Out of all the places I’ve visited in Spain, Granada remains a firm favourite.
Its Islamic heritage, beautiful architecture and narrow cobbled streets make it a charming, memorable city.
One of the best things about it is the amount of beauty packed into a relatively small space, meaning you can happily spend your time walking around and stumbling upon hidden gems.
So if you want to find out how to spend just a few short days in Granada, read on to discover the perfect 3 days in Granada itinerary!
When to visit Granada
The best times of the year to visit Granada are April-May and September-October as these are the mildest months
Spain can get extremely hot during the summer months (surpassing 40 degrees Celsius) so I’d advise avoiding the city at this time.
If it’s too hot even for the locals, you won’t want to be cramming in sightseeing!
Where to stay in Granada
I’d recommend staying in the historic city centre, where you’ll be close to plenty of main attractions and tapas bars — or the Albaycin.
The Albaycin is a Medieval Moorish district with narrow streets, traditional buildings and outstanding views overlooking Alhambra Palace.
I stayed in this beautiful affordable apartment in the Albaycin district, which was walkable to many points of interest.
There’s even a friendly Sphynx cat named Fresa (Spanish for strawberry) to keep guests company on the terrace!
How to get around Granada
The best mode of transport is the bus which is both cheap and reliable.
However, as I mentioned earlier, Granada is lovely and walkable once you’re in a general area of interest.
Be warned though: it’s rather hilly with its fair share of cobblestones, so a taxi is a good idea if you’re heading back to your accommodation in the evening.
Day 1 of your 3 Days in Granada Itinerary
Kick-off day 1 of your 3 days in Granada itinerary by grabbing yourself a bite to eat before a packed day ahead.
I recommend trying some mollete, a traditional Andalusian breakfast of toasted bread usually served with tomato, olive oil and garlic.
Morning: Visit Alhambra Palace and Generalife
Address: Calle Real de la Alhambra, 18009 Granada
Phone number: +34 958 02 79 71
Entry: Starting at 30 euros for an Alhambra and Nasrid Palaces Ticket with Audioguide
The Alhambra is one of the most famous landmarks in Spain, and after spending some time here you’ll quickly understand why.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is made up of an ancient palace, fortress and gardens, all of which are beautifully decorated with ornate columns and arches, set against the Sierra Nevada peaks.
There are different booking options available here including guided tours and entrance to both the Nasrid Palaces and Generalife.
But tickets go fast, so book ahead!
Not as intricate as the Alhambra but beautiful in its own right, the neighbouring Generalife contains peaceful gardens for your wandering pleasure.
You should allow for at least three hours to take your time exploring the Alhambra and Generalife.
Afternoon: Explore the Albaycin and grab some lunch
After catching a glimpse of the Albaycin over the palace walls of the Alhambra, your curiosity will surely be piqued to get a closer look.
This area spans from in town all the way to the Sacromonte, which is where you’ll end up later!
If you’re in need of a spot of lunch, you can find something on Calle Elvira.
There are also great vegetarian options here (somewhat of a luxury in Spain, I’m afraid!).
Afterwards, spend a relaxing afternoon wandering the streets of the Albaycin, getting lost in its labyrinth of alleyways.
You’ll find street musicians; charming cafes, bars and restaurants with outdoor terraces prime for people-watching; and several viewpoints (“miradores”) looking out across the city.
Early evening: Dinner in the Caves of Sacromonte
After wandering through the Albaycin, head over to Sacromonte.
Spanish for “sacred mountain”, Sacromonte is the Roma quarter of the city owing its fame to the Roma gypsies who made cave houses in the hills in the 15th century.
You’ll find many great restaurant options in this area, including Casa Juanillo and Estrellas de San Nicolas, both of which have stunning views overlooking the palace.
In Granada, there really is no excuse to pass up on a good view!
Evening: Enjoy a flamenco show in Sacromonte
Address: Cam. del Sacromonte, 89, 18010 Granada
Phone number: +34 958 12 11 83
Entry: 24 euros for show and drink
Sacromonte is also the birthplace of flamenco dance, so of course, I had to include a flamenco show in this 3 days in Granada itinerary.
The flamenco shows here are on the touristy side, but hey, that doesn’t mean they’re not worth a visit!
For your first flamenco show, I highly recommend Zambra Maria La Canastera.
You can expect an intimate performance with contagious energy, and a glass of sangria included with your ticket. Bonus!
Day 2 of your 3 Days in Granada Itinerary
Get yourself ready for another day of exploring, including a hike in the Sierra Nevada peaks!
Morning: Go shopping on Calle Alcaiceria
Alcaiceria is a name used all over Moorish Spain and in the Middle East to refer to Arabic bazaars.
And for a moment, you might believe you’re actually in the Middle East when on Calle Alcaiceria!
This busy street is bursting with stalls selling crafts, traditional clothing and silks, and herbs and spices.
If you’re in the market for a gift or souvenir to take home, this would be a great place to pick one up!
I recommend entering the Alcaiceria just off the Calle Reyes Catolicos and working your way along the street which will take you out at the Cathedral, our next stop.
Early afternoon: Visit Granada Cathedral
Address: Calle Gran Via de Colon, 5, 18001 Granada
Phone number: +34 958 22 29 59
Entry: 5 euros (audioguide included)
Granada Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in Spain.
A Spanish Renaissance masterpiece praised by writers and historians, it’s characterised by a Gothic exterior and a beautiful stained-glass dome.
Entry costs only 5 euros and it includes a downloadable audio guide which will take you around the various features of the building and its history.
