Granada: What You Need to Know Before Visiting

What you need to know before visiting Granada in Spain. All the essential information that everyone should know before traveling to the city. 

This guide will include helpful tips and info covering: 

  • Granada facts 
  • Arriving in Granada 
  • Getting around Granada 
  • Granada barrios 
  • Granada attractions 
  • Spanish language basics 
  • Average food & drink costs 
  • Things to be aware of 
  • Useful websites 

What you need to know before visiting Granada in Spain. A travel guide by Seeking the Spanish Sun blog

Granada Facts 

  • Granada is a city in the Andalucía region of Spain 
  • It’s located in Southern Spain about 65km from the sea 
  • At the foothill of the Sierra Nevada mountain range 
  • The population is around 240,000 
  • The most famous sight in Granada is the Alhambra which attracts 3.2 million visitors per year 
  • Granada airport is named after the famous Andalusian poet Federico García Lorca  
  • You can ski in Granada from December to April 
  • In the summer temperatures can reach 44°c+ 

Arriving in Granada 

By Plane  

Granada airport is pretty small and only has 1 terminal. Direct flights only come in from Spain and France but it’s really easy to connect in Madrid or Barcelona to fly into Granada. When you arrive at the airport you can get to the city centre by bus or taxi: 

  • Airport bus: Just outside the arrivals hall is a public bus stop. Buses go to Granada bus station and various stops in the city centre. The service is not very regular and is scheduled roughly every hour (or just after flight arrival in low season). Check the timetable at the information desk and if you are happy to wait it will cost €3 and take 30-45 minutes. 
  • Taxi: The more expensive but more convenient option. The taxi rank is also just outside arrivals and there is usually lots of cars waiting after a flight arrives. Drivers will use a meter and fares are around €25-30. 

By Coach 

Alsa run an extensive coach service connecting Granada with other cities and towns in Andalusia. If you arrive via coach you will stop North West of the city centre. Jump on a city bus from here or take a taxi to get to the city sights and central hotels. 

By train 

There is currently no high-speed train line into Granada so if you arrive by train you most likely took a scenic route stopping somewhere nearby in Andalusia. I would not recommend traveling long distance to Granada by train as it takes a very long time. Barcelona to Granada by train for example takes 11 hours compared to 1½ hour flight. 

*RELATED article: If you want to visit the nearby beaches read – The essential guide to the Costa Tropical 

What you need to know before visiting Granada

Getting around Granada 

Walking 

Walking around the centre is very easy, the main city sights are within the central area. Some of the main road can get busy with traffic, so I’d recommend taking the back streets for a more scenic walk. If you are heading up to the Alhambra by foot be aware that it is quite steep. 

Bus 

Public buses run through the city so if your legs get a little tired or you are less able to walk its quite easy to hop on a bus. A single ticket is €1.40 or if you will be using it frequently, consider a travel card that can be topped up with €5 or €10 and each journey is then only 87cents. Be aware that money left on the card will not be refunded, so it’s only works if you use the bus 5 or more times. 

Taxi 

Registered taxis are white with a dark green stripe on the front door. Taxis are easy to hail around the city and drivers will use the meter. Expect fares to rise in the evenings, on the weekend and on public holidays. 

*RELATED article: For more city break inspiration read – The best cities to visit in Spain

A view of the syunning Alhambra in Granada, Spain

Granada Barrios 

The main areas or neighbourhoods that you are likely to visit as a tourist are: 

  • Centro 
  • Albaicín 
  • Realejo 
  • Bib Rambla 
  • Sacromonte 
  • Zaidin 

Granada attractions 

The sights you just cannot miss are: 

  • Alhambra  
  • Generalife 
  • Cathedral 
  • Capilla Real 
  • Plaza Nueva 
  • Albaicin streets and houses 
  • Mirador San Nicolas view 
  • Alcaiceria shops and stalls 
  • Sacromonte cave homes 
  • Del Darro river 

*RELATED article: For more information on what to see during a 2 day visit read – A weekend in Granada 

There are parts of the Alhambra you can access for free

Spanish language basics 

Here are some simple words in Spanish that you might find useful during your trip.

Hola – Hello 

Gracias – Thank you 

Por favor – Please 

De Nada – You’re welcome 

Si – Yes 

No – No 

¿Que tal? – How are you? 

Bien gracias – I’m fine thanks 

Disculpe – Excuse me 

¿Habla Ingles? – Do you speak English 

No entiendo – I don’t understand 

Lo siento – I’m sorry 

Adios – Bye 

*RELATED article: Tips for first time travel to Spain

Average food and drink costs 

Prices will vary from place to place but this is a rough guide to give you an idea of the approximate costs: 

Small bottle of water = €1

Coffee with milk = €2

Ice cream = €3 

Croissant or pastry = €1-2

Small beer = €2-3 

Tinto de verano (like sangria) = €3 

Glass of cava (sparkling wine) = €4 

Gin & tonic = €6-8

Tapas = €3-6 (or free when you buy a drink in some bars) 

Raciones (a bigger portion of tapas) = €7-12

3 course menu of the day “menu del dia” = €10-14

Tapas is given for free when you buy drinks in Granada, Spain

Things to be aware of in Granada

  • The traditional bars will give you a free tapa when you buy a drink but not all will. The best streets to head to for free tapas are Navas, Elvira, Plaza Bib Rambla. 
  • The free tapa will usually get better each time you order another drink, the idea is to keep you in the bar. 
  • Book tickets in advance for the Alhambra if you want to explore inside. 
  • Mirador San Nicholas is the famous viewing point to see the Alhambra from afar. 
  • The gardens surrounding Alhambra are pretty and you can see some buildings up close without paying. Head to the Puerta de la Justica to enter the free area. 
  • There is a tourist information office near the Cathedral. 
  • If you want to see a small, authentic flamenco show book in advance.  

Useful websites 

Granada public transport info

Granada city bus map

Granada official tourist info

We hope this post was useful and you enjoy your trip to Granada! Other travel guides and information from Seeking the Spanish that you may find useful… 

8 Surprising sights to see in Spain

A quick guide to the different regions of Spain

What you need to know before visiting Madrid

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4 Comments

  1. 23rd August 2018 / 12:15 am

    Las fotos son preciosas y la guia es sencilla pero con muchos detalles.
    Sad that being from Madrid I have never visited Granada, now living in London seem more difficult to get there but definitely have it in mind for next year.

    • SeekingTheSpanishSun
      Author
      24th August 2018 / 11:38 am

      Gracias! That is a shame, flying from London to Granada is more difficult. Maybe you can combine it with a visit home via Madrid or fly into Seville or Malaga for a little Andalucía road trip.

  2. 3rd July 2018 / 8:56 pm

    it looks so pretty!

    • SeekingTheSpanishSun
      Author
      4th July 2018 / 10:22 am

      Granada is a very pretty city. The old Moorish buildings look awesome against the Sierra Nevada mountain backdrop.

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