4 Days in Granada, Spain

Written By Sammi  |  Spain  |  0 Comments

After our TBEX conference in Marbella, I wanted to visit another destination in Spain. We’d already been to Madrid and after watching Memories of the Alhambra, I really wanted to visit Granada.

Granada is a city in Anadalusia, 179 km (111 miles) from Marbella. It’s home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alhambra Palace and the charming city has plenty of historical and cultural things to see and do.

How to Get to Granada

Granada has its own airport but as we were coming from Marbella, we decided to take the bus. We never planned on renting a car but many people rent a car and drive this scenic route.

The bus was very convenient. I purchased roundtrip tickets online on the Alsa website where I was able to choose departure times and seats. Tickets cost €15.11 Euro per adult ($15.24 USD). I purchased them about 2 months ahead of time to guarantee seats. I’m glad we did because our bus was fully booked.

The bus departed from the Malaga Airport and arrived at the Granada bus station. From the Granada bus station, we took a taxi (~$11 USD) to our hotel, Hotel Alhambra Palace. Lots of white taxis waiting outside the bus station and one of the informational poles has approximate rates so you know about what they should charge you.

Day 1: Travel from Marbella, Mirador St. Nicholas

From Marbella, we took a taxi to the Malaga Airport ($60 USD) to catch the bus. The Alsa bus station is right out front. Our bus departed at 1:30 PM and we arrived at the bus station approximately 330 PM. This bus was very punctual and the drive was really enjoyable with Wi-Fi on board and air conditioning.

Once we arrived at our hotel, we relaxed and took a short nap to get ready for the evening. Since Hotel Alhambra Palace sits on top of the hill overlooking the city, we walked down to the city center to explore.

We first headed to the area around Cafe Futbol to check it out.

Streets of Granada

Streets of Granada

All the action in Spain occurs later in the day and night, so we grabbed some tapas from La Riviera first for food which was a fantastic place.

Then we slowly wandered over to Mirador de San Nicolas by way of the Paseo de los Tristes. This was a wonderful walk as we got to see the city center and views of the Alhambra on the way up. Then we managed to find a spot at the mirador to watch the sun go down.

Alhambra Palace view from Mirador de San Nicolas at night

Alhambra Palace view from Mirador de San Nicolas at night

We spent about an hour at the Mirador enjoying the view and all the sights and sounds. The place was packed, with people playing guitar, dancing, singing, drinking and having a good time. As the sun was setting around 10 PM (June), we walked back to the hotel afterwards to rest up as we were tired.

Tip: There are some restaurants at the Mirador such as El Balcon de San Nicolas and El Huerto de Juan Ranas if you want to have a romantic dinner with a nice view. But make sure to go early or see if they can take reservations since it was packed.

Day 2: Explore the City, Cafe Lisboa, Tapas

Day 2 was for getting to know Granada! Since days were so long in Spain during the summer, we decided to do some laundry first in the late morning and then explore more in the late afternoon when it was a bit cooler.

We found a self service laundromat about ten minutes away from the hotel and had a brunch/lunch at Rosario Varela around the corner. They had this dish called Tortilla de la Cuchara that was delicious! We filled up on beer, tapas and the tortilla.

La Tortilla de la Cuchara

La Tortilla de la Cuchara

After we finished our laundry, we stopped by Cafe Futbol to get an ice cream and churros and chocolate. Someone recommended it to us and it did not disappoint! Not only were their churros excellent, but the gelato was delicious and the staff was super friendly. We highly recommend Cafe Futbol, I wish we went back again!

As the hottest part of the day was approaching, we went back to the hotel to take our afternoon siesta.

Tip: If you’re visiting Spain in the summer, we recommend to do your activities in the early mornings or evenings. During the day is insanely hot and very dry! It was about 39 C (102 F) and super dry during our time there.

After our nap, we walked to Calle Caldereria Nueva, a narrow street famous for its souvenir shops of Middle Eastern/N. African influence. You can spend an hour or so browsing through all the shops to buy decorative pieces, clothes, and much more.

For the rest of the night, we hopped around tapas and bars, trying out different ones. We went to Bar La Riviera and the bars on that street with a friend. Was a ton of fun and cheap as we filled up on tapas and beer.

We didn’t stay out too late as the next morning, we had our tickets to the Alhambra Palace in the morning.

Day 3: Alhambra in Morning

Our ticket to the Nasrid Palaces at 930 AM so we arrived at the Alhambra around 9 AM. Our hotel was about a 15 minute walk from the entrance but if you’re staying further away, there are plenty of buses that go up to the entrance and also white taxis.

The Alhambra is the shining star of Granada. As one of the most famous and most important monuments in Europe, this is an absolute must see in Granada for its fascinating architecture and extraordinary history.

How to Purchase Alhambra Tickets

I purchased tickets directly from the Alhambra website and I purchased the Generalife tickets 2 months in advance and all time slots were open. I also wanted to do a night visit but those passes were already sold out. You must purchase tickets to the Alhambra well in advance as this place is incredibly popular and they sell a certain amount of tickets per day. Bring your printed ticket and your passport/drivers license/ID. They will ask for both several times when you enter the different areas.

Something very important to note about the time you choose for your ticket is that this is ONLY your time to enter the Nasrid Palaces. You have 30 minutes from your chosen time to enter and there will be a line to get in, so arrive about 20-30 minutes early to get in line.

For the complete visit, get the Alhambra General. You will be able to enter the Nasrid Palaces, Gardens and Generalife. This is non-guided but they offer individual audio guides for $6 USD. It cost 14 euros per adult and if you’d like to add the night visit, it’s 8 euros.

We spent around 4 hours in total at the Alhambra and I am very glad we went earlier in the morning because by the time we left, it was very hot!


Here are some photos of the Alhambra. You will not put your camera away the entire time, trust me!

We finished our visit around 1 PM and then we went back to our hotel to shower and nap. We got very tired from our visit and spent the rest of the afternoon resting in our hotel, especially as it was so hot outside.

Then around 7 PM, we went out back to town to walk around Fuente de los Gigantones and then back up to Paseo de los Tristes to relax and enjoy the hot sultry night.

Day 4: Catholic Church, Mercado Artesenal

For our last day in Granada, we slept in and went out in the late afternoon (the heat was really getting to us and visited the Catedral de Granada (5 euros per person). The cathedral is massive with some impressive altarpieces and decor. We spent a good hour in the church on our own, looking at all the different pieces. I was especially taken away by the stained glass windows!

After we finished wandering through the cathedral, we headed over to the Mercado Artesenal which was just a couple blocks over. As it was our last day, we browsed through some shops to find small trinkets and souvenirs.

Afterwards, we went back to our hotel to nap and rest for our last dinner out. For our last evening, we just went back to the town square to relax and enjoy the Granada nightlife.

Alternative option: Many people go to a Flamenco show in Granada, which we highly recommend. Granada is known as the birthplace of Flamenco so you can’t miss a show!

Day 5: Fly Out/Travel

We took the bus back to Malaga as that was where our flight departed to Madrid, and then from Madrid we flew back to Costa Rica with Iberia Airlines.