Granada is one of the top destinations in Spain. The city is a reflection of the Spanish culture but at the same time leaves a unique impression on tourists.
What are the must-do in Granada?
1. Best Things to do in Granada: Savoring traditional foods
Eating tapas is one of the best things to do in Granada. Local restaurants are scattered all over the city. People usually appreciate a table full of tapas accompanied by a good Cerveza or tinto de verano. And everybody can enjoy this particular moment of the day! More and more restaurants offer vegan and gluten-free tapas on their menu.
We advise you to go eat at the local San Agustin market. It’s a convivial place where you can order tapas, and see the cooks prepare your lunch. And if you want to prepare a meal by yourself, you will have an excellent choice of Spanish products to buy. On market stalls, you will see tasty fish and olives kebabs, manchego cheese, or Jamon Iberico.
2. Going to a flamenco show
Everyone heard about this art, but not a lot has actually been to a flamenco show. It should be on your bucket list of fun things to do in Granada.
It’s a dialogue between singers, musicians, and dancers. The Cante carries you away in his melody, musicians speak without words and dancers embody the songs with arabesque signs. Furthermore, several options are offered to you. You can take transportation to see a show or eat during the performance if you want to!
But if you’re willing to enjoy an authentic flamenco show, you should go to the Palacio de Los Olvidados. This palace from the 16th century offers an intimate framework for outstanding performances. The artists carry intense emotions and take us into their stories. But tickets are limited. Only the first ones who saw this opportunity will testify to authentic Spanish art.
3. Wandering in the Albaicín neighborhood
If you really want to enjoy your trip, wandering the streets is the best thing to do in Granada.
And on top of the hill, with the view of the Alhambra, lies the Albaicín neighborhood. Constructed during the Moorish occupation, this district has kept its authenticity, charming tourists with its whitewashed houses and its unique restaurants. On a corner of narrow streets, people lost themself in souk-style markets. The Alcaicería market is the best one to visit. Overthere, you will find the perfect gift to bring back home. It’s Ali-Baba’s cave, where lies a hundred beauties. Before your eyes will parade a multitude of colored lamps attached to the ceiling, original postcards of Granada, ceramics objects, and so on.
The Albaicín neighborhood hides a lot of authentic architectural treasures such as the Plaza Nueva, the Puertas de la Murallas, and El Bañuelo, one of the oldest Arab baths in Granada.
4. The Alhambra in Granada, the best thing to do in Granada
The most famous monument in the city, the number one best thing to do in Granada. Built-in the 13th century, UNESCO recognizes it as a World Heritage Site. In other words, it’s a beautiful, well-conserved Islamic architecture, visited by millions of tourists each year. If your curiosity is not satisfied by this impactful description, you can still take a look at the Islamic Architecture in Spain: the top 8. We describe more in detail why the Alhambra is worth the visit.
5. The Cathedral of Granada
The Cathedral isn’t Granada off-beaten-track activities, but it’s definitely worth the visit! The succeeding Kings built the cathedral during the 16th century, in homage to the Virgin of the Incarnation. This monument is a reflection of renaissance, baroque and gothic styles. It hosts several chapels and magnificent organs. Next to it stands the Royal Chapel. You can also go there to see the Spanish monarchy’s burial place.
6. Best Things to do in Granada: the Basílica of San Juan De Dios
Another monument is dedicated to a religious figure: the Basílica of San Juan De Dios. On the outside, it looks simple and humble. But the inside is otherwise. You will be dazzled by gold. Most of the walls, the cellar, and the pillars are covered by it. Furthermore, there are beautiful paintings to see.
What are the unusual things to do in Granada?
Granada is huge. And like any other city, finding unusual activities when you don’t know the place can be tricky. But don’t worry, here are a few ideas to begin with.
