Sitting at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains is the mid-sized provincial capital in the Andalucia region of Spain—Granada. This mesmerizing city in the South of Spain boasts of having plenty of notable architectural and artistic monuments. Granada, Spain streets are also filled with bars, clubs, and cafes that surely bring energetic vibes to everyone. No wonder why Granada, Spain, makes for an ideal spot for a European break. Read on to learn more about Granada, España, and why this should be your next holiday destination!
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The history of Granada, Spain, began just like the cities around the Mediterranean Sea. The Granada Provincia has seen many settlers, including the origins of Greeks, Romans, Iberian Celts, and Visigoths. But the most substantial impact was from the Berbers as they established Muslim domination in Ciudad de Granada in AD 711. This lasted for about 800 years.
The small city of Granada became one of the most important cities of Moorish Spain. El Alhambra Granada, a palace fortress, portrayed the city’s elegance and splendor during the 14th and 15th centuries. But it was in the 13th Century wherein Granada Espana became a prominent European city, exemplifying an abundance of wealth and culture.
The Granada, Spain history continued in 1492, wherein the city surrendered to the Catholic Monarchs. The Muslims and the Jews suffered through religious persecution. The mosques were either converted into cathedrals or destroyed. This persecution caused a long economic decline. In the 19th Century, the city started to undergo revival and initiation of Islamic heritage restoration.
Granada had to live under the dictatorship of Franco until 1975 after the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. Soon after Franco’s death, the city slowly developed. The surge in the population of university students has helped transform the city’s economic status. However, the southern city in Spain, Granada, is still best known for its Islamic cultural legacy.
The climate in Granada city is slightly continental, with moderately cold winters and sunny summers. The average Granada, Spain temperature ranges from 32°F to 93°F and is rarely below 24°F or above 100°F all-year-round. January is the coldest month. Meanwhile, July is the warmest.
Winter, from December to February, is not that cold. The Granada, Spain weather can have relatively frequent rains, and skies can also be cloudy with mild temperatures. It can snow about half of the days in a calendar year. Granada, Spain skiing is a popular activity as there are several ski lifts in the area.
Summer falls from June to August. The weather in Granada, Spain, can emit scorching heat, reaching a temperature of 97°F to 99°F. The hottest days of the year even go up to 104°F.
The weather forecast for Granada, Spain, during spring and autumn, is mild and variable. Mostly, the weather is good, but there can also be some instances of rain. These are the best times to visit Granada, especially from mid-April to mid-May and mid-September to mid-October.
Activities In Granada, Spain
The Granada Andalucia region may not be as vast as its neighboring cities, like Malaga or Seville, but it is definitely a treat for vacationers. Your days can be filled with visiting the science park, going to the Royal Chapel, watching Flamenco shows, learning about the Nasrid Dynasty, walking through the Generalife Gardens, seeing Plaza Nueva, and so much more. Here are some things to do in Granada, Spain, while traveling with family or friends.
Fall in Love with the Beaches at Costa Tropical
Granada has many beaches to explore, and you can see all of them in Costa Tropical. The Peñón de Salobrena Granada is a coarse-sanded shore with blue, crystal-clear waters which is 1,850 meter-long. There are also several Almuñecar Spain beaches you can visit. For scuba diving, head over to Cantarriján beach. The beach of La Herradura, Spain, is an urban beach that is a top summer retreat for Granada residents. Enjoy the most favorable climatic conditions with the sun shining with no interruptions on various Granada beaches in Spain.
Learn How to Ski in the Sierra Nevada in Spain
If your vacation falls during winter, don’t miss skiing in Granada, Spain. Experience the best spring snow conditions in Europe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. After the Alps, Sierra Nevada is the second-highest mountain range in Europe. The well-equipped Granada Skiing Spain Resort offers facilities for cross-country and downhill skiing, sled-riding, snowshoe hiking, and snowboarding. Beginners and intermediate skiers are all welcome. There are also challenging red and black runs suitable for those more experienced in their Ski Granada, Spain activities.
