This blog post was originally posted on January 26, 2018, and was updated on April 16, 2019.
Spain’s Moorish crown jewel is full of surprises, and you could easily spend months discovering them all!
However, we know that’s not possible for most travelers, some of whom might only have 3 days in Granada. How can you make the most of your time in a city that has so much to offer? Glad you asked. Our guide to spending a perfect 3 days in Granada will help you experience the best of the best in this beautiful, historic city.
Morning, Day 1: Alhambra
Start off your 3 days in Granada by exploring the city’s most famous monument! In fact, the Alhambra is the most visited tourist site in all of Spain. That probably makes you think that there will be a lot of crowds—which there can be—but not if you go at the right time. A 9 or 10 a.m. visit will get you in before most of the tourist crowds start arriving later in the afternoon.
Before you go, be sure to book your tickets in advance, especially if you want to visit the iconic Nasrid Palaces. Give yourself at least three or four hours at the Alhambra to truly appreciate the complexity of its design, its marvelous attention to detail and its stunning views.
Afternoon, Day 1: Lunch & hammam
As stunning as the Alhambra is, there’s a lot of walking involved. Stay nearby and rest your feet when it comes time to eat lunch (remember, locals usually don’t eat until 2 or even 3 p.m.!). Steer clear of the tourist traps and head to one of the more authentic restaurants near the Alhambra for a truly local feel.
After lunch, stroll down Cuesta de Gomérez—the downhill trek on this nice, tree-lined path is calm and relaxing. Head to Hammam Al-Andalus for a luxurious spa experience that will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time to Moorish Granada. These beautifully decorated Arab-style baths are the perfect break from a day of exploring. Experience the traditional ritual of moving between warm, cool and hot pools, and treat yourself to a massage while you’re at it!
Evening, Day 1: Tapas crawl
Cap off day 1 of your 3 days in Granada with a fascinating tapas crawl for dinner! Immerse yourself in the city’s iconic tapas culture (which comes with plenty of free tapas) and eat like the locals do as you make your way from bar to bar.
Day 2: Albayzín
Start off the second of your 3 days in Granada by exploring its most historic and beautiful neighborhood! With its picturesque whitewashed houses and winding narrow streets, the Albayzín almost seems like something out of a fairy tale. Our best advice is simply to let yourself get lost in its cobblestone streets, but be on the lookout for a few key sights as you go.
A great starting point for exploring the stunning Albayzín quarter is Casa de Zafra. Once an old Moorish house and later a Christian convent, this small local history museum will tell you everything you need to know about this fascinating barrio. Be sure to pay attention to the outstanding original Moorish architecture as well, especially the colorful murals.
Nearby, you’ll find El Bañuelo, an 11th-century Arab bath building that remains in excellent condition. The bathhouse is the oldest example of architecture from Moorish Granada that still survives today.
When you get hungry, the Albayzín is home to many spectacular little hidden gems that will make you feel right at home. Head to one of our favorite places to eat in the Albayzín for an unforgettable local meal!
Morning, Day 3: Cathedral & Royal Chapel
Your 3 days in Granada are almost up, but there’s still so much to see and do! Start off your morning with a visit to the stunning cathedral in the heart of the city. Just around the corner, you’ll find the Royal Chapel, the final resting place of the famous monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. Keep in mind that entry to the chapel is completely separate from that of the cathedral.
Afternoon, Day 3: Lunch & Parque García Lorca
For lunch on your last day, go exploring and discover one of the many wonderful family run restaurants that locals have loved for generations. Find one of those and skip the tourist traps (you know, the ones with giant pictures of paella out front and menus in seven different languages).
After you eat, head to peaceful Parque Federico García Lorca just southwest of the city center. This beautiful green space is a haven of calmness in the middle of the bustling city. The eponymous park was built in honor of Granada’s most famous poet, who met an untimely and violent end during the Spanish Civil War. Take some time as well to check out his former home, Huerta de San Vicente, located right in the middle of the park.
Evening, Day 3: One more tapas crawl
End your 3 days in Granada with one last tapas crawl through the city center. It’s no secret that Granada’s scene is one of the best in Spain, so be sure to check out even more of the city’s best-loved bars before you leave town.
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Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.