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Spain is one of my all time favorite countries in the world. Anyone who regularly reads this blog already knows that I could talk about my love for Spain for hours.
I would even move there if the timing made sense for me. Spain is just … well, it’s Spain. What’s not to love?
Spain is home to scrumptious (and sometimes free) tapas, warm weather, iconic cities, breathtaking nature, incredible festivals, and so much more. Not to mention, solo travel in Spain is relatively affordable compared to other countries in Western Europe, especially if you explore outside the main tourist areas.
Again, what’s not to love?
One of the main reasons I love visiting (and revisiting) Spain is because each region feels so different. Solo travel in Andalusia was a brand new experience for me in comparison to Barcelona and Madrid, and I obviously enjoyed my time there a lot.
However, at the same time, since Spain has so many remarkable regions and cities, it’s difficult to make a firm decision on what exact places to add into your itinerary.
As for me, I always want to see and do everything on my trips to Spain, which I know is impossible. Hence multiple trips, haha.
Granada is one of the most popular cities for tourists to visit in Spain, especially in the south. I personally had a great time here, but I also understand that everyone has different interests and priorities when they travel to a new country.
Therefore, this post will cover the question “is Granada Spain worth visiting?” at length. Granada, a thriving and fun small university city located in the heart of Andalusia, is a popular stop for visitors coming to Spain.
So what about you? Should you go to Granada? Let’s talk about it.
Is Granada Spain Worth Visiting? My Opinion
Um, I’m sure you can already guess my feelings about whether or not Granada is worth visiting.
Absolutely. I think Granada is an essential stop on a trip to Andalusia, especially if you have a lot of time to spare, such as 12 days in Spain (or more!). I actually don’t think a first trip to Andalusia is complete without going to the Alhambra.
Why so much love for Granada?
Well. When I visited Granada, actually the moment I stepped off the platform at the train station, I felt truly relaxed and happy after rushing to catch the early morning train from Seville.
Ultimately, this small city’s strong artistic vibes meshed very well with my personal style of travel. Not to mention, Granada’s many intimate and mysterious flamenco clubs, which truly transport your emotions to another world, also made this city special for me.
So, if you love cool and independent boutique shops and art fairs and delicious food, as well as a heavy dose of important history, then Granada will be the perfect choice for your trip to Spain.
Furthermore, Granada is perfect for a traveler who simply wants to “get lost” in a city. Wandering around without Google maps is super appealing to a lot of travelers, but not every city is a great choice for this. However, Granada is very, very safe, so it’s comfortable to explore the side streets and small neighborhoods. In particular, I thought the historic Albaicín was perfect for a carefree stroll.
And budget travelers? You may never have to spend a Euro on food, thanks to the “free tapas” culture. More on that amazing aspect of the city later on, haha! I can’t say enough good things about the free tapas.
So, if you’re asking yourself “Is Granada worth visiting?” as you plan your trip to Spain, the answer is most likely, yes. Yes, yes, yes it is.
But is there any time when Granada is not worth visiting, though? Sure.
Let’s say you only have six days in Spain and are flying into Barcelona. My advice would be to stay in Barcelona and explore the surrounding Catalonian cities, such as Girona and Figueres.
I also wouldn’t recommend visiting Granada in the summer. I know, I know. I’m a teacher, so I fully understand the pain of only having a lot of time off during the hottest months of the year. It sucks. I get it.
Normally, I would say to grin and bear it, but Andalusia gets unbearably hot in June, July, August, even early September. We’re talking 110F/43C levels of “hot.” I just don’t think it’s safe to sightsee in that weather unless your plan is to go out super early in the morning or late in the evening.
5 Reasons to Visit Granada on Your Next Spain Trip
I want to elaborate a bit more about Granada to help you determine whether or not this city is right for your upcoming trip to Spain.
And, yeah, you might be wondering why I only listed five reasons in this post. Haha, as much as I would love to write a novel on Granada, you’ll realize why this city is worth visiting once you step foot off the train station. I want to leave some room open for surprises.
The Alhambra Palace
Obviously, The Alhambra Palace is the main reason why Granada is worth visiting. Obviously. The Alhambra is one of the most visited sites in all of Spain.
And it’s not overrated. Not in the slightest. The Alhambra lives up to the hype.
To tell you the truth, it is hard to capture the experience of the Alhambra in words. This incredible site, including the breathtaking Nasrid Palaces and Generalife gardens, is the most beautifully manmade construction that I’ve ever seen on my travels. Full stop. You really need to visit it to believe it.
Keep in mind that the Alhambra isn’t an attraction that you can casually show up to. You need to bring documentation with you, for example, and your name needs to match the name printed on the ticket for security purposes.
As a side note, you also need to book tickets for the Alhambra far in advance, and entrance is timed for Nasrid Palaces. I went during Easter Week, and tickets were sold out for the next month. History buffs may enjoy a small group, skip-the-line tour to give additional meaning to the beauty that surrounds them.
All in all, the Alhambra is worth any hassle. You could easily spend all day at this magnificent palace, which by itself makes Granada worth visiting.
Easy Access to Andalusia
As a traveler, you can base yourself in Granada and enjoy relatively easy access to other parts of Andalusia. The trains and buses in southern Spain are decent and frequent enough as long as you’re sticking to the main cities.
For example, the train between Seville and Granada only takes two and a half hours. Granada and Cordoba? Less than two hours! Granada’s trains also link down to the coast to Malaga for those of you who want to add a bit of sand and sun to your Spanish vacation.
