We all have enormous lists of destinations that we’d love to visit on a city break. One place that I think is somewhat of a hidden gem is Granada, which is located in southern Spain’s Andalusia region, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
“But what about Prague? Budapest? Paris?” I hear you cry – well, these are all great choices, but there is something special about Granada and it is an area that not many people have experienced (which always makes it more alluring and an interesting one to add to your travel list).
So, what is there to do in Granada if you only have a few days to work with?
Looking to explore the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains that surround the city? Read this informative piece.
Arrive on an early morning flight and get settled into your hotel (see info on arriving in Granada below).
Afternoon Visit to the Alhambra
Book an afternoon session (14:00 to 20:00) ticket at Alhambra and Palacio de Generalife – these are Spain’s most visited monuments and truly astonishing sights to behold. The beautiful palace and fortress, set within glorious grounds, were the residence of the Nasrid sultans from the 13th to the 15th century. This means that the entire area is ornate and breathtakingly beautiful – be sure to take plenty of snaps and selfies to send to your friends back home!
Due to limited capacity, you will have to choose a time of entry when you purchase your ticket. I recommend that you buy in advance, but you may get lucky and get a ticket at the box office for the same day.
Evening Tapas Experience
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to drink and dining options in this fabulous Spanish city. Here you will find the distinctive Arabo-Andalusian cuisine, so expect a wide range of spices and delicious meats. Due to the differences in climate and geography in different regions, the cuisine varies greatly here.
There are all kinds of mouth-watering regional dishes to try, but I highly recommend ordering the Sacromonte omelette, Trevelez ham and Habas con Jamón (fava beans with Serrano ham).
If you are looking for a few drinks in the evening and a bite to eat, Granada has a wide range of bars serving tapas. Whether you are looking for a quiet glass of wine or a lively evening in a fun pub, you will be well catered for. Here are a few of my favourite tapas bars.
- Bodegas La Mancha – Cheap sandwiches, delicious red wine and legs of ham hanging from the walls
- Casa Pepillo – Serves up local dishes including meat in sauces, crumbs and rice and an extensive wine collection
- Cuevas Del Albaycin – Great tapas, delicious pizza, cheap drinks and a cheerful atmosphere
Morning Visit to the City Centre
Kick start your day with a trip to the Cathedral and the Royal Chapel (no need to buy tickets in advance) in the centre of the city. The Cathedral is an absolute masterpiece of Spanish Renaissance and has an astonishing interior, complete with a grand altar and a handful of intricate chapels which will blow you away. The Royal Chapel is situated between the Cathedral, the Fish Market (also highly recommended) and the Church of Sagrario. This historic chapel is an important landmark as it is the resting place of the Catholic Kings.
Following on from this, The Bañuelo (free admission) is a great option and it is also centrally located. The Bañuelo is home to fascinating and perfectly preserved Arab baths – this is one of the only public bath establishments that was saved from the Catholic Monarchs, making it an important Spanish landmark. Inside you will find impressive brick chambers and an amazing star-shaped window in the roof.
Afternoon Stroll Through Sacromonte and Albaycin
After a cultural morning, a superb way to soak up the unique atmosphere in Granada is to stroll through the Sacromonte and Albaycin neighbourhoods. Sacromonte boasts gorgeous natural surroundings and beautiful views, whilst Albaycin is the old Arab Quarter with narrow streets, fun bars and many hidden gems.
An Evening of Tapas and Flamenco
You will want a well-deserved break to put your feet up after such a productive day, so head for a legendary flamenco show in one of Sacromonte’s iconic caves.
Unfamiliar with Flamenco? This is a colourful Spanish art form with singing, guitar playing, dance, handclapping and plenty of finger snapping – great fun and an impressive show!
There are a few places where you can enjoy dinner and a show, including Venta Del Gallo where the shows include dancing, singing and flamenco music. Cueva Los Tarantos has entertaining shows (which include a drink) and serves up classic Grenadian dishes.
Ticket prices will vary, but a drink and a show will cost around 20 Euros.
Finish your city break off with a fun, engaging and informative bus tour of Granada. The open top tour, complete with an audio guide, will give you great views and take you to all the major sites, ensuring you can get plenty of snaps to come home with everlasting memories.
The tour lasts around 1 hour and 20 minutes and costs 18 Euros.
After the tour, stop off for lunch on your way back to the hotel before flying home in the afternoon.
How to Get to Granada
Granada is easy to reach from the UK and there are a few different ways to get there. You can fly with BA directly to Granada (GRX) airport, with several flights being made each week. The airport is just 12km from the city centre. Many tourists fly to Málaga (AGP) airport instead, as flights here are much more regular. Málaga is then 125km from the city and around 90 minutes by road.
Whether you fly into Granada or Málaga, you will want a simple, stress-free and comfortable onwards journey to your hotel. A pre-booked Shuttle Direct transfer will guarantee this and get your trip off to a smooth start.
About Shuttle Direct:
As one of Europe’s leading airport transfer providers, Shuttle Direct guarantees safe, reliable and affordable travel between airports, hotels, train stations and cruise terminals.
We cater for all group sizes and budgets and our easy to use booking system takes all the stress out of your onwards journey.
Let our expert team know where you need to go and they can take care of the rest.