Granada is nestled in the Andalucia region of Southern Spain…hands down my favorite area. The mix or Moorish and Spanish culture makes for a picturesque and unforgettable destination. Everywhere you turn you will see the mark that both cultures left on this great city from the architecture to the food. Granada is easily one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and should be at the top of your list of cities to visit while in Spain. Don’t rush this city and see the main sights in 1 day like many tourists do. I highly recommend giving yourself at least 2 days in Granada to slow down and enjoy the good life Spanish style.
I’ve visited Granada several times and have listed a complete itinerary for how to spend 2 days in Granada. Everything is listed in an order that makes logistical sense and will leave time for breaks if you want to linger at lunch or if you’re the type of person that needs several coffee stops a day…like me!
Day 1 in Granada
Walking tour of the city – book a walking tour to see the highlights of Granada without having to do any work. I did the Granada Essentials Tour with Cicerone and thought it was perfect. The tour starts at 10:30, is a max of 12 people, and will include sights like the Granada Cathedral, the ancient silk market, and a quick look into the Albaicin neighborhood. This is a great way to get a feel for the city and orient yourself to where the main sights and neighborhoods are. Bring your phone so you can pin places on Google maps that you want to return to. This tour is 2 hours and ends just in time for an afternoon snack! If your budget prefers a free tour, Feel the City offers a great 2.5 hour walking tour. Keep in mind that the free tours can get fairly large especially if you are visiting during high season.
Churros con chocolate – you can’t visit Southern Spain without enjoying churros con chocolate. Some of the best churros in Granada, and I’m talking the thick authentic churros not the skinny ones loaded with sugar, can be found at Gran Café Bib Rambla. I also love this spot for churros con chocolate because it’s in a pretty square that is usually filled with others sipping coffee and enjoying a meal at one of the restaurants surrounding the square.
Granada Cathedral – walk 5 minutes to arrive at Spain’s second largest cathedral. This isn’t your typical European gothic cathedral with dark interiors. Granada’s cathedral has a bright white interior designed in lavish Renaissance and Baroque styles. Your €5 ticket includes the audio guide.
Royal Chapel (Capilla Real) – just around the corner from the cathedral is the resting place of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. The Royal Chapel is a must visit for history buffs as the Catholic monarchs buried here are the most significant rulers in Spain’s history. Visit the treasury to see Queen Isabella’s personal art collection, crown, prayer book, and scepter. There is also a box that was supposedly given to Columbus and filled with jewels in order to fund his journey. Your €5 entrance fee includes the audio guide.
Coffee break – take a coffee break at one of my favorite coffee shops in Granada, La Finca. The location is right next to the cathedral and is perfect for a moment to rest your feet.
Sunset views at Mirador San Nicolas – now is the perfect time to wind your way back through the Albaicin neighborhood to reach the best view of the Alhambra at sunset. The Albaicin is the medieval Moorish neighborhood in Granada and deserves more than one visit during your 2 days in Granada. Don’t worry, we will return to this area on day 2! It’s about a 15 to 20 minute walk from La Finca/cathedral to the viewpoint. Take your time and feel free to get lost along the way. Some of my best memories of Granada are the times I threw my map aside and just wandered the Albaicin.
Keep an eye on the time to make sure you arrive at Mirador San Nicolas, also called Plaza de San Nicolas, before sunset. I will warn you that it’s going to be crowded. Once you arrive you’ll see why as the view of the Alhambra is spectacular. It’s lively this time of day as there are usually flamenco dancers and guitarists performing, vendors selling cheap souvenirs, and visitors enjoying a glass of wine while taking in the view.
Tapas crawl – tapas and Spain go hand in hand so now is the time to end your first day in Granada with a feast of Sangria and Spanish bites. Walk 10 minutes from Mirador San Nicolas to Carrera del Darro. This is a gorgeous street to walk down at night as it runs alongside the Darro river and boasts wonderful views of the Alhambra above. There are a few restaurants on this street where you can sit and really take in the view of the Alhambra. I prefer to continue along Carrera del Darro until it turns into Plaza Nueva. Wander the streets above Plaza Nueva and behind the cathedral. You’ll quickly discover this area is packed with tapas restaurants that are filled with hungry patrons. Do as the locals do and start your tapas crawl around 9:00pm. Have a glass of a sangria and a tapas or two before moving on to the next place. This is a fun way to try multiple restaurants. My two favorite spots in this area are Los Diamantes and Bodegas Castaneda.
