The visitor who arrives here often wonders: What is there to see in Granada besides the Alhambra? What can be done that is special in this city?
Here we present you the definitive list with the 10 most famous monuments and places in Granada, those that you cannot miss.
Your trip to Granada would be incomplete if you do not visit these essential places, which are, in our opinion, the ones that best represent this very touristic city and which we have selected as ‘Top 10’.
Here you will discover interesting and practical information about each of them, as well as recommendations to find the best places to take a selfie or the best photo of the trip.
The numbering that we present does not imply priority or order. You can organize the visits as best suits your plans.
If this time you don’t have time to leave the city to get to know the Alpujarra or Sierra Nevada, you can leave these and other routes through the province for the next trip. Or you could organize yourself to alternate cultural tourism and monuments with a getaway to Nature.
1. The Alhambra and the Generalife
The monumental complex of the Alhambra includes the Nasrid Palaces, the most famous and most photographed part is the Patio de los Leones. The most romantic and spectacular photos we have seen here were taken at night, and if possible, in summer and with a full moon.
The Board of the Alhambra and the Generalife offers night visits to see just this part. You can also buy a combined ticket that includes the daytime visit to see the rest of the monument the next day. Many celebrities, politicians, kings, intellectuals, and all kinds of illustrious personalities have posed at this monument. Perhaps the most original photo was that of the New Zealand rugby team, the ‘All Blacks’, who performed their famous ‘haka’ in front of the Patio de los Leones. The Generalife palace and its gardens are also representative places of the Nasrid monument.
In particular, the Patio de la Acequia, where many famous people have been inspired and spread their image around the world. An example of this is when Sharon Corr, from the Irish group ‘The Corrs’, decided to record her first music video here ‘Dream of You’ to launch her solo career.
When buying tickets, you have to choose a specific time to see the Nasrid Palaces. You can’t be late, or they won’t let you in.
The General Entrance to the Alhambra is not guided. If you want to learn more about its history and legends, you can choose a Guided Tour of the Alhambra.
Beyond the Guided Tours, there is also a Free Tour around the Alhambra to see only the free outdoor spaces.
This is one of the most beautiful monuments in the world where you cannot miss it, book our free tours to see it.
2. The Cathedral and the Royal Chapel
If the Alhambra represents the splendor of Nasrid Granada, the monumental complex of the Granada Cathedral symbolizes the glory of the Catholic Monarchs, who finally conquered it in 1492 and thus unified Spain under the same banner.
Granada meant so much to the Catholic Monarchs that they decided to be buried here and lie in all their grandeur in the Royal Chapel.
The Cathedral of Granada is a jewel of the Spanish Renaissance that stands out in many ways and is full of works of art by the best artists of the time.
The ticket does not include a visit to the Royal Chapel, it must be purchased separately.
In the few hours that Michelle Obama spent in Granada on her 2010 Spanish vacation, this was one of the places that she did not want to miss, showing great interest in the figure of Queen Elizabeth. She was very clear that this is one of the monuments that must be seen in Granada.
Tickets to the Cathedral and the Royal Chapel can be purchased directly at the box office, it is not necessary to reserve in advance.
The Cathedral and the Royal Chapel are located in the very center of Granada, probably close to your accommodation, so you can walk.
If you want to know better the history and architecture of these emblematic monuments, you can buy a Guided Tour of the Cathedral of Granada.
Another jewel that Granada has, Christianity in all its splendor with the cathedral.
3. The Albaicín neighborhood
The Ziri dynasty installed its court in the Albaicín in the 11th century, long before the Alhambra was built. It is the oldest neighborhood in Granada, perched on a hill in front of the Alhambra and lost in its own world, always far from the medina. Here you will find famous viewpoints, such as San Nicolás, with spectacular views of the Alhambra and San Cristóbal, with the beautiful sunset admired by the President of the United States Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton on an official visit to our country. in 1997.
Enjoy its wonderful Hispano-Muslim architecture from medieval times that has deserved its inclusion in the UNESCO list as a World Heritage Site. The Albaicín is, for this reason alone, an essential part of Granada. Discover its many cisterns, Arab and Moorish houses, convents and churches, and many interesting places. The visit can take you a whole day if you decide to immerse yourself in its world.
Comfortable walking shoes are recommended, there are many slopes and the streets are cobbled.
It should bring water, especially in summer when it is very hot.
There are many tapas bars in the neighborhood, it is recommended to stop and have a cool drink.
There is a free guided tour through the Albaicín Free Tour. The guide is usually tipped.
