Welcome to this super guide to visit Granada, written by a city lover! Like many other students, I lived there during my time at university and fell in love with the charm of the city. In this article I tell you about all the places to see in Granada, apart from the Alhambra.
🗺 What to see and do in Granada
Anyone who travels to Granada falls in love with it.
The city has a magnetism that ends up trapping anyone who dares to get to know it as a local. Getting lost in the Albaicín and its incredible viewpoints, drinking a milnoh – a beer called Alhambra 1925 – with a view of the other Alhambra – because there are two in Granada – or having tapas as a way of life, are some of the things that those who live in Granada know how to appreciate very well.
📍 Visiting the Alhambra
The Alhambra is -unquestionably- the most important place to see in Granada. It stands on the Sabika hill, in a privileged setting in the city. And it is the result of centuries of history, where it has been transformed into the Alhambra we know today.
The Alhambra and Generalife Monumental Complex is the main reason why everyone decides to travel to Granada. Moreover, it is one of the great symbols of the city; it is not missing in any souvenir.
The Alhambra is made up of the Alcazaba, the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife Gardens and Palace. I would advise you to book a full morning or afternoon to see the whole complex.
There are two main types of entrance tickets: the general ticket (which includes the Nasrid Palaces) and the ticket to the Alcazaba and the Generalife Gardens and Palace. Guided tours are also available – in my opinion the most recommended option if you are visiting the Alhambra for the first time. They last 3 hours, are conducted in English and include entrance to the entire Alhambra and Generalife complex.
📍Walk along the Paseo de los Tristes
The Paseo de los Tristes is one of the most special places to see in Granada. It is located at the foot of the Alhambra and offers a spectacular panoramic view of the Alhambra. It is a stone promenade, located next to the river Darro, with numerous benches to sit and enjoy the views and bars where you can eat and have a drink.
📍Learn the legends of the Doll´s House
One of the buildings that stand out on the Paseo de los Tristes is the one known as “la casita de muñecas” (the dolls’ house). It captures the attention of all those who pass through this area. It looks very similar to the typical dolls’ houses and, if you look closely, you will see that it has a sort of handle on the roof.
The first time I heard about this mysterious “doll’s house” I was told that a man had built it because of his wife’s devotion to dolls. But the truth is that this building started out as a guesthouse. But not just any guesthouse; it was destined for disaster. Guests fell ill, even dying in some cases. And that was reason enough for it to be closed down in time.
The house/hotel was known as the Hotel Bosques de la Alhambra, because of its privileged location. However, that very location was to blame for the fact that the guests had serious health problems due to the humidity and cold of the rooms.
It is said that later a hospital for rheumatic patients was installed there, giving it the name of “Hotel Reuma”, as it is commonly known in the city.
One of the most special things about the city of Granada is being able to enjoy the views of the city from one of its viewpoints. Several enjoy an impressive panoramic view of the Alhambra, while others make us fall in love with the Albaicín neighbourhood.
The Mirador de San Cristóbal, Placeta Carvajales and San Miguel Alto are some of the best known. If you want to know more, I leave you this article about Granada’s viewpoints.
📍 Tapas in Granada
If there is one thing Granada is known for, apart from the Alhambra and all its impressive places to see, it is its tapas. The tapas culture in Granada is one of the best things that has ever happened to the city.
How much you miss it when you don’t live there anymore! In Granada any excuse is a good excuse to go out for tapas. I have even met students who came on Erasmus who never cooked because they preferred to go out for tapas every day.
Tapas are appetizers that are served with a drink for free. In Granada, tapas are usually hearty. And with a couple of them you’ve already had a good meal.
Some of the places I recommend you to go for tapas are:
📍Bar Los Diamantes: an iconic tapas bar in Granada.
📍Bar Los Manueles: another of the most famous in the city, with super tasty tapas.
📍Bar Vilches: we’ll talk about this one later.
📍 Bar Malahermosa
📍 El Rincón de Rodri: specialised in fish.
📍 La Bella y la Bestia: it has several establishments and is very famous.
📍 La Antigualla: a variety of tapas and hearty dishes.
📍 Bar Ávila: menu and style very similar to Bar Vilches. It’s like a typical village bar, in a good way.
📍Taberna Tita Paca: you choose the meat you want and it’s grilled on the spot.
📍La Fontana: located on the Carrera del Darro with stunning views and good tapas.
📍El Ojú: perfect for vegetarian tapas.
📍Bar La Gramola: one of my favourites. Great tapas and variety.
📍Om-Kalsum: specialised in Arabic tapas.
📍Tango Bar: the tapas are pizzas, burritos and fajitas.
The truth is that there are so many that it is difficult to choose just a few.
📍 Take a free tour of Granada
A free tour is the best way to get to know the city of the Alhambra. In Granada, moreover, there are several free tours available. For me they are a great way to have a first contact with the city and discover the main tourist places to see in Granada.
📍 Walking along the Carrera del Darro
The Carrera del Darro is the most beautiful street to see in Granada. It joins Plaza Nueva with Paseo de los Tristes through a cobbled street next to the Darro River. It is usually crowded, especially on weekends and holidays.
There are a few bars where you can have a drink and live flamenco shows. There are also people selling handicrafts, so be careful, there are taxis and buses passing by!
📍 Drink a milnoh
As I told you at the beginning of the article, Granada has two Alhambras: the complex and the beer. One of the most special beers you can drink in Granada is the Alhambra 1925, known as milnoh. And if you also choose a place with views of the majestic monument, the moment will be perfect.
📍 Relaxing in the Arab Baths of Granada
Exploring a city is also synonymous with getting to know the traditions that exist in it. Luckily, here one of the best customs that exist is to relax in the Arab baths of Granada.
