Travelers flock to Granada because of its picturesque surroundings, Spanish charm, and historical landmarks. Granada is the heart of Andalusia, located at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. From the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries, this enigmatic metropolis served as the seat of a Moorish empire.
Exploring Granada, a stunning city with magnificent ancient buildings and winding cobblestone lanes, is a fantastic experience. There are several amazing locations with stunning vistas of the city. Of course, the Alhambra, the final Moorish bastion in Europe, is the undeniable centerpiece.
Top 12 must-visited attractions of Granada
Here, you can find 12 must-visited attractions of Granada:
- The Alhambra
- Carmen de los Martires
- Capilla Real de Granada
- Granada miradors
- The Gypsy Quarter of Sacromonte
- Plaza de San Nicolas
- San Jeronimo Monastery
- La Alcaicería
- Arab baths in Granada
- Basílica de San Juan de Dios
- The Alcaiceria
- The Music and Dance’s International Festival
Alhambra, the palace and fortress of Granada, Spain’s Moorish rulers. The Arabic name Alhambra, which translates as “the red,” is likely a result of the reddish color of the tapia used to construct the outside walls. The Alhambra was primarily erected between 1238 and 1358, during the reigns of Ibn al-Amar, the founder of the Narid dynasty, and his successors.
Ysuf I is credited for the interior’s exquisite embellishments. Most of the interior was destroyed, and the furniture was either taken or destroyed after the Moors were driven out in 1492. To construct an Italianate palace planned by Pedro Machuca in 1526, Charles V, who governed Spain as Charles I (1516–56), demolished a piece of the Alhambra and rebuilt other areas in the Renaissance style.
Carmen de los Martires
Carmen de los Martires is the ideal location if you’re searching for a quiet area to get away from the crowd; despite being close to Alhambra, it is incredibly calm and remote. The nineteenth-century gardens combine French, English, and Moorish architectural features.
It is pleasant to stroll about since it is full of trees, plants, flowers, and ponds. A charming small tower at its center offers beautiful views of the surrounding gardens and Granada city. This green area is a hidden sanctuary that is just waiting to be found, with several shaded nooks to escape the harsh heat.
Capilla Real de Granada
The Capilla Real de Granada, which contains the royal graves, is the ideal place to witness the splendor of Spain’s Catholic monarchs. This stunning Late Gothic addition to the cathedral, which stands 47 meters tall and has a separate entrance, is connected to the Catedral Santa Mara de la Encarnación. Construction on the chapel took place between 1506 and 1521.
Beautiful stained-glass windows from the 16th century and seven sizable works of art by Alonso Cano may be found within. An artistically crafted grille encloses the ornately adorned royal graves by Bartolomé de Jaén. The Tomb of Ferdinand and Isabella is located to the right in a monument made of Carrara marble by Florence-based artist Domenico Fancelli.
Another fun activity in Granada is to visit the miradors and take in the views of the city and the Alhambra. There is a handful, with the Mirador de San Nicolas in the Albaicin area being the most well-known. It provides a breathtaking perspective of the Sierra Nevada and the Alhambra.
You may see the Mirador de San Cristobal nearby as well. It is situated close to the same-named church. The mirador de San Miguel Alto is another mirador that is well seeing. It is less busy than the San Nicolas one and gives a magnificent picturesque perspective of the Alhambra.
The Gypsy Quarter of Sacromonte
Visit the vibrant Gypsy district of Granada, located on the Sacromonte, often known as the “holy mount.” The Cuesta del Chapiz, where the Camino del Sacromonte ascends the hill, marks the beginning of this neighborhood’s hilltop location. Since 1532, the Gitanos (Gypsies) have lived in Granada. In the 18th century, they moved into the Sacromonte caverns.
Visitors will love exploring the ambient neighborhood’s hillside paths to find the unique Gypsy homes, some ornamented with colorful homemade pottery. The caverns on the Camino del Sacromonte’s top section are in the greatest shape, and one of them has been turned into a museum, so you may go inside.
