A weekend in Granada

Granada is a wonderful Spanish city that celebrates it’s Moorish past and has preserved the architecture and flavour of that era. The mix of Andalucían and Islamic surroundings provide so much to see and explore. This is the perfect itinerary for what to see during a 2-day break or a weekend in Granada.

With the breath-taking backdrop of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains and just over 1 hour drive from the Costa Tropical coastline, it’s a city full of surprises and contradictions. But it’s also a city that is welcoming, hospitable and beautiful.

We had a great time visiting Granada on a crisp but bright January weekend and I wanted to share the route we took and things we really enjoyed. Here are our tips on how to spend a weekend or 2 day break in Granada.

What to see and do in Granada during a 2 day or weekend break

Granada two day city itinerary

There’s no need to rush while you’re roaming a great city like Granada. Start this self-guided tour of Granada at whatever time of day works for you. Deviate from the route if you wish or stay longer at a place you love, whatever suits you best. Oh, and there are plenty of opportunities to stop for beer and tapas along the way.

Here’s a rough map to give you an idea of which direction to go on each of the two day routes (stops are marked with a red star). Grab a city map or use google maps to make sure you don’t get too lost 🙂 and enjoy your weekend exploring Granada!

*RELATED article: For practical travel information about the city read – What you need to know before visiting Granada

Granada city 2-day itinerary map

Day one itinerary:

Plaza Nueva

Plaza Nueva is the old square of Granada and great starting point for exploring the city. Have a bite to eat in the many bars around the square and find Elvira street that runs off the square.

Tip: Stop for drinks around here and you will be given some delicious free tapas!

Granada beer at Plaza Nueva

Carrera del Darro

Walk up Carrera del Darro along the narrow, trickling River Darro and enjoy the pretty old buildings and bridges along the way. Stop to take a look at the Santa Ana church or El Banuelo the Arab Baths.

Tip: It’s an uphill walk but at the top you will find Fuente del Paseo de los Tristes. A square with views up to the Alhambra, perfect for a coffee stop!

Granada Carrera del Daro

Albaicin

Wander through the narrow streets of the whitewashed Albaicin buildings. Every turn is a picture-perfect photo opportunity. Find the Mirador de San Nicolas, one of the most famous view points over the Alhambra. This is where everyone gathers to take in the stunning building from afar.

Tip: The Mirador can get very crowded, there’s a little bar in front of it called El Balcon. Stop in there for a more relaxed view but be aware that drinks are pricey!

Ganada Albaicin

Granada Cathedral

Head south towards Granada Cathedral and the Capilla Real to find your way back to the city centre. Don’t miss the Alcaiceria, a collection of market stalls selling all sorts (big surprise for me here was that the sellers were not pushy at all and didn’t hassle us). Near here you will find Plaza Bib-Rambla a lovley open terrace full of restaurants and Calle Navas one the famous free tapas bar streets.

Tip: In the free tapas bars taking your time and relaxing pays off as the 2nd and 3rd tapa is usually hot and slightly better quality then the 1st.

Granada Capilla Real

Day two itinerary:

Alhambra

Many people head straight to the Alhambra when they arrive in Granada, I prefer to take in the city before tackling a big tourist landmark. You will need a couple of hours here to just walk up to the building and look around. If you want to go inside you may need a full day to explore all of this magnificent fortress. General life and Patio de los Leones are the very picturesque highlights.

Tip: There is a little public mini bus you can take up but it looked very crowded, the walk is nice!

Granada mirador

Calle Caldereria Nueva

After all that walking and exploring head to the one of the Arab tea houses or look through the shops and stalls on Calle Caldereria. This area has lots of handcrafted local gifts, trinkets, Moroccan clothes and bags.

Tip: It gets lively at night so pop back later if you want to have a great night out!

Granada market stalls

Flamenco show

Seeing a flamenco show is a must when in Andalucia. There are many good quality shows throughout Granada. They range from small intimate local bars to big dinner and show performaces. The Sacromonte area, where the gypsy families lived in the pretty cave houses is the heart of flamenco in the city.

Tip: I recommend Le Chien Andalou for a very intimate and reasonably priced flamenco show. Book ahead if you can, it will fill up fast!

Granada flamenco

I hope that you have a great city break in Granada and this weekend itinerary is helpful. Don’t forget to save it so you can read it later or share it on social media 🙂

There is lots more to see in Andalucía, if you are planning to explore this region read all about Possess the World’s stay in nearby Álora and how they spent 2 weeks in Andalucía.

