Our Granada Adventures – Guide and Top Recommendations!

Granada spain

Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains lies the charming southern city of Granada. The city’s old town is split by the bustling ‘Grande Via’ with historical buildings and monuments relatively well preserved on one side and a more modern feel on the other.  

Experience Granada

There’s numerous ways to get the most out of your Granada experience. We loved wandering the old town streets, trying the local tapas bars, learning the history with a free walking tour from a local, exploring the wonderous Alhambra, and checking out a flamenco show in the caves at Sacramonte. All of these experiences were things different from back home, and were something we will remember fondly.

Areas we enjoyed: Albacin, Sacramonte, Alhambra


Alhambra granada best views things to do Andalusia where to stay

We particularly enjoyed exploring the Albaicin area with its narrow winding street and Moorish history. This area was first settled by the Iberians and has a number of significant Muslim monuments scattered throughout. Sadly, much of the Abaicin’s cultural significance was lost when Muslim populations were forced to convert to Christianity or expelled from the city altogether in 1499.

Another significant period in history for the people of Granada took place around the time of the Spanish Inquisition where newly converted Christian inhabitants were forced to demonstrate their sincerity for their new religion. If caught not complying with traditional Christian beliefs or rituals, they would be subjected to varying punishments. As a means of proving their loyalty to Christianity and renouncing all things ‘un-Christian’ many families would plaster overtly Christian names for their houses on the street or hang pork products in the windows of shops for passers by to see. Many of these traditions can still be seen when wandering the city today.


Alhambra granada best views things to do Andalusia where to stay

We walked from the city centre out to Sacramonte one evening to see a live flamenco performance. The trip took us around half and hour, and though quite hilly at times, was well worth it. Based on recommendations from locals, the most authentic way to see Flemenco is in the caves of Sacramonte. As an added bonus you get to enjoy some sun soaked view of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountains at golden hour on the way there or back (depending on the time of sunset).


Alhambra granada best views things to do Andalusia where to stay

If you’re planning on visiting Granada no doubt you will be planning on visiting the Alhambra. An Islamic palace and fortress it is visible in all its grandeur from the city of Granada below. We would definitely recommend purchasing tickets beforehand online (as it can sell out well in advance) and wearing comfortable shoes as there will be a lot of walking involved. It can also get pretty hot in the summer months so plan ahead with plenty of water/sunscreen and seek out shade where you can. We spent 3.5hours exploring the sites three distinct regions; the Generalife Gardens, the Alcazaba fortress and the Nasrides Palace. Our favourite area was definitely the perfectly manicured Generalife gardens with sweeping views of the Spanish countryside. If you’re after a pretty impressive bird’s eye view of the city you can also climb up to the top of one of the towers in the Alcazaba. With a general admission ticket you’re free to wander at your own pace except when it comes to accessing the Nasrides Palace – the allocated time on your ticket is the only time you will be allowed to enter so don’t miss this!

It can be tricky weighing up whether to visit a famous monument with the knowledge that it has been commercialized for the purposes of tourism – and while the Alhambra is definitely an example of this, we felt it was both big enough to minimize crowding and beautiful enough to make it well worth a visit.  

Don’t Miss

Alcaiceria: Nestled in the heart of Granada, this block is an old shopping area that maintains it’s charm and is definitely worth wandering through.

The Cathedral: just off the main square is the impressive cathedral. Worth a wander past, and going inside is only 5 euros.

Excellent Granada Views

There are numerous vantage spots around the city to spy a view of the grand Alhambra up on the hill. Additionally, when visiting the Alhambra, you will be treated with exceptional views of the city below. This list below isn’t exhaustive, but a few of the spots where you can capture some good views in Granada:

  • Mirador Placeta de Carvajales: this little square opens up onto a wonderful view of the Alhambra. Located in the Albacin region in amongst some great streets to explore, and not far off a great coffee spot (Café 4 Gatos, see below), it’s worth checking out.
  • Along the C San Juan de los Reyes road: this road leading up towards Sacramonte boasts views of Alhambra along street. There’s numerous little vantage points to capture a view of a photo.
  • Along the Cam Del Sacramonte road: similarly to above, this road in Sacramonte provides views of Alhambra along street and is worth wandering if you head down to Sacramonte (e.g. for the Flamenco).
  • The Alhambra, particularly the La Alcazaba displays excellent views of the Granada city below.

