Granada is an unprecedented postcard: a monumental Arab fortress, snow-capped mountains, and winding street with whitewashed houses. For starters, the monumental complex of Alhambra and Generalife is the most visited tourist attraction in Spain, which practically says everything.
In the historic neighborhoods of Albayzín and Sacromonte, you’ll find restaurants serving delicacies from the Andalusian region and houses specializing in flamenco music and dance. Meanwhile, you can visit various religious monuments in the historic center, including the place where the Catholic Monarchs are buried.
In Granada, you can also take a walk in the typical markets from southern Spain, with strong Muslim inspiration. Converted into busy streets of shops and tents, they sell almost everything, from handicrafts, clothing, and jewelry to books and spices.
So, do you want to know more about 2 Days In Granada: The Perfect Granada Itinerary? Keep reading!
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- Brief History of Granada
- Visiting Granada
- Granada Itinerary – Day 1
- Granada Itinerary – Day 2
- Map of the Granada Itinerary
- More Posts about Spain
- More Posts about Travel Itineraries
- What Photography Gear Do I Use?
Brief History of Granada
Granada is located in the foothills of one of Spain’s best-known mountains: the Sierra Nevada. Populated since prehistoric times, this city saw the passage of several native tribes, before being conquered by the Romans.
The new submission to Rome led the emperor Julius Caesar to give the place the name of Municipium Florentinum Iliberitanum. This was integrated into the Roman province of Hispania Ulterior and, later, in Hispania Baetica. As far as is known, “Florentia” (or “Ilíberis”) was quite important between the 1st and 3rd century AD, but it began to decay in the following centuries.
During the 8th century, the Muslims invaded the Iberian Peninsula and, eventually, the area that corresponds to today’s Granada. In fact, it was exactly in 1013 that the Zirids – a people from North Africa – founded the new Medina Garnata.
From that moment, the city of Granada developed over three historical periods, marked by the Zirid, Berber, and Nasrid dynasties. The latter was undoubtedly the most important of all and responsible for the construction of the Alhambra and Generalife complex.
Thus, Granada assumed itself as the capital of the homonymous Nasrid kingdom and was the last Muslim city to surrender to Castile, already in 1492. The Catholic Monarchs (Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon) were the main ones responsible for the extinction of the Muslim domain over Spain.
If you decide to spend several days in southern Spain, then you should consider a road trip through Andalusia. After all, Granada is less than 140km away from Malaga and about 250 km away from Seville, which makes it a perfect stop!
However, any of these three destinations is perfectly compatible with public transportation, both buses, and trains. For example, I visited Granada from Madrid and traveled on the AVE, a high-speed train that takes 3:15-3:20 minutes, approximately.
Therefore, the city of Granada is perfectly visitable in two days, but if you can extend your stay, you won’t regret it! There are many places to visit and tapas to taste, plus the Alhambra and Generalife should be enjoyed for an entire day.
Granada Itinerary – Day 1
The Santa Iglesia Catedral Metropolitana de la Encarnación de Granada is one of the monuments that best represent the Spanish Renaissance. It was designed by the architect Diego de Siloé, who is also responsible for the design of the Royal Monastery of Saint Jerome of Granada.
Like other Catholic temples in Andalusia, the Granada Cathedral was built on the site of a mosque, after the city was reconquered by the Catholic Monarchs. In spite of everything, the works lasted for 181 years, from 1523 to 1704!
The Cathedral has an imposing facade, with three arches and reliefs of religious figures, made by Alonso Cano at the beginning of the 17th century. Inside, there are fifteen chapels with works by local artists and other treasures from the diocese. But the most important is the Mayor Chapel, of breathtaking beauty!
The Granada Cathedral is open from Monday to Saturday, from 10 am to 6:30 pm, and on Sundays and liturgical holidays, from 3 pm to 5:45 pm. In this sense, the monument closes only two days per year: January 1st and December 25th. Normally, admission costs €5 for people over 13 years old (or €3.5 for students), except on Sundays, when it’s free. To do this, you must book a ticket in advance through the website of the Archbishopric of Granada. Audio guides are included, in addition to being available in more than ten different languages.
