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Last Updated on April 14, 2021 by Mary Emmer
There are many options for day trips from Granada, but you may find it challenging to get there if you don’t have a car of your own.
If you find yourself considering a visit to Granada, it’s most likely that you’re being drawn to it by the prospect of visiting the Alhambra. This is understandable since the Alhambra Palace is one of the top sights to see in Spain, if not in Europe.
But is that the only reason to visit Granada?
And once you’re there, why would you want to make any day trips out of the city?
Why Should You Visit Granada?
Granada is a city that is rich in history and famous for its Moorish heritage.
Granada is the capital city of the Spanish Province of Granada. You’ll get a spectacular view of the nearby Sierra Nevada mountain range from many different areas of the city.
You can visit Granada as a day trip from Malaga or Seville, but there is so much to see and experience there, that it’s worth a much longer visit than a single day.
You could easily find enough to do there for a weekend or a week.
Or, you could spend a month as I did and still not run out of things to do.
But the wonders of the city of Granada are not all that the region has to offer. And it’s on one of those extended stays in Granada that you’ll want to grab the opportunity to see some of the surrounding countryside and other towns and attractions that are within reach of the city on a day trip.
Pros & Cons Of Staying In Granada, Spain
The first time I visited Granada, I stayed for a month.
Although my husband and I had been to Europe many times throughout a 30-year career in the travel industry, Granada was the first place in Europe that we had a long term stay.
The city was fabulous, but we had some hiccups with the weather and the house we rented. That, however, is another story for another day.
The pros of staying in Granada for a weekend or longer outweigh the cons and include the city’s rich history, the Moorish buildings, and the city’s energetic vibe.
If you are planning on staying longer than a few days, you might be more comfortable in your own apartment or house than you are in a hotel.
There are many lovely rental options available in Granada and you can find them on Airbnb.
While we were visiting, we decided to get out of Granada to visit some of the surrounding areas and we quickly realized that if you don’t have a car, it’s not so easy to visit places outside the city.
Chalk one up for the cons.
I rely mostly on public transportation when we travel. Aside from the occasional car rental, I take the train whenever possible. That’s my preferred mode of transportation. The second runner up is the bus, albeit not my favorite way of traveling.
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to get anywhere on the train from Granada. The bus is marginally better, but still felt a bit limited, since one of my golden rules for day or weekend trips is that I don’t want to travel for more than 2 hours.
Day Trips From Granada
So if you don’t have a car, I’ve got you covered.
Here are five possible day trips from Granada that will work pretty easily, even if you don’t have a car.
This Renaissance jewel of a town is located in the province of Jaen, about 1 1/2 hour drive north of Granada. It’s “golden rule” approved by me, which means it’s under 2 hours of travel time. If you’re taking the bus though, it’ll take a bit longer. Most likely, about 2 1/2 hours. That still works for me!
Ubeda is a World Heritage Site founded in the 9th century and filled with Renaissance churches, palaces, and other buildings.
Baeza is another Renaissance beauty in the province of Jaen and only 11 kilometers from Ubeda. Also a World Heritage Site, Baeza is a beautiful historic town located at a higher elevation. It overlooks the National Park of Cazorla with views that are spectacular over the surrounding countryside.
If you have time for a weekend trip instead of just a day trip, Ubeda and Baeza make a perfect combination to visit for a weekend. With both towns perched high up with views of the surrounding area, and their distinctive sand-colored buildings, these twin towns are worth every minute of a weekend visit.
Capileira and the region of Las Alpujarras
Another “golden rule” approved place and only 74 kilometers from Granada, the drive to Capileira will only take about 1 1/2 hour in a car and just a bit more on the bus.
Capileira is in the mountainous region of Las Alpujarras, and it’s the highest and most remote whitewashed village in this beautifully scenic and rugged area. Las Alpujarras is situated on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada range, and the towns of the region were the last stronghold of the Moors.
You’ll have fantastic views of the Sierra Nevada from almost every single spot in Capileira.
Heading south from Granada to the Mediterranean coast, you’ll come to Nerja after about a 1-hour drive. Of course, the bus will take longer, but still less than 2 hours.
Nerja is a quiet resort town on the coast that is a delight to visit for a day. The Nerja Caves are a well-known attraction nearby and are worth visiting if you’re a “cave” man (or woman.)
Not everyone is.
Aside from the caves, Nerja is a pleasant village to walk around in, especially on the Balcon de Europa, or the “balcony of Europe.” This is a beautiful promenade (once the site of a Moorish castle) that is perched high above the sea with unbelievable views.
Frigiliana is a beautiful whitewashed village located only 6 kilometers up the mountain behind Nerja.
On a clear day (which is almost every day in Spain), you get sweeping views down the mountain and over the coastline and even a view of the African coastline.
Frigiliana is a maze of narrow, cobblestone streets that twist in one direction and then the other. The village has two parts: the lower, and the upper. The upper section is where you’ll want to be, so be aware that you’ll be walking up, up, up!
The travel time from Granada is similar to that of Nerja. About an hour’s drive and longer on the bus.
Instead of choosing between Nerja and Frigiliana for a day trip, why not do both? Make it a weekend trip by combining Nerja with Frigiliana. Plenty of accommodation options in Nerja for a weekend stay, and it’s easy to go to Frigiliana from Nerja for the day. There is no bus from Nerja to Frigiliana, but you can take a taxi for a meager cost – it’s only 6 km.
So there you have it. My top 5 best ideas for day trips from Granada (that you can do without a car.)
If you’re planning on visiting the Alhambra Palace while you’re in Granada (a must-see), consider a Skip the Line tour. You won’t be sorry!
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