Granada is mystical; magical. Follow my ultimate guide to 2 days in Granada to tour the city that inspired Francisco Tárrega to compose a whole guitar concerto dedicated to the Alhambra fortress, one of Granada’s most famous cultural sites. Granada is a magnificent city to explore and will be especially appealing to travellers who like history and architecture.
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Voltage: 230V. See my post on Essential Items to Pack in your Carry-on for tips on what plug adapters to buy.
Major Airport: Federico Garcia Lorca Granada Airport (GRX or Granada International Airport)
Major Bus companies in Spain: Alsa (download their app to easily book bus trips)
The major airport is GRX (Granada International Airport). You can transfer to a bus right at the airport to get to the city centre. See Granada Airport Buses to the City of Granada to buy bus tickets in advance and to see the bus routes going from the airport to downtown Granada.
You can also check Alsa, a major bus company in Spain, to see if there are routes to Granada from other parts of Spain (if you’re already in Spain and prefer a road trip to a plane ride).
Where to Stay
This is a lovely boutique hotel literally steps away from the Alhambra palace. The hallways are lined with mosaic tiles; a lemon tree sits on the terrace overlooking the pool. It’s a small tropical paradise that’s within easy walking distance of major tourist sites and restaurants. The closest bus stop to this hotel is La Catedral (Granada Cathedral). If you’re taking a bus transfer from the airport, the bus drops you directly in front of the cathedral.
What to See and Do
Spend a good day touring the Alhambra fortress. Admire the Arabesque inscriptions on the walls and the perfect views of the gardens from each keyhole-like archway. Buy your tickets from the official website at least 6 months to a year in advance (make sure to check their refund policy in case you can’t make it) to avoid disappointment; it’s near impossible to buy tickets on the day of. You could also purchase Alhambra tour packages from Viator if you prefer a guided tour.
The main site to see inside the Alhambra fortress is the Generalife and Nasrid palaces. There was timed entry when I visited in 2017 so make sure to check your tickets for entry times when you buy them.
Visiting the Alhambra fortress is definitely a highlight. But make sure to get to Mirador de San Nicolàs in el Albaicin where you’ll get a magnificent view of the Alhambra. Try to visit once during the evening to see the fortress all lit up. And definitely use Google Maps to locate the lookout as it’s located at the top of some hidden, narrow stairs where (at least when I was there) the street signs were covered with vines.
Wander on the Alhambra paths to the tops of hills to get a stunning view of a monastery in the distance. You’re probably asking why I would recommend a place to see that I don’t know the name of or even how to get there again? Because discovering things to see on your own is the main point of travelling! You don’t need an itinerary for every moment and exploring places at your own pace should be part of your itinerary.
Then spend a day visiting the Sacromonte caves for a little history lesson and some great flamenco shows. These caves are the ancestral homes of the Roma who’ve migrated to Granada. Wear good walking shoes as the path leading to the caves is extremely steep.
Where to Eat
Tucked into a courtyard surrounded by residential apartments, this is an (almost) hidden gem of a restaurant.
On the path to the Mirador de San Nicolàs (the hilltop overlooking the Alhambra fortress), there’s a sign tacked onto the wall that literally said “restaurant this way”. What restaurant calls itself “restaurant”? I followed the sign and El Trillo appeared around the corner.
I had octopus as an appetizer and it was cooked thoroughly without being rubbery. For my main course, I sampled their oxtail dish which was scrumptious and satisfying. I finished with a lovely fried milk custard for dessert.
Lastly, enjoy a view of Granada from terrace of the Alhambra Palace Hotel. The hotel decor is stunning but I can’t speak to the quality of the accommodations since I haven’t stayed there (yet!). End your day in Granada by taking in the view of the city from the hotel’s terrace while sipping a nice, cold beer.
Check out some of my other guides to Spain, such as Chloe’s Guide to Planning a Trip to Madrid.