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One Day in Granada, Spain: Itinerary & Tips [2024]

Planning to spend one day in Granada? Its history, nature and traditions make it an exciting destination year-round. Check out this Granada itinerary to make the most of your trip there.

Granada is a city belonging to the province of Andalusia in Spain that offers a distinctive look with its predominantly Moorish architecture because of its heritage engrained over 700 years ago.

This is also what makes Granada a unique destination and those seeking historical and cultural attractions in Spain will absolutely love it.

But Granada really should be on everybody’s itinerary.

Step into this fascinating city and get lost among the hilltop fortress complexes, serene patios, royal palaces, fountains, gardens, and other Moorish architecture of the city.

You could spend days in the city, but if you can only stay 1 day in Granada, maybe as part of a bigger road trip in Spain, no need to worry. This itinerary will show you exactly where to go and what to do in Granada in one day so you can make the most of your time in this beautifully fascinating city.

If you only have one day in Granada, you might want to consider a guided tour to make the most of your time.

The Alhambra, Generalife & Albaicín Small-Group Tour walks you around these must-see attractions with commentary from a live guide to understand better the colorful history and charm of Granada’s ancient district. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Head to Mirador San Nicolas for Great Views

Start your Granaday one-day itinerary early by making your way to Mirador San Nicolas – a hilltop plaza that offers magical views (and one of the best lookout points) in Granada (or all of Spain). From this plaza, you can marvel at the mountainous landscape of the city and beyond.

This amazing lookout point belongs to Granada’s oldest Moorish quarter and from here you can even see the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Alhambra fortress-palace.

This place will be probably flocked by tourists so take a few minutes to relish the sight and appreciate the views.

From Mirador San Nicolas, you can go for a walk or take the C32 bus to the Alhambra, a one-of-a-kind palace that is the true jewel of Granada.

Visit Alhambra and Generalife

For the rest of the morning, head to Alhambra – a palace and fortress complex that is one of Granada’s most important attractions. If you only have 24 hours in Granada, then this should be priority number one.

The structure was originally built as a small fortress in AD 889 from what was left of a Roman fortification. The ruins of that fort were renovated and in its place were built the current palace and walls of Alhambra. The palace and fortress complex is recognized for exhibiting the most significant example of Islamic architecture in Spain, and as such it’s known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The palace and fortress have been the subject of many Moorish poets and they often alluded to it in their literary works. Apart from the historical and cultural importance of Alhambra, it’s also famous for the complexity of the design considering the challenges of building it on a mountainous site.

Alhambra is open every day of the week, and they have two timetables according to the season: 8:30 AM to 6 PM from October 15th to March 31st, and 8:30 AM to 8 PM from April 1st to October 14th. It remains closed on December 25th and January 1st. 

Aside from Alhambra, make sure you head over to Generalife, which is in the same area. It’s on the slopes of the Cerro del Sol so you can admire the views of the city. Although there are many theories on the interpretation of its name, one thing is for sure – it served as a leisure place for the kings of Granada.

It was the place they went to if they sought refuge from the official affairs of the palace. Seeing the orchards and gardens that surround the recreation house, it’s easy to see why it was a favorite spot for relaxation and respite.

Built in the 13th century, Generalife is a bit of a contrast to the elaborate and luxurious architectural style of Alhambra. Generalife’s aesthetic approach is more simple and solid with a few decorative motifs and plasterwork. While the decorative details aren’t very varied, they are of exquisite quality and detail.

Due to the immense popularity of Alhambra as a tourist destination in Spain, expect long queues when getting your ticket on-site. I’d advise you to purchase your Alhambra ticket in advance so you can save time.

➤ With this Alhambra Ticket and Guided Tour you can pre-book your ticket to ensure they won’t run out and that you’d be able to access the entire complex, including the Nasrid Palaces. You’ll also have access to a tour guide who will provide in-depth information about the structures! ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ Another option is to buy the Alhambra Ticket and Audio Guide. This way you’ll get to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site at your own pace, with the audio guide leading the way around the complex. This skip-the-line ticket gives you access to the entire complex, including the Nasrid Palaces. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ If you’d rather do your own thing without following a guide, I highly recommend pre-booking your Tickets for Alhambra & Nasrid Palaces, as it is a wildly popular tourist destination and lines can get long. And Granada gets very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. Trust me: you don’t want to wait outside. This ticket will let you skip the long lines. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Walk Through the Albaicin Neighborhood

The Albaicin area is your next stop for this one-day itinerary in Granada. This neighborhood is known for its narrow streets and the Medieval Moorish layout and house styles. The traditional look of the houses has been kept intact so this neighborhood is the best place to go if you want to discover Moorish architecture. As a bonus, it has a stunning overlooking view of the Alhambra Palace.

As you explore this neighborhood, you’ll pass through a few notable stops that are worth noting. One of them is the Paseo de Los Tristes, a promenade that runs parallel with the river Darro. The name was derived from the funeral carriages which followed this path on its way to the Alhambra cemetery. Today, this is a lively area filled with fountains and stages built for festivals and public dances.

Another highlight of your walk-through of the Albaicin neighborhood is the Casa de Zafra. This is a former 14th century Moorish house that was converted into a local history museum right in the center of the neighborhood. This place is famous for its murals and views of the Alhambra Palace.

The museum is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM, and the entry is around 3 Euros.

Next up on the must-see when you visit Albaicin neighborhood is El Bañuelo. This is an 11th century Arab bath that is known as a site for physical and spiritual cleansing.

It’s known as one of the best-preserved public baths in Spain. It’s also remarkable for its architectural details that include cavernous brick vaults and octagonal skylights.

It’s open daily from 9AM to 2:30 PM, and from 5PM to 8:30 PM. The cost of admission is 2.50 Euros.

Continue your walk throughout the neighborhood of Albaicin by heading to Plaza Sta. Ana. This central square at the heart of the tourist district is packed with character, thanks to its bustling bars and historic sights. Here, you can simply sit and soak in the atmosphere.

You can also head over to adjoining Plaza Nueva, which funnily enough, is actually the oldest square in Granada. Both of these squares are great places to go if you are looking for a place to eat since there are many restaurants and cafes in the area, and some offer incredible views!

Granada Cathedral and Royal Chapel

Once you have had your lunch, you can head to the Granada Cathedral. This cathedral is the epitome of Spanish Renaissance architecture and is one of the most stunning cathedrals in Spain.

Apart from its impressive chapels, it’s also known as the resting place of the queen and as the home of an impressive art collection.

Once in the cathedral, you can explore the Granada Royal Chapel, where the remains of Isabella and husband Ferdinand are contained. Both of them are usually called “The Catholic Monarchs”. When in the cathedral, don’t miss the elaborate carvings on the Gothic doorway when you come in!

➤ If you’re interested in learning more about these amazing constructions, the Guided Tour of Cathedral and Royal Chapel will take you back in time to trace the history of Spain’s Catholic monarchs, discovering the details that make Granada such a unique city, and learning about its fascinating history. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

READ ALSO: 18 Best Granada Tours To Book This Year

Explore the Realejo Neighborhood

For another unique experience, you can visit the Barrio Realejo – also known as the Jewish quarter in Granada.

This area is of historical importance to Jews because it served as a bustling community during the time of Nasrid rule. Today, this neighborhood is heavily populated with streets exuding a vibrant and distinctive character.

As you walk down the streets of this neighborhood, you’ll stumble upon many interesting buildings such as the Palace of La Casa de los Tiros, Church of Santo Domingo, and the Palace of los Condes de Gabia.

Go on a DIY Tapas Tour

A day in Granada is never complete without going on a tapas tour. I’ve already written about the best tapas bars in Seville, and Granada has nothing to envy to this other Andalusian city.

