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Mirador de San Nicolas

I might be a little biased, but I think that Granada, Spain is one of the greatest places in the world. The city is full of rich history, beautiful landscapes, and it’s really walkable! I would recommend spending at least four days in Granada to make sure you have time to enjoy everything, but in case you’re pressed for time, here’s a guide to see the highlights of Granada in just two days!

Day 1

Alhambra

When you arrive in Granada, the first thing you’ll notice is the magnificent Alhambra. Both a fortress and a palace, this stunning example of Moorish architecture dates back to the 13th century. As the city’s signature landmark, it’s the perfect place to begin your tour of Granada! You can book a guided tour of the entire Alhambra complex, which usually takes around 3-4 hours. Many tours also include a walk to the Generalife, one of the oldest surviving Moorish gardens. From atop this beautiful sanctuary, you’ll get an amazing view of the Alhambra and the rest of the city.

Courtyard of the Alhambra

This tour will likely take up most of your morning, and maybe some of your afternoon, so you may want to spend the next few hours relaxing. Get lost in the streets of the beautiful Albaicin district, where you’ll be sure to find somewhere good to eat. In a future post, I’ll highlight some of the best places in Granada to get tapas and sangria!

San miguel alto viewpoint

Before sunset, make your way up to the San Miguel Alto viewpoint. Although you may get tired from the trek up the hill, the views are certainly worth it. As one of the tallest points in the city, you’ll have amazing views that are only enhanced by the vibrant orange glow of the sky.

Sunset at San Miguel Alto

Flamenco Show

To finish the night, you must truly immerse yourself in Andalusian culture. What better way to do this than going to see an authentic Flamenco show? Flamenco originated in southern Spain, where it is considered a true form of art. There are three main components to flamenco: the song (vocals), the dance, and the music (traditionally guitar). Flamenco performers often wear the color red, which signifies strength, energy, and passion. I was lucky enough to attend a Flamenco show during my time in Granada, and it exceeded all of my expectations. I have no experience with singing or dancing, but I was completely engaged during the entire performance. The passion is visible on the performers’ faces and you can’t help but be enthralled by the experience.

day 2

plaza de mariana pineda

Begin your second day in Granada with something sweet! Walk through the busy streets of Granada until you find Plaza de Mariana Pineda. This little square has lots of greenery, and is slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the main roads. At the end of the plaza you’ll find Café Fútbol, one of the premier churro shops in the city. I ate plenty of churros during my time in Spain, and Café Fútbol had some of the best. Simply order “churros con chocolate”, and enjoy. The warm, rich chocolate pairs so well with the crispy churros that you won’t want to stop eating them!

calle alcaiceria

After your belly is full, make your way to Calle Alcaicería. This street used to be the center of one of Spain’s biggest Arab Bazaars. While the market used to be filled with silk goods and spices, today you’ll find painted ceramics, glass lamps, embroidered clothing and blankets, and other small souvenirs. While relatively cheap, the goods are still remnant of the Moorish culture that once captivated the region.

granada cathedral

If you walk just 50 feet outside of the market, you’ll reach the Granada Cathedral. Constructed in the 16th century, this cathedral was built much later than others around Spain. This is because Granada was the last Muslim city in Spain before the Spanish Inquisition in 1492. The cathedral was built after all of the Muslims in Granada were forced to leave, and it sits in the center of the city’s old Muslim Medina. You may notice some graffiti on the outer walls of the cathedral, written in red script. It is believed that this graffiti was done by a group of students in the late 1500’s, so it’s really impressive that it’s still visible today!

Right next door to the cathedral is the Royal Chapel, or the Capilla Real. Most notably, this building is the burial place of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. These monarchs were in power during the Spanish Inquisition, and had a deep affection for the city of Granada. Granada is the Spanish word for pomegranates, and the Queen adorned her crown with engravings of pomegranates as an ode to the city she loved. When you’re done looking at Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, make your way to the street named after them.

plaza nueva

La Calle de los Reyes Católicos, which roughly translates to “the Street of the Catholic Monarchs”, leads you straight to Plaza Nueva. As one of Granada’s busiest squares, you can find lots of different restaurants and shops. Keep walking along the Rio Darro, one of the two main rivers in Granada, and as you admire the views, you’ll eventually reach the charming Paseo de los Tristes. While this translates to the “Promenade of the Sad Ones”, I promise that you won’t be feeling very sad here. This melancholy name comes from the funeral processions that used to walk through this area to get to the cemetery up the hill. Despite the name, this section of the city is actually very beautiful. Right at the base of the Alhambra, you’ll have some stunning views of the mighty fortress.

albaicin

The promenade also sits at the entrance to the Albaicin district, which you may have explored the day before. Once again, you finish the day getting lost in the charming streets of the Albaicín. The final stop on your two day tour of Granada is the Mirador de San Nicolás, where you’ll find arguably the city’s best view of the Alhambra. The area is usually filled with tourists, but not for no reason; just a quick glimpse of the view will have you saying, “wow”!

Mirador de San Nicolas

As you end your time in Granada, take a seat at Mirador San Nicolas and simply admire the city in all of its glory. Feel the beauty, the strength, and the tranquility that flows throughout, because a little piece of you will always be here. I may be biased because I spent so much time in Granada, but I have thought about this city every single day since I left. To put that into perspective, that’s 712 times (as of 12/2/2021 when I’m writing this post)! But, don’t just take my word for it. Below are some quotes about Granada from some people I’m sure you’ll recognize.

“Granada is a treasure and it will stay in my mind as my most beautiful memory, for a long time.” -Michelle Obama

“Granada, the most beautiful sunset in the world.” – Bill Clinton

“All curious travellers keep Granada in their hearts, even without having visited it.” -William Shakespeare

Albaicin

Pretty cool, right? Although I recommend spending more than just two days in Granada, you can still see and do a lot in that time. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and stay tuned for more posts about where to eat (and drink) in Granada!

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