I have visited Granada briefly on a couple of occasions in the past, but these visits were flying visits, maybe for a meal, or just a passing visit on the way to or from the ski resort in the Sierra Nevada. When I booked my Spanish trip for this summer, I decided that as I would be passing through Granada I would stop here for a mini Granada city break on my way to southern Spain.
Granada City Break
Flight Time from London: The published flight time from London to Granada is 2h 50m.
Airline & Airport of Operation: You can reach Granada from London City airport with British Airways, as well as some regional airports across the UK. As I started my Spanish trip in Madrid, I drove down to Granada from Madrid, which took just over four hours.
Transfer Time to City: Granada’s airport is located 12 miles from the centre of the city, which takes 20-30 minutes in a taxi and costs approximately €25.
Where to Stay on a Granada City Break
For this trip I stayed for one night at the Hospes Palacio de los Patos Hotel which was located along Calle Solarillo de Garcia, just a short walk from Granada’s old town.
Hospes Palacio de los Patos is based in two buildings. The main building where the reception is located is set in a beautiful 19th century palace, with all rooms in this building restored to their original decor. The second building is ultra modern and is home to the restaurant and spa, and this is set across a beautiful courtyard where the outdoor bar is located. The guest rooms are located in both buildings, mine was in the modern building looking out over the courtyard and the original palace building.
Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
After I had checked in, I was given a brief tour of the hotel to show me all the amenities and on arrival at my room I was also shown all the features of the room. This was a very nice touch, and it’s been a long time since I’ve stayed at a hotel that has gone to this much effort. While I was out in the afternoon, the hotel staff had visited the room to turn down the bed and also left some complimentary water and snacks in the room. During my stay I did use the valet parking at the hotel, and when I checked out the car was brought round to reception for me and there was complimentary water left in the car for my onward journey which was another nice touch.
While the room was only an average sized room, and even though it was very modern, it had a very warm feeling to it. The room had all the usual things you would expect from a 5* hotel, and one of my favourite features was the huge bath made from sheets of marble. I also liked the glass walls between the room and the bathroom.
Top Attractions on a Granada City Break
During this Granada city break I visited the old town and the Arabic Quarter on the first day, and visited the Alhambra on the second day.
Old Town & Arabic Quarter: Granada’s old town is a labyrinth of small lanes and alleys which open out to beautiful little squares, usually home to a tapas bar or two. It’s worth spending some time exploring the old town, and the absolutely stunning cathedral.
If you go a bit further past the old town you will find yourself in the Arabic Quarter. The Arabic Quarter is located on a hillside which looks out over the Alhambra. There are also many small lanes and alleys in this part of the town, but being on a hillside they can be quite steep, and some are just steps up the hill as it is so steep. For some amazing views over the Alhambra head up to Mirador de San Nicolás. It’s quite a mission to get there, but the views are truly spectacular, so it’s worth the hike up there.
Alhambra: A trip to the Alhambra is not to be missed on a Granada City Break. The Alhambra is a fortress and palace complex located on a hill overlooking Granada, in southern Spain. The original part of the fort was built in the 8th century on the ruins of a previous Roman fort, but not long after it was forgotten about until the 13th century when the area was occupied by the Moors and the Alhambra was extended and refurbished to be a palace for the Emirate of Granada. There have been many additions since, but Alhambra is mainly known for its beautiful Moorish palaces.
You can pick from many entrance packages, but the full package which gives you access to everything is €15.40. I would allow an absolute minimum of 4 hours for your visit to fully appreciate everything. You can visit the different areas in any order and spend as little or as much time in any part, but note that entrance to the Nasrid Palaces are strictly at the time specified on your booking. I booked in advance so that I could choose a time to suit me.
Restaurant Recommendation: Granada is famous for its great tapas and many bars will give you a few small complimentary tapas dishes when you order a drink. While I was exploring the old town on my first afternoon I found a small tapas bar for a quick snack. I did get a few small dishes with my drinks, but I also ordered some larger dishes.
By the time the evening came, I was quite tired from my afternoon exploring the city, so I decided not to go out, and chose to stay in my hotel room and order some room service. This was quite nice for a change as I actually spent some quality time relaxing in the spa, then I headed to the outside bar for a gin and tonic before I went back to my room for my delicious rib eye steak.
Top Tip: If you are visiting during the warmer months, try and visit the Alhambra on a cooler, overcast day as your visit will involve a lot of outdoor walking. Also, if possible try to book online in advance, so that you are able to choose a good time to visit the Nasrid Palaces – and be on time for your entry as they are quite strict on admission times.
Currency: Spain’s currency is the Euro, and at the time of writing this the exchange rate was approximately 1.1 Euros to the Pound.
Weather: I visited Granada during the height of the Spanish summer, and when I checked the weather forecast in the days leading up to my visit it was forecast to be very hot. However, I actually arrived to a much cooler temperature as well as it being slightly overcast. This was actually much nicer as this allowed me to get out and see much more of the city without it being too hot.
Best Time to go to Granada: justify Granada is a city you could visit year round, and offers something different throughout the year. For a city break you could visit any time, but just remember with Granada being inland it can see some extreme temperatures during the summer months. For those who are looking for some winter sports, there is a fantastic ski resort close by in the Sierra Nevada. If visiting during the winter, Granada looks very pretty when the city is covered by a blanket of snow.
Recommended Duration: I only stayed in Granada for one night so I could have a quick explore on my way from Madrid to southern Spain. This really wasn’t enough time to fully appreciate Granada – I think you would need at least three days here to fully explore this wonderful historic city.
Conclusion: I enjoyed my Granada city break, even though it was on the short side. The problem was that I had planned to do a bit too much for a seven day trip. It has however given me a nice taster for the city, and I will definitely visit Granada again in the future.