Explore the Neighborhood of Albaicin
Albaicin in Granada, Spain, is the oldest Arab district located on a hill across the Alhambra. The Medieval Moorish narrow streets have retained their old charm by preserving the traditional houses and overall Moorish architecture. Here, you can visit the Church of San Nicolas to get stunning views of the Alhambra Palace Granada. You can also have peaceful walks along Carrera Del Darro, admire the picturesque river Darro, and feast in any restaurant in the area.
Museums In Granada, Spain
For an equally enriching Granada travel experience, go to some of the local museums available. These museums will let you into the colorful history and culture of Granada in Spain.
Centro Cultural Caja Granada
One of Granada’s most fascinating buildings is the Centro Cultural Caja Granada. It features a museum that exhibits everything about the past and present of Granada Andalusia. Discover the region’s diversity in a historical, natural, and cultural way. The avant-garde architecture is also a bonus. For more information check out their website here.
Museo Cuevas del Sacromonte
In the heart of Sacromonte Granada, Spain is the Museo Cuevas del Sacromonte. It is one of the unique museums in Granada, introducing you to the city’s history, culture, and natural environment. The museum features ten caves portraying the customs, practices, and evolution of Sacromonte and its inhabitants.
Granada Museum of Fine Arts
Make your holidays to Granada unforgettable by visiting the Granada Museum of Fine Arts. Feast your eyes on the museum’s collection of 2,000 pieces of renaissance and baroque art and sculptures. It is located in Carlos V Palace in Granada, which is an annex to the Alhambra. The palace itself is an artwork featuring a renaissance style designed by Pedro Machuca in the 16th Century. For more information check out their website here.
Monuments To See In Granada, Spain
A significant contributor to the constant flourishing of Granada tourism is the city’s several monuments. Discover serene Islamic architecture, monumental churches, and many other Granada monuments in this southern Spain city.
With almost three million guests every year, Alhambra Spain makes for one of the most visited monuments in Europe. The Granada Alhambra is a palace sitting atop the hills overlooking the entire city. This palace in Granada, Spain, was built for the Nasrids during the 1200s and 1300s and later on became the royal court of the Catholic Monarchs. The Alhambra Granada Spain was named such because ‘La Alhambra’ means ‘Red One’ in Arabic. This refers to the red brick walls in the palace. The Alhambra palace in Spain is home to Arabic inscriptions, vaulted ceilings, painted tiles, and several water fountains. Please book your tickets to Alhambra Granada, Spain, as soon as you can because they sell out fast.
Corral del Carbón
One of the interesting attractions in Granada, Spain, to explore is the Corral del Carbón. This Nasrid palace in Granada is one of the oldest remaining Arab monuments in the city. It used to be a warehouse for goods and a shelter for merchants in the 14th Century. Later on, the place was used for stage shows. Catch Granada, Spain flamenco performances or plays in the courtyard during summer.
The Granada Cathedral
What was once the main mosque was transformed to become a cathedral in Granada. It is Spain’s second-largest cathedral and the fourth-largest one in the world. The architectural style of the Granada, Spain cathedral is a combination of Gothic and Renaissance. Upon entering, you will be welcomed to the interior’s beautiful circular design and unique walls adorned with statues. You wouldn’t want to miss a visit to the cathedral Granada, Spain, no matter what your religious views are.
Festivals In Granada, Spain
The Spaniards are known to have a festive spirit. That is why festivals are so popular throughout Spain. The Granada region is no exception. No matter what season you spend your holidays in Granada, you’ll be sure to be a part of different celebrations and events. The calendar is packed throughout the year, and here are some of the festivities in Granada you can join:
The International Festival of Music and Dance
Level up your Granada, Spain holidays by attending this colossal music event. It used to host symphony concerts in 1883. Today, it is a mix of antique music, electro-acoustic, recitals, flamenco, ballets, contemporary music, and more. It takes place in the Albaicín, Generalife, and Alhambra Granada, Spain. It is usually celebrated between June and July.
Holy Week in Granada
One of the most important religious festivals in Granada is Holy Week which usually falls in March or April. The celebration starts on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. The processions are unique with beautiful ‘pasos’ or floats of thrones with religious icons displayed. The Catholic brotherhood passes by every Station of Penitence before going back to their churches. Brass bands also play soulful marches during the processions.
Tango Festival in Granada
The Tango Festival should be included in your Granada, Spain things-to-do list. This event features spectacular shows and live music performances. You can be a part of this celebration by taking dance classes, photographic exhibitions, and other activities. If you have a passion for tango or simply want to try out this dance style, schedule your Granada, Spain holiday in March.
Shopping in Granada
Bring home items from international brands or get local souvenirs from Granada’s best shopping destinations.
Pottery fans will be overjoyed at Fajalauza Ceramica. Here, you will find a complete collection of gorgeous blue-green ceramic work. Their factory has been around since 1517, yet their products remain superior in the industry. So, if you’re into ceramics, don’t forget to include this in your Granada, Spain shopping itinerary.
Shopping in Granada, Spain, for ideal gifts for your family and friends back home? Go to La Alcaiceria. This bazaar has existed since the 15th Century but was destroyed by a large fire in the 19th Century. Later on, the market was rebuilt in a neo-Moorish style. You can find different kinds of t-shirts, accessories, and home decor items here. Plus, traditional commodities like lamps, teapots, or hookahs are available.
El Cortes Inglés
El Cortes Inglés is Spain’s largest department store. It offers an all-in-one shopping Granada, Spain experience as you can find everything here. Major brand stores include Esprit, H&M, and Zara.
Day Trips from Granada, Spain
While there are many charismatic places to visit in Granada, the surrounding communities are also worth exploring.
Situated eight kilometers away from Granada is the tiny village of Monachil. Here, tourists can go to the Los Cahorros gorge. It features rock climbing circles and steep limestone cliffs with plenty of routes for climbers. There are also waterfalls and rock pools available for swimming. It’s best to visit during spring and autumn as the place is exceptionally remarkable during the said seasons.
Úbeda and Baeza
These symbolic towns are both Andalusian and located in the province of Jaén. Everywhere you look, you’ll be greeted with the best-preserved examples of Italian Renaissance architecture. This is visible throughout the palaces, churches, and other buildings in the area. Because of their undeniable charm, the cities were listed as part of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Are you seeking an adrenaline rush? Go canyoning in Rio Verde. This place is a top spot for canyoning in Andalusia. Rio Verde runs to the Almunecar beaches and draws its waters from Sierra de Almijara. It became a top canyoneering destination due to the abundance of water and the multitude of creeks that formed a labyrinth of rocks in the area. Rio Verde will surely take your breath away as you take on different adventures while gazing into the area’s natural allure.
Places To Stay In Granada, Spain
Can’t decide where the best place to stay in Granada, Spain? You have several choices. If you prefer to stay close to historical sites, you may want to book Granada, Spain hotels on the east side. But if you’re going to have easy access to shopping and dining, look for hotels in Granada, Spain, southern districts.
There are plenty of boutique hotels in Granada, Spain, to choose from. The Vincci Albayzin Hotel portrays Moorish architecture, while the Casa Morisca is a wonderfully restored 15th-century residence. If you’re looking for something budget-friendly, opt for a Granada, Spain hostel accommodation instead. ECO Hostel is the top pick for solo travelers, while TOC Hostel is an overall favorite. If budget is not an issue, go for luxury hotels in Granada, Spain, such as Alhambra Palace Hotel, the beautiful Palacio de Santa Paula, and the Eurostars Washington Irving Hotel.
Restaurants To Eat In Granada, Spain
Granada is not only known for its incredible history and culture but also for its dynamic culinary scene. A holiday to Granada, Spain, is not complete without indulging in their local delicacies. The best tapas in Granada, Spain, can be found in Calle Navas and Calle Elvira. The best thing about it is that tapas are usually free whenever you order a drink.
Aside from tapas, there are also other local Granada, Spain food selections to discover. Habas con Jamón is a Spanish dish with beans and cured ham as the main ingredients. Meanwhile, Tortilla del Sacromonte is a special omelet containing mutton brains, nuts, as well as Serrano ham or chorizo. Typical sweet food in Granada, Spain, is the Cuajada de Carnaval made from mantecados or Christmas sweet leftovers.