7. Enjoying walking tours
We advise you to start your holiday with a free walking tour of the city. Guides are usually locals or used to stroll the city. They have a tourism or history background, so they will give you a sample of Granada’s past. All your questions can be answered, don’t hesitate to ask about the best restaurants to eat at or the best things to do in Granada. The tour is usually based on tips, so don’t forget to bring cash with you to reward guides for their work.
Walk-In Granada is an agency known for practicing responsive walking tours. They promote local cuisine, respect the neighborhood during the circuit and protect the environment. This company offers other Granada off-the-beaten-path activities that are worth checking.
8. Exploring the Sacromonte neighborhood
Sacromonte has two faces. At night, this highest part of Granada is full of tourists, curious to see flamenco shows. During the day, the place is deserted in favor of the center. Yet Sacromonte has much to offer, even in the daylight. Indeed, the neighborhood is populated by caves. With only a few euros in your pocket, you can explore a hidden face of Spain, embellished vestiges of the Spanish inquisition.
Historians still disagree about the origin of Sacromonte’s caves. The hypothesis most approved goes up to the 16th century. At that time, locals got expelled from the city by the Spanish Inquiry. They had to adapt and find a new home. They shaped stones from the surrounding mountains to make their new home. Today, Sacromonte houses are built from caves holes inside the hills. Visiting them is definitely an unusual thing to do in Granada.
9. Searching for Granada’s secret gardens
One of the top Granada off-the-beaten-track activities is to look for its secret gardens. Spanish called them “carmen”, which means “gardens covered with vines” in Arab. Their origins go up to the Muslim occupation. And most of them are hidden in the Moorish district of Albaicín.
Carmens offer a break from the city’s hustle and bustle. Noises from the center are attenuated in favor of birds’ songs. Green becomes the mean color around you. Fountains and ponds punctuate your walk, where it’s not surprising to observe peacocks and ducks bathing in it.
Carmen de los Mártires, Carmen de la Victoria and La Fundación Rodríguez-Acosta are the must-see hidden gardens in Granada.
10. Visiting a perfume cellar
Granada is full of surprises. Even when you go to a small perfume shop, you might end up in a fragrance cellar. The Patio de Los Perfumes is a boutique located in a 16th-century Renaissance Palace. The framework is peaceful and sellers have refined noses. Moreover, under this unique shop, is hidden a unique museum. In the depths of the city, you will learn the history of fragrances and how experts reconstitute natural scents. You can discover it on your own or with a guide. If this visit has unveiled a passion inside you, you can participate in a fragrance masterclass. A perfumer will help you create your own scents.
The Patio de Los Perfumes also hosts gardens, where you can wander around with a cup of tea.
11. Watching the sunset from Mirador San Miguel
Mirador de San Nicolás is a famous place, where everybody gathered to admire a panoramic view of Granada. But the spot can be crowded at certain times of the day. Everyone knows this mirador, but few are aware of another one, just a little higher: the Mirador San Miguel.
It takes more time to reach the top of the hill but the view is more impressive and enjoyable. Besides, the road to reach this point is worth the effort. With traditional white houses decorated with beautiful bouquets on blue flowerpots will cross your path. Locals usually gathered in the Mirador San Miguel in the evening. Because they know, that a sip of beer doesn’t have the same taste during the sunset…
If you want to enjoy the city in all its facets, you can also reach the Mirador de San Cristóbal located in the same area. It’s next to a church with the same name.
12. Wandering in Albayzin Bajo, an unusual thing to do in Granada
If the mirador’s beauty gave you a taste for adventure, you can continue to walk further, down the hill. On the opposite side of the Mirador San Miguel’s viewpoint stands Albayzin Bajo. It’s a nice, underrated district, dotted with local restaurants. When you will reach la Plaza Larga, you will admire the Arco de la Pesas. It’s the last vestige of a defense wall, construct in the 8th century by Moorish architects.
So Granada is unique, and the more you see, the more you want to discover. This city unveils its full potential little by little, street by street, monument by monument. That’s why you need to come back to Granada whenever you can. Because this city will surprise you on every visit.