If visiting Granada is on your plan, you’re in for a treat! Granada is an amazing city in the Spanish province of Andalusia and it is truly unique and beautiful. The beautiful city in southern Spain is characterized by its grand Islamic architecture, free tapas, and loads of street art. Granada surprises and delights visitors of any age and nationality. Many fall in love with the vibrant Spanish city for its show-stopping hilltop fortress, the Alhambra. But everyone is soon more excited by the fast, fun pace of life in the city. When you walk around the city you will definitely notice some of the most beautiful churches you can imagine. Most of them are amazing and very well preserved as well. In this article, you will get to know more about churches in Granada and cathedrals worth visiting.
1. Cathedral worth visiting: Catedral de Granada
The Cathedral is the first Renaissance church built in the whole of Spain. It is definitely one of the most important monuments in Granada. They started building it in 1518, after the Spanish Reconquista in Granada and where the city’s main mosque used to be. The first plan included a lot of Gothic designs which you can see in some parts, mainly in the Royal Chapel. It took them 181 years to build it. As a result, the Renaissance designs were now more popular and were eventually used instead of the earlier designs. Alonso Cano, a famous artist from Granada built the facade of the building. Apart from its vast interior and artistic sophistication the doorway of San Jerónimo and the Royal Chapel are also outstanding and definitely worth visiting.
Catedral de Granada: opening times & ticket prices
The opening hours differ based on the day. From Monday until Friday the cathedral is open from 10:00 until 18:15. That changes on Saturday because it is closed for the day and on Sunday it is open from 15:00 until 18:15. The individual tickets cost 5€ while there is a discount for students at 3.5€. You have the option to buy an audio guide along with your ticket at the ticket office once you’re there.
2. Churches in Granada and Cathedrals worth visiting: Basilica de San Juan de Dios
The Basilica of San Juan de Dios is the spiritual centre of the Hospitaller Order. The devotees of the Hospitalier Order funded its construction between 1737 and 1759. Their main goal was to build this church in Granada to house the remains of San Juan de Dios, its founder. It is a centre of great importance in the city of Granada because here is the Santo Sepulcro of the founder San Juan de Dios. It is the pattern of the city of Granada, of patients, nurses, firefighters, librarians, Royal Cavalry and Universal Hospitals.
This magnificent temple was built by Father Alonso de Jesus and Ortega, Superior General, who lived in the Hospital San Juan de Dios, attached to this church. He directed the work to the teacher José de Bada. The baroque Basilica is fully decorated, with gold and silver works of art prevailing in its interior. Just above the main altar, on an upper crypt, a solid silver urn contains the holy remains and relics of San Juan de Dios, Patron Saint of Granada. Take your time and enjoy the Basilica, as the inside of the building is as amazing as the outside. Take a look at its impressive façade, statues, images, paintings and carvings!
3. Iglesia de Sagrario
During the Moorish centuries, the mayor mosque of Granada stood exactly in this place. With the conquest of Granada by the legendary Catholic Kings, the old “Aljama Mosque” (the “Friday Mosque”, in English) was now Christian. Then it was also converted into the “Iglesia del Sagrario” (“Church of the Holy Tabernacle”). In the 18th century, after the construction of the magnificent Cathedral of Granada, the old converted mosque was demolished. Francisco de Hurtado Izquierdo, the same architect of the city’s Cathedral started the construction of a new Church.
The construction took decades and finally, in 1759, the new “Iglesia del Sagrario” opened. It is a beautiful Church, with not so many visitors as the neighbouring Cathedral. Make sure to check its visiting hours before going. This is one church in Granada that we absolutely recommend you visit. After all, it is not so popular among tourists, which make it a quiet place fit for prayer,
Iglesia de Sagrario: opening hours
From Monday to Saturday: Masses at 10:30 am., 11:30 am. and 6:30 pm. Sunday: Masses at 9:30 am., 10:30 am. and 1:30 pm.
4. Churches in Granada and Cathedrals worth visiting: Monasterio de San Jerónimo
The monastery of San Jeronimo de Granada, is an architectural work of the Renaissance. It is a combination between a monastery and a church. It was the first monastery in Granada after the conquest of the city by the Christians. Its foundation dates back even before the capture of the city by the Catholic Monarchs. It was in 1504 when the building started and they finished building it in 1547. It was declared a national monument on June 4, 1931 and since then it is a cultural interest. There are two beautiful cloisters with gardens inside although you can visit only one of them. This combination of a church and a monastery make it a special place to see in Granada.
5. Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Granada
The church of Santo Domingo remains still as they first built it in 1512 and presents an original facade. The facade consists of a portico with three arches with frescoes decorating the portico. On the rest of the exterior, the attractive stone is still in its original form. There you will see a mix of Gothic and Baroque styles. Located in Plaza Santo Domingo, in the impressive building, you will have the chance to see a lot of decorations with the initials and shields of Ferdinand and Isabella.
