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Why Granada is So Great

Why Granada is So Great

The first time I visited Granada, I had a personal rationale. I was a brand-new travel blogger, and one of the first professional contacts I made resided there at the time. While I do remember doing a few touristic things there, I spent far more time drinking sangria and eating tapas

As I’ve returned to Spain over the years, conversely, I’ve focused much more on the meat (figuratively, this is, although I’ve certainly indulged my inner carnivore) of Granada as a destination. And not just with trips up to the Alhambra, although that famous structure has figured into my travels quite a bit.

So, is Granada worth visiting? The answer, for almost any sort of traveler, is almost certainly yes. But there are other nuances to keep in mind as your arrival in the city nears, so I hope you’ll continue reading.

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Where to Stay in Granada

I usually opt for Granada hotels when I come to the city, and for a few reasons. First and foremost, Granada is one of Spain’s most affordable cities. Even if you want to stay in a four- or five-star hotel near the Cathedral or near San Nicolas viewpoint, it’s easy to find rooms in the range of €100-200 per night, and sometimes even less. For solo travelers especially, I do think this is the best approach to take.

For families or for solo travelers who want to feel a bit more at home, on the other hand, vacation rentals might be a superior option. Though some of these properties are not precisely in the city center, they’re generally much larger than hotel rooms, and also offer facilities like kitchens and washing machines. Moreover, they often give you even more bang for your buck.

My Favorite Things to Do in Granada

Visit the Alhambra


With construction having started all the way back in the 13th century, during the Moorish conquest of Spain, it’s no wonder that The Alhambra is one of Granada’s top attractions. It takes you back in time, not to mention across the sea to Morocco. As an added bonus, you can enjoy an absolutely incredibly view of the rest of Granada’s cityscape as you explore the ancient fortress.

See a Flamenco performance


Flamenco takes place all over Andalusia, and indeed all over Spain—I can’t cite this art form, alone, as a reason that Granada is worth visiting. At the same time, many bars and restaurants in Albaicín (the neighborhood you see when looking down from the Alhambra) host nightly Flamenco performances. Even at someone who’s not extremely into song and dance, I’ve always found Flamenco to be extremely moving.

Eat tapas


Heading down toward El Centro, meanwhile, you can stop along Calle Navas. This street is famous, among other reasons, for its large selection of bars and restaurants. While you can enjoy a wide range of culinary options here (including, notably, Moroccan), this happens to be my favorite place in the city to have tapas and sangria.

Admire the cityscape at night


Whether you head up to the Mirador de San Nicolas to see the Alhmabra light up, or simply walk around El Centro to admire Granada Cathedral, you’ve got to designate time within your Granada itinerary to appreciate the city at night. I’d almost say it’s even more beautiful lit-up and under a dark sky than it is during the day, although in some ways it simply feels like a different city entirely.

Get out of town


Granada is an amazing destination in its own right, but also makes an ideal base for exploring Andalusia more broadly. Since Granada sits inland, my favorite way to do this is to head for the Costa del Sol, in particular the city of Málaga and the beach town of Nerja. However, the landlocked city of La Ronda is also magnificent, and very worth an excursion if you have the time.

How Many Days Do You Need in Granada?

Granada’s city center is pretty small; you can divide it up into three areas. Beyond the Alhambra itself, there’s the Albaicín (i.e. the neighborhood just across from it, where you find the San Nicolas Mirador), and then El Centre, which is where you find the Cathedral. You can actually explore all of these on the same day, but let’s just say you’ll need two days to see them—the Spanish are serious about siesta, after all. 

Past this point, your decision about how many days in Granada you should spend will depend mostly upon the day trips you want to take. In general I’d suggest one day per destination, although if you want to visit Malaga and Nerja (which are right down the road from one another, relatively speaking), you can plan to do these on the same day.

Other FAQ About Visiting Granada

Is Seville or Granada better?

Seville and Granada are incredibly different, first of all—I don’t know that you can even directly compare them. If you have time in your Spain itinerary, I actually recommend splitting your time between them, as they make the ideal bases for exploring each segment of Andalusia.

Is Granada worth the trip?

Granada is definitely worth the trip if you already plan to be in Spain and will have 2-3 days unaccounted for. As far as whether Granada alone would be worth the trip to Spain from overseas? Well, that’s another story entirely—I can’t say for sure one way or another whether this would be the case.

Why is Granada so popular?

Granada’s main claim to fame, as you can imagine, is the Alhambra. A large segment of the millions of tourists who come here every year line up to visit this medieval Moorish fortress, where they can step back in time. People also tend to love Granada’s laid-back vibe, as well as its dining and bar scene.

The Bottom Line

Is Granada worth visiting? Certainly, as one of the main hubs of the superlative Andalusia region, it deserves at least a couple days of your time. And not just because of the Alhambra fortress, even though it’s one of the most impressive structures in Spain. Indeed, an underrated feature of Granada is the fact that it makes a great base for day trips to other destinations, notably sunny spots like Málaga and Nerja on the Costa del Sol, as well as the dramatic inland city of La Ronda. Need personalized help putting your trip to Spain together? I do hope you’ll consider hiring me as your Travel Coach.


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