristic prices.

Although award-winning, Chikitos receives mixed reviews online.

11. Rooftop Drinks in Granada

Watch the sunset over the city at BHeaven’s rooftop bar (Calle Acera del Darro, 62 ático) or the impressive Alhambra Palace Hotel terrace (Plaza Arquitecto García de Paredes).

Opt for drinks or food. Or both.

12. Hiking in the Sierra Nevada

A short bus ride from Granada will take you to the scenic town of Monachil.

Monachil is located in the Sierra Nevada National Park, only 8 km from Granada.

Several hikes along the river involve crossing a few rickety rope suspension bridges called the Hanging Bridges of Los Cahorros! Take your swimming gear to cool off – one of my recommended places to go in Granada.

If you like hiking, read our day trips from Barcelona for other ideas of Spanish routes.

Monachil has many small bars like La Barberia, where you can reward yourself with a beer.

  • Bus: 181, 182, 183 bus from Granada to Monachil. Very limited on a Sunday
  • Bus from Granada to Monachil
  • Taxi from Granada to Monachil
Hanging Bridges of Los Cahorros Granada

Granada Travel Information

Accommodation in Granada

Wondering where to stay in Granada? There is a variety of accommodations to meet every budget.

Hotels in Granada, Spain

Hotels in Granada

  • Oh! My Hostel: Small, comfortable, yet modern hostel. Everywhere is walkable from here. Dorms only.
  • Eco Hostel: Recycled materials for decor in a historic building. Nice vibes, cool cafe.

Camping in Granada is possible. Do take this warning about hot summers carefully, though!

Don’t forget your travel insurance – See True Traveller or World Nomads

Transport in Granada

Granada is easily discovered by foot and, excluding the Alhambra and Sacromote areas, is flat.

A bus system operates in Granada and connects the city to the coastal beaches of Malaga (you can then go on to Marbella).

Taxis are also available all over the city.

Getting to Granada

Granada has an airport, but flights are pricier than flying to Malaga.

Buses from Malaga to Granada are very frequent. 

Buses also make the reverse journey.

Granada Packing List

  • Sunscreen
  • Comfortable walking shoes and hiking boots – I swear by Salomon Ellipse trek shoes US / UK
  • Camera and battery
  • Battery pack like Anker’s range US / UK
  • A waterproof coat like this Marmot Precip US / UK
  • Osprey bag cover US / UK
  • Eco water bottle as there are heaps of places to fill up for free – the practical Tree Tribe US / UK
  • Skross universal travel adaptor with USB slots US / UK, which covers Europe
  • Pacsafe safety net US / UK
  • Hydration tablets US / UK if participating in tinto!

Map of Granada

There are plenty of spots to pick up a map of Granada. Here is an online version for the very organised traveller to print off!

You may also like our guide to the most charming towns and cities in the Andalucia region.

Currency in Granada

Spain is in the European Union and uses the Euro. Most ATMs charge you to take out money, except BBMV.

For the most up-to-date exchange rates, see here.

Weather in Granada

Ooft! Granada summers are hot! The maximum temperature reaches 39 degrees and the lowest of the year dips to a mere 18 degrees.

The rainiest month is November, with July showing little signs of a downpour.

Heading elsewhere in Spain? Check out this Valencia travel guide – I’m keen to go; Craig has already visited to see the Moto GP!

Going to Granada?

Hover over the image and pin it to your Spain Pinterest board!

Text Things to do in Granada on a budget. Images Alhambra, orange trees

Final Words

Granada would make a perfect two or three-day city break merged with a beach holiday – close to the coast; it would be rude not to!

So now you know what to do in Granada, Spain – get booking, rapido.

21 thoughts on “12 Fun Things To Do in Granada On a Budget

  1. Nicole says:

    Absolutely love this blog, so much more detailed and unique than most which just cover the basics!

    Two questions if you can help – I’m not massive keen on heights, do you think I would manage the hanging bridges and waterfalls lol!

    Also, did you visit the market? Is
    It open every day or just a Sunday? 🙂

    Nicole 🙂

    • Gemma I Two Scots Abroad says:

      Hey Nicole! Not going to lie, the hanging bridges are rickety… You can still enjoy area though. I never experienced the markets. Let me know how they are?

  2. Anna says:

    I really didn’t know about this building inside the Alhambra complex. The gardens were spectacular. I had the impression we passed far too fast through to really enjoy it.

  3. Jo says:


    I will be going to Granada Spain on 23 to 27 July 2018 for a conference. I am just a student hence I am looking fornany cheap eats near Hotel Granda Center or University of Granada.Are there any groceries near the area?Thank you.Lastly,what is the nearest international airport in Granada?I am coming from Japan.:) I will just go to Spain Embassy in japan by first week in May.;) Thanks in advance.

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