During your trip to the Nasrid kingdom you can't miss the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods, two of the most emblematic, traditional and interesting places in Granada. You can't say you've been here if you don't know them!
1. Albaicín and Sacromonte Tours
There are few cities more beautiful and charming than Granada, the essence of Al-Andalus, to enjoy an unforgettable trip. Monumental, full of legends and dreamy corners, it is a delight for travellers looking for an exciting holiday.
Of all the city's enclaves, the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods are two of the most genuine places to explore. Situated on the hillside overlooking Granada, these neighbourhoods not only have an interesting history but also wonderful views to fall in love with, and it was here that I realised that it's not just the Alhambra that the people of Granada yearn for!
The Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods are the oldest in the city, where the Andalusian Granada was born centuries ago, and are full of labyrinthine alleys, passages and squares that contain beautiful treasures and legends that have survived the passage of time.
What is the best way to get to know them?
There is a lot to see here and it is easy to get lost if you are a first-time traveller. From experience, I think the best way to enjoy the Albaicín and Sacromonte is to let yourself be carried away by the heart of these neighbourhoods of Granada, taking a trip back in time with a guided tour that will show you the must-sees of these World Heritage Site streets.
I recommend two tours of the Albaicín and Sacromonte, which will allow you to discover their many facets both by day and by night:
You can't leave without visiting these picturesque neighbourhoods at least once in your life. And what's more, not without repeating, because if there's one thing that struck me about the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods, it's that their essence changes from day to night.
Every moment reveals different details and perceptions in a beautiful city that never ceases to fascinate and amaze you.
2. Walking tour of Granada: Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods
If you are one of those travellers who love to get to know a city by getting lost in its streets, this walking tour of the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods in Granada is a fantastic option because it takes in several of the emblematic places hidden in the labyrinth of medieval streets that make up one of the most beautiful and historic parts of the Nasrid kingdom.
What does this tour consist of?
Departing from the Plaza Isabel la Católica at the agreed time, this 2.5 hour tour of the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods will take you on a guided tour of the impressive architecture of Granada's two oldest neighbourhoods - a real sight to behold!
This Andalusian city has a lot of history behind it. Different peoples have inhabited it over the centuries and all have left their mark on it in one way or another, so the explanations of a guide in places like this are essential.
What will you see?
You will see the monument to Queen Isabella the Catholic (a key figure in the Reconquest and the discovery of America), the Plaza Larga (the most popular square in the Albaicín), the San Nicolás viewpoint (whose views of the Alhambra and Sierra Morena will take your breath away) or the Paseo de los Tristes (one of the most beautiful streets in Granada at the foot of the palatine city), among other very special places.
You will also learn about the myths and legends that circulate around Granada, the Albaicín and Sacromonte, as well as the popular characters that once inhabited these neighbourhoods (the heroine Mariana Pineda, the gypsy Chorrohumo or the lovers of the Aljibe) and whose figures have remained in popular memory.
The tour ends in the same square from which the group departed. At the end of the tour, don't hesitate to ask your guide for any recommendations you may have to complete your visit to the Nasrid city, he/she will be delighted to help you!
- San Nicolás viewpoint
- Church of San Gil and Santa Ana
- Paseo de los Tristes
- Plaza de Isabel La Católica
- Plaza Larga
This tour is available in English and Spanish.
Isabel's Traveller Tip
Take this guided tour at the beginning of your trip. You'll soak up the history and legends of Granada and for the rest of your trip you'll see the city through new eyes.
3. Granada: night-time tour of the Albaicín and Sacromonte
When the sun goes down, the city of Granada is transformed. Dusk can be the ideal time to take a romantic and peaceful stroll through Granada's most beautiful neighbourhoods, as the hustle and bustle of the daytime in its most touristy streets gives way to the stillness of the night and a more enigmatic version of the city. I admit that I have a predilection for contemplating the ancient Nasrid city at night and illuminated!
What does this tour consist of?
Considering all the legends and stories that surround the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods, my advice is to visit these places with a local guide who will tell you all the anecdotes and show you the most special corners to make the most of your visit.
The tour starts at 8 PM at Calle Cárcel Baja nº 2. You will have 2 and a half hours to visit the main places of interest in the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods such as the Plaza Nueva (the most central square in Granada), the Plaza de Santa Ana where you will find the church of San Gil and Santa Ana (one of the most beautiful churches in the city with its beautiful Mudejar tower), the Carrera del Darro (one of the most beautiful and oldest streets in the world) or the viewpoint of San Nicolás (in the Albaicín neighbourhood, from where you will get the best panoramic view of the Alhambra in Granada), among many other beautiful places.
How to book?
To take the Granada: night tour of the Albaicín and Sacromonte, all you have to do is select the date you want to do the activity and fill in the information requested when you make the online booking. You will then receive an email with all the necessary information.
- New Square
- Church of San Gil and Santa Ana
- Carrera del Darro
- Mirador de San Nicolás
This tour is available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, German and French.
Isabel's Traveller Tip
This is the perfect tour for the summer. Strolling through the Albaicín and Sacromonte at night you will get to know the charm of these neighbourhoods without being hot and enjoying a gentle breeze.
