Granada’s biggest attrac­tion, and one of Andalu­si­a’s most icon­ic sites, is the Alham­bra Fortress. The most impor­tant sur­viv­ing rel­ic of south­ern Spain from the Moor­ish peri­od, the Alham­bra was built 800 years ago between the 8th and 15th cen­turies. This huge com­plex is perched atop the Dar­ro Val­ley, with the peaks of the Sier­ra Neva­da in the back­ground. The orig­i­nal 9th ​​cen­tu­ry fort and walls were exten­sive­ly rebuilt in the 1200s by the new ruler, Mohammed bin Al-Ahmar. Also impres­sive are the Nazari palaces built by the last Moor­ish rulers of Grana­da in the 13th and 14th cen­turies. It is here that you will find some of the most intri­cate inte­ri­ors of the Alham­bra.

sights of granada

Entry relat­ed to loca­tion: Spain


Gen­er­al­ife was the Sum­mer Palace of the Alham­bra. Its man­i­cured gar­dens pro­vid­ed a cool retreat for the sul­tans dur­ing the hot Andalu­sian sum­mers. Nar­row paths mean­der along grace­ful flower beds and ponds, while exquis­ite arch­es and white­washed walls sep­a­rate the palace com­plex, reflect­ed in the water. The out­er pas­sage unit­ed the north­ern and south­ern parts of Gen­er­al­ife, offer­ing a beau­ti­ful view of the old dis­trict of Albaicin. Albaicín itself is one of the most majes­tic sights of Grana­da, the view of which opens from the tur­rets and win­dows of the Alham­bra.


Carmen de los Martires

If you find your­self at the top of the Alham­bra hill, don’t go down until you admire the gar­dens of the Car­men de los Mar­tires estate, as this is one of the city’s most attrac­tive green areas. Since most tourists go straight to the Alham­bra, this beau­ti­ful con­cen­tra­tion of flower beds, small ponds and paths is not much spoiled by the atten­tion of tourists. In spring and sum­mer, its shad­ed paths pro­vide a great escape from the scorch­ing sun, and views of the land­scape beyond Grana­da will delight the eye at any time of the year. The fairy-tale tow­er lies in the mid­dle of this green oasis, where you can climb up a small spi­ral stair­case and look out over the gar­dens and Grana­da from the city’s most roman­tic view­ing plat­form.

the beauty of Granada


No trip to Grana­da would be com­plete with­out a stroll through its old­est quar­ter, the his­toric Arab dis­trict of Albaicín. Here you will find a web of wind­ing cob­bled streets, per­fect­ly white­washed hous­es and jas­mine-scent­ed squares, locat­ed on the oth­er side of the Dar­ro Riv­er, direct­ly oppo­site the Alham­bra. It will take some effort to get to the top of Albaic­i­na, espe­cial­ly if you climb dur­ing the hot sea­son. But you won’t regret the ener­gy expend­ed: the views of the Alham­bra and the Sier­ra Neva­da moun­tains from the most famous Mirador San Nico­las Square are con­sid­ered among the best in the city. On Sat­ur­day morn­ings, a col­or­ful flea mar­ket opens on Larga Square.


Bar La Fragua

Climb­ing Albazin, be sure to vis­it one of the best tapas bars. The own­er treats every­one to Alham­bra beer and exudes friend­li­ness. He always per­son­al­ly choos­es an amaz­ing musi­cal accom­pa­ni­ment, where Edith Piaf can imme­di­ate­ly be fol­lowed by a Nir­vana song. You will also be treat­ed to the cheap­est glass of wine in Grana­da, worth 1.60 euros, after which you can end­less­ly watch how the life of Albaicin seethes with its orig­i­nal­i­ty.

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Terrace of the Lions on the island of Delos

tapas bar in granada

Dar al-Orra Palace

One of the main his­tor­i­cal sights of Grana­da is this exquis­ite Moor­ish palace. Its name trans­lates as “House of Hon­or”. It was the res­i­dence of Sul­tan Aisha, the last Moor­ish ruler of Grana­da in the tra­di­tion­al Moor­ish style. Its halls and rooms spread over three floors around a cen­tral court­yard and pool, which pro­vid­ed shade and cool­ness in sum­mer. There are also ruins of what was once an exten­sive gar­den. It is known that Aisha strong­ly blamed her son for the loss of Grana­da when they had to leave the con­quered city in 1492. Grana­da is also famous for some of the most beau­ti­ful cas­tles in Spain, which have a sep­a­rate selec­tion on Life­Globe.

