Granada is one of my favorite cities, and I absolutely loved visiting it during my study abroad semester in Murcia. I went during a long weekend, and it was quite relaxing to walk around and discover Granada at a slower pace.
If you are a foreign exchange student, you probably would like to take advantage of all the travel opportunities you can outside of class. Though, you will notice that you might be a bit strapped for time, and you are limited to discovering new places on the weekends. This series, I hope, will help study abroad students make successful day trips. Therefore, they can see the most they can of a new city, but keeping note of the limited time frame.
Of course, you do not need to do all of what I have listed below in a single day. If you have more time than a day trip available, then definitely stretch out the itinerary I have below — or, even add a few new items to the list!
Here we go!
Arrival in Granada & Visiting the Alhambra, about 9/10 am
I would recommend eating a quick breakfast before arrival, in order to get to the Alhambra as soon as possible. If you can’t eat on the bus/train, I would recommend stopping by Dulcimena Coffee & Go. It is close to the Alhambra, about a 10-minute walk away, which makes it easy to arrive to the palace after a quick bite to eat. Plus, it helps that the coffee is delicious (with plant-based milk options!) and organic pastries. After a quick breakfast, it is time to head to the Alhambra.
If you have not ever heard of the Alhambra before, it was originally a Moorish citadel built in the 8th-century, later to be renovated in the 13th and 14th centuries into the palace you see today. The palace is wholly magnificent, and one of the greatest tourist destinations throughout Europe. I definitely could not take the Alhambra off my list of must-see places when visiting Granada, it’s one of those places you must-see. Also: I would recommend to buy your tickets in advance if you are able, so you can skip the long line and go straight in after breakfast.
Tip: Don’t skip over the Alhambra or the Generalife (the gardens) too quickly. While you can get through the palace in less than an hour, stop for a moment and take in the absolute beauty of this palace. When I visited, it took about 2 hours to make my way through. Even on a cloudy/drizzly day, the Alhambra was still breathtaking, and I could have easily spent my entire day wandering the halls of this magnificent palace.
Heading Towards the Albaicín & Lunch Break, about 12:30/1 pm
Depending on when you are complete with the tour of the Alhambra, you can make your way towards the Albaicín. After touring the Alhambra, you may feel tired due to all the walking. Unfortunately, you will still have to walk a bit to get to where I recommend you to relax and get a bite to eat, but trust me, it is well worth it. Because afterwards, you will be close to the Albaicín. So, if you need a quick break or something to eat, do stop by the restaurant (if arriving after 12:30, when they open!) Restaurante Marroqui Marrakech.
O-M-G! How I felt about Marroqui Marrakech when my friend and I discovered them. We stayed in Granada for three days, and this restaurant was pretty convenient, since it was right next to our hostel. Plus, with a big craving for falafel, we walked in with only the mission to soothe our falafel cravings, and let me tell you, it was the best falafel we have ever had. Also, the atmosphere of this restaurant is so relaxing. After having such a positive experience the first time around, we returned to eat here every day we were here. Seriously.
Interior of the restaurant: this place was so relaxing with limited lighting and comfy seating.
After a bite to eat, head uphill (I know, it is hard!) to walk around the Albaicín. If you aren’t entirely familiar with the Albaicín, it is an old neighborhood which built on a hill, most notably across from the Alhambra. Do you remember looking out the windows of the Alhambra to look at everything below, and you saw a neighborhood with all white buildings and very winding streets?
You’re heading there!
Ideally, you’ll make it up to the Mirador de San Cristobal, a lookout at the top of the hill. This lookout provides a view over the entire city, but also a wonderful view of the Alhambra. If you are ever wondering where people take selfies in front of the Alhambra, it is here.
View from the Mirador looking on at the Alhambra: I could stand here forever, probably.
Final Stop: Alcaiceria (Markets of Granada) and Cathedral, about 3:30/4pm
Now, time to begin walking down the winding roads of the Albaicín and start heading towards the marketplace, Alcaiceria. To arrive to the markets, the walk will be about 20 minutes/2 km. Trust me, your feet will probably hurt by this point (mine do just writing about it). This walk, on the other hand, will be mostly downhill, which makes it feel like it is not a 20-minute walk at all.
Once you get to the markets, do realize that a lot of the shops here offer similar items. Everything is fairly priced, and if you are looking at something long enough, the shop owners will even offer a lower price. At these shops, I primarily bought small trinkets such as magnets or key-chains. I didn’t want to spend a ton of euros (but whoops, still did), and also, I wanted simple gifts to bring back to family and friends, without taking up a huge amount of space in my luggage. Also, I had to buy one of the scarves.
Nearby the markets is the Cathedral of Granada. It does cost a few euros to enter, which I avoided at the end of my trip from spending too much money at the markets. However, it is only 3.5 euros for students and 5 euros for adults. It is also free on Sunday during certain hours. Entering the cathedral gives you access to a free audio tour, which is helpful for understanding everything you will see inside.
Exterior of the Cathedral of Granada: I regret not paying the 3.5 euros to tour the inside.
If you’re like me and spent too much money at the stops before, or if you are just simply running out of time, then just looking at the exterior of the Cathedral is sufficient. After you are finished wandering through the markets and looking at the Cathedral, it should be around 6/6:30pm. You can stop by a cafe quickly to grab a quick snack before heading to public transport to return home.
If you only have one day to travel, I hope this guide provides you with a good itinerary to discover the city of Granada. While it personally would not be enough time for me, it is possible to see the”must-see” monuments in a day.
For those who have been to Granada, where are your must-see places in this city? And for those who have yet to go, what are you most anticipating?