Late afternoon: Calle Calderería Nueva
Address: 18010 Granada, Spain
Next up, in the historic city centre, you’ll find this colourful little street.
It has a distinctly Moroccan vibe; a tribute to Granada’s Islamic heritage.
It’s packed with shops and tea rooms (“teterias”), which you can pop in to relax with some tea, traditional pastries, or shisha if this is your cup of tea (excuse the pun).
On what is starting to feel like a round-the-world trip, spend a couple of hours in this area chilling out and soaking up the unique atmosphere.
Evening: Summit Sierra Nevada
Address: Meeting at Bus Stop Emperador Carlos V – Palacio Deportes
Entry: 25 euros (please note that if you’re the solo member of the tour, you’ll have to pay an additional 29 euro)
Up next has got to be the highlight of my trip!
As you’ll be well aware from spending the last couple of days walking around this beautiful city, Granada is home to the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountain range.
After admiring the peaks of the Sierra Nevada from afar, why not get lost right in the heart of them?
It’s possible through this Airbnb Experience and if you’re to follow any advice from this itinerary, let it be this.
It’s an easy and varied hiking trail that both avid hikers and first-timers can enjoy – even those less athletic!
The optional ascent to the summit (a 5,000 ft peak) does require some physical effort but it’s manageable and certainly pays off.
These walks are hosted almost every day of the week and allow you to see the sunset over Granada while escaping from the bustle of the city.
On the way back down, you’ll finish hiking in the dark, guided by the moonlight as you gaze at the stars.
I was lucky enough to see two shooting stars (though I’m told this was on one of two nights of the year that this is most likely, bringing swarms of Spaniards who were laid out on picnic blankets near the park entrance).
Make sure to bring water and comfortable shoes; hiking poles and flashlights are provided by your guide.
Day 3 of your 3 Days in Granada Itinerary
Late morning: Andalusian Arab Bath
Address: C. Sta. Ana, 16, 18009 Granada
Phone number: +34 958 22 99 78
Entry: ~40 to 100 euros (dependent on treatment)
After your Sierra Nevada hike, you’ll be very grateful for a lie-in.
Then, in answer to your prayers, next on the agenda is an opportunity to rest, relax and recharge by spending a couple of hours at a thermal bath.
The modern hammams in the city aim to provide a similar experience to the old hammams popular in medieval Granada.
The Hammam Al Ándalus is located just below the Alhambra and was an Arab bath back in the 13th century.
Although the modern hammam does not use any of the same installations, you can enjoy your visit knowing that you’re on the exact site of the medieval bathhouse.
Moreover, Hammam Al Andalus features seven pools with different temperatures.
You can start by alternating between the warm pool and the cold-water bath, which is great for your skin and circulation.
If you’ve booked in for a massage, you’ll be called during this time. Oh, the luxury!
You can also opt for the Kessa treatment, which includes exfoliation and Kessa soap and is similar to an authentic Moroccan Hamman experience.
And don’t forget to stay hydrated by taking advantage of the green tea with mint available along the route.
I recommend booking ahead, especially for weekends and bank holidays.
Early afternoon: Monasterio de la Cartuja
Address: Monasterio de la Cartuja, Paseo de Cartuja, 18011 Granada
Phone number: +34 955 03 70 70
Entry: 5 euros
This elaborately decorated monastery is one of the finest examples of Spanish Baroque architecture.
The monument is fairly obscure due to the fact that it’s located a few kilometres out of the centre, off the beaten tourist track.
However, the architectural splendour is well worth a visit.
Construction began in 1516, and monks inhabited Cartuja until 1835.
Aside from the cloister and the monks’ cells, most of the original architecture still stands.
The over-the-top flamboyance of the monastery is intriguing considering the monks who once lived here led a very austere lifestyle.
Late afternoon: Lose yourself on a tapas crawl
You’ve probably been reading along, wondering, “So when are we getting tapas?”
I mean, this is Spain after all, so who can blame you?
What’s so great and unique about Granada (amongst everything else on this 3 days in Granada itinerary) is that all the authentic local bars serve a free small plate of tapas with every drink order.
So yes, you guessed it, we’re going on a tapas crawl!
Near Plaza Nueva, you’ll find lots of tapas bars making it easy to move between them to experience a plethora of tipples and nibbles and soak up the true Spanish atmosphere.
I’ve included a few of my favourites below:
1. Bodegas Castañeda
Address: Calle Almireceros, 1, 3, 18010 Granada
Phone number: +34 958 21 54 64
Bodegas Castañeda is popular with locals and has a very lively atmosphere, so prepare to elbow your way in and shout your order.
Try a classic Spanish drink of vermouth (“vermut”) and some delicious tapas; examples include meatballs (“albondingas”) and chicken with bell peppers.
2. Bar Casa Julio
Address: Calle Hermosa, 5, 18010 Granada
Phone number: +34 958 04 97 60
In an alleyway just around the corner, you’ll find Bar Casa Julio where you can get your hands on some of the finest seafood tapas in Granada. Delicious!
3. Los Diamantes
Address: Plaza Nueva, 13, 18009 Granada
Phone number: +34 958 07 53 13
Los Diamantes is recently refurbished and very popular amongst tourists.
But if you can grab yourself a seat, it’s a great way to watch the world go by on the busy square of Plaza Nueva.
So, there you have it: a 3 days in Granada itinerary.
In just three short days we’ve packed in a lot: from ornate cathedrals and palaces to hiking in the picturesque mountains and relaxing in a traditional Arab Bath.
I hope I’ve convinced you to visit this beautiful little city and experience all it has to offer.