4. What will you see during the Albaicín and Sacromonte tours?
Sacromonte: A picturesque neighbourhood on the outskirts of Granada where gypsies have lived since the 16th century. It is famous for its views of the imposing Alhambra and the mountains, its whitewashed houses, its typical caves and its tablaos flamencos where you can party. Without a doubt, one of the most authentic and traditional places I recommend you to visit in the Andalusian city.
Albaicín: Of modest appearance at first glance, this neighbourhood of narrow streets, red roofs and white houses holds within it the origins of what was once the capital of the Nasrid kingdom. A stroll through the Albaicín is a walk through the history of Granada and a delight for the eyes. It is not in vain that its unique beauty earned it recognition as a World Heritage Site in 1984, and rightly so!
Carrera del Darro: One of the oldest and most beautiful streets in Granada. From here you can contemplate the Alhambra at the top of the Sabika and the leafy forests that surround it. Strolling along it with the murmur of the water of the Darro River in the background is a pleasure that no visitor should miss.
Church of San Gil and Santa Ana: In the Plaza de Santa Ana you will visit the magnificent church of San Gil and Santa Ana, a small Mudejar temple built on the remains of the Almanzora aljama mosque. It is one of the most unique churches in Granada and in my opinion one of the most beautiful.
Plaza Nueva: One of the liveliest squares in Granada, full of souvenir shops, bars and restaurants where you can sit and have a coffee while watching the performances of musicians and other street artists. Here you will find the Real Chancillería, a captivating 16th century building shrouded in mystery and about which many legends of ghosts circulate.
Paseo de los Tristes: Despite its melancholy name, this street has a very festive atmosphere and unique views of the Alhambra. Located next to the Darro River, the Paseo de los Tristes is one of my favourite places to have a few glasses of wine in its charming terraces. The origin of its name will surprise you, as will everything else you'll see along the street.
Plaza Larga: Dating back to the 14th century, this is the most famous square in the Albaicín. Here you can buy a souvenir or a sweet at the "Casa Pasteles" confectionery shop, which is very popular in the city. It is always very crowded because it connects with streets leading to the viewpoint of San Nicolás or the Paseo de los Tristes. However, many people simply sit and enjoy themselves on the terraces of the bars.
Plaza de Isabel la Católica: Surrounded by trees and several historicist buildings, this central square is the meeting point for many locals and visitors. The square is presided over by a monument in honour of Queen Isabella I of Castile, a key figure in the history of the city. It is just a few metres from the cathedral, where you can visit the tomb of the Catholic Monarchs.
Mirador de San Nicolás: The most famous viewpoint in Granada from where you will have the best panoramic view of the Alhambra with the ermine-covered Sierra Nevada in the background. It is a spectacle both by day and by night. It is located in the Albaicín and is one of the greatest pleasures you can experience in Granada, it will leave you speechless!
5. Organise your tour of the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods
How to book
It's easy! These tours of Granada can be booked online and once you have completed your purchase you will receive a voucher with the necessary instructions to meet your guide on the day and at the time you have chosen.
I recommend these two tours of the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods if you are one of those travellers who like to improvise during your trip and leave room for the unexpected, as they have free cancellation and you can reschedule for another day 24 hours in advance without losing your money.
The duration of these tours is usually two and a half hours, although they can be a little longer. They are activities that are carried out calmly because the idea is that travellers enjoy the city, relax, ask the guide questions and learn new things with the experience.
Tours of this area of Granada are available every day of the week and there are usually different timetables to choose from. If you want to escape the crowds, avoid weekends in high season and opt for the night tours.
Wear comfortable shoes during the tour as you will be walking quite a bit and climbing some hills. If you go in summer, remember to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun.
Bring water and something to snack on the way. Longer tours usually have a short break in the middle of the tour. Depending on where the tour ends, the guide will probably recommend good places for lunch or dinner.
Throughout the tour of the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods you will have plenty of time to see the different points of interest on the tour and you can take as many photos as you like without slowing down the group. Remember that afterwards you can always come back to visit the monuments and spend as much time as you want taking photos.
Visitors come to Granada from all over the world and for this reason most tours are available in several languages. Spanish and English are almost guaranteed but other tours also have the option of French, Portuguese, German or Italian.
Although you can do this tour on your own, my advice is to take a tour of the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods with a guide. The prices are very affordable and with all that you will learn, I assure you that you will get your money's worth.
Tours with children
The distances covered on most walking tours of the city are quite manageable, so if you're visiting Granada as a family, the kids will be able to join you as they're not very long and can keep up with the pace.
Also, if at any point during the tour the kids get bored, as these are outdoor activities they can always run around and play while the guide continues to show the adults the sites of interest. After all, these are not museum tours where they have to sit still.
6. If you like a tour of the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods, you will also be interested in
If a tour of the Albaicín and Sacromonte neighbourhoods has excited you, then take the experience to another level and complement it with other tours to discover other gems of Granada.
There are so many guided tours in Granada and I've put together a guide to show you what I consider to be the best tours and why. You can read it in this article about the best excursions and tours in Granada.
And if you prefer to complete your visit to Granada with an excursion around the city, I recommend you to read this article about Excursions to the Alpujarra from Granada, where you can find a selection of the best ones for me.