How to Spend 2 Days in Granada, Spain

by Ana

There’s no doubt Granada is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, and possibly even in the world. Its history and mixture of cultures can be felt in every corner of the city, its well-kept white streets are full of light, and the cuisine is like nothing else you’ve tasted before. Discover the best ways to spend 2 days in Granada, Spain, a magical city that you must visit on your route through Andalusia!

 

2 days in Granada

 

Granada is one of my favorite cities in the world, which means a lot coming from someone like me. Although I was born in Seville, I’ve been consumed by wanderlust since childhood. My desire has always been to fly as far away as possible, to the point where I’ve been more drawn to such exotic destinations as Iran, India, and Turkey than my beautiful homeland of Spain.

The tradeoff for being abroad all the time is that I’ve missed opportunities to travel more in my native country. Having said that, if there’s one city in Spain that I love enough to have returned to a thousand times, it’s Granada.

There must be something special about Granada if the Moors and Christians fought over it for centuries. Its history and mixture of cultures can be felt in every corner of the city to this day. Its well-kept white streets and terraces are full of light, and the cuisine is like nothing you’ll eat anywhere else. In short, it’s virtually impossible not to fall in love with Granada, one of the most beautiful cities in Spain for sure!

So if you come to Andalusia, you must spend at least a weekend in Granada. Not sure where to start? Here’s everything I recommend you do and see during your 2 days in Granada!

 

 

Best Things to Do in 2 Days in Granada, Spain 

01 | Visit the Alhambra

Visiting the Alhambra is like traveling to the past, for here you’ll get to experience the splendor of Al-Andalus to the fullest. You need to know the Alhambra is not just a monument, but a complete citadel with palaces, gardens, and even a military fortress.

Even if you’re only spending 2 days in Granada, you should dedicate almost a whole day to the Alhambra. Keep in mind that more than 7,000 people visit the citadel every day, so you’ll need to buy your tickets to the Alhambra months in advance.

How to spend 2 days in Granada - Visit the Alhambra
Granada en dos dias - la Alhambra
que ver en Granada en dos días - La Alhambra

The Alhambra was the residence of the Nasrid dynasty until it was conquered by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. Today, the Alhambra is a masterpiece of Muslim art in Europe and the second most visited monument in Spain after the Sagrada Familia.

Alhambra de Granada

The Alhambra is full of secrets, so to know its history in depth, I recommend taking a guided tour:

 

02 | Get Lost in the Albayzín

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Albayzín (or Albaicín) is the most famous district in Granada. And with good reason: every corner of Granada’s Arab quarter is overflowing with history. Although its steep slopes are hard to climb, it’s worth getting lost in the neighborhood’s narrow white streets, which are tastefully decorated with colorful geraniums.

Best things to do in 2 days in Granada: get lost in the Albaicin
A classic house in Albaicín, white and full of geraniums.

The Albayzín was populated by the Moors and later by the Moriscos (Muslims who converted to Christianity) until they were expelled from Granada in the seventeenth century. All the churches in the Albayzín today were mosques once. All the mosques were immediately converted into churches after the arrival of the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. Today, there’s only one mosque in the Albayzín, which, despite the Muslim history of the district, was built in 2003.

The Albayzín has a fascinating history, so I highly recommend a guided tour:

03 | Go Out for (Free) Tapas

There are very few places where you can eat Spanish food as well and cheaply as in Granada. Most restaurants in Granada include free tapas with each drink, which can be anything from a hamburger to fish or even a plate of paella! Needless to say, I doubt you’ll go hungry in Granada!

Some of the best tapas bars in Granada are Carmela, Los Manueles, Casa Torcuato, Bodegas Castañeda, and La Porrona.

04 | View the Alhambra from the Mirador de San Nicolás

There are many viewpoints in Granada with fantastic views of the Alhambra, but the most popular is the Mirador de San Nicolás, located in the heart of the Albayzín. Fun fact: this place became internationally famous after Bill Clinton said that from this viewpoint, he had seen “the most beautiful sunset in the world”. (Clinton was actually talking about another viewpoint near this one: the Mirador de San Cristobal, which is also a must-see in Granada.)

Vistas desde el Mirador de San Nicolas, Granada
Views from the Mirador de San Nicolas, Granada

The Mirador of San Nicolás offers some breathtaking panoramic views of the Alhambra. Although the exterior of the Alhambra is austere (according to the Muslim architectural style), the views are incredible and the atmosphere you will find in the viewpoint, where flamenco musicians gather at sunset, make this viewpoint another lively location you must visit during your 2 days in Granada.

05 | Go for a Walk Down Paseo de Los Tristes 

From the Carrera del Darro, you can walk down the Paseo de los Tristes for some stunning views of the Alhambra framed by the Darro River. Although its name evokes sadness, it’s hard to feel anything but happiness as you walk down one of the most beautiful streets in the world!