Dar Orra Palace

Cathedral of Granada

In the cen­ter of the old city of Grana­da is a large cathe­dral. Work on this goth­ic, renais­sance and baroque mas­ter­piece began in 1518 and although it took more than 180 years of labor of sev­er­al archi­tects to com­plete, it is still not com­plete­ly com­plet­ed: two 80-meter tow­ers were orig­i­nal­ly planned, but only the work was com­plet­ed. The high façade of the cathe­dral is the work of the archi­tect Granadi­no and the painter Alon­so Cano, who designed every­thing in the Baroque style, design­ing the 1652 design. Cano’s con­tri­bu­tion also con­tributed to the intri­cate mix­ture of styles for which the Grana­da Cathe­dral is so famous.

granada cathedral

Palace of Charles V

Con­struc­tion of the palace began in 1527 and stopped unfin­ished in 1637. This colos­sal build­ing was sig­nif­i­cant for Charles V, whose grand­par­ents Fer­di­nand and Isabel­la wrest­ed Grana­da from Moor­ish pos­ses­sion in 1492. It was a kind of trib­ute, as well as an attempt to cre­ate a roy­al res­i­dence in Grana­da. Charles gave the order to build this palace in the Roman style, a reminder of the Catholic supe­ri­or­i­ty over the remains of the once great Moor­ish dynasty. The most impor­tant colon­nade of its beau­ti­ful cir­cu­lar court­yard was com­plet­ed in 1619, but the roof was nev­er added. Sit­ting in the cen­ter of the court­yard, you will plunge right into the deep blue of the Andalu­sian sky. Today, the Palace of Charles V is home to anoth­er impor­tant attrac­tion of Grana­da, the Fine Arts Muse­um of Grana­da, which can be vis­it­ed absolute­ly free of charge.

Museum of Fine Arts

The main art muse­um in Grana­da has over 2,000 clas­si­cal pieces, includ­ing a series of sig­nif­i­cant reli­gious paint­ings and sculp­tures dat­ing back to the 16th cen­tu­ry. Like the palace itself, this art col­lec­tion serves as a reminder of the Catholic con­quest of Grana­da and the sub­se­quent attempts by Catholic rulers to make their mark on what was Moor­ish ter­ri­to­ry for hun­dreds of years. The muse­um dis­plays the work of local artist Alon­zo Cano, who designed the façade of the Grana­da Cathe­dral.

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Fairy Ponds of Scotland

Sacromonte area

Time seems to stand still in the rus­tic gyp­sy quar­ter of Sacromonte, one of Granada’s most rec­og­niz­able land­marks. Many locals still live in col­or­ful white caves carved out of the rock. There are also dwellings made entire­ly from scrap met­al, wood and fab­ric, in which an old buck­et often acts as a show­er. Sacromonte is also the birth­place of the fla­men­co bar­rio in Grana­da, where you will always be sur­round­ed by this amaz­ing art. If you feel like attend­ing the offi­cial show, head to Ven­ta El Gal­lo and sit on the fab­u­lous rooftop ter­race. Sacromonte is called one of the most beau­ti­ful places in Grana­da for a rea­son.

Bar Pibe

If you hap­pen to be in the Sacromonte, take the time to vis­it the Pibe bar, whose ter­race offers some of the best views of the Alham­bra. Here you can spend the whole day on the charm­ing ter­race, admir­ing the Alham­bra and lis­ten­ing to the crick­ets and birds singing in the val­ley. The bar is locat­ed on the main tourist street of Sacromonte, but accord­ing to the own­er, it does not look like a tourist attrac­tion in Grana­da. Despite the great views, drinks here are not expen­sive com­pared to oth­er places in the city.

sights of granada

Sacramonte Abbey

In the mid­dle of authen­tic coun­try­side, high above the gyp­sy quar­ter, is Sacromonte Abbey, a key his­tor­i­cal land­mark in Grana­da. This now for­got­ten 17th cen­tu­ry mon­u­ment was built by Arch­bish­op Pedro de Cas­tro i Quignon on the bur­ial site of Saint Cecil­ius, mar­tyr and first bish­op of Grana­da in the 1st cen­tu­ry AD. The abbey is locat­ed so far from the city that silence and soli­tude pre­vail here at any time of the day. For €4 you can vis­it some of the inte­ri­or rooms, includ­ing the spooky Sacred Caves adjoin­ing the abbey.

