The long-awaited month of December comes to end the year with crucial dates and numerous events for you to add to your list of plans in Granada. At this time of year, the city welcomes many people who come to discover the monuments of its historic architecture and its exquisite tapas!
And not only that, after skiing in the Sierra Nevada, you can enjoy the Muslim treasures and renew yourself in the best hammam in Granada to finish the day with leisure activities and the best gastronomy. You'll also be able to do many other things. Here's what you can't miss.
1. Discover the Alhambra at Christmas
Although you can book a visit to the Alhambra all year round, one of its charms is the way it changes with the seasons. From the colours of its gardens when Granada is in autumn or spring, to the special activities you can find when you visit at the end of December.
It is precisely at this time of year that the Alhambra and the Generalife present activities specifically aimed at families through its Christmas with the Family programme. More or less from the beginning of the school holidays, around 22 or 23 December, itineraries can be booked with a playful, educational and creative perspective. If you want to visit the Alhambra with children, these themed routes will show them all its attractions in a unique way and focused on their tastes and needs.
The visits usually take place both in the morning, around 10 am, and in the afternoon, around 3 pm. Both times are compatible for finding a place to eat near the Alhambra, both before and after the visit. Regarding the price, the guided tour costs from €45 for adults and from €37 for children up to 11 years old.
2. Relax with an Arab bath in the best Hammam in Granada
Temperatures drop in December and there is no better time to book a session at the Hammam Al Ándalus than at Christmas. You can immerse yourself in a magnificent Arab bath next to the Alhambra Palace. In my opinion, there is no doubt that this is the best hammam in Granada.
You can spend an hour and a half in the comforting thermal baths and steam rooms while sipping mint tea surrounded by beautiful decorations. You can also opt to enjoy a massage with selected oils or choose to indulge in a ritual that includes exfoliating treatments.
3. Skiing in the snow on the high peaks of Sierra Nevada
Those who like skiing already know that the essential plan is to book an excursion to the Sierra Nevada. Without a doubt, an essential stop for fans of this sport.
With 124 slopes for all levels spread over a very large area, it is a fun activity that can take an afternoon, a whole day or even more depending on your intentions. It is also one of the best things to do if you are going to Granada with children.
To make it easier, here is how to get from Granada to the Sierra Nevada. This activity also gives you a taste of the Christmas spirit that is starting to appear in the snow-covered mountains, with live music, some tobogganing, guided tours, sleigh rides and ice skating.
4. Listen to the carols in the squares of Granada
If you walk through the streets of Granada during the month of December, specifically from the 22nd or 23rd onwards, I recommend you stop in the squares where stages have been set up, where you will most likely be able to see small free carol concerts. You will most likely be able to see small free carol concerts.
In addition to the nativity scenes, the carols take centre stage, capturing the attention of children and parents alike. At the end of December, the Granada City Council organises a Christmas song contest in several squares of the city.
If you are not too fond of classical carols, Granada also offers other types of music of great artistic, anthropological and, of course, touristic interest. If you have time, go to the Sacromonte neighbourhood and book a flamenco show in a cave restaurant. It is an ideal experience at this time of year.
5. Escape to the Alpujarra
As you can see, the list of things to see and do in Granada is very long. If you like rural tourism, near Granada you will find the perfect area for you: the Alpujarra. In December, with the winter weather, all the villages that make up the Alpujarra take on a special charm, not to mention the advantage of fewer tourists.
My advice is to study well the villages that make up the area and how to get there, as some may be more difficult to reach due to the presence of snow.
6. Experience the festive atmosphere of the streets of Granada
Granada is a truly beautiful city, especially when the coloured lights and the smell of roasted chestnuts delight every corner of the streets. Tasting the latter, moreover, is one of the things you can't miss if you travel to Granada in winter.
If you arrive in Granada during the long weekend in December (around the 6th and 8th), you will most likely see the city with its Christmas decorations. With the cold weather getting colder, I advise you to book a guided tour of Granada. You can also make a stop along the way for some churros with delicious hot chocolate.