The Capilla Real de Granada is a funerary monument in Gothic style, built between 1505 and 1517 and dedicated to Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist. The chapel was built at the request of the Catholic Monarchs, shortly after choosing Granada as their final resting place. Consequently, it’s possible to admire relics donated by the Spanish monarchs in the interior: paintings, tapestries, books, vestments, etc.
The Royal Chapel of Granada operates from Monday to Saturday, from 10:15 am to 6:30 pm, and on Sundays and liturgical holidays, from 11 am to 6 pm. In this sense, the monument closes only three days per year: January 1st, Good Friday, and December 25th. Normally, admission costs €5 for people over 13 years old (or €3.5 for students), except on Wednesdays from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm, when it’s free. To do this, you must book a ticket in advance through the website of the Archbishopric of Granada. Audio guides are included, in addition to being available in more than ten different languages.
A few meters from the Cathedral, you’ll find one of the most unique areas of the city: the Alcaicería. This former Arab silk market (souk) is today a labyrinth of narrow streets, albeit full of varied shops.
During the Nasrid period, the Alcaicería was very popular, mainly for the trade of fabrics, gold, sugar, cocoa, and spices. More than 200 stores have kept their activity for several centuries in this tight bazaar. However, a fire at a match shop destroyed the souk in the early 19th century, forcing its total reconstruction.
The place is perfect for buying a souvenir from Andalusia, as typical Arab handicrafts are sold here. Just to illustrate, there are objects worked in wood, leather bags and accessories, colored glass lamps, and the famous Fajalauza pottery.
Royal Monastery of Saint Jerome
The Real Monasterio de San Jerónimo de Granada is a work from the Renaissance period that includes not only a monastery, but also a church. The Christian monastery was founded in the neighboring municipality of Santa Fe, before being transferred to Granada in 1504.
As I mentioned in the description of the Granada Cathedral, the construction of the Royal Monastery of Saint Jerome was in charge of Diego de Saloé. Inside the Church of Saint Jerome, Mayor Chapel has one of the most important altarpieces of the Mannerist period in Spain. In the same place, you’ll still find the tomb of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdova, the famous Gran Capitán.
The Royal Monastery of Saint Jerome is open every day, from 10 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 7:30 pm (March to August). During the low season (September to February), only the afternoon schedule changes: from 3 pm to 6:30 pm.
Entry costs €4 and is free for children under 10 years old. There are also guided tours on Sundays for €7 and a daily mass at 9 am (except on Sundays, which is at 10 am). On September 30th – St. Jerome’s Day – a special mass is celebrated at 11 am.
To visit the historic neighborhood of Albayzín, you’ll pass through the Carrera del Darro, one of the most beautiful and pleasant areas in the city. This pedestrian street next to the Darro River has lots of shops and restaurants, Arab-style houses, and tourist buildings like El Bañuelo, an ancient Turkish bath.
Once in Albayzín, you must go to the Mirador de San Nicolás, the most popular in the whole city and with incredible views over the Alhambra. There are also other very interesting buildings in the vicinity, mainly religious temples and other viewpoints.
In my blog post “How To Visit The Alhambra Of Granada”, I explain in detail the beauty of this historic neighborhood, which was inscribed on the UNESCO list in 1994 (ten years after the Alhambra and Generalife complex)!
After the reconquest of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs, the Albayzín neighborhood was practically empty without the Muslim and Jewish populations. Even so, in the first decades of the 16th century, the establishment of gypsies was allowed in the most remote part of the neighborhood.
This area became known as Sacromonte, since people built houses on stones, originating the famous “caves”. In short, a community of humble and bohemian people was formed, whose legacy you can visit at the Museo Cuevas del Sacromonte. If you want a wonderful view not only of Sacromonte but also of the Alhambra and Albayzín, visit the Abadía del Sacromonte!
Granada Itinerary – Day 2
Alhambra and Generalife
For the second day in Granada, nothing better than spending it in the Alhambra, the architectural marvel of the city. Did you know that this monumental complex has some of the best-preserved Islamic constructions in the world?
I wrote a complete blog post about the monument, so you can get to know in detail the Nasrid palaces, the gardens, and the fortress. The Alhambra and Generalife complex has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984 and is one of the most unbelievable places I have ever visited!
Map of the Granada Itinerary
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