4. La Carrera Del Darro y el Paseo de los Tristes
Carrera del Darro is, without a doubt, the most photographed street in Granada. This picturesque walk will take you from Plaza Nueva to the Paseo de los Tristes, at the foot of the Alhambra and the Albaicín, next to the Darro River. The views here are exceptional and at night, with the Alhambra illuminated, you can enjoy the coolness of the river and the bohemian atmosphere in one of the terraces of the Paseo de los Tristes. This place is full of legends that tell us about tunnels and secret passages to the Alhambra.
There are many interesting places to visit in the surroundings, such as the 11th century Arab baths El Bañuelo, the Arab houses of Zafra or the Moorish ones of Horno de Oro, the Archaeological Museum, the churches of San Gil and Santa Ana or that of San Pedro. and San Pablo. At the end of the Paseo de los Tristes on the right, you can cross the Darro river and go up to the Alhambra by the Cuesta de los Chinos or Cuesta del Rey Chico. A very beautiful and unknown walk that you will like.
The most photographed street in Granada is also one of the most crowded. If you like tranquility, it is better to leave early.
It is close to the Cathedral. You can walk through the Carrera del Darro and the Paseo de los Tristes first, and then visit it.
There is an interesting Free Tour around Granada that includes this area and other places in Granada.
Great place to walk and get to know these beautiful streets of Granada.
5. Plaza Nueva, Calle Elvira y las Teterías
Plaza Nueva is the oldest square in Granada, a crossroads and the historic center of the city. Surrounded by important buildings, such as the Royal Chancery, its charm is found in the wonderful view of the Torre de la Vela behind the cover of Santa Ana or the beautiful Pilar del Toro, Diego de Siloé’s masterpiece. Plaza Nueva is the starting point for many beautiful walks, such as the climb to the Alhambra through the Cuesta de Gomérez, where you will soon find the imposing Puerta de las Granadas and the entrance to the monumental site through its forest. From here you can also start the climb to the Albaicín, through the picturesque Carrera del Darro or you can explore Elvira street, where you will find a whole network of small adjacent streets that will take you to another world: it is the neighborhood of tea shops. The most popular are on Calderería street. Elvira Street is an area for tapas and wineries with a vintage flavor, such as Castañeda or La Mancha.
It has been the main thoroughfare of the Islamic city since the 11th century, the longest at that time, and a very typical neighborhood of Christian Granada about which many popular songs have been written and even a poem by Federico García Lorca.
If you want to keep walking and look for more distant treasures, go to the end of the street, without leaving the main path. You will find the wonderful Puerta de Elvira, the ancient entrance to the city and a silent witness to a very distant time.
Plaza Nueva is right next to Carrera del Darro, you can see both places on the same day.
Along Calle Calderería, well known for its tea shops, you can also go up to the Albaicín.
This is a pupalar zone for its tapas bars. You can taste the most emblematic tapas and discover the history behind each one of them with Tapas Tour in Granada.
6. The Sacromonte and its Zambras
The Sacromonte neighborhood is one of the oldest and most picturesque in Granada, and it cannot be missing from any ‘top 10’ list about Granada. If you walk up the Cuesta del Chapiz and turn right at the small square where the sculpture of the famous gypsy Chorrojumo is located, you will enter the neighborhood through the Camino del Sacromonte. Along the way you will enjoy wonderful views of the Alhambra and the Darro River Valley, while you are entering a territory that is legend for many reasons.
You will soon realize the uniqueness of their homes, dug out of the mountain and decorated with the white of lime and the color of their pots. The unique character of this neighborhood lies in its history and the people who populated it.
Learn about its history at the Cuevas del Sacromonte Museum and you will discover how this unique neighborhood was created where the flamenco elf stayed to live forever. His zambras became world famous among romantic travelers of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Ernest Hemingway. They were also enjoyed by film artists such as Ingrid Bergman or Ava Gardner, and other modern day celebrities such as Michelle Obama. Live the wonderful show that caves such as La Rocío or María la Canastera offer you. One of the most famous and popular neighborhoods in Granada and a must-see, get lost in these streets and enjoy its narrow streets.
7. The Cartuja Monastery
Starting in 1492, when the Catholic Monarchs finally entered Granada and settled in the Alhambra, the city began to transform rapidly. Much money was invested in building large churches, convents and monasteries and in bringing different religious orders for the conversion and promotion of Catholicism among the population. In a few years the city of a thousand mosques became the city of a thousand churches. And one of the most outstanding is, without a doubt, the Monastery of the Cartuja.
It is believed that the first Carthusian monks arrived in Granada in 1514 and resumed the works of the Monastery that had begun in 1506. It took three centuries to complete this great work of art where you will find wonders of the late Gothic, Renaissance and Spanish Baroque. The visit is very pleasant, with free parking at the door, and an atmosphere of peace and silence that allows you to contemplate in awe how much effort and beauty went into these emblematic places of a golden age.