This is a Gothic church with Baroque chapels that is definitely worth a short visit. The diorama of the Last Supper with life-sized figures is something you’ve never seen before. The interior is amazing, even though this church in Granada might be smaller than you expect. The opening hours for the interior do not give you many choices, so make sure you adjust your day to fit in a visit – you won’t regret it!
6. Capilla Real
The Royal Chapel of Granada (Spanish: Capilla Real de Granada) is an Isabelline style building. Constructed between 1505 and 1517 it was originally part of the complex of the neighbouring Granada Cathedral. It is the burial place of the Spanish monarchs, Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand, the Catholic Monarchs. Apart from these historical things, this building also contains a gallery of artworks and other items associated with Queen Isabella. You can find the Royal Chapel in the heart of Granada, next to the Cathedral, one of the most visited churches in Granada. You will easily notice the gothic style of the church dedicated to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. In 1913 they chose to open a museum there as well, which is definitely worth seeing.
7. Iglesia de San Gil y Santa Ana
You will find this beautiful church opposite the Royal Chancellery of Granada. The Church of San Gil and Santa Ana was built based on a project by Diego de Siloé in the second third of the 16th century (1537-1548). It is today where Aljama Almanzora mosque used to be before.
This mosque was at the foot of the Alhambra, between the right bank of the Darro River and the Almanzora neighbourhood. A stone bridge (with the name Santa Ana bridge after the church) connected those places. While visiting the church you will notice the Mudejar style, with a single nave and side chapels. It has an interesting Plateresque doorway and interior offering. It is a small but very beautiful church that is definitely worth visiting. You can go there during worship hours and actually make the most of your visit to churches in Granada.
8. Abadía del Sacromonte
There are quite a lot of churches in Granada but think about visiting a place a bit further away. After crossing the whole of Sacromonte and going up the last slope you will see the Abbey. The Abbey is a location for pilgrimage and other religious festivities where locals go to either honour San Cecilio or accompany the Cristo de Los Gitanos during Holly week. Once you get there, get ready for an amazing experience. Inside the Abbey, you can admire its beautiful architecture and interior courtyard. Inside there a lot of valuable items are on display, such as documents belonging to Averroes, a letter from Pizarro to Charles V or an anonymous portrait by Picasso.
Keep in mind that the church is at the top of Sacromonte hill so you will have some walking to do. Nevertheless, it has a fantastic courtyard, church and caves. We cannot also forget the spectacular views of the Alhambra, the city and the mountains that you will see from up there. You can only enter with a guided tour so remember to make a reservation if you are travelling with a group.
9. Churches in Granada: Iglesia de San Antón
You will find the church and convent of San Antón de Granada in the centre of the city of Granada, very close to the point known as Puerta Real. The current complex dates back to the seventeenth century and the building of it finished in the eighteenth century. It currently consists of a convent and a church that follow the aesthetics of the religious architecture of the time. The Franciscan Tertiaries founded the church in 1534, on the site of a former hermitage.
The current complex stands at the intersection of the popular Recogidas and San Antón streets. The church is from the 17th century and has a Latin cross plan (which does not protrude to the exterior). You will have the chance to see a barrel vault with lunettes and a dome of Churrigueresque aesthetics. In the High Altar, there is an image of the Crucified of Pablo de Rojas and a San Francisco de Asís of Pedro de Mena; as well as paintings that represent the Nuptials of the Virgin, the Circumcision and the Assumption of Juan de Sevilla. The interior of the church is quite interesting and exciting, making the church one of the hidden gems in the city of Granada. As you can find the church in such popular streets of the city, we highly recommend you pay it a visit once you’re in the city.
10. Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción “La Cartuja”
The Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de la Cartuja is another great church of Granada. It housed a community of Carthusian monks from its foundation in the sixteenth century until the exclaustration of 1835. Although it mixes different styles in its architecture, it is a perfect example of Spanish baroque architecture. Currently, it is an asset of Cultural Interest and a Historic-Artistic Monument belonging to the National Artistic Treasure since June 3, 1931.
Once you get there you will realise why the church is definitely worth a visit. You can access the monastery through a doorway, typical of the Spanish Renaissance of the 16th century. From the large 17th-century cobblestone courtyard, where you can park, you can see the façade of the church and the staircase that leads to the interior of the monumental complex. The Cartuja Monastery has a free audio guide in Spanish that you can download to your phone with the QR code. As it is quite a big building full of different rooms used for different purposes by the monks the audioguide will be quite useful. The visit distinguishes two very different parts because of their style and decoration, all determined by the use given to these rooms in the order. Arrange your visit and enjoy the true experience of churches in Granada.
Check out these links for more information about churches in Granada:
Abadía del Sacromonte