Granada is a mid-sized provincial capital located in southern Spain’s Andalusia region.
It sits at the confluence of four rivers and is most noted as home to the Alhambra – a historic palace and fortress that features stunning Moorish architecture.
In addition to its abundant historical attractions, Granada boasts a fascinating multicultural history, a vibrant cuisine, and a fun nightlife that’s largely fueled by the nearly 80,000 college students that live within the greater metropolitan area.
There are a number of day trip options that depart from the city as well, and abundant outdoor activities like mountain climbing, biking, and hiking.
1. Alhambra Ticket and Guided Tour with Nasrid Palaces
For those who find themselves in Granada with only enough time to see a few of the city’s most iconic UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the awe-inspiring Alhambra and the Nasrid Palaces should rank at the top of the list.
Along with their guide, guests will learn about Granada’s rich history and cultures and explore the aforementioned attractions as well as others, like the Generalife Palace, Medina, Alcazaba Fortress, and the Albaicín neighborhood.
Tours are limited in size to ensure everyone enjoys a personalized experience, and tickets feature priority access, so waiting in long lines during peak times won’t be an issue.
2. Albaicín and Sacromonte 2 ½-Hour Walking Tour
Learning about Granada’s amazing historic attractions and varied cultures is best done with the help of an experienced local guide.
On this walking tour, participants will explore Albaicín and Sacromonte—two of the most significant neighborhoods in the city.
Tours include aspects of art, architecture, culture, and history. They visit attractions like the historic walls and gates that once protected the Fortress of Alcazaba and the labyrinth of caves in and around the bohemian enclave of Sacromonte.
Short walking tours are a good fit for those interested in getting a feel for the city’s geography without spending hours crammed onto a stuffy tour bus.
3. 3-Hour Cathedral and Royal Chapel Tour
Granada has always featured a unique mixture of cultures and ethnicities that are well represented in its historic architecture and religious sites.
This 3-hour tour focuses on the city’s Christian past and includes guided excursions to the Encarnación Cathedral and the Royal Chapel, which are two of its premier attractions.
Tours also include a trip to the well-preserved Arabic Baths that were originally built in the 11th century.
Thankfully, unlike others in the city, they avoided destruction when Christians took control of the city years later.
Tickets to the cathedral and chapel are included, and tours meet at a convenient central location.
4. Skip-the-Line Alhambra and Nasrid Palaces Guided Tour
Though the Alhambra and Nasrid Palaces’ histories date back more than 600 years, it’s possible to experience them in all their glory in just a few hours.
Together, they represent one of the world’s most impressive collections of Christian and Muslim art, architecture, and religious history, and they have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the mid-‘80s.
Under the tutelage of their knowledgeable and enthusiastic local guide, guests will delve into the site’s main attractions that include opulent palaces, impressive fortresses, idyllic gardens, and revered religious sites that still draw pilgrims from both near and far.
5. Sierra Nevada Private Safari by 4WD
After rendezvousing with their guide and driver in Granada’s city center, guests will travel by all-wheel drive vehicle to the towering Sierra Nevada Mountains just north of the city.
They rise to an altitude of nearly 7,000 feet and are capped with pristine white snow for much of the year despite the temperate climate.
Tours explore areas of the mountain range that are generally inaccessible to those on other tours and include a ride through the Sierra de Huétor Natural Park and a number of quaint Andalusian villages along the way.
Drinks and food are available en route for an additional cost.
6. Walking Food Tour
From locally produced cheese and wine to preserved fruit and some of the best ham on the continent, Granada is a proverbial smorgasbord for visiting epicureans.
On this 3 ½-hour discovery tour, guests will have the opportunity to explore neighborhoods slightly off the well-worn path, rub elbows with locals, and sample a variety of amazing local staples as well.
The tour also includes elements of history and culture that reflect Moorish, Roman, and Berber influences that are still evident in the food.
Tours include samplings at a restaurant that’s been popular with artsy types and diehard food lovers for more than 100 years.
7. Flamenco Show in Albaicín
Southern Spain’s flamenco dancing traditions are one of the region’s most unique cultural attractions, and should really be experienced first-hand when visiting Granada if time permits.
Flamenco is known the world over, and it’s preserved more in the Albaicín neighborhood than nearly anywhere else in the city.
While enjoying this guided activity, guests will learn why flamenco has been so central in Spanish culture for generations. They’ll take in an authentic show performed by dancers, guitar players, and drummers.
Though tours last just an hour, they tend to make a big impact on those who’ve never experienced flamenco before.
