When you think of Granada, what springs to mind? The Alhambra and those glorious red-and-white striped palaces with all the turrets, gardens and fountains. Right? Sure, you can’t visit Granada without seeing the Alhambra. It is after all, one of the most beautiful palaces in the world. But with so many visitors flocking to Granada every year, it’s important to think outside of the box when planning your holiday here. There are plenty of things to do in Granada that aren’t the Alhambra. Read on for our insider tips on where to go, what to do and how not to spend your entire holiday queueing up!
Visit The Nasrids Ruins (and other ruins)
The Nasrid ruins are one of the most important tourist attractions in Granada. The ruins include the Generalife gardens and the Albazares Palace. The Generalife Gardens are the most famous part of the Nasrid ruins, and are often referred to as a little piece of paradise. You can also visit the Alhambra, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most famous palaces in the world. If you're in Granada in February, you will also be able to attend the Feria de Granada, or the Granada Fair, which is a nine-day festival featuring parades, bullfights, concerts and lots of food and drink.
Cathedral of Granada
Located on the southern side of the Alhambra, this is one of the most important religious buildings in the city. Construction began in the 14th century, and it took over 200 years to complete. It’s the largest and most important cathedral in Granada, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. The cathedral is open from 9am until 6pm, with the last entrance being at 5.30pm. Tickets cost 3 Euros for adults, 1.50 for children, and are free for children under 6.
Stroll along the river and feast on tapas
The river that flows through the city is known as the Darro River, a tributary of the Mediterranean. It’s a popular spot to relax and enjoy a drink, but it’s also a great place to take a stroll. You can spend the day following the river, stopping off at bars and restaurants along the way to enjoy some traditional tapas. When you’re ready to head home, you can hop on the tram that follows the river. There is also a flea market on the river every Sunday, where you can find all manner of antiques, vintage items and collectibles.
Do a Segway tour with Play Granada
If you’ve never tried Segway before, now is your chance. Located in the heart of the city, Play Granada is an outdoor activity center where you can experience the sights and sounds of Granada from the comfort of a Segway. You can take a Segway tour of the city, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can try the Granada Hills tour, which is a bit more challenging. You’ll be able to experience the rugged scenery and natural beauty of the area. If you’re feeling a bit lazy, you can also take the Segway tour along the river. The tours start daily at 10am, with the last tour leaving at 6pm.
Check out the Central Market
Granada’s Central Market is one of the most vibrant and colorful places in the city, with food stalls and vendors spilling out onto the streets. This is the perfect place to get some authentic Spanish cuisine, and you can also try your hand at bartering for some souvenirs. If you visit the Central Market on a Saturday, you can also enjoy a bit of live entertainment, with musicians and dancers performing on the main stage. The market is open from 8am until 2pm on weekdays, and 8am until 5pm on Saturdays.
Admire the architecture
Granada has a wealth of beautiful architecture, from Moorish palaces to Renaissance churches. The most iconic building in the city is the Alhambra, but there are other buildings you should pay attention to while you’re walking around the city. One of the most interesting buildings is the Lonja de Granada. This building was once used as a silk exchange, but now it houses the provincial government. You can also visit the cathedral, the Plaza de la Virgen de las Nieves, the Plaza de Bib-Rambla, the Plaza de Toros and the arch at Puerta de las Granadas.
Hike up Los Genoveses Hill and have a picnic at the top
This is a popular hiking trail in Granada, and you will be rewarded with a stunning view from the top. You’ll be able to see the city below, as well as the surrounding mountains. Los Genoveses Hill is a short hike, so it’s easy enough for anyone to do. You can hike up the trail at any time of day, and then have a picnic at the top. Los Genoveses Hill is a great place to relax and take in the beautiful scenery of Granada.
Go stargazing at Observatory Sierra Nevada
Granada is home to one of the best observatories in Spain, and it’s a must-see attraction. You can visit the observatory to go stargazing, with the astronomers at the observatory taking you on a tour of the stars and galaxies. During the winter months, you’ll also be able to see the Northern Lights. The observatory is open from October until May, and it’s a great way to take in the natural beauty of Granada. In addition to the stargazing experience, you can also visit the museum at the observatory, which houses various astronomical objects and artifacts. The observatory is open daily from 10am until 2pm, with the last admission at 1pm. The observatory is closed on Mondays.
Granada is a city people flocked to see the Alhambra, and while that is one of the most beautiful palaces in the world, you will only get a true feel for this city by exploring its charming winding streets and getting to know the people. When you visit Granada, make sure to get out of the city center, explore the winding streets and get to know the locals. That's how you'll get the most out of your visit!