Cafes & Coffee

If you’re a regular reader you know the café’s in new city’s are key part of our holiday experience! Granada had a plethora of squares and venues to enjoy a coffee, including a number of coffee shops. Two particular café’s caught our attention and we would recommend checking out for your coffee fix.

La Finca: located only a few minutes from the central square (and our accommodation), La Finca became a daily routine for us during out stay. Walking into the café we instantly felt like we were in Melbourne, with Australian music and high quality coffee. This won’t disappoint.

Café 4 Gatos: we stumbled onto this café by chance at the end of our walking tour, and it delivered. Located in the Albacin, just near an excellent view point of the Alhambra, this little café has outdoor seating boasting a delightful little view of the old streets and the Alhambra. Good coffee and in a great area to explore.

Food in Granada

Take a read below for some of the restaurants and tapas bars we enjoyed in Granada. As mentioned in our Tapas Tour of Seville (see here), tapas were originally served for free with purchase of a drink. Whilst this tradition has largely faded out in bigger cities, some bars in Granada still observed this, which was a great experience and very budget friendly.

Papas Elvira: we received an inside tip from our local Spanish walking tour guide, and Papas Elvira definitely lived up to the recommendation! The restaurant serves food cooked by an Algerian lady, with a mix of falafels, spiced rice, couscous, quiches, roasted meat, empanadas and more. The food was healthy (depending on what you chose) and very reasonably priced (4-7 euros for most items). Papas Elvira also served vegan friendly options.

Tocteja: we wandered upon Tocteja on our first night in Granada, and were greeted with a lively bar and restaurant located a few streets off the main squares. The friendly staff who didn’t speak any English made our visit extremely enjoyable, and the free tapas included with our wine purchase was also an added bonus. We returned a second time for another wine such was the venue’s atmosphere and positive vibe.

Bar Poe: this little tapas bar is situated a few streets away from the heart of the action but is worth the walk. Bar Poe offers free tapas with every drink, including roast meats, stews and curries. Whilst the food isn’t authentic Spanish, the vibe and budget friendly nature of this venue means its worth checking out. We had 4 wines, 4 tapas (medium size servings) and 1 large serving for less 18 euros.

Mercado de San Augustin: whilst enjoying a coffee at La Finca, we started chatting to a local about Granada. Upon his recommendation, we ventured up to Mercadeo de San Augustin, as little food market not far from the main square. This market contained a mix of fish mongers and butchers, situated adjacent to little tapas bars. The real highlight here was the ability to choose your fresh seafood from one vendor and have the tapas bars grill it up for you. Overall, it was a unique experience, good food and reasonably priced compared to the seafood restaurants on the street.

Where we stayed

The apartment in the heart of Granada, overlooking the Plaza Bib Rambla was the best accommodation of our trip so far. Spacious, modern, kitchen facilities, aircon, fast WIFI and the real highlight, a little balcony with views of the square below and a silhouette of the mountains in the background. If you are thinking of staying in Granada, we recommend you stay here. TAKE A LOOK.

See a few other top accommodation picks below:


See how we loved Seville and our highlights by clicking here!

Keep reading about our time in Spain! Check it out!

Take a look at our Tapas Tour of Seville by clicking the link here!

Want to read about our time in France? See here!

Keen to take a look at further travel memories and advice? Take a look here!

Note: this post contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase or book anything using these links, we get a small percentage of the sale, at not extra expense to you. This helps us to run the site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *