2 Days In Granada: Your Guide To The City of the Alhambra

The Alhambra, Generalife, the Royal Chapel, and the Cathedral of Granada are just some of the must-visits of our next destination, Granada. So, what can you do with 2 days in Granada?

Our guide takes you on a walkable tour of some of the city’s highlights. We began at the city center and end our day 2 at Generalife in Alhambra. Our highlights are

  • Granada Cathedral
  • Royal Chapel of Granada
  • Granada Charterhouse
  • Alhambra
  • Nasrid Palaces
  • Generalife

The city is so beautiful that there are quotes about it. Ernest Hemingway said that “If you were to visit just one city in Spain, it should be Granada” while Alejandro Dumas said,

“The truth is, that I’m beginning to wonder if there is any greater pleasure in life than visiting Granada … and it is going back and revisiting it.”

Let’s dive in!

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Where is Granada?

At the foot of the Sierra Nevada and the confluence of four rivers, lies Granada. This is a city that has left its mark through time. From the Iberians to the Ummayyad Conquest and ending with the Kingdom of Granada in the 15th century, this city has seen it all.

The crown jewel is the Alhambra, a palace-fortress that is so well-preserved, that one can only imagine kings and emperors walking its corridors in their full glory. The Alhambra is also important as it was here that Christopher Columbus received his royal endorsement for his journeys.

Don’t forget to have the Tortilla del Sacromonte, Habas con Jamón, Plato Alpujarreño, and Pan de Alfacar when in Granada. Each of these dishes represents Granada’s Arabic-Andalusian legacy. Granada is also the only city where you can enjoy free tapas with every drink purchased. Lunch hours are from 1 pm to 4 pm while dinner starts from 10 pm to late at night. 

When shopping, be aware that most shops will close in the afternoon for a siesta with the exception being large department stores. On Sunday, everyone takes a break and nearly everything is closed. 


The earliest settlers on the Iberian Peninsula were the Phoenicians who lived here around 1,000 BC. The area became Elibyrge when the Carthaginians moved in. The Romans soon took over and renamed the area Iliberis.

By the 8th century, the Ummayad Conquest of Hispania began with the Muslims ruling the peninsula for almost eight centuries. It was at this time that Granada flourished with traders, artisans, and scientists.

The Nasrid Emirates was the last Islamic stronghold leaving Alhambra as its legacy. By the end of the 15th century, the Catholic Monarchs won the Granada War. The conquest saw the Muslims being expelled which led to a decline in Granada economically and socially.

By the 20th century, Granada became a focal point for arts in Spain. Today, other than tourism, Granada is a major producer of wines and sugar. The city produces barley, wheat, sugarcane, figs, olive trees, and oranges for export. 

The University of Granada is an internationally recognized university that was founded in 1531 by Charles V as a means to pursue higher education and is the third-highest-ranked university in Spain.

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Visa Requirements

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs mentions that citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland and their family members may enter Spain using their national identity cards or passport. Citizens who require a visa to enter Spain are listed in the Official Journal of the European Union

Schengen Visa

Spain is the second-largest country in the European Union with Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Seville being the popular cities for tourism. Spain is one of the largest member states of the European Union. 

A Schengen Visa gives you entry to Spain and other member states of the European Union, although you may be asked several questions about your purpose, length, and accommodation in Spain. For a Spanish Schengen Visa, you would need:

  • A Spanish Visa Application Form
  • Two Passport photos
  • A valid passport
  • Spanish travel health insurance
  • Round-trip flight itinerary
  • Proof of accommodation, and
  • Proof of sufficient financial means

Or, you could apply for a Spanish Visa using iVisa which has an easy and traveler-friendly visa application process, round-the-clock customer service, and secure and safe data centers with state-of-the-art security systems. 

How do you get around Granada?

Unlike Madrid, Granada’s city center is small, and being on the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains means that the roads are steep. Public transportation is efficient and taxis are convenient and affordable. 


The best way to get around is walking. Granada’s small city center makes it ideal to navigate on foot. In our guide, you can walk from Granada Cathedral to La Alcaiceria as these are within 15-minutes of each other. The Alhambra from the Cathedral is a 30-minute walk.


While walking is the best option, taking the bus would help you with the steep inclines of Granada’s roads. This is where you can take the bus, although it is slower during peak hours. 

The main lines are Line C30 which links Alhambra to the city center. Line C31 loops through Albayzin and then connects to the city center. And, Line C32 links Alhambra and Albayzin neighborhoods. Alternatively, Line C34 links Albayzin and Sacromonte neighborhoods and connects to the city center. 


Taxis are a convenient way to get around the city. You can find taxis lined up at popular tourist areas, the airport, and the main plazas of the city. The official taxis in Granada are white with a green diagonal line on their side.

The fares start at €1.40 ($1.56) with additional fares of about €0.75 ($0.84) from Mondays to Thursdays from 7 am to 10 pm. The rates vary after 10 pm from Sundays to Thursdays and on festival days.

Ride Share

Uber and Cabify are available in Granada. Their rates may be cheaper but the waiting times are longer as they are not many drivers. 


An eco-friendly way to see the city is to rent a bicycle with the option to rent electric, mountain, or road bikes. You can choose from ListnRide, Cycle Sierra Nevada, and Baja Bikes to explore Granada and its surroundings. 


The last way to get around Granada is by using the metro. This single-line train station has 26 stations is a good way to explore the city end-to-end. It begins at Albolote and ends at Armilla Station. 

A single ticket costs €1.35 ($1.35) while a return ticket costs €2.70 ($2.70) per person. This regular ticket is valid for single use. For tourists, the Touristic Card is priced at €4.50 ($4.50) for whole-day use which means you can unlimited trips during the day the ticket was purchased.

Are 2 days in Granada enough?

If you plan to visit the main tourist sites and Alhambra, then 2 days in Granada is enough. To truly explore the city, you would need at least 4 days in Granada. From Granada, you can continue to Seville, Cordoba, or Madrid.

Day 1: City Centre

On Day 1 of our 2 days in Granada, we walk through the city center and some of its must-visit landmarks. After all, there is more to Granada than Alhambra. With a history that dates back to the Bronze Age and the center of three major empires, Granada is breathtaking.

Granada Cathedral

2 days in Granada, Granada Cathedral, Granada, Spain
Photo by Sergio Rota on Unsplash

The first of our 2 days in Granada is the Granada Cathedral. This cathedral was built on the site of the Great Mosque. The cathedral had three architectural projects, the Gothic style followed by late Gothic and ending in Renaissance styles.

How much is the entry fee to Granada Cathedral?

The entry fee to Granada Cathedral is €5 ($5) for adults which includes an audioguide and €3.50 ($3.50) for students. Children below 12 years and the disabled enter for free. 

Who is buried in Granada Cathedral?

The Catholic Monarchs Queen Isabella I, her husband, King Ferdinand, and their children Joanna and Philip are buried in Granada Cathedral. They are buried at the Royal Chapel of Granada.

Royal Chapel of Granada

2 days in Granada, Royal Chapel of Granada, Granada Cathedral, Granada, Spain
Photo by William Larsen on Unsplash

The second of our 2 days in Granada is the Royal Chapel of Granada or Capilla Real de Granada. This chapel is next to the cathedral. The royal chapel was built as the burial grounds for the Catholic Monarchs.  

As Queen Isabella died before the chapel was constructed, the style is somber Gothic and decorated with the coat of arms of the Catholic Monarchs. It was Charles V who decorated and enhanced the church.

Today, the royal chapel is home to the Sacristy Museum which displays the legacies of the Catholic Monarchs. Among its prized possession are King Ferdinand’s sword, Queen Isabella’s crown, and specter.    

Why was Isabella buried in Granada?

Isabella was buried in Granada because they saw the conquest of Granada against the Muslim Nasrid rulers as their greatest achievement. Granada was also the place where they ruled a unified Spain and provided Christopher Columbus with funds for his voyages. 

La Alcaiceria

2 days in Granada, La Alcaiceria, former Moorish Grand Bazaar, Granada, Spain
Photo by holakarlos on Unsplash

The third of our 2 days in Granada is La Alcaiceria. The Alcaiceria is about 500 feet or an easy 2-minute walk from the Royal Chapel of Granada. This narrow street is Granada’s original Moorish Grand Bazaar. 

Although the original structure was destroyed in a fire in 1843, what you see here is a recreation that evokes the vibe of Granada’s past. Walk through the aroma of spices, feel the colorful silk on your hands, and sip Arabic tea in the teahouses that line the street.

Things you can buy here include spice blends, herbal tea mixes, Moroccan lamps, and throws, and the cheap “Made in China” souvenir to take home. As the alley is narrow, beware of pickpockets.  

Mirador de San Nicolas

2 days in Granada, Mirador de San Nicolas, viewpoint of the Alhambra and Generalife, Granada, Spain
Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash

The fourth of our 2 days in Granada is Mirador de San Nicolas. This iconic viewpoint is 3.6-miles or a 15-minute drive from the Alcaiceria. From here, you can view the Alhambra against the Sierra Nevada, Generalife, the Nasrid Palaces, and the Alcazaba.

After viewing, turn around and walk to the Church of San Nicolas, a simple Roman Catholic church that was rebuilt after severe damage during the Civil War. The white hues of the church bring out its simplicity. 

After a day of sightseeing, walk behind the church and you will find plenty of bars and restaurants to soothe your stomach. Walk down to Plaza de San Miguel Bajo and more food and beverage alternative greets you.  

Day 2: Alhambra

On Day 2 of our 2 days in Granada, we spend the day exploring the Alhambra. This palace is one of the most famous monuments in the world which combines Spanish Renaissance and Islamic architecture on the well-preserved palace grounds. 

Alcazaba of the Alhambra

2 days in Granada, Alcazaba of the Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Photo by Girl with red hat on Unsplash

The fifth of our 2 days in Granada is the Alcazaba of the Alhambra. This is the oldest surviving structure of the Alhambra and has a triangular layout that is occupied by a residential area.

There are multiple layers of walls protecting the fortress. The entrance to the inner fortress is hidden and obscure with many winding ramps, making it difficult for potential attackers to move within the fortress.

While the stone was used at the gate to the inner fortress, bricks and rammed earth are used within the interior walls and for decorative purposes. The Alcazaba was a residential area for the royal guards that protected the palace.

Can you wear shorts in the Alhambra?

Yes, you can wear shorts in the Alhambra. There is no dress code in Alhambra. However, there is an active church within its premises, if you plan on visiting it, it is best to dress decently which means no shorts or exposed bare shoulders.

Can you take food into the Alhambra?

Yes, you can take food and drinks into the Alhambra. There are water fountains where you can refill your bottles and designated eating, drinking, and smoking areas.

Does Alhambra have WiFi?

Yes, WiFi is available at the Alhambra to allow visitors to connect through social media networks when visiting the Alhambra. The username and password are on Alhambra’s official website.

How much does it cost to visit Alhambra?

The General Day Tour of the Alcazaba, Nasrid Palaces, and Generalife is €14 ($14) per person while the Gardens Day Tour is €7 ($7) per person. The Night Tour of Nasrid Palaces is €8 ($8) while the Night Tour of the Gardens is €5 ($5) per person. 

Nasrid Palaces

2 days in Granada, Nasrid Palaces, Alhambra, Spain
Photo by Hari Nandakumar on Unsplash

The sixth of our 2 days in Granada is the Nasrid Palaces. This palace complex consists of the Mexuar, the Comares Palace, and the Palace of the Lions. The Mexuar is the oldest among the three and houses the treasury and the administrative functions of the palace.

While the Comares Palace was the official residence of the king, the Palace of the Lions was his harem. As you walk through the areas, you can see a contrast of styles with the Palace of Lions having some Christian influences in its architecture.

As you walk east from the Palace of Lions, you will see the Partal Palace. This is the oldest surviving pavilion within Alhambra. There are several residential palaces within the northern tower walls with a large reflective pool on its southern side.

Are Nasrid Palaces worth it?

Yes, the Nasrid Palaces are worth it. Admire the intricate wooden ceilings, the colored tiles, the detailed stucco walls, and walk the corridors of the jewel of the Alhambra. 

How long does it take to visit Nasrid Palaces?

As there are three areas within Nasrid Palaces, you can expect to spend an average of 3 hours visiting this area. Arrive early to avoid the crowds. Don’t hurry, instead take your time. 

Palace of Charles V

2 days in Granada, Palace of Charles V, circular courtyard, Granada, Alhambra, Spain
Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash

The seventh of our 2 days in Granada is the Palace of Charles V. This palace was commissioned by Charles V as a home to the monarch and his family. The palace is a 2-story building with a circular courtyard.

Although the palace’s construction began in 1527, it was only completed in 1923 when its restoration works were finished. The palace currently houses the Alhambra Museum on its ground floor and the Fine Arts Museum of Granada on its upper floors.


2 days in Granada, Generalife, gardens of the Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Photo by Fran Fernández on Unsplash

The eighth of our 2 days in Granada is the Generalife. The Generalife features several rectangular gardens, courtyards, and decorated pavilions making it a garden retreat for the rulers of the Nasrid Empire.

What is Generalife and why is it important?

Generalife gardens and palaces were important as they were designed as a country estate where the king could get away from his royal duties and relax among the royal gardens. Generalife is important as it incorporates Moorish gardening traditions. 

Is Generalife part of Alhambra? 

Yes, Generalife is part of Alhambra. It is located on a hill on the east called Cerro del Sol of the Alhambra complex. 