Indeed, Granada is a foodie haven. Satisfy your cravings by dining in some of the best restaurants in Granada, Spain. Taste authentic Spanish dishes using traditional Andalusian ingredients in at least one of the three Restaurante Carmela. Another must-try restaurant in Granada, Spain, is Arrayanes, a fusion of Moroccan cuisine with Moorish influence. The best restaurant in Granada, Spain, to try out is the Mirador de Morayma. Some of their menu offerings include variations of Spanish tortilla, paprika-sprinkled octopus, and spring chicken with raisins and mushrooms prepared in orange juice and red wine. Devour in all these cuisines while overlooking the glorious Alhambra Spain, Granada Palace.
Drinking and Nightlife In Granada, Spain
Granada, Spain nightlife is one of the most vibrant among Andalucian cities. It features traditional wine bars, old-school tapas bars, historic cafes, and Arabian Nights teahouses. Here are some of the nightlife Granada, Spain spots to check out.
One of the hottest drinking spots in the heart of Granada is Discoteca Aliatar. For a guaranteed fun night out, go to the main gay bar, Six Colours. Get the most delicious set of wines, beers, and cocktails at Sala Quilombo. Bodegas Castaneda’s supply of drinks comes from huge wall-mounted casks. The Chupitería 69 has always been the favorite of the student community, mainly attracting the younger crowd.
How To Get to Granada
The airport in Granada, Spain, is Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén Airport or the Granada International Airport. It is positioned 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from the city center. There are no direct Granada, Spain flights from other countries. If you’ll be coming from overseas, book an international flight to Barcelona or Madrid, then book one of the domestic flights to Granada, Spain. The nearest airport to Granada in Spain open to international flights is in Malaga. Additionally, you can book a Malaga day trip to Granada via bus, taxi, or car for hire.
Upon arrival at Granada, Spain airport, hire a taxi so you can go directly to your accommodation without hassle. The taxi costs around 30 euros. Bus services are also available.
Granada Train Station is a small railway station located in Avenida de Andaluces. This train station in Granada, Spain, runs services between Madrid and Granada which take around four hours and 25 minutes. High-speed AVE trains are also available, offering shorter travel time from Madrid to Grenada, taking about three hours and 55 minutes. Planning to visit from Seville to Alhambra? Railway travel can take three hours and 15 minutes.
The Granada bus station in Spain is situated on the outskirts of town. ALSA is the main bus company transporting people to and from other large Spanish cities. If you are coming from Madrid, travel time to Granada via bus will take about five hours. The ticket costs about 20 euros. The travel times of buses and trains are almost similar, but bus tickets are usually cheaper. The Barajas Airport in Madrid also has buses to take you directly to the Granada, Spain bus station.
Granada: Begin Your Journey in this Small City of Southern Spain
Don’t miss visiting Granada, Spain, on your European trip. You’ll be amazed at the multitude of captivating architectural works, most especially the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. What to do in Granada, Spain, aside from exploring the attractions? Engage with the locals as you drink and get free tapas. Find the best hotels in Granada, Spain, and book in advance your travel tickets to prepare you for your perfect vacation!
What is the time in Granada, Spain?
Granada, like the rest of Spain, is based on CET (Central European Time). Some people also use GMT +2 time. Keep in mind that Spain does change time in Spring and Fall.
What is the name of the Moorish Palace in Granada?
Alhambra Palace and Fortress.
Can I rent a car in Granada?
Of course, you can. There are several car rental companies in Granada and throughout Spain. For car rental prices and availability.
Is there a boutique hotel in Granada, Spain?
In addition to the accommodations, we have already mentioned Hotel Casa 1800 has also received excellent reviews as a boutique hotel in Granada.
Where is the Sierra Nevada National Park?
The Sierra Nevada National Park is about 31km (19 miles) from Granada. If you are driving there, it will take you approximately 30 – 40 minutes, depending on traffic.
How big is downtown Granada Spain?
If you mean Granada Old Town, I am not exactly sure. Granada is not one of the largest cities in Spain. However, the historic center is about the same size as Seville. So, you will want to spend at least two days there to see things and get a good feel for the city.
What is the temperature in Granada?
Are there tours of Granada, Spain?
Yes, there are numerous tours in the city and day trips to and from the city. For a complete listing of all the available tours.
What are the best Granada, Spain attractions?
The best depends on what you like to do. You can check out the attractions mentioned above, and you can also see reviews of things to do in Granada on Tripadvisor.