The Cartuja Monastery is not located in the center of Granada, but it is worth the 20 min ride on the city bus or the drive there. It is an impressive site that, without a doubt, is part of the essential Granada for us.
There is a gift shop next to the parking lot, where you will find nice souvenirs, water and cold drinks.
There are no guided tours, but the tourist route is signposted and audio guides can be downloaded to your mobile using a QR code. It’s free.
8. The Alpujarra
In the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the highest mountains in the Iberian Peninsula, are the most picturesque villages in Spain. Its traditional architecture, typical of the Arab period, reminds us a lot of the Berber people. This friendly face of Sierra Nevada shows us an indescribable beauty for its landscape, for its colors and its white villages, with unique customs and architecture, for having been a refuge for the last Muslims who were expelled from Granada and having been isolated for so long. weather.
Only at the end of the 19th century did the first artists, bohemians and romantic travelers begin to arrive. For example, the Englishman Gerald Brenan who wrote here his famous work ‘Al sur de Granada’, made into a movie on several occasions.
Since then, many artists and celebrities have been attracted by its beauty and peculiarity, and here they have settled, such as Chris Stweart, ex-member of the Genésis group, who has described his experiences in books as funny as’ Entre Limones’ or ‘ The Parrot in the Lemon Tree ‘. Its most touristic towns are Pampaneira, Capileira and Bubión. There are buses that run through all of them and numerous rural houses to stay. La Alpujarra is a recommended visit at any time of the year, but it becomes magical and mysterious in autumn when they celebrate their traditional chestnut or ‘mauracas’ festivals.
Unfortunately, there are very few buses to the towns of the Alpujarra. If you are only going to visit one town that is fine, but if you want to go from one town to another the best option is to go by car. You can also walk between the nearest towns.
Keep in mind that it is a mountain road and although the distance is not much, it takes more than 1 hour to reach Soportújar, the town of witches, and 2 hours to Trevélez, the highest town in Andalusia.
Pampaneira is the first town that you will find after the Barranco de Poqueira, shortly after is Bubión, they are the closest and where there are more tourists. The higher you climb, the fewer people there will be.
If you prefer to be taken and be able to enjoy the landscape while they reveal the secrets that these towns keep, book the Excursion through the Alpujarra Granadina. It is a day trip on a tourist bus that includes several towns, such as Lanjarón, Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira.
A good way to get to know the Alpujarra and its towns is on a Hiking Route through the Sierra Nevada National Park.
9. Sierra Nevada: the Roof of the Peninsula
Sierra Nevada is a Biosphere Reserve, National Park and Natural Park. Between its peaks there are more than 20 that exceed 3,000 meters of altitude. Its highest peak, Mulhacen (3,482m) makes it the highest mountain range in Western Europe, after the Alps. These high mountains have another peculiarity, they are the most southern of Europe, which gives it an impressive biodiversity. Its ski resort boasts the longest season in Spain and more sunny days than any other resort in Europe. Do not miss the opportunity to get closer to Sierra Nevada and enjoy mountain activities or simply the wonderful landscape that it offers you at all times of the year. Only 32 kilometers separate the city of Granada from the roof of the Peninsula, and it has a good bus service.
3 buses a day leave from the Granada Bus Station to Sierra Nevada. They are direct buses, without stops. The frequency changes when the ski season is over. Check our Sierra Nevada Bus section.
In Sierra Nevada it can be cold even in summer. You need to bring a jacket or sweater in summer, good hiking boots and plenty of water.
It is totally forbidden to bathe in the Lagunas de Sierra Nevada and carry loose dogs. Nor can you camp in its vicinity.
A recommended place to stay is the University Hostel. Check our Accommodation section in Sierra Nevada.
One of the most fun winter activities in Sierra Nevada is this Snowshoe Walk.
A good way to get to know Sierra Nevada and its towns is on a Hiking Route through the Sierra Nevada National Park.
You can also tour the Granada Alpujarra and enjoy the incredible views of the Sierra Nevada on an ATV Tour through the Sierra Nevada National Park.
10 Arab Baths of Granada
In Granada you will find beautiful Arab baths where you can relax at the end of the day and enjoy the hot springs that are reminiscent of the typical hammams of the Nasrid era. They offer you several pools, with hot, warm and cold water, and relaxing music. In many of them you can have a Moorish tea, courtesy of the house. Also, you can book a massage with different aromatic oils to choose from. If you visited the Alhambra, the Generalife and the Albaicín, you already know much of the essence of Granada. You will understand then that a visit to the tea houses and the Arab baths or hammam will make the experience more complete. See more information at Hammam Al Ándalus.