06 | Visit the caves of Sacromonte, the Gypsy neighborhood

Very close to the Albayzín is another neighborhood rich in history:  El Sacromonte. Historically, this was the neighborhood of the exiles: Muslims who hid in caves after being expelled from the Albayzín and gypsies who settled in Granada after being rejected throughout Europe. Jews in Granada also moved to this neighborhood, as did some Christians who refused to adapt to the rules imposed by the Catholic Monarchs.

Because Sacromonte was located outside the city walls, it served as the perfect refuge for Granada’s outcasts and became a haven of peaceful coexistence between cultures.

2 days in Granada: visit El Sacromonte
VIews of the Alhambra from El Sacromonte.

This cultural melting pot also inspired the birth of flamenco, which is characterized by fusion. Today,  Sacromonte is famous for its caves, the gypsy population, and the flamenco. There’s no better place in Granada to see a flamenco show!

07 | Visit El Carmen de los Martires

Cármenes are the traditional houses of Granada, also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although they’re technically Christian houses, almost all their aesthetic elements come from Muslim architecture.  Note that to be considered a cármen, a house must have a garden and a view of the Alhambra.

The history of the cármenes goes back to the seventeenth century: when Muslims were expelled from Granada, Christians took their abandoned houses in the Albayzín. Because these houses were usually small, they were often built close together.

There are two cármenes you can visit for free: Carmen de los Martires, which is next to the Alhambra; and Carmen de la Victoria in the Albayzín. Carmen de los Martires has a huge park with beautiful gardens, lakes, and majestic peacocks, so I definitely recommend you visit that one first!

Carmen de los Martires, Granada.
Carmen de los Martires, Granada.

08 | See the Street Art in the Realejo

Granada attracts many tourists with its monuments, but another lesser known attraction of the city is its street art. One of the best neighborhoods in Granada to see urban art is the Realejo, where the modern paintings blend well with some of the oldest streets in the city. It’s the perfect mix of old and new!

Arte Urbano en el Realejo, Granada

Where to Stay in Granada

The best neighborhoods to stay in Granada are El Albayzín and the Center. El Albaicín for being the most beautiful neighborhood in Granada, and the Center because of the comfort it offers. Here you have a selection of the best places to stay in Granada:

  • El Albaicín

If you want to sleep in the most iconic and beautiful neighborhood in Granada, do not think twice and stay in El Albaicín. Here you have a few options:

Apartamentos Turísticos Alhambra – These beautiful apartments in El Albaicín have a pool and two terraces with views of the Alhambra.

Hotel Casa Morisca  – This hotel offers unique accommodation within a noble house dating back to the end of the 15th century. All the magic of the Alhambra reflected in Morisco houses and can be enjoyed here.

Hotel Casa 1800 – Another wonderful hotel in a restored 16th-century building. It offers free afternoon snacks, and a typical Andalusian patio.

Smart Suites Albaicin – Modern and comfortable accommodation in Albaicin.

Calles blancas del Albaicín
  • El Centro

If you prefer comfort and having everything handy, you should rather stay in the Center of Granada. With its narrow and cute streets, it is also one of the most beautiful areas of the city. Some of the best accommodation options in the Center of Granada are:

Gar Anat Hotel Boutique –  This is a small and unique hotel from the 17th-century, skillfully restored and set in the historic city center.

Room Mate Leo – This design hotel has a rooftop terrace with great views over Granada and the Alhambra.

Hotel Párraga Siete – This hotel is set in a charming 19th-century building in the old town. It offers stylish rooms and an à la carte restaurant.

Hotel Alhambra Palace – If you want to indulge, this hotel is located just outside the Alhambra’s ancient walls, offering spectacular views over the city of Granada and features stylish rooms with Moorish-inspired décor.

For smaller budgets, I recommend checking for hostels at Hostelworld. Another great option is Airbnb. If this is your first reservation, use this link get a 25€ in your first trip. 

Getting Around in Granada 

The train station in Granada has been out of service for years due to renovation, so if you’re coming to the city from Andalusia or Madrid, your best bet is to take a bus.

From the Granada bus station, take Bus 33 to the center of town. The price of the trip will be €1.40 in cash or €0.83 with a transport card (Credibus). A card can be purchased directly on the bus.

Because it’s a small city, getting around Granada is easy. Of course, if you want to avoid the steep slopes, you can always take the bus. The C30 and C32 go up to the Alhambra. The C32 also goes up to the Albayzín, and the C34 goes to Sacromonte.

Granada en dos días - visitar la Alhambra

Although Granada is small enough to get around in a weekend, its rich history and numerous attractions will ensure you’ll never get bored of this wonderful city. It truly is a must-visit destination in Andalusia and one of the greatest treasures of Spain! So what are you waiting for? Start planning your two-day trip to Granada today!

* Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, if you make a reservation or a purchase through the links above, I will earn a small percentage. This helps me to keep my website running. I really appreciate your support. Thanks!

You may also like

10 comments

Pat February 17, 2019 - 11:32

Hello Ana,

I’m planning for a trip to Spain/Portugal this coming April, my trip covers Barcelona, Madrid, Granada and Seville, and then off to Portugal. I just wonder whether renting a car or riding on a train/bus should be the answer while traveling in Spain. I have read a lot about car robbery and pickpocketing in Spain, how bad is it for a tourist like me? Do you think I need a car for a these cities? And if I choose to get on a train/bus, will it be possible to cover all the aforementioned cities. I have searched the route from Madrid to Granada, there is no direct train, only a combination of AVE-bus.

By the way, how is the weather going to be like in the month of April? Ah..I also find out that I’m gonna be traveling there during Easter (Semana Santa), would you also please share the experiences about this?

I would be very appreciated for your answers and suggestions. Thank you so much in advance.

Reply
Ana February 18, 2019 - 16:12

Hi Pat, thanks a lot for your comment. To be honest, I do not drive so I always rely on public transport in Spain. I am not particularly a fan of RENFE, but you could use it from Madrid to Sevilla (AVE). To go to Granada, it is best to use the bus (check ALSA) because, at the moment, there are no direct trains from Seville to Granada. I didn’t know there was so much car robbery in Spain, but in any case, I guess you should be covered by insurance? Anyway, public transport should be ok if you decide to do it this way.
The weather in April should be lovely, especially in the South (warm and sunny!). And Semana Santa will be for sure a very interesting experience (especially if you are in Sevilla on the Holy Thursday). Beware of the crowds though! Enjoy your trip to Spain, you chose wonderful cities 🙂

Reply
PAT February 20, 2019 - 05:03

Thank you so much, Ana! Just can’t wait to explore Spain. And yes, I think I’ll take public transportation then, should be a great way to see the real Spain!! ^^

Reply
Ana March 1, 2019 - 08:51

Thanks to you Pat. Public transportation should be ok and yes, you will love it! Spring in Andalucía is a bless, enjoy it for me 🙂

Reply
mabel June 10, 2019 - 07:42

Hi Ana, your article is very helpful in confirming that I must spend 2 days in Granada. Unfortunately I can only come in early August, are shops and restaurants closed? And any tips to cover all the places while staying cool and survive the heat? Please kindly give me any further advice you have, thanks so much.

Reply
Ana July 7, 2019 - 16:10

Hi Mabel, so sorry for my late response! August should be hot, yes! But still a good time to visit beautiful Granada. I can only recommend to stay hydrated, drink a lot of water (or cold beers). Shops and restaurants should be open, but some of them take a siesta break after lunch time and open again around 18:00 or so. Hope you enjoy this beautiful city!

Reply
Jorge Jesus July 25, 2019 - 11:35

Hi Ana, I really liked your article because I will be 2 days in Granada / Alhambra and I wrote down some things you mentioned. I read somewhere on the internet that Granada has many urban myths and dark stories, did you hear anything about it in the time you had there? I love paranormal intrigue.
For now I have particular interests in doing tours like this https://www.livingtours.com/en/tour/alpujarras-tour-from-granada because I am going with my family.
I await your next post! Jorge

Reply
Ana July 28, 2019 - 16:55

Hi Jorge, thank you so much for your comment. I am glad my post was useful 🙂 Unfortunately, I don’t know any urban myths, but I am sure there are lots of secrets behind the streets of Granada. Enjoy your trip, it is a wonderful city!

Reply
CW August 12, 2019 - 01:19

Hi Ana, thanks for your detailed review which is helpful to our trip planning. We are planning a trip to southern Spain in November covering Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, Ronda, Granada, and if time allows Cádiz as well. Our high level plan is like Madrid (2 -3 nights), Seville (3 -4 nights) as base doing day trips to Cadiz and Ronda, Granada (2 nights)., Cordoba (1 night)
Just want to ask what’s the weather like in November?
Any comments on the routing ie Madrid – Seville (with day trips) – Granada – Cordoba – Madrid. Just like you, we are going to use public transport ie train to and from Madrid, bus from Seville to Granada, train between Granada and Cordoba, and of course train again for our trip back to Madrid before flying home.
As you are a Seville local, would be great to hear from you on Seville and my planned day trips to Cádiz and Ronda.

Thanks.
CW

Reply
Ana August 12, 2019 - 15:52

Hi CW, thank you so much for your kind words 🙂 That sounds like a great trip. You are going to love Andalusia and the weather in November should be nice. It is quite hot in Spain until middle October, after that it starts getting cold but still pleasant and sunny. I come from Seville, but I haven’t lived there for many years and need to catch up on my own city… haha, but it is lovely, great life, people and food. I wish you happy travels!

Reply

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More