How to Spend One Day in Granada: An Efficient, Fun-Filled Itinerary!

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The following one day in Granada itinerary is brought to you by Sydney from Alone and Abroad, an American living in Spain! Read on for some of her top tips for making the most of one day in Granada.

Welcome to Granada, one of the few places on Earth where you could go skiing and swim in the ocean on the same day.

With the Sierra Nevada mountain range as its backdrop, this beautiful city in southern Spain has everything one could want from a vacation spot. 

There is so much to do in Granada that it’s hard to fight the urge to put every single thing on your itinerary, especially if you only have one day in this enchanting city. 

But don’t worry. From historic neighborhoods, to endless tapas, to flamenco shows in hidden caves, we’ve got you covered! This one day in Granada itinerary is guaranteed to make you fall in love with this amazing city, and make the most of your short time there.

Save this Granada in One Day Itinerary for Later!

You’ll be very glad you did.

How to Get Around Granada

Luckily for those hoping to experience Granada in just one day, the city center is small and walkable. With a good set of sneakers, everything on this itinerary is easily reachable on foot.

That said, there are a lot of hills involved, so if you’d rather skip the climbing, Granada has excellent public transportation. Buses in Granada connect every part of the city, and a single ticket is only 1.40€. 

Taxis and Ubers are other quick and affordable options.

A city of white houses and yellow roofs on a hill
Photo by Dimitry B on Unsplash

Now, let’s move onto our one day Granada itinerary, starting with…

Breakfast: Enjoy Pan con Tomate at a Terrace Cafe

Like much of southern Europe, breakfast isn’t usually a big meal in Spain; a typical breakfast here is simply a light pastry and coffee. 

One popular morning meal is pan con tomate, toast topped with a grated tomato spread. If you’re looking to make the most of your one day in Granada, this is the perfect breakfast to start your day off right.

Some of the best cafes in Granada are: 

  • I Need Coffee: Specialty coffee at an affordable price. The American part of me was ecstatic to see iced lattes on the menu!
  • Café 4 Gatos: Sadly, has no actual cats. But, they do have some of the best pan con tomate in Granada and an outdoor terrace with a view of the Alhambra.
  • d’Sano: Afuller brunch option (and their crepes are to die for).
  • Toma Te Pan: some of the cutest cakes I have ever seen in my life. Walking inside makes you question if you’ve just stepped into Wonderland, and it’s a great place to go if you’re traveling with kids.

Morning: Explore the Alhambra Palace Complex

Drumroll, please. It’s time for the most important thing to do in Granada if you only have one day – explore the Alhambra!

I cannot stress this next part enough. Get. Your. Tickets. In. Advance. 

As soon as you know you’re going to Granada, getting tickets to the Alhambra should be the first thing on your to-do list. The Alhambra is the most visited castle in all of Spain, and it can sell out months in advance. 

A castle and military fortress
The Alcazaba. Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash

The Alhambra is actually a gigantic castle complex that used to be its own royal city. Part palace, part military fortress, it’s so big that it usually takes people upwards of three hours to see everything!

The main parts are the Alcazaba (military fortress), the Nasrid Palaces (the royal family’s home), and the Generalife Palace (historic gardens).

A courtyard and reflecting pool of a villa
One of the Nasrid Palaces. Photo by Girl with red hat on Unsplash

Your ticket lets you into the Nasrid Palaces at a specific time slot, but you can go to any of the others at your own pace. Since it’s difficult to know how much time you’re going to want to spend at the other places, start your tour in the Nasrid Palaces, and then the Alcazaba, and finish your tour in the Generalife Palace. 

While you can explore the massive castle complex on your own, the other option is to get a guide to lead you and explain the historical significance of all the sites.

This small group guided tour lets you skip past all the lines and makes sure you don’t miss any detail in the enormous palaces (plus, you have someone who can take your photos for you!)

A courtyard garden filled with bushes, fountains, flowers, and trees
Gardens of Generalife. Photo by Fran Fernández on Unsplash

Lunch: Eat Your Weight in Tapas

After all of that walking and exploring, it’s time for a good old-fashioned tapas bar!

Tapas are a staple of Spanish culture. They’re essentially small plates that are meant to be shared with the whole table. People usually order 2-3 plates per person.

One of the great things about Granada is that, unless the restaurant you’re at is a tourist trap, you should never have to actually pay for food. Every time you order a drink, you get a free tapa to go with it. The bigger the drink, generally the bigger the plate of food you get. 

The one caveat is that the tapa is the dealer’s choice. So you could get anything from patatas bravas to a ham and cheese charcuterie board to fried calamari.

