This Is Your Go-To Cheat Sheet For Granada

Granada travel guide
View Gallery 5 Photos
Alhambra
La Madraza interior
Albaicin souvenirs
Bodegas Castañedas
Albaicin

Granada is a destination that’s on everybody’s bucket list. And for good reason.

This sunny Andalusian city packs a huge punch, with tons of culture, history and architecture. The Emirate of Granada was the last domain to fall in the Muslim empire of Al-Andalus to the Catholic monarchs of Castile. Granada with its mix of Catholic, Muslim and Jewish monuments, illustrate Spain’s vibrant culture and history better many other places in Spain. This is why Granada has always had a significant place in Spanish history, and continues to be a major must-see destination for visitors.

SEE

The Alhambra

Calle Real de la Alhambra, s/n, 18009 Granada, Spain

Alhambra
Alhambra. PHOTO NADIA CHO

Agra’s got the Taj Mahal and Granada’s got the Alhambra. For many visitors, the Alhambra is the primary reason to travel to Granada in the first place. The Alhambra is endlessly fascinating because it’s been modified and repurposed in different styles various times. The vast structure at the very top of the city started off as a fortress, then became the palace of the royal kings of the Nasrid Dynasty. The majesty of the Generalife gardens, the Patio de Leones and the Sala de los Abencerrajes are vestiges from this glorious time. A few years after the Reconquista, when the Catholic monarchs took over the Emirate of Granada, King Charles V reconstructed some parts of the palace in the Renaissance style. Because of its profound historical significance and architectural splendor, the Alhambra is the top must-see for any traveler visiting Granada.

Palacio de la Madraza

Calle Oficios, 14, 18001 Granada, Spain

La Madraza
La Madraza. PHOTO NADIA CHO

Compared to the Alhambra, the Palacio de la Madraza is a very underrated attraction. But a definite must-see nonetheless! Located in the middle of the city, the Palacio de la Madraza was the first university in Granada, founded by the Nasrid emir, Yusuf I, in 1349. The building is now part of the University of Granada in the present day. The exterior of the building is Baroque, but inside, the beautiful Arabic decorations of the original Madraza remain.

DO

Take a Walk in The Albaicin

Albaicin
Albaicin. PHOTO NADIA CHO

The Albaicín was a flourishing district inside the Kingdom of Granada back in the day. It continues to enjoy immense fame as a World Heritage Site and most beautiful area of Granada. Walking through the hills of the Albaicín really is like stepping back in time. Rustic white houses with bougainvillea line both sides of the winding streets. Towards the bottom of the hill, there are street merchants selling colorful Arabic trinkets and souvenirs. From the Mirador de San Nicolas at the top of the hill, you can take in full-on views of the majestic Alhambra on the other side. Once you get swept up in the magic of the Albaicín, it really is a place which you will never forget!

Hit the Beach

granada
UNSPLASH Jorge Fernández Salas

Did you know that the province of Granada also has a beautiful coastline called Costa Tropical? Tranquil turquoise waters may not be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Granada. But as soon as you drive south out of the city, there are numerous beaches which are fabulous to summer in. Almuñecar is a very pretty seaside town where many of Granada’s most popular beaches such as San Cristóbal and La Herradura are located. Motril is another popular resort town with a stunning sky-blue coastline. Calahonda, La Joya and La Rijana are just a few of the incredibly beautiful beaches Motril has to offer. If you happen to visit Granada during the warmer months and need a respite from the hot Andalusian sun, catch a bus or drive just one hour south, where cool turquoise waters await!

EAT

Los Diamantes

Multiple locations

Bar Los Diamantes
FACEBOOK Bar Los Diamantes

Los Diamantes is a Granada institution. Granada is well-known for its generous tapas which automatically accompany every drink you order. Los Diamantes has been around since 1942 and is beloved by local granadinos and tourists alike. You’ll never find this no fuss standing room only bar on Calle Navas empty (other locations have opened but the one on Calle Navas is the original). Seafood tapas are the star at Los Diamantes. Don’t miss out on the shrimp, clams, cuttlefish and tasty fish fries to go with your ice-cold beers.