The city has numerous Arab baths where you can connect with the city’s Andalusian past. My favourite to enjoy the experience is Hammam Al Ándalus, a spectacular Arab bath with great attention to detail. They are the most expensive baths in the city, but they are also the most worthwhile.
📍 Have a coffee in Bohemia Jazz Café
Bohemia Jazz Café was one of my first discoveries in Granada. It is a café located in the Plaza de los Lobos, close to the Law Faculty and the city centre. It has a vintage style with antique furniture, pianos, books and paintings decorating the walls.
It is one of the most magical places in the city – at least for me. Whenever I show someone around the city I always take them to this unique café. Some evenings they organise small live concerts, and in the afternoon it’s the perfect place to let the inspiration flow.
Their milkshakes and Manuela cake are my recommendation, so don’t forget to put it on your list of things to see in Granada!
📍 Stroll through the Albaicín
The Albaicín is one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods to see in Granada. It is made up of narrow cobbled alleyways with slopes and staircases, carmenes with stunning views and plenty of viewpoints to see the Alhambra.
Although the area around the Carrera del Darro and the Paseo de los Tristes is also considered the Lower Albaicín, in this part we are going to talk about the Albaicín as a whole. In the Albaicín you can visit the Mirador de San Nicolás, the Carmen de la Victoria, the Mirador de San Cristóbal, the Aljibe del Rey or the Dar-al-Horra Palace.
In addition to its picturesque streets and small squares, the Albaicín has plenty of bars and cafés with views of the Alhambra. Here you will also find the Jardines de Zoraya which offers flamenco shows.
By the way, if you’re visiting the Alhambra or Sacromonte, you might be interested in some of these combined guided tours:
📍Tour of the Albaicín and Sacromonte
📍Offer: Alhambra + Albaicín and Sacromonte
You can get to the Albaicín on foot, by bus (bus line C) or on the city’s tourist train. It lasts 90 minutes and stops at various points in the city. It is an activity that allows you to see the most emblematic places in Granada in a short time.
📍 Have a coffee with views of the Alhambra
Tetería Ábaco Té is a tea shop located in the Albaicín, close to several viewpoints, and with a terrace whose views are delightful. It’s usually crowded, but if you can get a table on the tiny terrace it’s worth the wait.
📍 Dinner with views of the Alhambra
The Alhambra is the place everyone wants to take advantage of in the city – who wouldn’t want to enjoy those views all day long? In Granada there are numerous restaurants overlooking the Alhambra where you can go for lunch, dinner or even organise events.
Some of them are:
📍 Las Tomasas
📍 Carmen de Aben Humeya
📍 Carmen El Agua
📍 Stars of San Nicolás
📍 Saffron Route
📍 Mirador de Morayma Restaurant
📍 Carmen Mirador of Aixa
📍 Restaurant El trillo
I have particularly visited the Carmen del Agua restaurant and I can tell you that the atmosphere is super cosy, the views stunning and the food 10. Highly recommended!
📍 Alcaicería de Granada
The Alcaicería of Granada is the old Arab souk of the city. It is a small alleyway market full of craft shops where you can buy souvenirs of the city.
📍 Jardines del Triunfo
They are located in the heart of the city centre and are perfect for a stroll at any time of the year. During my university years, I loved to walk here in the spring and summer months at night.
Also, a great plan is to buy an ice cream at the best ice cream parlour in Granada known as “Los Italianos” and enjoy it while you walk along Gran Vía towards these gardens.
📍 Bib- Rambla
Bib-Rambla square is one of the most beautiful squares in the city. It usually hosts the Christmas market, as well as different performances by artists. It is also located in the commercial area of the city and has many bars and restaurants.
La Finca Coffee is one of the coffee shops you can’t miss in this area.
📍 Granada Cathedral
The Alhambra, the Paseo de los Tristes and the Cathedral are some of the must-see places in Granada. Granada Cathedral is open for visits every day of the week and admission costs 5€. Tours of the Cathedral and the Royal Chapel are also available, lasting 3 and a half hours.
📍 Eating the best “jamón asado” (roast ham) of Granada
Although I would like to keep it just for myself, I want everyone to be able to enjoy the best roast ham in town. They always say that Bar Ávila is the one who enjoys this fame, and despite having a dish worthy of it, for me the best in Granada is at Bar Vilches.
📍 Plaza Nueva, Reyes Católicos y Gran Vía
Most of the most important places to see in Granada are located in the city centre. Reyes Católicos and Gran Vía are two of the city’s main shopping streets, while Plaza Nueva is the link between the city centre and the Albaicín neighbourhood.
📍 Calle Elvira and Elvira Arch
The street parallel to Gran Vía is called Calle Elvira. It starts near the Jardines del Triunfo, with its majestic arch and ends at Plaza Nueva. It is a street full of small shops with Arabic food and tea shops.
📍 Alhambra Gardens and Carlos V Palace
Another place I highly recommend you to visit are the surroundings of the Alhambra: its gardens and the Palace of Charles V, both of which can be visited free of charge.
The walk from the Cuesta Gomérez to the Alhambra Gardens is very relaxing (except in summer, when it must be a bit oppressive with the heat).
📍 Try the best cheesecake in Granada
You know when you live in a place and you make a note of a place to eat/visit, but years go by and it remains on the back burner? Well, something similar happened to me with La Tarta de la Madre de Cris. I had always heard that it had a reputation for having one of the best cheesecakes in Granada, and no wonder, it’s an addiction every time I go back to the city!
📍 Book a day trip from Granada
Besides visiting the city of Granada, you can also visit some of its villages or go on a hiking route. If you have a car, it will be great; although you can also go by bus or book a day trip from Granada.