No matter how many photos you’ve seen of Granada’s mighty Alhambra fortress, backed by the snowy skyline of the Sierra Nevada mountains, nothing beats seeing it in person. To do it best, head to one of the Spanish city’s stunning rooftop restaurants, where you can soak up your surroundings over lunch, dinner or tapas. Here’s our pick of the top places in Granada with high-up terraces, from a flamenco joint opposite the Alhambra itself to a funky hostel with a beach-chic vibe.
Estrellas de San Nicolás is next to a square of the same name, at the top of Albaicín, Granada’s old Arabic quarter. Mediterranean cuisine with strong French influences is served in a second-floor dining room and on a rooftop terrace where a guitarist plays in the evenings – both have uninterrupted views of the Alhambra and the Darro valley beneath it. Be prepared to pay higher-than-average prices for the location, and book in advance for a table on the top-floor balcony, because there are only a few.
This enormous pink hotel is starting to look and feel a little dated, but it’s still worth visiting for the views of Granada from its fine-dining restaurant. Standout dishes include roasted sea bass with pumpkin and clams, and roasted loin of deer with mashed potatoes and glazed baby onions – neither of which you’ll see on many other menus in Granada. Before or after dinner, enjoy a more casual vibe and cocktails on the outside terrace, with the city spread out beneath you.
This funky hostel’s beach-style terrace is the only one of its kind in Granada. Furnished with flaking chairs and tables made from reclaimed wood, and walled in by bamboo blinds and greenery, it could be metres from the Mediterranean rather than just a five-minute walk from the cathedral. Kick back with cocktails and tapas before heading downstairs, where live acts play most nights of the week in the central atrium. Book yourself a dorm bed if you fancy staying for the night.
Situated just beneath Plaza de San Nicolás, on the Alhambra-facing side of Albaicín, El Huerto de Juan Ranas offers two spaces from which to admire the 1,000-year-old fortress: a rustic dining room with oversized windows, and a spacious terrace with sofas. Spanish classics such as patatas bravas (deep fried potato cubes served with a spicy sauce) and rabo de toro (stewed oxtail) are offered alongside pasta, burgers and couscous. There’s also a great selection of wines from Granada’s mountainous Alpujarras region.
This informal hangout is another great option for refreshments after a photo-snapping session on Plaza de San Nicolás. Take a seat outside, on a terrace that directly faces the Alhambra, and choose from house specialities such as paella, beef steak and couscous. If you’re visiting as a group, go for their enormous tabla mixta – a crowded platter of Manchego cheese, jamon, chorizo and Iberian sausage – and accompany with cold pints of draft Alhambra, Granada’s home brew.
Venta El Gallo is the perfect one-stop-joint for Alhambra views, live flamenco and banging Andalusian cuisine. You’ll find it off the main drag in the hillside quarter of Sacromonte, occupying one of the neighbourhood’s distinctive blue-and-white cave buildings. Enjoy grilled lamb chops and Sacromontean tortilla on a roof terrace overlooking the valley and Alhambra, before descending into a cave-auditorium to watch a performance of zambra, the flamenco unique to Granada. Tickets also include a welcome drink and appetizer.
Found on top of Los Jeronimos Hotel in the city centre, this low-key terrace takes its name from the 16th-century St Jeronimo Monastery opposite. Views here are of the monastery and cathedral – the latter of which is seven minutes away on foot – and the rooftops of Granada, stretching away into the mountains beyond. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, you can stop in for a coffee or caña (small beer) and take in the view. A retractable roof means you can even enjoy this space on the rare occasions when it rains.
More of a bar and nightclub than a restaurant, Sacromonte’s El Camborio deserves a shout out nevertheless for the quality of the views from its outside spaces. Open in the afternoons for coffees and drinks, it has several terraces at varying levels looking out towards the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountains. At night, admire a floodlit Alhambra from its highest outside space, which doubles as an open-air dance floor – before seeing the fort disappear at about 3am, when the floodlights are abruptly turned off.
These recommendations were updated on July 23, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.