Granada is primarily known for three things: its magnificent Moorish architecture, vibrant nightlife and the tradition of serving free tapas with any drink you order.
In the city, you’ll find numerous bars lining the streets and squares, where you can enjoy a small plate of food alongside your reasonably priced drink. These tapas can range from fried fish, slow-cooked meat and paella, to tortilla de patatas, jamón and croquetas.
The tapas culture in Granada is so significant, and the competition among bars is so intense that they genuinely value your opinion on their tapas. If they notice you’re not eating, they might even offer you something else. With all this generosity, you might wonder how these establishments make any profit!
This lively atmosphere contributes to Granada’s reputation as a city with vibrant nightlife. The city centre, particularly around Calle Pedro Antonio de Alarcón and Calle Elvira, has become a popular destination for partygoers, stag parties and Erasmus students.
The Alhambra, the jewel in the crown
Nevertheless, Granada remains a major tourist attraction. It holds this status because it was the last stronghold of the Moors in southern Spain (finally conquered by Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492). The city is filled with remnants of this remarkable Arabic era. The most iconic of all is the Alhambra, an immense fortress dating back to the ninth century.
The Alhambra’s austere brick walls create a striking contrast against the lush Darra valley it overlooks and the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada in the background.
Inside, the architecture is incredibly intricate and adorned, with meticulously landscaped gardens adding an extra touch of beauty. It’s no wonder the Alhambra attracts around three million visitors each year, making it the most visited monument in Spain. If you plan to visit, make sure to book your tickets in advance.
For a panoramic view of the Alhambra from a distance, the old Arabic neighbourhood of Albaicín is an ideal spot. Situated across from the Alhambra, up a steep hill, Albaicín features cobblestone streets and tightly packed whitewashed houses adorned with overflowing red geraniums and terracotta pots.
Just over an hour and a half from Malaga
Thanks to the Avant service (a high-speed, medium-distance train), Granada is easily accessible from Malaga’s María Zambrano station, with a travel time of approximately an hour and a half. Driving takes a similar amount of time.
Daryl is the co-founder of Malaga Guru. He is a copywriter, editor and translator who moved to Malaga a decade ago having first fallen in love with the city on his Erasmus year. After working for many years at local expat newspaper SUR in English, Daryl gained expert knowledge in life from the perspective of foreign residents and decided to co-found this site in 2016.