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I must admit that Granada was completely off my radar until I researched things to do in Granada, Spain. The first image I saw was of the Alhambra, and the minute I saw it…it was game over for me 🙂
Granada appears on the radar of most people strictly because of the Alhambra Palace.
Granada’s history goes back at least 700 years and has a strong Moorish influence. The Alhambra is the shining example of the amazing Moorish architecture in Granada, but there’s much more to behold than this spectacular palace.
Although I had previously spent winter months in Mexico for a number of years, Spain was the first country in Europe where I had an extended stay, and Granada was the city.
Why did we choose Granada (other than wanting to visit the Alhambra)? That is a great question.
As is usually the case when we are planning extended stay visits to a place, we rarely end up going exactly where we initially planned to go. Sometimes, during the process of looking around for accommodations, etc…we find places that we didn’t plan to find!
That’s how we found Granada. We were originally planning to find a place on the Costa del Sol or the Costa Tropical. But Granada spoke to us in some way, so Granada is what we ended up with.
It was a great choice in many ways and there are so many things to do in Granada if you look for them. However, given that we were there during the month of February and that we were trying to escape the bitter cold of a Wisconsin winter, we were in for somewhat of a rude awakening.
Upon our arrival, Granada was having a period of record cold and there was even some snow the first few days of our stay. Oops! The other problem is that the house we rented was not quite what I expected, and that was complicated by the extreme cold temps.
What happened to the brilliantly sunny days we were expecting? The bright side was that Granada becomes magical in the snow!
But the snow only lasted a few days so it wasn’t too bad.
The house, on the other hand, was just something we had to deal with for the month we were there. On this trip, I learned a lot about exactly what to look for in a vacation rental or long term accommodation. I wish I had known so much more before choosing our first European vacation rental. But we came away from this trip with experience and won’t make the same mistakes again.
Time to check out all the awesome things to do in Granada, Spain!
5 Things To Do In Granada, Spain (4 are free!)
Honestly, this list could be really long because there are seriously so many things to do in Granada, Spain. We certainly didn’t get bored, despite the fact that we were there for a month.
In reality, we didn’t have time to see and do everything we would have liked to do.
That’s a great reason to return to Granada for another stay in the future!
Here are my top 5 choices for awesome things to do in Granada.
#5 – Mirador de San Nicholas – Visit the Mirador de San Nicholas and you’ll get a fabulous view of Granada and the Alhambra. A nighttime visit is especially cool because you can see the Alhambra all lit up!
#4 – Albaicin Neighborhood – This is the old Moorish quarter of Granada, and it’s also been named a World Heritage Site. It retains the narrow winding streets of its Medieval Moorish past dating back to the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. The house we rented for our month-long stay was located in the Albaicin, so I got to know this quarter very well. Honestly, when we first arrived I had no idea how we would ever find our way around. The streets are narrow and winding and seem to go nowhere!
#3 – Sierra Nevada National Park – The Sierra Nevada National Park is the largest national park in Spain. The park is about 320 square miles and has one of Europe’s tallest mountains, called Mulhacen. There’s a ski resort, and along with Mulhacen over 20 mountains to explore in addition to numerous rivers, lakes, forest areas and hiking trails. The ski resort is only about 20 miles from Granada and offers a variety of both winter and summer activities. If you enjoy scenery, nature and hiking this park is perfect for a day out from Granada. It’s easiest to get there if you have a car. It’s possible to get there by bus, but can be more complicated and you’ll be at the mercy of the bus schedules.
#2 – Historical center of Granada – Don’t overlook just wandering around the historical center of this great city. There is a wealth of interesting churches, buildings and areas, many of which will have free admission.
#1 – The Alhambra Palace – Out of all the things to do in Granada, Spain, this is undoubtedly #1 in terms of popularity and it’s well worth it. An amazing place. Be sure and allow plenty of time to visit everything! This is the one item on my list here that is not free, but worth every penny that you will spend. I highly recommend taking a tour so that you can learn all of the history while you tour the palace. If you’re visiting during busy tourist months you’ll want to consider a Skip-the-Line tour. You’ll be glad you did!
Bonus – Free Things To Do In Grenada, Spain!
And I even have a little bonus for you with one more thing to add to the list of free things to do in Granada, Spain that are completely awesome!
Well, it’s sort of free anyway.
Granada has for a long time had a free tapas tradition. How this works is that when you go into a bar and order a drink, you will get a free tapas. Order another drink, and you’ll get another free tapas. So, you’ll pay for the drink but the tapas is absolutely free. It becomes kind of a game to see which establishments have the best tapas. And sometimes the tapas they offer are so good that the bar becomes overrun and too busy!
I must admit that I was skeptical of this practice before I arrived in Granada. It just didn’t seem like the bars would give you any kind of decent tapas for free. Boy, was I wrong! I must admit that during the course of spending a month in Granada, I dined on a whole dinner of free tapas more than a few times 🙂
So, the bottom line is that there are plenty of things to do in Granada, Spain regardless of whether you are planning a long or short stay.
Although my stay in Granada had a rocky beginning due to the weather, it turned out to be a lovely visit to a beautiful city that I would highly recommend to anyone that is thinking of visiting.
Have you been to Granada? Drop me a comment and let me know what you liked the best!
Thinking of visiting? Feel free to drop any questions you have in the comments. I’d be happy to answer them if I can.
And don’t leave home without at least one of the best Spain Travel Guides. Here are my top choices!
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