Granada is stunning city with the iconic Alhambra, beautiful Old Town and Cathedral and buzzing tapas scene. It is just under two hours’ drive away from Marbella, so an easy place to visit as a day trip, or you can spend the night if you want to experience the fabulous night life.
Every visitor to Granada will admire the stunning Alhambra Palace, the most famous piece of Moorish architecture in Spain and the most visited tourist site in the country. You can see it sitting proudly on the hilltop overlooking Granada, surrounded by lush gardens and trees and it is a truly iconic structure dating back to the 9th Century.
Tips for visiting the Alhambra
As we mentioned before, the Alhambra is the most visited tourist attraction in Spain and they limit the number of tickets to stop overcrowding. As demand is high, it’s recommended you book your tickets in advance. They can be booked online and then picked up at the ticket machines on the day of your visit. Tickets are 14€ to visit the Alhambra and gardens, or 7€ for the gardens, Generalife and Alcazaba.
To see all that the Alhambra has to offer they suggest that you allocate three hours for your visit. Arrive with plenty of time to pick up your tickets as it is very busy, particularly in the summer or at weekend, and they are strict with the visit times.
It’s important to check what time you have access to the Nasrid Palaces, as you will only be allowed access at this time, so build your visit around this.
Many people think that the gardens are the highlight of a visit to the Alhambra, so make sure you have enough time to explore and enjoy the beautiful design and fragrant plants.
Don’t forget to explore the Albaycin
The Albaycin is the maze of streets in the Moorish quarter of the old town which leads up to the Alhambra. Many people only see the Albaycin, on their way to, or on the way back from the Alhambra. Don’t make that mistake, as you won’t be fully able to appreciate the lovely shops, gorgeous cafes and hidden corners of this ancient part of town – leave some time to explore it properly.
Check out the Cathedral and the surrounding area
There’s much more to Granada than simply the Alhambra and the area around the Cathedral is lovely and gives you a very different feeling from the Arab quarter. The cathedral itself is the 4th largest in the world and is amazing inside and out. You need to buy a ticket to go into the cathedral but it is very worth doing for anyone who loves Renaissance architecture.
Enjoy the free tapas
A rookie mistake in Granada is having a big meal before heading out for a few drinks. At most bars, every drink comes served with a free tapas. These tapas are often quite big and so if you want to have a few drinks you may not need to get a proper meal at all. There are tapas bars all around the city, but if you’d like to do a little tapas tour, then the Plaza Nueva area is a good place to try, as there are lots of good ones in a small area.
Relax in a Hammam
After all the walking needed to explore the Alhambra, Albaycin and Cathedral, a great way to soothe aching legs and feet is a visit to one of the traditional hammams. In these lovely Arab Baths you can relax in the lovely different temperature pools, get a massage and really chill out amongst some beautiful Moorish architecture which echoes the shapes and styles of the Alhambra.
Insider’s Tip – During the winter you can ski in the Sierra Mountains just above Granada, so for an unexpected day trip from Marbella why not go and hit the slopes? The ski season is from mid-December to early April.
These are just a few of the highlights from this vibrant city, which is within easy reach of Marbella. We can organise a guided private tour to Granada including transport from Marbella, a tour of Granada and the Alhambra to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
To see our Marbella vacation rentals, browse the selection on our website. For excursions and day trips please contact us and let us know what you’d like to see and we can give you details of options and prices.