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Best Things To Do in Granada

Granada's scenic landscape, Spanish charm and historical sites draw travelers in droves. The Alhambra is not only Granada's premier point of interest, it's one of Spain's biggest attractions. Once you've gotten your fill of the palace's rich history, take a stroll in the picture-perfect alleyways of the Albaicín neighborhood or shop the Moroccan goods at the Alcaiceria near the Historic Center. You'll also want to take advantage of Granada's close proximity to Sierra Nevada National Park, or indulge in one of the city's Arab bath houses. And make sure to end at least one of your nights with a trip to Plaza de San Nicolas for unforgettable vistas. 

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Granada

The Alhambra is the crown jewel of Granada. Perched high atop a hill in the center of the city, this UNESCO World Heritage site dominates the skyline. The Alhambra is not only Granada and Andalusia's biggest tourist attraction, it's one of the most-visited spots in all of Spain. It draws about 2 million visitors per year, with some traveling to Granada just to see the Alhambra. And for good reason – it boasts a rich history, magnificent architecture, gorgeous gardens and stellar views.
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Castles/Palaces Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
The Alhambra
The Alhambra is the crown jewel of Granada. Perched high atop a hill in the center of the city, this UNESCO World Heritage site dominates the skyline. The Alhambra is not only Granada and Andalusia's biggest tourist attraction, it's one of the most-visited spots in all of Spain. It draws about 2 million visitors per year, with some traveling to Granada just to see the Alhambra. And for good reason – it boasts a rich history, magnificent architecture, gorgeous gardens and stellar views.
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#2

#2 in Granada

Free
The Albaicín neighborhood is the stuff of Spanish dreams. Narrow cobblestone roads weave through traditional homes, charming plazas, quaint courtyards and multiple historic sites. There are also plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment options to be found within. What's more, the neighborhood's placement on the hillside north of the Alhambra affords plenty of vantage points of the UNESCO World Heritage site, including those seen from the popular Plaza de San Nicolas. And believe it or not, UNESCO's World Heritage distinction also extends to the Albaicín. That's because the neighborhood is the old Moorish quarter of the city. Walking around, it's easy to spot remnants of the once thriving Muslim neighborhood (once boasting more than 40,000 residents). For example, any churches you run into along the way were probably once the site of a mosque, including the Church of San Salvador, which still features some Arab inscriptions.
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Cafes Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
The Albaicín
The Albaicín neighborhood is the stuff of Spanish dreams. Narrow cobblestone roads weave through traditional homes, charming plazas, quaint courtyards and multiple historic sites. There are also plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment options to be found within. What's more, the neighborhood's placement on the hillside north of the Alhambra affords plenty of vantage points of the UNESCO World Heritage site, including those seen from the popular Plaza de San Nicolas. And believe it or not, UNESCO's World Heritage distinction also extends to the Albaicín. That's because the neighborhood is the old Moorish quarter of the city. Walking around, it's easy to spot remnants of the once thriving Muslim neighborhood (once boasting more than 40,000 residents). For example, any churches you run into along the way were probably once the site of a mosque, including the Church of San Salvador, which still features some Arab inscriptions.
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#3

#3 in Granada

Free
Though Granada's storied history should be absorbed as much as possible, the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains are worth just as much exploration. The Sierra Nevada Mountains are part of Sierra Nevada National Park, the largest national park in Spain. The park stretches 320 square miles from Granada to the edge of Almeria and features one of Europe's tallest mountains. Along with the 11,000-foot-tall Mulhacen, there are more than 20 mountains to explore in addition to multiple lakes, rivers and forest areas.
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Hiking Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Sierra Nevada National Park
Though Granada's storied history should be absorbed as much as possible, the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains are worth just as much exploration. The Sierra Nevada Mountains are part of Sierra Nevada National Park, the largest national park in Spain. The park stretches 320 square miles from Granada to the edge of Almeria and features one of Europe's tallest mountains. Along with the 11,000-foot-tall Mulhacen, there are more than 20 mountains to explore in addition to multiple lakes, rivers and forest areas.
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#4

#4 in Granada

Free
If you're still itching to tour more historical, not to mention architecturally gorgeous, attractions after the Alhambra, Granada's historical center is your best bet. This small neighborhood, adjacent to the Albaicín, features a variety of attractions including churches, monasteries, palaces, cultural centers and houses and even schools. Though one could easily spend days roaming the innards of the historical center, the main attractions to see are the Basilica de San Juan de Dios, the Cathedral and Royal Chapel and the Saint Jerome Monastery.
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Churches/Religious Sites Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Historical Center
If you're still itching to tour more historical, not to mention architecturally gorgeous, attractions after the Alhambra, Granada's historical center is your best bet. This small neighborhood, adjacent to the Albaicín, features a variety of attractions including churches, monasteries, palaces, cultural centers and houses and even schools. Though one could easily spend days roaming the innards of the historical center, the main attractions to see are the Basilica de San Juan de Dios, the Cathedral and Royal Chapel and the Saint Jerome Monastery.
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#5

