Granada is one of the most beautiful cities in Andalucia. If you only have one day to spend in Granada, fear not – it is still possible to experience the best the city has to offer in a limited time. In this ‘one day in Granada’ itinerary, I will provide you with a guide on how to make most of your time spent in the city. Highlighting the must-see attractions such as the Alhambra and Generalife, the best places to enjoy the local tapas, and a couple of experiences that will make your visit unforgettable.
Is One Day Enough to Visit Granada?
One day is enough to give a taste of what Granada has to offer and to lure you to return to this wonderful city. During one day in Granada you will get to see some of the highlights the city is famous for, including the Alhambra which, if you visit throughout, will take a good chunk of your time. However, this time would be well spent as Alhambra is a true work of art.
How to Get Around Granada?
Granada has a relatively small city centre, which is easily walkable. The Alhambra is located on top of a hill which can be difficult to climb by people with reduced mobility. There are electric buses that connect the centre of Granada to the entrance to the Alhambra, so you don’t have to worry that it will take a long time to reach it.
Taxis in Granada are also very affordable, with less than 10 euros for a trip between the Alhambra and the train or bus station. All taxis in Granada take payment by cards, as well as cash.
About This One Day in Granada Itinerary
I have visited Granada many times and took plenty of day trips here, usually showing my friends the city. This one day in Granada itinerary is based on my own experience and it is built in a way so that you can optimise the time spent in the city. I have chosen the monuments in the order I usually visit them, which makes sense when you don’t have a lot of time available. I would usually arrive in Granada by bus, from Malaga, and take a taxi straight to the centre.
If you are landing in Granada and are taking the bus from the airport to the city centre, you can choose to get off at the Cathedral and start your day from here.
My Perfect One Day in Granada Itinerary:
Breakfast at Mummo Café
Mummo Café is my go to place for breakfast in Granada. Ever since I discovered this place I have been coming here for a delicious tomato and jamon tostada, alongside a cup of café con leche, to start my day right in Granada. This is a very small coffee shop, with just a few tables inside, a couple outside, and the rest are seats at the bar. You can actually see how your tostada is being made. They don’t have a menu, you just order what you fancy directly at the bar.
Visit the Alhambra
The Alhambra is the most visited monument in Spain and this is why you have to secure your ticket ahead of time. Usually tickets sell out three months in advance. It’s important to book your ticket as soon as you decide to visit the city. Also, know that the tickets are timed and it is recommended to be at the entrance half an hour before the time stamp. You can click here to book a ticket to the Alhambra, and here to book a guided tour to the Palace, which I highly recommend if you want to better understand the history and the architectural pieces you are seeing.
Visiting the Alhambra and its grounds can easily take 2 to 3 hours.
Alhambra has a troubled history, from one of the most important fortresses and palaces in the 13th century, when it was built, to being left in disrepair by the 18th century. It was Washington Irving and his Tales of the Alhambra who put this fantastic palace back on the touristic radar. Pushing the local authorities to renovate it and then to be added on the Unesco Heritage Monuments list.
Whilst there is no furniture left inside the Alhambra, you can still see the grandeur the palace once had. The intricate designs etched into the walls and the ornate details of the archways and columns, delicate carvings and geometric mosaic patterns, are a testament to the incredible craftsmanship and skill of the artisans who had created them. The interior of the palace has interior courtyards, elegant water features and lush landscaped gardens. All of which were so important during the Nasrid Dynasty.
See the Generalife Gardens
Generalife, “The Garden of Paradise” was built at the end of the 13th century as a summer palace and leisure place for the rules of the Nasrid Dynasty, just outside of Alhambra. Gardens have always been a very important part of any building, for the Moorish, and Generalife is no exception.
Generalife is divided into two courtyards. The Water Garden Courtyard has a long pool framed by flower beds, columns covered with plants, fountains and pavilions. The Courtyard of the Cypress is the best-preserved style of a mediaeval Persian garden.
Initially, the gardens were enclosed within tall walls, following the design rules of the Islamic architecture. After the Reconquista happened, the Christians broke open the walls and built windows, added more water features and altered the architecture of the palace. Despite that, the gardens have kept plenty of elements from the Moorish times, and are now considered one of the best examples of mediaeval Islamic landscaping very well preserved.
You can buy a ticket to Generalife without one for the Palace so, if the tickets to the Alhambra are sold out, you can still see part of it.
Tapas Lunch at La Auténtica Carmela
You can’t come to Granada and not have tapas, so for lunch, I am suggesting a great tapas bar which offers them for free with a drink but also has a menu from which you can order extras. They also serve brunch, if you’re up for a light dish.