OPTIONAL: Gibraltar

Photo by Michal Mrozek on Unsplash

The ninth and an optional of our 2 days in Granada is a day trip to Gibraltar. Gibraltar is about a 4 hour’s drive from Granada. While it occupies a narrow peninsula of Spain’s southern Meditteranean coast, Gibraltar, is in fact, a British overseas territory.

This means that the official language here is English, although Spanish, Llanito, Arabic, Hindi, and Portuguese are spoken by the locals. Gibraltar is United Kingdom’s fortified naval base as it guards the Straits of Gibraltar as it is the only entrance to the Meditteranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean.

Gibraltar has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Mediterranean Steps and the Dorham Cave Complex. Its popular beaches include Catalan Bay, Eastern Beach, and Sandy Bay. For history buffs, head to the American and British War Memorials or explore the World War 2 tunnel complex.

Why did Spain give Gibraltar to Britain?

Spain gave Gibraltar to Britain when the Treaty of Utrecht was negotiated to secure Britain’s withdrawal from the War of Spanish Succession. The treaty was renewed by the Treaty of Paris in 1763 and the Treaty of Versailles in 1783.

Who are the natives of Gibraltar?

The natives of Gibraltar are Llanitos. They are an ethnic group native to Gibraltar. Gibraltarians or Gib as the younger generations are known are bilingual in Spanish and English. 

Why is the Rock of Gibraltar so famous?

The Rock of Gibraltar is so famous because of its strategic position at the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea. The underground tunnels were fortified during World War 2 and could hold 30,000 troops at one time.

Does Gibraltar require a visa?

Yes, Gibraltar does require a visa for entry. Citizens of the United Kingdom, United States, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and Ireland only need to have valid passports for entry. Citizens from the European Union only need a valid identification card for entry.

What are the best places to stay in Granada?

Hotel Santa Isabel La Real

Our first choice for 2 days in Granada is Hotel Santa Isabel La Real. This 11-room family-run hotel is in the heart of Albayzín and is a 5-minute walk to Mirador San Nicolas. The hotel is in a refurbished 16th-century townhouse that is rustic, yet elegant.

All rooms come with marble bathrooms, hairdryers, and work desks with warm-wood furnishings, terracotta tiles, and high ceilings. Guests loved the excellent location and the lovely breakfast. Other reviewers loved the friendly and helpful staff and the spotlessly clean rooms.

Hotel Casa Morisca

Our second choice for 2 days in Granada is Hotel Casa Morisca. This 14-room hotel is in a 15th-century building where original plasterwork, marble pillars, and wooden beams have been carefully restored. This hotel brings Alhambra to you as it evokes Granada’s history.

All rooms have neutral tones, antique furnishings, and tiled bathrooms. While the Standard rooms are small, the Superior and Deluxe rooms are spacious and bright. Some rooms come with views of the Alhambra.

Guests loved the excellent location, the clean and comfortable beds, and the friendly and helpful staff. Other reviewers loved the fact that the hotel was within walking distance of Alhambra and the availability of restaurants near the hotel.

Parador de Granada

Our third choice for 2 days in Granada is Parador de Granada. This 40-room hotel is in a 14th-century Moorish palace turned convent. You may need to book in advance as this hotel is within the Alhambra complex. Imagine walking the gardens of Generalife once the crowd has left. 

While the rooms come with contemporary interior furnishings, the rooms in the palace boast calming shades of cream with terracotta tiled floors. The newer rooms have glossy wooden floorboards. All rooms have rain-showers, bottled water, robes, and tea/coffee-making facilities.

Some positive reviews mention the excellent location within the grounds of the Alhambra, the friendly staff, and the lovely terrace restaurant. Guests also loved the comfortable beds, the evening set menu is value for money with good food. Many of the guests also loved their stay there.

AC Palacio de Santa Paula

Our fourth choice for 2 days in Granada is AC Palacio de Santa Paula. This 75-room hotel is within two historic buildings, the 16th-century Convent of Santa Paula and the adjacent townhouse. All rooms come with free WiFi, designer toiletries, and air conditioning. The hotel also caters to guests with special needs and disabilities.

The plus point is that this hotel is located on the main street of Albayzín. The positive reviews include nice and clean rooms, a good breakfast, attentive staff, and the perfect location of the hotel. Guests also loved the comfortable beds, the quiet sanctuary of the courtyard, and the easy walk to the Botanical Gardens of Granada, Plaza Neuva, and the Casa de Los Pisa.

