Granada in 1 Day: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Are you ready to discover one of the most beautiful cities in Spain? Granada is a destination to fall in love with, and with only one day to explore its streets, you need to choose your activities carefully.

Katherine Betances

Katherine Betances

9 min read

Granada in 1 Day: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Alahambra, Granada | © Willian Justen de Vasconcellos

Located in the south of Spain, you'll find hundreds of activities to see and enjoy in Granada. Its thousands of visitors each year are soon swept up in the fast pace and fun of the vibrant city. If you have 24 hours to see and enjoy this small but charming destination, congratulations! With a well-organised itinerary it is certainly possible to see the best of the city in a quick visit.

Before I start explaining the itinerary of activities for a day in the city of Granada, keep in mind that the programme of activities I share today covers a full day from early morning to late evening, without contemplating your arrival or departure from the city.

1. Wake up early for a traditional breakfast

Cafeteria Casa de Todos| ©Javier de Gonzalo
Cafeteria Casa de Todos| ©Javier de Gonzalo

Like many other cities in southern Spain, the food in Granada is delicious. So, I invite you to wake up early, walk through some of the streets in the centre and find a good place to enjoy a traditional breakfast.

As you will soon realise, there are plenty of alternatives, as well as different price ranges. Although in theory Granada is a cheap city to visit, the truth is that, as in any tourist centre, prices tend to go up, especially during busy periods.

Here are some excellent alternatives of places to have a good breakfast in Granada, all located near the next point of the itinerary.

  • Café Abencerrajes: The café opens its doors at 07h in the morning, making it one of the best alternatives to make the most of your day in Granada.
  • Casa de Todos: This traditional fafeteria opens its doors at 08h in the morning; another excellent alternative for early risers.
  • Café 4 Gatos: With pretty tables offering spectacular views of the Alhambra complex, this small traditional café is open from 08:30h.
  • Crepería Cafetería Elvira81: Open from 09h, this is a great place to enjoy a typical Spanish breakfast, a favourite with visitors.

2. Take the Alhambra tour

Alhambra of Granada| ©Damien RAMOS
Alhambra of Granada| ©Damien RAMOS

The Alhambra is the best example of Moorish architecture in all of Europe and the most visited attraction in Granada, and is a unique architectural jewel of its kind. It is a unique architectural jewel of its kind and a must-see on any stay in the city.

The best way to see the Alhambra is to buy tickets inadvance and, if possible, book a guided tour of the Alhambra which includes a tour of the Alhambra and other major attractions.

Due to the popularity of the historic enclave, tickets can sell out. If you want to secure access on the day of your visit, don't delay.

Located atop Al-Sabika Hill, the attraction is a walled citadel built to showcase Nasrid power and wealth. You'll find numerous palaces, imposing gardens and a system of engineering and architecture that was totally innovative for the time in which it was built.

  • Opening hours: Daytime visits from 08:30 to 20:00; Night visits to the Alhambra from 22:00 to 23:30. (times may vary slightly at different times of the year).
  • Entrance fee: A visit to the whole complex costs around €36 per person.
  • Duration of the visit: There is a lot to see in the Alhambra, I recommend booking 3 hours to see the whole complex.

Book your guided tour of the Alhambra

3. Take a Lunch Break

Dining at Garnata Restaurant| ©leonor tallon
Dining at Garnata Restaurant| ©leonor tallon

Due to the vastness of the complex and all that you will see inside, the tour of the Alhambra will take several hours to complete, so either during or after you will need to take a break for lunch.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options in this area of the city, so here are some interesting suggestions to consider. Choose one or the other according to your particular tastes or budget.

Lunch inside the Alhambra

  • Parador de Granada If you want to have lunch inside the complex with stunning views of the palaces, this restaurant is the best alternative. The gastronomic offer includes Granadian and Andalusian dishes and a tasting menu with the best of the menu and wine, which costs around 50€.

Lunch in the surroundings of the Alhambra

If you prefer to eat in the area around the Alhambra, there are plenty of good restaurants to choose from.

If you have finished your tour of the complex you may consider having lunch at any of the following establishments, all located just a few minutes from the complex.

4. Get fabulous views of the city

Viewpoint of Granada| ©CARLOS GIL
Viewpoint of Granada| ©CARLOS GIL

Granada is a city famous for its incredible panoramic views. Granada's many miradors are scattered throughout the city and almost all point to the Alhambra complex which towers imposingly above the houses and buildings at its foot.

The San Marcos viewpoint is the most popular and is worth a visit at any time of the day or year; other viewpoints such as the San Miguel viewpoint, the San Cristobal viewpoint or the Mirador de la Churra are also impressive places to visit, especially if you have more time to explore the city , such as 3 days in Granada or more.

However, from the Alhambra fortress itself you can get fabulous views of the heart of Granada and the surrounding area. Inside the enclosure you will find strategic places such as the Nasrid Palaces or the Generalife from which you can enjoy panoramic views of the Albaicín district, the Sierra Nevada and the villages of the Alpujarra.

All this from the beautiful ornate windows that characterise the Alhambra buildings. A final tip? Get your camera ready and bring out your creative side.

5. Take a walk along the Carrera del Darro

Carrera del Darro, Granada| ©Matt Kieffer
Carrera del Darro, Granada| ©Matt Kieffer

Leaving the Alhambra behind, it is time for a leisurely stroll along what is arguably the most beautiful street in Granada, the famous Carrera del Darro.