If you would like more information on what to see & do in Granada please send us a message in the comment box below↓↓

You might also be interested in these other guides by Seeking the Spanish Sun…

The best cities to visit in Spain

A weekend in Barcelona

My trip south to the Costa del Sol

A weekend in Bilbao

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25 Comments

  1. 4th May 2018 / 9:57 am

    I am planning a trip to Granada soon, and your article was most helpful as I thinking now of making this a 2 day journey 🙂

    • 4th May 2018 / 10:13 am

      That’s great! I hope you have a wonderful time. You could squeeze it all into one day but I recommend at least two to enjoy everything at a relaxed pace.

      • Riz
        31st July 2018 / 9:01 pm

        Hi

        When booking a trip to Granada. From London is there a direct flight to there or what’s the nearest city/ airport / route?

        Trying to organise a 2 day break to visit the Alhambra. Any help is appreciated.

        Thanks

        • SeekingTheSpanishSun
          Author
          3rd August 2018 / 11:13 am

          Hi Riz, I believe British Airways fly direct to Granada from London City airport. Or you can fly with a low cost airline via Madrid (stopping for a night or two or just taking a flight connection) from Heathrow or Gatwick. Granada is quite a small airport, if you would prefer more flexible flight options you could consider flying into Malaga and driving up to Granada from there which takes approximately 1 hour 45 mins. I hope that helps you plan your trip 🙂

  2. 14th March 2018 / 5:32 am

    We had a wonderful day trip to Granada but wish we had read your guide before we went, you have some great tips for where to eat and drink in this post. Thanks for the tips, I will keep it handy for our next Andalucian adventure

    • 16th March 2018 / 10:57 am

      Awesome! Glad to here you had a lovely trip when you visited Granada 🙂

  3. 14th March 2018 / 3:45 am

    Spain is an amazing country with many wonderful cities. Seeing the Alhambra is a dream of mine! I like your idea to take in the city with the cathedral first, etc. before exploring the Alhambra. I’d also like to see flamenco. I saw a flamenco show in Barcelona, but I know the dance doesn’t really come from Catalonia.

    • 16th March 2018 / 10:55 am

      You’re right there are so many wonderful cities here in Spain. Granada is one of my favourites and the Alhambra is amazing. I bet the flamenco show you saw in Barcelona was great, I think there is just a more authentic performance in Andalucía and this part of Spain has such passion for the art.

  4. 13th March 2018 / 7:48 pm

    I’ve seen flamenco shows on TV, but never live. I definitely would like the intimate experience of a real flamenco show. I’m coming for your Granada!!!

    • 16th March 2018 / 10:50 am

      Live Flamenco is such an amazing experience. The show we went to was so intimate, we could touch the dancer. We also had the rare opportunity to see a male flamenco dance which was incredible, very intense and very skilful.

  5. 13th March 2018 / 4:51 pm

    Wow, this place is really beautiful at its own right. I truly like that you really get most of your time when you were heading to Alhambra and enjoy the moment. I would love to traipse my feet on the lovely road and just enjoy the view. I wish to come here soon If I get the chance. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    • 13th March 2018 / 6:16 pm

      Thanks 🙂 I hope you get to visit Granada soon and see the wonderful Alhambra yourself!

  6. 13th March 2018 / 3:23 pm

    Very compact and nice itinerary that takes in the best sights and experiences of Granada. I like the fact that you did not rush to the Alhambra and did it on a more leisurely pace. Albaicin looks enchanting and strolling around the town must indeed be a pleasure.

    • 13th March 2018 / 4:08 pm

      It can be hard to take everything in during a city break and often you feel like you just don’t have enough time to see everything. I wanted to give a short city guide covering the main sights that cannot be missed. Visiting somewhere as iconic as the Alhambra deserves some time to explore and enjoy fully 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting, I hope it was useful.

  7. 13th March 2018 / 5:18 am

    I like your itinerary. I did some of the things and really enjoyed the cathedral. I still have a CD that I bought from a guitarist performing just outside the cathedral. The free tapas with drinks tradition stopped a long time ago so I’m happy to hear that there are still areas where free tapas is offered.

    • 13th March 2018 / 4:02 pm

      Thanks Rhonda, glad to hear that you enjoyed your trip to Granada. I loved hearing the street performers playing flamenco guitar as I wandered the streets. Taking a cd home is a wonderful way to remember Granada. Not many places in Spain give away free portions of hot tapas now so its great the tradition is still strong in Granada.

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