Áurea Catedral by Eurostars Hotel Company

Our fifth choice for 2 days in Granada is Áurea Catedral by Eurostars Hotel Company. This 94-room hotel consists of 7 buildings in Granada’s Old Quarter and walking distance of Granada Cathedral. All rooms were designed to combine warmth and elegance while maintaining spaciousness and functionality.

All rooms have en-suite bathrooms, a safety deposit box, a minibar, and a kettle. The Junior Suite with views of the cathedral has an extra sofa bed in the living area. The reviews mention the spotlessly clean rooms, friendly staff, excellent location, and comfortable beds.

Guests also loved the delicious breakfast and the fact that the hotel was within walking distance of many restaurants and shops.

Frequently Asked Questions on Granada

Why is Granada important to Spain?

Granada is crucial to Spain as it was the final stronghold of the Moors before falling to the Roman Catholic monarchs in 1492. The city is the pearl of Spain as it is culturally rich with influences from the Moors, Catholics, and Jews, both in architecture and food.

Do people in Granada speak English?

No, the people of Granada speak Spanish as it is the national language of Spain. English is spoken in tourist areas. It would be best to brush up and learn basic Spanish as it would be useful when in the Andalusian regions of Granada, Cordoba, and Cadiz.

Is Granada a pretty city?

Yes, Granada is a pretty city. What makes this city stand out is how it has beautifully maintained its Arabic roots and Spanish flair. From the Alhambra Palace to the Granada Cathedral, this city will take you back in time, for real.

Can you drink tap water in Granada Spain?

Yes, you can drink the tap water in Granada Spain is safe to drink. The water comes from the Sierra Nevada mountains nearby, it is one of the best tap waters in Spain. The water quality is constantly monitored by the Ministry of Health and the city council.

When is the best time to visit Granada Spain?

The best times to visit Granada Spain is during the spring months of May and June and the autumn months of September and October. During the spring months, the weather is mild and pleasant. 

The city livens up as spring peaks which makes it the best time to enjoy Granada’s nightlife. The autumn months have religious celebrations, gastronomic, and cultural events. With sunny days, this is the best time to make day trips from Granada.

Do you need a car in Granada Spain?

No, you do not need a car in Granada Spain. With an efficient public transportation system, getting around Granada is easy and convenient. You can always opt to walk, take the metro, bicycle around the city, or hail a cab to get to your destination. 

What airport do you fly into for Granada Spain?

You fly into the Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén Airport (GRX) which is 9 miles west of the city center. The major airlines that frequent this airport at Air Europa, Iberia Regional, and Vueling. 

How far apart is Granada from Madrid?

Granada is about 415 kilometers (258 miles) from Madrid if you are driving. The driving time is about 5 hours. The aerial distance, if you are flying, is 359 kilometers (223 miles) with a flight time of 3 hours. 

Is Granada an Arabic name?

Yes, Granada is derived from the Arabic term “Ġarnāṭa” which means the “hill of strangers”. Granada in Spanish refers to the pomegranate trees which grow in abundance in the city.

Is Granada worth visiting?

Absolutely! With its UNESCO World Heritage Sites and many architectural marvels, this city is breathtaking. To experience Granada to the fullest, stay for 2 days in Granada. Believe us, you will not regret it.

Here’s why we think you must visit Granada, at least once in your lifetime.

1) Alhambra. Need we say more? This palace and fortress complex sits on a strategic point that overlooks the city and is perfect for that sunset photo. The Nasrid Palaces are the remnants of a glorious bygone era when Kings walked the corridors of the palace.

2) Tapas. You can’t leave Granada without having their tapas. And, it’s free. The bars in the city provide free tapas with any drinks purchased. For vegetarians, try the veggie empanadas at Papaupa and La Bodeguita which has a large variety of plant-based tapas. 

3) Street art. The largest street art dominates the walls of the Colegio Santo Domingo school while Realejo has some of the best street art in Granada. Albayzín is home to whitewashed homes and unique street art by other talented artists of Granada.

4) Shopping. You can’t leave Granada without some shopping. And, the best place for this is Alcaiceria. This long lane has shops that sell multicolored clothes, spices, and souvenirs. 

5) Teahouses. Albayzín is also home to several teahouses that serve Arabic teas, baklava, and crepes. The best teahouse is Kasbah Teahouse in Calderería Nueva 4 which has several vegetarian dishes on its menu.

    Granada is a must-visit, with an Arabic legacy combined with Spanish culture, and home to the highest mountain in Spain. Go for its free tapas. Go for the Alhambra. Warm and pleasant weather, stunning landscapes, and energetic nightlife make Granada worth the trip.