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Top Things to Do in Granada, Spain: A Guided Tour Experience

Top Things to Do in Granada, Spain: A Guided Tour Experience

I traveled to so many beautiful places on my Andalucia Trip with Toma and Coe. Seville was a highlight for me which you can read all about here. However, Granada really stood out as well. My guide described this city as “proud, majestic, and more Arabic in character than her neighboring cities” and I couldn’t agree more.  There’s so much to see and do in Granada so I was very thankful to have a guide.  Here are some of the highlights!

Alhambra & Generalife Gardens:

This stunning 13th century palace is Spain’s most visited tourist site with almost two and a half million visitors a year.  I think it goes without saying, but a visit to Granada just isn’t complete without seeing the Alhambra!  Here you’ll discover over 800 years of history spread across acres and acres of beautiful land.

Alhambra, Granada photo by Carmen's Luxury Travel

Alhambra, Granada photo by Carmen's Luxury Travel

Alhambra, Granada photo by Carmen's Luxury Travel

Alhambra, Granada photo by Carmen's Luxury Travel

Alhambra, Granada photo by Carmen's Luxury Travel

It was built by Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar, a Moorish ruler who was a part of the Nasrid Dynasty.  This was the last Muslim dynasty in Spain which helps explain all of the Arabic inscriptions and gorgeous Islamic calligraphy carved into the walls of this ancient palace. I loved the breathtaking views of Granada which can be found from almost everywhere.  Inside and out, the Alhambra is a feast for the eyes!

Generalife Gardens Alhambra, Granada photo by Carmen's Luxury Travel

Generalife Gardens Alhambra, Granada photo by Carmen's Luxury Travel

You’ll find Generalife just outside the Alhambra walls.  This is a wonderfully lush area filled with fountains, walkways, and garden patios.  The name itself means “garden of the architect” in Arabic.  Back in the day, these were the pleasure gardens of the sultans.  Here you’ll find more stunning views of the city and the Alhambra as well.  It’s the perfect place to rest and contemplate after seeing the magnificent palace.

Generalife Gardens Alhambra, Granada photo by Carmen's Luxury Travel

Generalife Gardens Alhambra, Granada photo by Carmen's Luxury Travel

Royal Chapel:

The Royal Chapel in Granada was built as a mausoleum in the 1500’s for Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand.  They wanted to be buried in Granada as it was the scene of their most important victory against the Moors.  We visited the royal coffins which rest in the crypt beneath the elaborate Renaissance tombs.  This late-Gothic chapel is Granada’s finest Christian building and absolutely worth visiting.  Inside, you can also admire the stunning altarpiece and a priceless collection of crown jewels.  Some of the jewels include Isabella’s crown and sceptre, along with Ferdinand’s sword!

Royal Chapel Granada

Granada Cathedral:

After finishing the Royal Chapel, you can easily make your way to the Cathedral since it’s built on to the chapel.  Although they are in the same structure, you will need two separate tickets but it’s absolutely worth it.  The architecture inside and out is one of the finest examples of Spanish Renaissance.  The cathedral replaced the city’s mosque as the final expression of the Catholic rehabilitation of the city.  From the moment you step inside, you are wow’d by the vast space with it’s giant pillars and beautiful arches.  The cathedral has five naves so give yourself plenty of time to explore!

Granada Cathedral photo by Carmen's Luxury Travel

Granada Cathedral

Albaícin:

Don’t miss a chance to wander around Albaícin which is the Arabic quarter of Granada. There are so many picturesque streets here, colorful markets, and unbeatable views.  In fact, the main purpose of our visit was to admire the views from Mirador De San Nicolás.  This is the most popular viewpoint in Granada and it’s easy to see why!  You’ll discover stunning views of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  Both locals and tourists love to watch the sunset from here which is absolutely when I’d recommend you visit!

Albaícin neighborhood Granada Spain

Alhambra Granada Spain

Granada was very memorable for me.  While it is a popular tourist destination, it still felt so authentic.  Thanks to my wonderful Toma and Coe guide Matt, I enjoyed learning more about Spain’s history and Arabic roots.

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About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

24 Comments

  1. I really wish I had had more time to visit the south of Spain. The architecture is so stunning and in such contrast to the rest of the country. Granada will be on my bucket list next time for sure!

    • Carmen Edelson

      I’m glad you’re adding Granada to your bucket list, Jennifer!

  2. We loved Granada. We only had two short days there so taking a tour would have been a great use of time – I wish we had taken one! The Alhambra is a highlight and absolutely unmissable!

    • Carmen Edelson

      Next time! Toma and Coe give tours all over Spain 🙂

  3. I’ve heard about Alhambra, but I’ve never heard much more about Granada. I love all those beautiful gardens and architecture!! Any good restaurants you recommend?

    • Carmen Edelson

      It’s great! Sorry I can’t remember the names but be sure to order drinks first wherever you go and hold off on the food. They bring you a free tapa per drink so most people can eat for free! This includes if you just order a soda too 🙂

  4. You’re photos have just sold me on Granada! Everything looks gorgeous, so full of color and history. I can’t wait to visit.

    • Carmen Edelson

      That makes me so happy, Dana! I think you will love it.

  5. Wow this looks like such a great destination. It never crossed my mind to go here actually, even though I love Spain. I will certainly keep it in mind for a next trip! Great photos by the way, it looks beautiful

    • Carmen Edelson

      It’s a beautiful part of Spain with such a rich history!

  6. The cathedral and Alhambra are absolutely GORGEOUS; I think my two favorites. The detailing on the Alhambra was gorgeous.

    • Carmen Edelson

      I know, the detailing just blew me away.

  7. This is AMAZING! A good friend always raves about her time studying abroad in Spain and I still really need to go.

    • Carmen Edelson

      You must go! It’s one of my favorite countries in Europe and it’s pretty affordable too.

  8. Grenada is so beautiful. I would love to visit the Alhambra, and see the views from the Cathedral. The Arabic influence is really interesting!

    • Carmen Edelson

      It’s interesting and beautiful! I hope you get to go there, Christine 🙂

  9. That medieval architecture is just incredible. I love that no matter where you go you have those stunning mountain views – talk about beautiful. I would love to visit Alhambra and those gardens, too. What time of year did you visit? Is there a distinct “tourist” season?

    • Carmen Edelson

      I went in the spring! I’d definitely recommend spring or fall 🙂

  10. Granada is an awesome travel destination, Carmen! I have always wanted to go there and your post was very motivational!

    • Carmen Edelson

      That’s so nice to hear, Agness! Thank you. It’s a wonderful city.

  11. Thanks for sharing your experience in Granada. I spent five weeks in Spain and decided not to go because I didn’t get tickets to the Alhambra in advance. Just reading this makes me want to hop on a plane and continue exploring Spain- there really is so much beauty to see in a relatively small country!

    • Carmen Edelson

      Definitely visit again, Cristina! It’s worth it.

  12. Thanks for sharing this guide with us. Its really a wonderful post. I will definitely share it with my friends.

    Keep sharing.

    • Carmen Edelson

      Happy to! Thanks for reading 🙂

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