#5 in Granada

Free
Granada's hilly landscape makes for fantastic vistas, and there are few better than the views offered at the Plaza de San Nicolas. Located in the Albaicín neighborhood, less than a mile north of the Paseo de los Tristes, Plaza de San Nicolas directly faces the Alhambra and the majestic snowcapped Sierra Nevada Mountain range that sits right behind it. Lush rolling hills and traditional clay-tiled rooftops fill space in between the vista's two focal points. That, combined with the plaza's decorative cobblestones, whitewashed church and lively buskers make for a truly picture-perfect moment.
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Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Plaza de San Nicolas
Granada's hilly landscape makes for fantastic vistas, and there are few better than the views offered at the Plaza de San Nicolas. Located in the Albaicín neighborhood, less than a mile north of the Paseo de los Tristes, Plaza de San Nicolas directly faces the Alhambra and the majestic snowcapped Sierra Nevada Mountain range that sits right behind it. Lush rolling hills and traditional clay-tiled rooftops fill space in between the vista's two focal points. That, combined with the plaza's decorative cobblestones, whitewashed church and lively buskers make for a truly picture-perfect moment.
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#6

#6 in Granada

The Sacromonte district is actually part of the Albaicín, occupying the northern tip of the neighborhood. But what the Sacromonte really stands out for is its caves, and the flamenco that takes place within. Sacromonte's caves were initially created by the Arabs and primarily enjoyed by gypsies, who arrived to the city during the 15th century. The area is still considered a gypsy neighborhood, though it has become more diverse over time as artists from the Romantic Movement helped popularize the district to outsiders in the 19th century. Flamenco is as synonymous with Spain as bullfights and can be found anywhere in the country, but Granada is where the art form is said to have been birthed and flourished. Seeing a flamenco show in Sacromonte is a cultural experience that simply cannot be missed.
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Entertainment and Nightlife Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Flamenco in Sacromonte
The Sacromonte district is actually part of the Albaicín, occupying the northern tip of the neighborhood. But what the Sacromonte really stands out for is its caves, and the flamenco that takes place within. Sacromonte's caves were initially created by the Arabs and primarily enjoyed by gypsies, who arrived to the city during the 15th century. The area is still considered a gypsy neighborhood, though it has become more diverse over time as artists from the Romantic Movement helped popularize the district to outsiders in the 19th century. Flamenco is as synonymous with Spain as bullfights and can be found anywhere in the country, but Granada is where the art form is said to have been birthed and flourished. Seeing a flamenco show in Sacromonte is a cultural experience that simply cannot be missed.
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#7

#7 in Granada

There's a history lesson to be had anywhere you go in Granada, and the city's spas are no exception. The Arab baths were once a gathering place for Granada's Arab inhabitants, having been an important ritual in Muslim life and culture. To the Moors, water was considered a symbol of purity and the baths were used to cleanse oneself both physically and spiritually. Once the Christians eventually took over the city after the Reconquest of Spain, many Arab establishments were torn down and rebuilt into different religious and secular establishments. This included the bath houses, many of which were turned into bakeries since the facilities contained a large broiler used to heat up some of the baths. El Bañuelo, which dates back to the 11th century, is the last Arab bath house that has remained largely intact in Granada, and is one of the last in the entire country of Spain.
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Spas Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Arab baths
There's a history lesson to be had anywhere you go in Granada, and the city's spas are no exception. The Arab baths were once a gathering place for Granada's Arab inhabitants, having been an important ritual in Muslim life and culture. To the Moors, water was considered a symbol of purity and the baths were used to cleanse oneself both physically and spiritually. Once the Christians eventually took over the city after the Reconquest of Spain, many Arab establishments were torn down and rebuilt into different religious and secular establishments. This included the bath houses, many of which were turned into bakeries since the facilities contained a large broiler used to heat up some of the baths. El Bañuelo, which dates back to the 11th century, is the last Arab bath house that has remained largely intact in Granada, and is one of the last in the entire country of Spain.
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#8

#8 in Granada

Free
If you're looking to do some serious shopping while in Granada, the Alcaiceria market is the place to go. Upon first glance, the market may seem like a tourist trap. Cheesy postcards and costumey flamenco dresses meet you at the entrance, but go farther into the bowels of its passageways and you'll find plenty of treasures difficult to find elsewhere. The reason for this is due to the market's history. The Alcaiceria was originally a bazaar established by the Moors, a group of Northern Africans, during their reign in Spain at the start of the eighth century. The Alcaiceria initially served as a hub for silk making and exchanging, and was one of the few Moorish attributes that survived the Conquest of Granada (the Catholic Spanish Monarch's push to drive the Arabs [Moors] out of Spain). Today, the market is less than half of its original size, but still flourishes with plenty of Moroccan goods. 
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Shopping Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
The Alcaiceria
If you're looking to do some serious shopping while in Granada, the Alcaiceria market is the place to go. Upon first glance, the market may seem like a tourist trap. Cheesy postcards and costumey flamenco dresses meet you at the entrance, but go farther into the bowels of its passageways and you'll find plenty of treasures difficult to find elsewhere. The reason for this is due to the market's history. The Alcaiceria was originally a bazaar established by the Moors, a group of Northern Africans, during their reign in Spain at the start of the eighth century. The Alcaiceria initially served as a hub for silk making and exchanging, and was one of the few Moorish attributes that survived the Conquest of Granada (the Catholic Spanish Monarch's push to drive the Arabs [Moors] out of Spain). Today, the market is less than half of its original size, but still flourishes with plenty of Moroccan goods. 
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