Christmas carol songs and concerts and nativity scenes, as well as bells in the square, parties and cotillions, will bring the warm atmosphere that will gladly welcome many tourists and locals. Also, the Christmas decorations include a Ferris wheel to sit and contemplate the view of Granada from above.
7. Take home a souvenir of the Christmas markets
If there is something typical to do in Granada at Christmas time, it is to visit the Christmas markets. I recommend a visit to the Puerta Real and Bib-Rambla markets. The latter contains many nativity scenes that make it an emblematic place at this time of year. Due to its location, it is ideal to visit after your visit to the Cathedral.
In Puerta Real, you will see another very popular market with many stalls set up around the Fuente de las Batallas (Fountain of Battles). Here you will find many original gifts, as local crafts are promoted, as well as ceramics, handmade toys and leather, among others.
Don't miss the handmade nougat at all the markets and go to the Christmas convents, which usually have many typical sweets!
8. Experience the theatre and its Christmas splendour
During the month of December, the Isabel la Católica Theatre hosts a series of performances to live the Christmas spirit to the full.
The theatre will revive many well-known plays, as well as concerts with the Christmas carols that every December delight audiences with characteristics of the Granada experience
This emblematic theatre, located in the centre of Granada, is the only one that has remained open despite the changes that the city has undergone up to the present day. The different performances will take place throughout the month of December so you can enjoy and choose at your leisure if your travel schedule is tight.
- Where: Isabel la Católica Theatre, Calle Acera del Casino.
- Price: Depends on the performance.
- When: Throughout December, normally in the afternoon.
9. Let yourself be dazzled by the experience of Granada's illumination
Every year, the illumination dresses the streets with colours that set the mood for the Christmas celebration: trees, pine trees and bells can be seen as you walk along the main streets.
The squares are not overlooked and are a centre where markets with handicrafts and more lights are displayed, some of which can reach up to two metres, as in Pedro Antonio de Alarcón street, where a simulation of a star shower is often performed.
In short, there will be no shortage of Christmas lights in Granada, and they will even be so abundant that they will form part of the entire landscape, flying over the city in the form of arches and angels.
Go up to the San Nicolás viewpoint, in the Albaicín district, if you want the best views of Granada lit up for Christmas.
10. Experience New Year's Eve in Granada
You may have decided to say goodbye to the year in Granada (actually, I recommend you do so if you can). Although the custom is to have dinner with the family, you will definitely find alternatives to spend a great night. Would you like to end the year with an amazing dinner?
- You can enjoy an artistic dinner at La Platea restaurant on José Luis Pérez Pujadas street. It is a well known place in Granada for its promotion of local artists, whose works accompany a very elaborate menu. In addition to the key and distinctive concept of this gastronomic experience, the menu prepared for New Year's Eve has a New Year's Eve plan for around 90 €. Highly recommended!
- A very recurrent recommendation in Granada is El Claustro, a place that promises another unique experience by sitting down to eat inside a refectory with an amazing 16th century architecture. A very avant-garde menu in a unique and historic setting, with a highly acclaimed chef, will ensure that your start to the new year is on the right foot. Their New Year's Eve menu costs no more than 140 €, with prices that justify the attention and excellent service for a great New Year's Eve in Granada.
After dinner it's time to party. The Town Hall organises a spectacular celebration in the Plaza del Carmen to welcome the New Year with live music and fireworks. In addition, the cotillion bags are usually handed out between 22:30 and 23 h.. From 00 h. onwards, the fun of partying in countless discos and bars lasts all night long.
The weather in Granada
In December, the weather in Granada can reach a maximum temperature of 13 degrees Celsius and a minimum temperature of 4 degrees Celsius.
In the cooler evenings, it may be necessary to wear warm clothes, especially on cloudy days. If you are going up to the Sierra Nevada, it is best to opt for thermal clothing.