➤ If you’d like to taste the best tapas in Granada with insight from a local guide, don’t miss this Granada Tapas Bar Crawl. Your guide will take you on a tapas crawl the way the locals do it, and share Granada’s history and secrets with you as you visit some of the most authentic tapas bars in the city.➥ BOOK IT HERE

If not, you can design your own tapas tour. The old Jewish quarter of Realejo is celebrated for its tapas. You’ll find many of Granada’s typical tapas bars here and you should visit a few of them to truly get a taste of this city.

Experience the taste and scent of Andalusia to discover the fusion of different flavors from traditional recipes and other influences.

The first stop on your tapas tasting tour is Bar La Fagua, in Calle Panaderos. This tapas bar is famous for its large and tasty yet cheap tapas. Their tapas menu is also complemented with a great drinks selection, which includes some of the best local wines. The setting is rather intimate, which also adds to the traditional atmosphere.

Another must-try tapas bar to add to your DIY tour is the Bodega Castañeda. It’s only a 2-minute walk from the Royal Chapel of Granada at Calle Bodegoncillos, and you’ll find a great variety of tapas ranging from healthy options to Mediterranean and Spanish flavors. Apart from their tapas, they also have a few Spanish classics such as paella, croquettes, and gazpacho. It has a busy atmosphere and is almost always full so make sure you come in early!

Bar Casa Julio is another must-try tapas bar in Granada, in Calle Hermosa. Their tapas selection includes Spanish and Mediterranean flavors. They are open from lunch, dinner, and for late-night drinks. They also have outdoor seating if you like to people-watch while enjoying your tapas or a bar if you want to accompany your treats with some drinks.

For those looking for a classic tapas bar, you can expect that when you add Bar Los Diamantes to your tapas tour. This tapas bar is in Calle Navas where you’ll find an impressive seafood selection along with classic tapas menu items. It’s just a few meters away from the Royal Chapel of Granada.

Enjoy a Flamenco Show

There’s more to Andalusia than tapas; this region is also famous for flamenco. When in Granada, don’t miss the chance to catch a flamenco show which is a great alternative to the DIY tapas tour (or maybe you can do both!). I’ve already written about the best spots to watch flamenco in Seville, and I believe that catching a flamenco show is a great opportunity to experience the unique cultural tradition of Spain through this well-preserved art form.

➤ This Flamenco Show in Albaycin is presented at an atmospheric tablao in the Albaicin neighborhood in Granada, and it’s only a few minutes away from the San Nicolas viewpoint. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

If Flamenco is not your thing and you’d rather relax after a full day of exploring, you can visit this famous Moorish bathhouse!

➤ The Hammam Al Ándalus Bathhouse is the first Arab bath that was opened in Spain. It’s located at the foot of the Alhambra in a building dating from the 18th century, where the original bathhouse was located centuries ago. With beautiful arabesque motif, and cold, warm and hot rooms, it’s a perfect end to your tour of Granada. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

One Day in Granada FAQ

Is one day enough in Granada?

The short answer is yes, you can visit Granada in one day, see the main attractions, and even roam around a little. However, Granada is a wonderful city with rich history and a lot to see, so the longer you stay, the more rewarding your trip will be.

Is Granada worth visiting?

Absolutely! Granada is a remarkable city, with great nature around, incredible history, a rich culture, and a contagious atmosphere. Please do not miss the chance to visit, Granada has charm for days.

What are the best things to do in Granada in one day?

There’s a lot to do in Granada, but absolute musts are visiting the Alhambra, wandering around the historic center, and going out for tapas, since Granada is one of the best places in Spain for tapas.

How many days in Granada is enough?

Although you can see the main attractions in one day, there’s a lot to do in Granada. I would recommend 3 or 4 days to get to know the city and even do a day trip somewhere near (Granada is surrounded by beautiful mountains and villages).

Can you go from Malaga to Granada on a day trip?

Yes, you can go on a day trip to Granada from Malaga by train or bus. The fastest rides take around 1h 45m each way, so you’ll have to start early and plan ahead to make the most of your time in Granada.

Can you go from Seville to Granada on a day trip?

While it is technically possible to take a day trip from Seville to Granada, it’s not recommended, since the trip each way takes 3 hours, which won’t give you enough time to truly enjoy Granada.

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.