8. Perfume Workshop
Perfumes featuring a variety of exotic ingredients have always been much sought after Spanish products.
For those looking for something truly unique, this perfume workshop and museum combo tour would be a great way to spend 90 minutes.
Guests will learn about the region’s perfume making tradition, tour a museum dedicated to perfume and cologne, and have an opportunity to try their hand at creating their own personal blend.
Think of it as a hands-on cooking experience, but with a master perfume maker instead of a chef.
Tours include museum entry, a complimentary drink, the workshop, and 50 ml of perfume to take home.
9. Alhambra Night Tour
Visitors tend to agree that as the sun sets over the horizon, the Alhambra takes on an especially magical aura.
This 2-hour night tour includes access to the fortress, sultan’s quarters, and stunning gardens, all of which are led by an experienced guide.
Much of the site’s amazing Moorish architecture dates back more than 500 years. It includes colorful mosaics of inlaid tiles, decorative fountains, and impressive depictions of historically significant events.
Tours include audio guides in multiple languages, tickets to the Alhambra and Nasrid Palaces, and hotel pick-up and drop off may be selected at the time of booking as well.
10. Nivar Caving Experience
Conveniently located in the country just outside Granada, Nivar is one of the region’s premier caving destinations.
This 3-hour mid-morning tour begins and ends in Granada, where guests will meet their guide and set out on an underground exploration of a subterranean cave complex that definitely requires the assistance of a professional.
Tour participants will get all the training and gear they’ll need before hitting the caves, which are full of stalactites, stalagmites, and impressive formations of rock that have been formed over eons of slow water erosion.
Each tour features a post-activity snack and coffee break before heading back to Granada city center.
11. 1-Hour Panoramic Segway Tour
Though for the uninitiated, they look like tricky machines to handle, Segways are actually easy to master after minimal training.
Regardless of where you and your travel companions fall on the experience compendium, you’ll get all the instruction you’ll need to make the day a safe and memorable one.
You’ll see many of Granada’s premier attractions, like the Plaza Nueva, Paseo de los Tristes, and the Albaicín neighborhood, which provides stunning views of the city’s winding streets, impressive Moorish architecture, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains just inland.
Tours meet at a central location and are available in English and Spanish.
12. Tapas Tasting Guided Tour
Granada sports a vibrant food scene that includes traditional classics, contemporary favorites, and lots of regional and international influences.
For many of the city’s residents who shun large meals, tapas is definitely the way to go. This tour allows guests to sample a number of offerings in up to three different eateries.
Eager eaters will immerse themselves in local culture, sample regional wines, and explore parts of the city that are off the beaten tourist path.
Guided tapas tours last two hours and start early evening, making them the perfect way to kick-off a fun night on the town.
13. Royal Chapel and Historical Center Walking Tour
The Plaza Bib-Rambla is one of Granada’s most impressive central squares, which for much of its life, lay just inside the city’s main gate.
Often referred to as the ‘Gate of Ears,’ it is conveniently close to other tourist attractions, like the Alcaicería Arabian market that is known for its smoky atmosphere, narrow walkways, and exotic goods like beautiful silks and rare spices.
Tours also include a stop at the Islamic university, La Madraza, and the ever-popular Royal Chapel, which features the tombs of former rulers Isabella and Ferdinand of Aragon.
Be aware that tours of religious sites have strict dress codes, so click the link below for details.
14. Three Hills of Granada Half-Day Mountain e-Bike Tour
See Granada from on-high on this half-day mountain e-bike tour that meets and departs near the Alhambra site.
For those who’ve never used an e-bike before, they’re the perfect means of transportation in mountainous terrain because they feature an electric motor that provides extra power when the going gets tough.
Tours last three hours and explore a unique mix of historical and natural attractions that are perfect for those who’ve had their fill of the city’s often crowded hotspots.
Tour pace can be adjusted to suit guests, and there is always time set aside for breaks, photography, questions, or just a quiet moment with a cool drink.
15. Jewish and Christian Neighborhoods Guided Tour
Visit two of Granada’s most culturally and historically significant neighborhoods on this Jewish and Christian guided tour.
The neighborhood of Realejo includes notable landmarks like the Casa de los Tiros and the Royal Quarters of Santo Domingo that highlight Jewish influence and contributions to the city’s history and architecture over the centuries.
Afterward, guests and their guide will make their way to the Christian Cathedral of Granada that was built in the mid-16th century.
Other highlights include the Royal Chapel of Granada and the Madrasah of Granada—the city’s oldest university.
Tours are offered twice daily and last a few hours.