When I first visited La Cuchara de Carmela they only had one small location, outside of the city centre. Now, they have five different locations, including one in the famous Plaza de Bib-Rambla.
Visit the Cathedral
The Cathedral in Granada is one of the largest in Spain, second only to the Cathedral of Sevilla. It was built in the 16th century and is considered to be one of the most important religious buildings in the country, as it is at the seat of the Archdiocese of Granada. The building’s impressive façade features a mix of Renaissance and Baroque styles, with intricately detailed reliefs and sculptures adorning the walls.
The Cathedral is the burial place of Queen Isabella I who unified Spain, completed the Reconquista, and financed the expeditions of Cristopher Columbus.
On the right hand side wall of the Cathedral you will notice some scribblings on the stones – this is actually mediaeval graffiti.
Visiting the Cathedral costs 5 euros and includes an audio guide. You can also click here to book a private tour of the Cathedral to learn more about its stunning interiors as well as its role during history.
Stroll Around Albayzin
Albayzin, together with the Alhambra and Generalife are part of the Unesco Heritage List. Head over to the back of the Cathedral, cross the street, and start making your way uphill, stroll along the narrow cobblestone alleyways between the whitewashed houses. You will pass through Granada’s Moroccan souk, which reminds of the one in Marrakech, but at a miniature scale.
What makes Albayzin so special are the houses, which hide lush gardens and the most beautiful interior courtyards, which can’t be seen from the outside. Some of these houses have been now transformed into museums, so you can see the treasures they are hiding behind the tall walls: Carmen de los Geranios, Palacio Dar al-Horra, Casa de Zafra, Casa del Chapiz. You can also book a guided tour of Albayzin and Sacromote, which includes some museums as well, by clicking here.
See the Sunset from Mirador de San Nicolas
Mirador de San Nicolas is one of the best places in Granada to watch the sunset from. This is a very popular place for both tourists and locals. It’s also a lively place, where often you will see flamenco players performing ad-hoc.
What makes Mirador de San Nicolas special is the grandiose, unrestricted view of the Alhambra. The viewpoint is literally on the opposite hill from the Moorish Palace.
As you walk around the narrow streets of Albayzin, you will eventually reach Mirador de San Nicolas.
Dinner at Mirador de Morayma
As you start descending from Mirador San Nicolas, on a small alley you will find the Mirador de Morayma restaurant, located inside a traditional country house called “Carmen”. Behind the inconspicuous wooden door with a small menu on the wall, you will find the most beautiful garden covered in plants and vegetation, with the tables under natural hanging garlands of purple jacarandas and views of the Alhambra. By night, this place transforms into what feels like a fairytale, a perfect restaurant for a romantic dinner.
See a Flamenco Show
You can’t end your day in Granada without attending a flamenco show in one of the caves in Sacromonte neighbourhood. This is a great area to visit as well, if you have more than one day in Granada. This is a historic area of Granada where people are living in houses made inside caves. Some of the caves are open to the public as small living-in museums, and can be visited for a modest fee of 1 euro.
The most popular flamenco performances in town happen here. The ticket includes transport to and back from your hotel, an optional dinner, and the performance, which is a great introduction to the Gitano subculture of Southern Spain. Click here to book a ticket to a flamenco show.
Staying the Night ?
Budget: Granada Old Town is a hostel located in the historical centre of Granada. The hostel offers accommodation both in shared and private rooms. It has a lovely patio where solo travellers can meet new friends and explore Granada together. You can check their reviews on Tripadvisor or click here to book directly on Booking.com
Mid-range: Hotel Saray is a great choice, just outside the city centre, with some of the rooms overlooking the Sierra Nevada mountains. The hotel’s main areas are decorated in an Arabic style, with keyhole shaped doors and windows, and mosaic designs. They also have an outdoor pool and a spa centre. They do have a great deal for hotel + parking, when you book a package on Booking.com, which is very handy if you are driving, as parking in Granada is very expensive. You can check their reviews on Tripadvisor or click here to book directly on Booking.com
Luxury: Barcelo Carmen is a luxury hotel located in the heart of Granada, with spacious, modern rooms, some of which have balconies overlooking the main road. The hotel has a rooftop terrace with a small pool, a bar and a restaurant, and benefits of underground parking with a valet at an extra cost. You can check their reviews on Tripadvisor or click here to book directly on Booking.com
For more articles about Granada check out the following:
- How to spend two days in Granada
- Taking a food tour in Granada
- Hidden Granada: Explore the Cave Houses in Guadix
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