Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Granada (Spain), along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Basilica de San Juan de Dios
The remains of San Juan de Dios, or Saint John of God, are housed in this basilica, which was inaugurated in 1759. Marvel at the interior, a rich and beautiful mix of wood, gold, saint sculptures, and a beautiful altar with the figure of the Virgin Mary.
The remains themselves are located in the main nave, where you can find the sepulcher surrounded by candles. San Juan de Dios is the patron saint of the sick, and many visitors light a candle or leave an offering and pray for someone they know that is ill.
Alhambra is one of Spain’s top tourist destinations. To visit this lovely example of Moorish architecture, which was built over 9th-century ruins in the 1200s, it’s necessary to purchase tickets with a timestamp.
‘Alhambra’ means ‘the red female’, and the building is believed to be so named because of the local red clay used in its construction. The most popular part of the building is the Nasrid Palaces, which served as royalty’s official residence.
The site is incredible, with intricate carvings and gorgeous Moorish features, so be sure not to miss it.
Royal Chapel of Granada
The Royal Chapel of Granada was built in 1504 when the Royal Family ordered its construction as a place to bury their bodies.
Alas, they died before it was finished in 1517, so their grandson Carlos V was charged with moving their bodies to the transept, where the monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand still lie.
The Albaicin neighborhood
This neighborhood in Granada was occupied in medieval times by the Moors, and it has been well-preserved since. The narrow streets and traditional houses give it a charm and character unique in Granada.
Visit the neighborhood for the beautiful views of the Alhambra, but don’t miss the Arab baths and a stroll down the curiously named Paseo de los Tristes (promenade of the sad). The neighborhood is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Miradors of Granada
Granada’s hilly topography lends itself to breathtaking views, so of course, the city has several lookout points that attract visitors, lovebirds, and locals alike.
The Mirador de San Nicolás is one of the most popular, as it was visited by US President Bill Clinton and declared to be the most ‘beautiful sunset in the world’, framed as it is by the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountains.
There are several other worth a visit, however, such as the Mirador de Granada, Mirador de San Cristóbal, Mirador de Los Carvajales, and the highest, Mirador de San Miguel Alto.
Carmen de los Martires garden
In the shadows of Alhambra lies one of Granada’s best-kept secret: the gardens of Carmen de los Mártires. The picturesque park has a 19th-century mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens, manicured and cultivated in a French Baroque style.
Look for the statues symbolizing the seasons of the year, or the Nasrid gardens, which exemplify the landscape trends from the past. It’s the perfect spot to stroll, walk the dog, let your children play, or just while away an afternoon.
Bib-Rambla square and the Alcaiceria market
The Bib-rambla square’s other name is the “square of Granada”, which gives an idea of how important it is to the city. The name Bib-rambla traces its Muslim roots, and indeed the square has been an important meeting point for hundreds of years.
The arched entrance leads to the Alcaiceria market, a historic market that tragically burned to the ground in the 1800s, but today has stalls selling all matter of souvenirs, decorations, herbs, and spices.
Though the Carthusian Monastery plays second fiddle to Granada’s other famous religious monuments, it is gorgeous and worth a visit. The architecture is a type of ultra-Baroque, with incredibly ornate decoration and intricate carvings.
The building began construction in 1516 and continued under works for three hundred years. The monks that inhabited the space lived under a vow of silence.
The sacristy, completed in 1764, is exemplary as part of the final wave of the Spanish Baroque movement. The frescos on the dome are of special note.
Explore Sierra Nevada
A day trip from Granada to the Sierra Nevada, which is about 40 kilometers away, is a must for nature lovers. Spain’s largest natural park covers 850 square kilometers, and it is full of the most beautiful peaks and hikes imaginable.
Mulhacén is the highest peak on the entire Iberian peninsula, and at 3,478 meters, it is known as “the Roof of Spain”. You can ride along Spain’s highest paved road if cycling is more your thing, or if you are looking for a more laid back trek, you’ll find it in the Cumbres Verdes.
San Jeronimo monastery
Construction on this monastery began in 1504 and finished in 1547. The double cloister layout encloses two separate gardens, one of which is now the enclosure of the community of current monks.
The monastery is adjacent to a church, built just posterior to the monastery, and though the buildings were ransacked during the Peninsular war it still holds interesting, restored sections worth a visit.
The church was the first in the entire world consecrated to the Immaculate Conception.
Granada Science Park
Opened in 1995, this 70,000 square-meter park is a fascinating, interactive look at science, fit for all ages.
Made of temporary and permanent exhibitions, a planetarium, cinemas, and spaces for group education, it is a rich and surprising space—the word museum doesn’t do it justice.
Children from 3 to 7 years old will love the Explore Room, where they can participate in science experiments. Kids of all ages will love the Mental Gymnastics tent, with its life-size chessboard.
Located within the Albayzín district, Sacromonte is the famed gypsy quarter of Granada. Romani settled in Granada after the Christian conquest of the region, and their whitewashed cave homes have become a favorite sight for tourists when visiting the city.
Legend has it that treasure from exiled Arabs is held in the hills and that the troglodyte houses were formed in the search for the lost treasure.
Today, enjoy Sacromonte’s special character by walking around the neighborhood, catching the impressive views over the valley, and listening to the many flamenco shows.
Granada’s towering cathedral took nearly 200 years to complete, and even now it is missing some of the original towers its plans had called for. Began in the Gothic style in 1518, it was laid over a former mosque to demonstrate Spain’s new statewide Christianity.
After a decade of construction, the building changed architects and began to take on a Spanish Renaissance form. The imposing façade is Baroque in style and was built well into the 1600s.
Technically, the cathedral is not finished, but it is still one of Spain’s top monuments, and one of the most prominent landmarks in Granada.
Carrera del Darro
The promenade on the banks of the river Darro, known as the Carrera del Darro, is a favorite spot for that Spanish pastime: strolling.
It is one of the oldest streets in the city, and the cobblestone walkway is quite picturesque, especially accompanied by the burbling sounds of the water.
Many of the city’s oldest buildings are along the walk, as well as the Arab baths, views of the Alhambra, and beautiful old bridges.
Fundación Rodríguez Acosta
When buying tickets to the Alhambra, you can double up and grab some for the Fundación Rodriguez Acosta, a lesser-known but fascinating study of one of Granada’s most famous artists.
Created in 1941, it pays homage to the legacy of the painter José María Rodríguez-Acosta. Located near the Alhambra, the building’s guided tour features a visit to the artist’s studio, as well as both an art and document collection all about the artist.
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