If you’re lucky enough to have 2 days in Granada, you’ve got time to enjoy all the city’s sights. These include the astonishing Alhambra Palace, and cultural attractions as varied as tapas and flamenco dancing. But Granada is also a great base for exploring the region more widely, whether on city tours or countryside hikes. One of Andalusia’s main cities, Granada is just an hour from the Mediterranean, Seville and Cordoba.
Day One in Granada
Use your first morning in Granada to tick off its star attraction, the Alhambra Palace. Dominating the skyline of the city, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was constructed in the early 1300s. Built during this period Andalusia was under Arab control, this palace complex is must-see. Surrounded by stunning gardens known as the Generalife, it is considered one of the finest examples of Islamic art in the world. In its time, the palace was home to Nasrid sultans and the Spanish monarchs of Ferdinand and Isabella. As a result, it has witnessed a number of important events, including a visit by a certain Christopher Columbus.
Having captured sight of Granada’s landscapes from the Alhambra, this afternoon is the perfect time to explore them in more detail. One of the best ways to get among them is to pull on a pair of walking shoes. Then join a tour along the Darro River. They lead out of the city center and into the hills beyond, using the 15-kilometer river as a rough route. Taking in everything from the central Plaza Neuva to Sacromonte gypsy caves, they offer a huge insight into the history of the city.
Andalusia is the birthplace of two of Spain’s most iconic exports – flamenco and tapas. Discover them both with an evening tour of the tapas trail. They begin just as Granada’s locals are forgetting about work and joining up with their friends. The best tours take in both the city center and Albaicin districts, rich in Moorish architecture. Along the way, you’ll stop off at authentic tapas bars for a drink and bite to eat. Having sampled croquettes, tortilla (Spanish omelet), and meatballs in rich tomato sauce, its time to enjoy the best flamenco you’ll probably ever witness. You’ll do this in its traditional home of the Sacromonte area of the city.
Day Two in Granada
After tasting tapas last night, this morning provides a chance to prepare some of the best-known dishes for yourself. Join an expert guide on a tapas cooking tour for all the tricks of preparation. Start right at the beginning, with a tour of local marketplaces to purchase some of the fresh ingredients you’ll be using. Then head to your host’s home. Offering an insight into the lives of everyday Granada residents, your destination is the kitchen. Here you’ll be guided step by step through dishes such as gazpacho and paella, alongside the local version of sangria.
Alternatively, why not spend your time visiting one of Andalusia’s other great cities, Cordoba? Easily reached from Granada by guided tour of Cordoba, the city has a mesmerizing blend of relics. Your guide will ensure you don’t miss any, from the Roman-era bridge spanning the River Guadalquivir, to the atmospheric Jewish Quarter. Your tour will also include time at the Mezquita. This huge complex was built in 785 AD as a mosque, just 170 years after the birth of Islam. Today it stands as the Roman Catholic Cathedral, while maintaining much of the original Islamic design.
Stroll back towards the Albaicin district for one last feel for Granada. The bars here provide the opportunity to chat with locals while enjoying one of the local tipples. They don’t look much from the outside, but are an important part of the culture. They also offer a great place to sit and enjoy the sun set and lights come on across the city. Bars like La Fragua may seem a little rough and ready, but are ultimately very welcoming. Retire to one of the comfortable hotels from our curated guide on where to stay in Granada.
2 Days of Play in Granada
With 2 days in Granada you can capture the essence of this part of Spain. Visit the main sights of Granada and Cordoba. Then watch authentic flamenco, sample tapas, and even try creating these dishes for yourself. Find a hotel in Granada, or even more tours of Granada to round out your reading. Or explore nearby Seville with our Seville design guide and where to stay in Seville.