Located at the foot of the Alhambra and running parallel to the tributary known as the Darro River, this important thoroughfare connects the Plaza Nueva of Granada with the Paseo de los Tristes.

On your walk along Carrera del Darro you will find numerous 16th century buildings, beautifully landscaped façades and several beautiful Moorish-style houses. Among the most attractive places to visit are the Church of Santa Ana and El Bañuelo, an old Arab hammam where tourists and locals can take a Turkish bath.

6. Walk to Granada Cathedral and Royal Chapel

Granada Cathedral at night| ©Gotardo González
Granada Cathedral at night| ©Gotardo González

Leaving Carrera del Darro behind, but staying in Granada's Central District, the next stop I recommend is a visit to the city's cathedral.

Considered one of the **city'**s essential visits, more than a religious temple, the Cathedral of Granada is a place to enjoy the art and the fusion of styles so characteristic of Granada's architecture.

Designed by Alonso Cano, the façade of Granada Cathedral is, to say the least, imposing, with hundreds of impressive architectural elements and details. However, a visit to admire the interior of the Cathedral is a must.

For its part, the Royal Chapel is the final resting place of the Catholic Monarchs and here you will find hundreds of personal objects of the Spanish monarchy and the tombs of Queen Isabella, her daughter Juana and her son-in-law Felipe.

The Royal Chapel is located right next to the Cathedral of Granada, which is why most tours and excursions include a joint visit to both churches.

  • Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6.30pm; Sundays from 3pm to 5.45pm.
  • Admission fee: From €5 for adults. Free for children under 12 years old.
  • Duration of visit: The Cathedral, Chapel and other surrounding buildings take a maximum of 2 hours to tour.

Book a guided tour of Granada

7. Go shopping in the Alcaicería

The Alcaicería| ©Eric Titcombe
The Alcaicería| ©Eric Titcombe

Leave the Cathedral behind and head to the Alcaicería, the site of an ancient Moorish souk and popular silk market. Today it is a labyrinth of narrow streets filled with shops selling all kinds of goods.

If you are looking for souvenirs or other curiosities, this is the perfect time to buy them! The Alcaicería is considered the best place to go shopping in Granada; beyond the typical souvenirs you will find typical Arabic handicrafts, handmade jewellery, spices and textiles.

-Walking distance**:** From the Cathedral, the Alcaicería is only a minute's walk away.

8. See the façade of Corral del Carbón

Corral del Carbón| ©Shadowgate
Corral del Carbón| ©Shadowgate

Finish your tour in the Alcaicería and head to Corral del Carbón, a historic building located just a few minutes' walk from the Alcaicería and an important site in Granada's history.

This building is the only Moorish alhóndiga still standing today; its purpose was to serve as a shelter for traders who travelled long distances and whose route made them stop in Granada. Although the most attractive part of the building is certainly its façade, if you want to visit the interior, the visit is free and the tour is quite short.

  • Opening hours: If you want to visit the interior, the timetable is from Monday to Friday from 10:30h until 20:00. Saturdays until 14:00h and closed on Sundays and public holidays.
  • Admission fee: Admission is free.
  • Duration of visit: It is a short visit of approximately 15 minutes.

9. Have a coffee and a rest in the Plaza de Bib-Rambla

Bib-Rambla Square| ©Chris Yunker
Bib-Rambla Square| ©Chris Yunker

Leave the Corral del Carbón behind you and take Reyes Católicos street and turn right to reach the most important public square in the centre of Granada: Bib-Rambla.

Take a stroll around the Bib-Rambla square to soak up the atmosphere of the city, then sit down in one of its pretty cafés and enjoy an aperitif to rest before the next adventure. You'll also find numerous shops where you can buy curiosities.

This place is one of the most historic areas of the city and its origins date back to the time when the Nasrid Kingdoms occupied the city.
the Nasrid Kingdoms occupied this part of Spain.

As you'll soon realise, it's a place much loved by the locals and is one of the favourite places for locals to hang out or just watch the sun go down. Feel free to do the same!

10. In the evening, take a tapas tour with a walking tour of the Albaicín

Tapas and Wine Tour| ©rob thompson
Tapas and Wine Tour| ©rob thompson

Two other typical Grenadian activities that I recommend to all my travelling friends who are visiting the city for the first time are the Spanish tapas tasting experience and a tour to see the best of the Albaicín neighbourhood.

A visit to El Albaicín allows you to get to know one of Granada's ancient Moorish quarters.

It is one of the most charming areas of the whole city, one of the most deeply rooted, a place where the Arab influence and legacy in Spain can be felt in every street and monument.

The best way to experience a tour of the Albaicín, especially if you are making a short visit to the city, is to hire a private tour.

Fortunately, in Granada you will find numerous local companies offering such tours. A historian guide accompanies you through the narrow streets of the Albaicín and for tasting stops as part of one of the best tapas tours in Granada.

I recommend booking as far in advance as possible, especially if your trip to the city coincides with the high season months, which are the spring months in Granada.

  • Timetable: The timetable may vary slightly depending on the company you choose. Generally night tours start between 7pm and 8pm.
  • Price: Approximately €40 per person. Price includes guide and tasting.
  • Duration: You should book between 2 and 3 hours for this experience.

Book a tapas tour in Granada