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Granada, the southeastern Spanish city which 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.
Since we were dog sitting in Granada to keep our travel costs down, free tapas were greatly appreciated!
2. Drink Tinto De Verano
Sangria is for tourists, 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 €2 and is sold everywhere!
For an 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
Top of everyone’s Granada travel guide bucket list is a visit to the Alhambra.
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 tight a budget.
The fortress was originally built by the Romans but 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 (honestly, the Alhambra gets very busy during the summer months), you can try this slightly more expensive ‘line skip’ ticket and tour.
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, and 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.
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 the one I highly recommend is 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 people 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.
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 gypsy 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 gypsy 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!
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…
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 masterpiece of the Spanish Renaissance, which includes an audio guide.
9. High Kicks for Granada Flamenco Shows
Beat that city angst away by clicking your fingers along with a flamenco show in Granada!
This dance is partially native to the Andalusia region, and there is a gig for every budget.
Most of Granada’s flamenco shows take place in the Albaycín area.
It is expected that guests are silent during the performance, which consists of dancers and a musician.
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. 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 the city of Granada.
There are several hikes along the river which 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 favourite places to go in Granada.
If you like hiking, read our day trips from Barcelona for other ideas of Spanish routes.
Monachil has lots of small bars to award yourself with a beer. A personal favourite was La Barberia.
Two beers and one Tinto De Verano were €6, with tapas of course.
- Bus: 181, 182, 183 bus from Granada to Monachil. Very limited on a Sunday
- Bus from Granada to Monachil: approx. €2 one way
- Taxi from Granada to Monachil: approx. €25
11. 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.
12. Rooftop Drinks in Granada
Watch the sun set 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.
Accommodation in Granada
Wondering where to stay in Granada? There is a variety of accommodations to meet every budget.
Hotels in Granada, Spain
- Barceló Carmen Granada: Affordable 4-star, large and bright rooms, modern. Rooftop pool.
- Granada Five Senses Rooms & Suites: 3-star, clean and big rooms. Cool rooftop with loungers.
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!
Transport in Granada
Granada is easily discovered by foot, and, excluding the Alhambra, and Sacromote area is pretty flat.
There is a bus system which 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
- 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
- Filter and purify water bottle like Water To Go [quote TSA15 at checkout for 15% off]
- 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, click 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!
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.