Granada’s connections to other cities make it an ideal stop for your visit to southern Spain. You won’t have to worry about switching trains a million times to reach your next destination.
Just make sure to book trains in advance. They do sell out on holiday weekends. Furthermore, your luggage is checked at Spain’s train stations, much like the security lines at airports. Allow yourself plenty of time to board.
In addition to its historic buildings, Granada has some splendid nature beauty that also easy for visitors to appreciate, even if they don’t leave the city.
Granada has several large parks with hiking trails and breathtaking mountain views. However, if you don’t want to hike, you don’t want to miss Mirador de San Nicolás, which is Granada’s most famous viewing point with an excellent vantage point of the Alhambra and Sierra Nevada mountains. Don’t miss this place at sunset.
You may also want to explore Sacromonte, which is a remarkable neighborhood known for its white-washed caves. Granada’s Sacromonte is very steeped in Roma tradition and as a result, is a wonderful area for music. The combination of nature and city, plus the artistic elements, will blow your mind.
Oh gosh, the free tapas were amazing in Granada. To tell you the truth, it’s challenging to find free tapas in other Spanish cities, but in Granada, tapas accompanying your drink were a given.
So, if you’re on a budget for your travels in Spain, come to Granada, because you can absolutely manage without paying for food here. I’m not even kidding. It’s amazing.
I would say the only downside to the free tapas is that there are soooo many delightful restaurants to try, which, in turn, feels overwhelming. Do your research in advance. Perhaps map out a “tapas crawl” on Google maps prior to your visit to Granada. Sure, this eliminates some spontaneity, but I personally like having a “set plan” in mind when it comes to food, haha.
Don’t want the stress of planning a tapas crawl on your own? No problem! In order to have an even better experience, perhaps book a small group wine and tapas tour to efficiently go to some of the best establishments Granada has to offer hungry visitors.
Small City Vibe Compared to Seville
Okay, I promise I’m not bashing Seville. I love Seville. I think everyone should travel alone to Seville at least one in their lives. It’s a fantastic city. However, Granada is smaller and since all the attractions are relatively close to one another, this city also felt more manageable, which I looooove as a solo traveler.
So, if you enjoy lots of attractions but also want the charm of a “smaller” city, then Granada is the perfect choice for you. You won’t run out of things to see and do, which is fantastic, but at the same time, you’ll feel immersed in Granada.
As a personal antecedent, I found that everyone was quite friendly and kind in Granada. My educated guess is locals are more open because Granada is a smaller city.
Granada Spain Travel Tips
Whew, so, I hope the answer to “Is Granada Spain worth visiting?” is a big, fat yes now that you’ve read this post.
I wanted to conclude this post with some basic travel tips about what to pack and where to stay in Granada. I know you will have a great time walking through the splendor of the Alhambra and eating alllll the free tapas that Granada has to offer visitors.
Packing Essentials for Granada
Honestly, you’ll be able to find most essentials in Granada, but at the same time, I’m sure you’d rather eat free tapas and explore the Alhambra than shop in a pharmacy. It’s better to pack in advance.
Here are a couple items that you should bring for your trip to Granada.
Granada Packing Essentials
- Comfortable Sneakers: You will walk a lot in Granada. Buses are available to go to the Albaicín neighborhood, as well as the Alhambra, but you’ll still clock a lot of steps. So opt for comfortable sneakers on your visit to Granada. Your feet will thank you
- Lightweight and “Cool” Clothes: Granada gets HOT even in spring and fall. I suggest lightweight clothing such as Coolibar clothes with sun protection to stay safe from the sun.
- Lonely Planet Spain Guide: Need more suggestions for traveling through Granada and beyond? Check out Lonely Planet’s Guide to Spain! You can bring a physical book or download only the chapters that you need.
- Mirrorless Camera: Everyone knows smartphone cameras are awesome. No doubt. But professional photographers might want to flex their muscles in the Alhambra using the Sony Alpha 6400 mirrorless camera on their Granada trip.
- Pacsafe Crossbody Bag: I wouldn’t stress about pickpockets ALL the time, but still, it pays to keep an eye on your belongings (like any other city). For extra peace of mind, invest in a Pacsafe Crossbody Bag for your trip to Granada.
- Spanish Phrasebook: In Spain, English isn’t as widely spoken as other European countries. Therefore you’ll want to bring a Spanish phrasebook, physical or digital, to help you navigate the language barrier a little bit better.
- Sunblock: Southern Spain is wicked hot, even in spring and fall. You need to protect yourself from the sun, so liberally apply sunblock to prevent nasty burns.
- Travel Insurance: As always, don’t forget travel insurance when visiting Granada in Spain. I use World Nomads for all of my trips, and haven’t been disappointed yet. You don’t want to lose money in case of delays and cancellations.
Where to Stay in Granada
- Boutique Hotel Luna Granada Centro: I love swanky boutique hotels, and this highly rated one in the center of Granada ticks all the boxes. Especially because they have a resturant and a pool, haha. See prices on Booking.com.
- Hotel Posada del Toro: This gem is located right in Granada’s City Center, and is a super close walk to the stunning cathedral. The price is perfect for a centrally located hotel! See prices on Booking.com and Expedia.com.
- Oripando Hostel: Granada’s amazing historic Albaicin neighborhood is one of my favorite spots in all of Granada. This highly rated hostel offers sone great views and a pool! Perfect for meeting other travelers too. See prices on Booking.com.
So is Granada Spain worth visiting? I definitely think so! Of course, still plan as much as possible, and learn a few phrases of Spanish. Depending on your itinerary, Granada could be a perfect fit!