Granada in one day:
- What to do
- Where to go
- What to do
- Where to go
In this post you will find the essentials of Granada as well as some trick to make the most of your time.
Granada is a fascinating city located in south Spain, in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia. A visit of several days is recommended to enjoy all the jewels this city has to offer but we understand time is a precious and limited asset. Keep reading to discover the most complete tour of Granada!
WHY GRANADA AND HOW DO I GET TO THE CITY?
A day in the city of Granada brings together a variety of experiences that you will hardly find in another destination: the richness of Arab exoticism, a society open to the world, the magnitude of one of the best examples of the Castilian Renaissance, all within a welcoming city, full of tradition and a lover of life on the street, and of course with a gastronomy that combines the best of all its influences. All this with the ever-present setting of the Sierra Nevada in the background that provides the greenery of the Vega de Granada that feeds it with its waters.
The city of Granada is very accesible in terms of transport. The city can be easily reached by the A-92 road from Seville to Almeria, which crosses the entire region of Andalusia from west to east. It also has regular transport by train and bus from the main cities of Spain, as well as an airport with national and international connections. From Malaga and Seville, the road trip is comfortable and visually exceptional, with landscapes of valleys, countryside and mountains. In Persimmon Travels we offer you the opportunity to have a day trip to Granada from Seville, contact us and forget about the problems! Click here for more information.
ARRIVING TO THE CITY
Entering Granada we find the imposing figure of Veleta, the third highest peak in Spain. Granada is a city founded on three hills, one of which is where the Albaicín neighborhood is located: the original place of the city that still maintains that Arab essence that makes it so special. We could spend an eternity through its streets, but let’s not forget that we only have one day to visit the entire city, so we propose a one-hour walking tour where we can see a unique architectural variety in the world. We leave from the San Agustín market – a place where we can taste the odd typical product of the city’s gastronomy – and, after crossing the Gran Vía de Colón and Elvira street, we go to the Souk on Calderería street. This picturesque street will take us to the heart of an Arab city with shops and typical products from the Maghreb. Going up to the top of the neighborhood we will find fountains, arches, squares with beautiful views of the Alhambra and even old monasteries. Enter the scene the so-called ‘Carmenes’, which are small palaces with Muslim reminiscences with large orchards and gardens hidden behind the arched jambs that can be seen behind the cypress trees. The Italian poet Andrea Navagero captures this essence very well: «Everywhere around Granada, among the many gardens that exist, both on the plains and on the hills, there are, although they cannot be seen because of the trees, Moorish houses scattered here and if they could be put together they would make up another city no less than Granada. And although, it is true, the smallest are small, they all have their waters, their little fountains, their rose bushes, muskets and myrtles and all kindness».
SAN NICOLÁS VIEWPOINT AND ALBAICÍN QUARTER
Our destination is the San Nicolás viewpoint that offers a complete view of the Alhambra Palace Complex. At this viewpoint it is common to hear some flamenco singing from the locals, many of whom are gypsies from the neighboring Sacromonte neighborhood where de las Zambras, a typical Granada flamenco dance, was born.
Going down from the viewpoint, we passed the Palacio de los Córdova, home of Gonzalo Fernandez de Córdoba, a famous Castilian soldier and nobleman called ‘El Gran Capitán’. His romantic gardens -from which we have beautiful views of the Alhambra- are the prelude to the rest of the beautiful Renaissance palaces that exist on the Paseo de los Tristes. This walk that continues along the Carrera del Darro reaches the Plaza Nueva and the imposing Palace of Justice, the beautiful Church of Santa Ana and the sound source of the Pila del Toro that keeps many legends among the flow of its waters.
The historic center of Granada undoubtedly offers a great gastronomic variety and a deeply rooted tradition of its bars: they offer free tapas along with the consumption of a drink. There is even a competition among the locals to find out which bar offers the best tapas. Only a true Grenadian will be able to show you these places; In case you don’t know anyone, don’t worry, we’ll show you. If your intention is to sit at a good table to try the local gastronomy, our friends from the Carmela restaurant can offer you the pleasures of the Granada tradition at any time of the day.
ALHAMBRA PALACE COMPLEX
There are three ways to get to the Alhambra on foot, all of them with their undeniable beauty and uphill. Our recommendation is to go up with the minibus from the Plaza de lsabel la Católica and see the Realejo neighborhood, passing through the Forest of the Alhambra and the Bermejas Towers until reaching the main entrance of the monument. It is practically impossible to enter if the tickets have not been previously purchased. We strongly recommend the advance purchase of the tickets for which it is required to present the identity document or valid passport. There are many places in the Alhambra that are freely accessible – that is, completely free. This is not the case of the Nasrid Palaces, the Alcazaba and the Generalife. The complete visit to the site takes approximately two and a half hours, so it is very important to adhere to the schedule that marks the entrance to access the monument because the organization is very strict in that sense. There are many points within the enclosure where you can buy drinks and snacks, if you need them, we recommend Serrano ham sandwiches at the kiosk in front of the Alcazaba. And if you have some time, a coffee at the Parador with views of the Generalife will be a completely unforgettable memory.
Inside the Alhambra, several visit options are available. However, it is essential to understand the historical context and the artistic exceptionality of the palace complex, so we recommend attending with a private guide. The service of the audio guides, although cheaper, is very poor in information and devices, so the private guide is highly recommended both for explanations and service. Without a doubt, the accompaniment of an official guide on the visit enriches the experience and highlights observations that only a connoisseur of the monument could point out. The official guides in Granada are exceptionally good and can be hired in multiple languages: if you are traveling in a group it is worth allocating a little budget for the guided tour. From Persimmon Travels we offer the opportunity of a day trip to Granada with a guided visit to the monument. Click here for more information.
The return from the Alhambra is highly advisable to do it on foot through the Forests of the Alhambra and be inspired by Washinton Irving, one of its greatest romantic exponents with his ‘Tales of the Alhambra‘. We recommend reading this book before traveling to the city since you will understand the romanticism and even mysticism that its streets contain. We enter the center of the city again, but, of course, we cannot leave without visiting other emblematic places such as the Corral del Carbón, do some last shopping in the zacatín, contemplate the Santa Iglesia Catedral de la Encarnación and its beautiful Plaza de la Capilla Real, spanish for Royal Chapel Square.
Thus we ended a day trip in the city of Granada, having seen the great monuments and lived unique experiences, a visit full of impressions and memories for a lifetime. A last stop in Loja for a snack with its imposing viewpoint would be the perfect spot to decide where to set course: let yourself be delighted by Seville, rediscover the Mediterranean Sea in Malaga, go back a thousand years in Córdoba or change of scenery going north, always within this unique and different country called Spain.