Plaza de San Nicolas
There are few views better than those provided by the Plaza de San Nicolas because of Granada’s steep terrain. The Plaza de San Nicolas is situated in the Albaicn district, less than a mile north of the Paseo de los Tristes. He views the Alhambra and the magnificent Sierra Nevada Mountain range, which is directly behind it.
Between the vista’s two main points, lush rolling hills and classic clay-tiled roofs fill the empty area. This makes for a truly picture-perfect scenario when paired with the plaza’s ornate cobblestones, whitewashed church, and bustling buskers.
San Jeronimo Monastery
The construction of San Jeronimo, the first Catholic monastery to be founded in the city, started in 1496, and it is today a sight to see. A stunning Renaissance structure, both inside and outside, is incredible.
The church’s massive altarpiece is undoubtedly the undisputed centerpiece of the display of magnificent furnishings. There is a lovely small courtyard and garden for visitors to roam about beneath the monastery’s lofty walls, which is currently home to a community of nuns.
La Alcaicería (spice market of Arab)
This authentic Arab bazaar is a replica of the old Moorish market that once stood here before a fire in 1843 destroyed the neighborhood. The Alcaicera departs at Plaza Alonso Cano and travels along the Calle de la Alcaicera, which is close to the cathedral. The silk and spice market used to be located across the Alcaicera district, a tangle of little streets.
Although the Alcaicera evokes the old souk, today’s sellers mainly serve visitors. The huge public area of Plaza Bib Rambla, which is close by, is bustling with activity. In the middle of the area is a beautiful fountain encircled by ornate ironwork and vibrant flower vendors.
Arab baths in Granada
In Granada, you can learn about the past wherever you go, including the spas. Granada’s Arab residents congregated in the Arab baths, which had historically served as a significant rite in Muslim life and culture. The Moors utilized baths to wash physically and mentally because they saw water as a sign of purity.
Several Arab buildings were demolished and rebuilt into religious and secular enterprises once the Christians ultimately seized control of the city following the Reconquista of Spain. This also applied to the bathhouses, many of which were converted into bakeries due to a sizable broiler in the building that was used to heat part of the pools.
Basílica de San Juan de Dios
Granada’s masterpiece of Baroque architecture sometimes goes unrecognized amid the exquisite old Islamic art and architecture. The Baslica of San Juan de Dios transports visitors into a world of elaborate architecture and glittering gold. The massive murals are framed by intricate gold sculptures that cover nearly every corner of the ceiling, walls, and side altars.
Every day of the year, excluding Mondays, the basilica is available for public visitors (for a price). An English audio tour is provided with the entry fee, highlighting the information you would otherwise overlook. Ask for access to the area above the altar if it is not obvious so you may see into the church.
The Alcaiceria market is the best location if you want to do real shopping while in Granada. The market could initially appear to be a tourist trap. Go further into its passages, and you’ll find many things that are hard to locate elsewhere. At the entrance, you’ll find tacky postcards and costumey flamenco outfits.
The history of the market is the cause of this. The Moors, a tribe of Northern Africans who conquered Spain at the beginning of the ninth century, built the Alcaiceria as a market. One of the few relics of the Moorish civilization to have survived the Conquest of Granada was the Alcaiceria, which at first functioned as a center for the production and trade of silk.
The Music and Dance International Festival
The wistful flamenco and melancholy Gypsy guitar music enthrall audiences at this renowned event. The music and dance festival, which takes place in Granada throughout June and July at spectacular locations, usually historical sites, highlights the city’s rich cultural legacy.
The festival’s history began when concerts were conducted in King Carlos V Palace in 1883. With its presentation of many Spanish musical genres and styles, including opera, zarzuelas, flamenco, and Sephardic (Jewish) songs, as well as piano recitals and symphonic concerts, the festival upholds the custom.