Day 2 in Granada
Alhambra Palace – start your second day with a bang at one of the top sights in all of Europe. The Alhambra Palace is one of the greatest Moorish palaces in the world and was the last stronghold of the Moors before the Christians took over. After the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the Alhambra is the most visited sight in Spain, which means it gets crowded. I highly recommend purchasing your tickets beforehand (currently up to 3 months advance). You will have to choose a specific time slot. Because the palace receives so many visitors each day, they are extremely strict on how many people enter the Nasrid Palaces, the main attraction, at a time. Choose the earliest time slot and arrive 30 minutes beforehand. The last time I visited I booked the first slot at 8:30am and had a good 1 to 1.5 hours before the tour groups and crowds ascended.
The Alhambra is a complex of buildings, gardens, and courtyards. There is a lot to see and you could easily spend all day here. Because time is limited during your 2 days in Granada plan on 4 hours to have enough time to see all the sights and wander the grounds.
Café 4 Gatos – once you’re done imagining what it was like to live like royalty in Spain leave the Alhambra and make your way down to the Albaicin neighborhood. Skip the cab and enjoy the 25 minute walk. You’ll go through some pretty streets and popular areas on your way to the cafe. Café 4 Gatos is near the entrance of the Albaicin and has a great local vibe, strong espresso and amazing carrot cake.
Wander the Albaicin – my favorite area to wander aimlessly in Granada. You already got a taste of this area yesterday on the way to Mirador San Nicolas. Now you can take the time to really get lost and explore.
The Albaicin, or Albayzín, feels worlds apart from rest of Granada. Here, you feel like you are closer to Morocco than the typical European city. The narrow streets twist and turn and lead you past white stucco buildings with ceramic rooftops. One moment you will be completely alone and the next you are on a busy street reminiscent of the souks in Marrakech with shops filled with trinkets, golden lamps, and pointy slippers that make you think of Aladdin and his lamp.
If you love walking tours as much as I do this is a great neighborhood to add a second walking tour to your Granada 2 day itinerary. Feel the City Tours and Cicerone offer tours of the Albayzin and Sacromonte neighborhoods in the early evening.
Lunch at Bar La Fragua – authentic tapas, cheap prices, and a casual local atmosphere…need I say more? If you want a few more tapas restaurants to choose from head next door to Plaza Larga. There are plenty of tapas bars and cafes surrounding the square.
Explore Sacromonte – once you’ve had your fill of the Albaicin head to the small neighborhood of Sacromonte, home to Granada’s gypsy community. Walk along the main street, Camino del Sacromonte and appreciate how the cave homes are built right into the cliffside. This is the spot to catch a cave flamenco show. Zambra is the specific style of Flamenco that you’ll see performed that was created by the gypsy community of Granada. Cueva de la Rocio and Maria la Canastera are the most popular options for Zambra shows. It’s become quite touristy over the years, but it’s fun regardless and how many people can say they attended a Flamenco show in a cave!
Tapas – if you didn’t grab dinner during the Zambra show, head back to one of your favorite spots for another tapas crawl. You could return to Plaza Nueva or Plaza Bib Rambla. Spend your final hours in Granada sipping Sangria and engraving this city in your memory. I can guarantee you you’ll want to return.
I hope this itinerary helps in planning how to spend 2 days in Granada. This truly is one of my favorite cities in Spain and I’m sure you will love it as much as I do.
Written by Ashley Friemel
Ashley is the owner and creator of Abroad with Ash. After leaving a career in finance Ashley began focusing on her travel blog where she provides resources like itineraries, city guides, top 5 lists, and affordable travel tips to help others plan their next adventure.
She currently resides in Texas and has a healthy obsession for coffee shops, travel deals, gelato, and Harry Potter.