Bodegas Castañeda

Calle Almireceros, 1, 3, 18010 Granada, Spain

Bodegas Castañedas
Bodegas Castañedas. PHOTO NADIA CHO

If you’re looking for a truly authentic traditional Spanish tavern, look no further than Bodegas Castañeda. It’s impossible not to love Bodegas Castañeda, with legs of jamón hanging from the ceiling, casks of sherry stacked behind the bar and the unmistakably Spanish décor. Here, you’ll find the whole range of classic Spanish tapas, from paella to jamón iberico to montaditos to regional cheeses. Bodegas Castañeda is another beloved Granada institution that’s a no-brainer whenever you’re craving the classic Spanish tapas experience.

NIGHTLIFE

Planta Baja

Calle Horno de Abad, 11, 18002 Granada, Spain

granada
INSTAGRAM @lady_bergson

Modern natives of Granada, or granadinos, are known for having a strong alternative and countercultural streak, with big love for rock music and anarchy. Planta Baja is an essential cultural space which allowed much of Granada’s rock ‘n roll history to take place and blossom. Regional and national bands from Spain have been gracing the stage of this concert hall since 1989. Granadinos still love rock, punk and garage music, which is indeed what you will find at Planta Baja.  Even if you’re not a fan of punk or rock music, there are often shows with DJs which give it more of a club vibe. Either way, Planta Baja is a great place to go out and witness the alternative side of Granada’s unique cultural identity.

Mae West

Centro Comercial Neptuno, Calle Arabial, s/n, 18004 Granada, Spain

Mae West Granada
FACEBOOK Mae West Granada

If you’re looking to go all out on a wild night out in Granada, Mae West is the only place you need to know. This mega nightlife venue has two floors and three stages. The interior décor with its vintage show business theme is very cool too. The venue throws various events for different days of the week. But it goes without saying that on the weekends, the entire club gets packed and you’re in for a huge thrill. Mae West is without a doubt, one of the top nightlife destinations in all of Spain. So, if you’re looking to party, look no further than this notorious venue located inside the Centro Comercial Neptuno.

STAY

Hotel Casa 1800

Calle Benalua, 11, 18010 Granada, Spain

Hotel Casa 1800
FACEBOOK Hotel Casa 1800

If you’re looking for a boutique hotel that will really give you the sense that you’re in Andalusia, Hotel Casa 1800 is the perfect stay. The hotel is housed inside a sixteenth century building which used to serve as military headquarters back in the day. Now you’ll find elegantly furnished rooms which still preserve the warm Andalusian sense of place. Due to its ideal location at the bottom of the Alhambra, the hotel even offers deluxe rooms with stunning views of the Alhambra.

Hotel Palacio de Santa Paula, Autograph Collection

Calle Gran Vía de Colón, 31, 18001 Granada, Spain

Hotel Palacio de Santa Paula, Autograph Collection Hotels
FACEBOOK Hotel Palacio de Santa Paula, Autograph Collection Hotels

For a slightly more contemporary option with all the trappings of a modern luxury hotel, Hotel Palacio de Santa Paula from the Autograph Collection is a fabulous option. This hotel is located in the city center of Granada, which is convenient for both sightseeing and nightlife. It used to be the former Convent of Santa Paula, which features a gorgeous courtyard that guests are able to fully enjoy. The hotel also boasts El Claustro, the in-house restaurant where diners can try innovative modern Andalusian gastronomy.

Nadia Cho

Communications Associate

As the empowered female behind the blog: International Women of Mystery, Nadia reps Team JST traveling the world in search of exclusive features on hidden gems and cool hotspots. You can find her exploring metropolitan cities or lounging on tropical beaches.

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