How to Spend 24 Hours in Granada

The Alhambra, Granada
The Alhambra, Granada | © Pixabay
Mark Nayler

Spilling out from the banks of the verdant Darro valley and overlooked by the magnificent Alhambra fortress, Granada is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. The mix of Moorish and Christian traditions that have shaped its culture make it a fascinating city in which to spend 24 hours.

Stop for Tapas

As lunchtime approaches on a spring or summer day in Granada, the heat climbs to prohibitive levels, so take refreshment on a shady terrace or in an air-conditioned bar. If you order a beer, soft drink or glass of wine in Granada, one of the local culinary specialities will arrive with your drink, unbidden and completely free. Whether it’s a sizzling earthenware pot of spicy prawns, a meaty stew served with hunks of rustic bread, crispy fried fish or paella, tapas dishes here arrive on your table at no extra cost. And if you’ve just come down from the hill from the Alhambra and find yourself on Plaza Nueva, you couldn’t be in a better spot for lunch: try Los Diamentes for fried fish, Los Manueles for its perfectly cooked meat dishes, or La Riviera for meal-sized portions and an outside seating area on one of the centre’s liveliest streets.

Bar Los Diamantes, 13 Plaza Nueva, Granada, Spain +34 958 07 53 13

Restaurante Los Manueles, 61 Calle Reyes Catolicos, Granada, Spain +34 958 22 46 31

Bar La Riviera, 7 Calle Cetti Meriem, Granada, Spain +34 958 22 79 69

In Granada, all tapas is included in the price of your drink

Explore Albaicín

After a long lunch, siesta hour will call and the streets will suddenly empty of Spaniards. After this, it’s time to explore one of Granada’s most enchanting neighbourhoods. Albaicín is the city’s old Arabic quarter, a barrio of crunched-together, whitewashed houses, implausibly narrow streets and secret, sun-drenched squares and gardens. This is an area rich with flamenco, and as you wander you will hear the music’s distinctive strains coming from windows left ajar. Head for the Mirador San Nicolàs, from which you can enjoy some of the best panoramic views in the city and, at night, a spectacularly illuminated Alhambra. From San Nicolas, it’s just a few minutes on foot to the charming Plaza Larga, where the locals gather to enjoy conviviality and tapas on the little cobbled square.

Plaza Mirador de San Nicolás, Albaicin, Granada, Spain

Plaza Larga, Albaicín, Granada, Spain

Live flamenco on the San Nicolas viewpoint, Albaicín, Granada

Visit Sacromonte

Quaint Sacromonte is the Gypsy barrio of Granada, situated on the dusty, cacti-studded hillside high above Albaicín. Many locals here still live in dappled white caves carved out of the rock, in which impromptu flamenco gatherings are held long into the night, especially during the celebrations surrounding the procession of the Gypsy Christ every Easter. There are also dwellings entirely improvised from scrap metal, wood and cloth, in which a rusty bucket protected from view by a ragged old rug often passes for a bathroom. Locals cook on fires, ride horses through the streets and live without TV, computers or wifi. After a few hours wandering around Sacromonte, you will start to forget that a large, busy city lies just a ten-minute walk down the hill.

A typical cave-dwelling in Sacromonte, Granada

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