Sacramonte Abbey


Reale­jo is the old Jew­ish quar­ter of Grana­da and one of Granada’s most charm­ing sights. Of par­tic­u­lar inter­est is Igle­sia San­to Domin­go, one of the most beau­ti­ful church­es in the city. The dilap­i­dat­ed walls and facades of Reale­jo’s build­ings are an open-air art gallery show­cas­ing the work of local graf­fi­ti artist Raúl Ruiz, also known as “Elnin­ho”. The incred­i­ble works of El Nino give Reale­jo a spe­cial cre­ative atmos­phere.

Restaurant Bodegas Castaneda

After explor­ing Reale­jo, head to the cen­tral Plaza Nue­va for some of the best tapas bars in cen­tral Grana­da. The Bode­ga Cas­tane­da is the old­est and most beloved among the city’s res­i­dents of all gen­er­a­tions. Treat your­self at the bar, order some fra­grant ver­mouth and enjoy the inde­scrib­able atmos­phere of this place, which is always filled with Spaniards.

Granada restaurant

Tapas bar Casa Julio

Not far from Cas­tane­da, in an alley from Plaza Nue­va, is anoth­er tapas bar, Casa Julio, spe­cial­iz­ing in seafood dish­es. Open­ing hours are not reg­u­lat­ed, but if you see it open, do not miss the oppor­tu­ni­ty to vis­it here and enjoy a deli­cious fresh squid dish with a glass of cold Alham­bra beer. The inside is more like a kiosk than a bar, so most patrons stand around a few tall round tables in the alley­way out­side.

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Bar Los Diamantes

Anoth­er of Granada’s most pop­u­lar attrac­tions is the Los Dia­mantes tapas bar, which is equal­ly pop­u­lar with locals and tourists alike. Unlike Granada’s more tra­di­tion­al estab­lish­ments, the décor is mod­ern. Bar Los Dia­mantes is so small that you have to shout your order from the door­way — such is the price to pay for vis­it­ing one of the most beloved local bars in Grana­da.

House Museum of Federico Garcia Lorca

This is an exten­sive col­lec­tion of doc­u­ments, sketch­es and pho­tographs, locat­ed in a park on the south­ern edge of Grana­da, which also bears the name of the most famous res­i­dent of the city. Fed­eri­co Gar­cía Lor­ca was one of the most promi­nent Span­ish writ­ers of the 20th cen­tu­ry, and the ele­gant house with all the arti­facts is the place where the poet was born in 1898 and lived for over 10 years. Lor­ca was killed at the start of the bru­tal Span­ish Civ­il War of 1936–39, and his exact bur­ial site is still unknown.

Carrera del Darro street

Car­rera del Dar­ro is the most beau­ti­ful street and famous land­mark of Grana­da. Start­ing from Plaza Nue­va and turn­ing towards Albain­in along the Dar­ro Riv­er, it is lined with cen­turies-old build­ings. Ris­ing above the banks of the riv­er, their worn facades are cov­ered in lush green­ery and vibrant col­ors. As you walk, head to the ancient stone wall for a good view of the Riv­er Dar­ro gen­tly flow­ing between green banks. At this point it pass­es under two of the old­est sur­viv­ing bridges in Grana­da.

beautiful streets of Granada

Arab Baths of Granada

The Arab Baths of Grana­da are hid­den under a pri­vate house about halfway along the Car­rera del Dar­ro. This is the old­est and best pre­served Arab bath in Spain. Banue­lo traces its his­to­ry back to the 11th cen­tu­ry, and the grace­ful Moor­ish arch­es and vault­ed ceil­ings are per­fect­ly pre­served after a thou­sand years, although the baths them­selves have long been lost. After the Alham­bra and the Gen­er­al­ife, this is the most out­stand­ing exam­ple of Moor­ish archi­tec­ture in Grana­da.

arab baths granada

Granada Fair

Every June (usu­al­ly the sec­ond week of the month), Grana­da hosts its annu­al fair, a fun week-long cel­e­bra­tion at a huge fair­ground on the out­skirts of the city. Even though this fair is much small­er com­pared to the leg­endary Feli de Abril in Seville, it is still worth a vis­it. Women dress in beau­ti­ful fla­men­co dress­es, peo­ple drink and dance all day long. In spe­cial tents, every­one is treat­ed to the clas­sic rebugi­to drink — an amaz­ing com­bi­na­tion of sher­ry and lemon­ade. Dur­ing the fair, bull­fights are also held, in which the best mata­dors of Spain take part.

sights of granada