A table full of tapas
Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

They’re all equally delicious, but if you’re a picky eater or have food allergies it may be worth it to just pay extra and order the specific plates you want rather than playing tapas roulette. 

NOTE: As I mention in this Spain travel tips post, often people will order the Patatas Bravas as a tester dish to trial the restaurant’s quality. If they can do this staple dish right, odds are the rest of their menu will be good too!

Some of the best tapas restaurants in Granada are:

  • Bar Los Diamantes: Popular with tourists and locals alike. They’re known for their seafood, wine selection, and affordable prices. 
  • 100 Montaditos: Every broke students’ tapas bar of choice. On Wednesdays and Sundays, everything is only 1€. The food may not be amazing, but where else are you getting beer and sangrias for that price?
  • Los Manueles Monjas del Carmen: A more upscale tapas restaurant. It’s been in business since 1917, which is always a good sign that the food is amazing.
A "Daily Menu" at a tapas restaurant
Photo by Veronika Hradilová on Unsplash

Afternoon: Go Shopping in the Alcaicería Market

I accidentally stumbled onto this market the first time I visited Granada and had so much fun getting horribly lost in the labyrinth of tiny winding streets. 

The Alcaicería was the original Moorish silk market in Granada. They sell everything here, from spices and clothing to old books and house decor. 

The arched doorway that leads to an indoor/outdoor marketplace
The Doorway to the Alcaicería. Photo by Sydney Sampson

It’s easily the best place to get your souvenirs. I had to restrain myself at the spice stall because I wanted to bring everything back with me!

Being a Black American living in Madrid means that it can be hard to find spices that are actually spicy, but this market was a game-changer!

Buckets of different spice mixes, like 3 pepper blend, Chinese spices, and Cajun seasoning.
I may have bought one of everything at this store… Photo by Sydney Sampson

Late Afternoon: Get Lost Wandering Around the Albacín

The Albacín is one of the oldest and most historic parts of Granada; the whole neighborhood is actually a UNESCO Heritage Site.

The best way to see it is to lazily wander along the narrow streets and white stone houses without an agenda.

A narrow staircase where a sidewalk should be
Photo by Ravil on Unsplash

Some of the highlights of the neighborhood are:

  • El Banuelo: The oldest and best-preserved Arab baths in Spain
  • The Dar-al-Horra Palace: A 15th century Moorish palace 
  • The Plaza Nueva: The oldest plaza in Granada, great for relaxing with a beer in a nearby cafe or enjoying a free flamenco show
  • The Old City Walls: The ruins of the old city walls and gates that were built between the 11th and 14th centuries.  
  • The San Nicolas Church: A Gothic church from the 1500s in the center of the neighborhood. Which leads us to the next item on our Granada in One Day itinerary…
A 30 ft tall arched entryway into the old part of the city
The Old Gate into the Albacín. Photo by Sydney Sampson

Evening: Watch the Sunset at the Mirador de San Nicolas

Right outside the San Nicolas church is a plaza with the best view of Granda, the Alhambra, and the Sierra Nevada. If you’ve seen the postcard photos of the Alhambra with the mountains in the background, they’ve probably been taken here.

The best time to go is right at sunset. You’re bound to find live music, and vendors selling souvenirs and street food.

A castle in the hills, with a mountain range behind it
The view of the Alhambra from the mirador. Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash

Dinner: 3-Course Meal and a Flamenco Show

Last up on our Granada itinerary is seeing a live flamenco show! Flamenco originated in southern Spain, and it would be a crime to leave Granada without seeing a show!

Less than a 10-minute walk away from the Mirador de San Nicolas is El Templo de Flamenco, one of the most iconic flamenco shows in Granada. It’s set inside an actual cave. 

If that wasn’t cool enough, they also serve traditional Spanish food, and you can choose between their tapas menu or a full 3-course meal.

They have a whole team of dancers, singers, and musicians playing each night. Going to a show here is without a doubt one of the most memorable things you could do in Granada.

A crowd forms around a flamenco dancer in a plaza
Photo by JP Files on Unsplash

I Hope You Enjoyed This Guide on How to Spend a Day in Granada!

Let us know in the comments if you have any more questions about this Granada one day itinerary!

The Alhambra castle with snow-topped mountains in the background
Photo by Maddie Leopardo on Unsplash

My Go-To Travel Favourites:

🧳 Eagle Creek: My favourite packing cubes

💳 Wise: For FREE travel friendly credit cards

🍯 Airalo: My go-to eSIM

🏨 For searching hotels

📷 Sony A7IV: My (amazing) camera

✈️ Google Flights: For finding flight deals

🌎 WorldNomads: For travel insurance

🎉 GetYourGuide: For booking activities

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