Granada, SPAIN — the last city to be reconquered by the Catholic Kings in 1492. Only ~2.5 hours by train from Sevilla, you’ll be transported back to this former Muslim ruled state where you’ll feel more like you’re visiting Morocco than Spain.
4 nights / 4 days
One of our favorite Airbnbs to date with incredible views of the Alhambra! The 2 bedroom penthouse is located on a hill, so caution to pack light, but it does have an elevator.
Alhambra & Generalife – Do this UNESCO World Heritage site right and hire an outside guide via Airbnb (plus beat the crowd!). The official site offers guided tours, but they are huge groups of 30 people.
We loved this small group Airbnb Experience (max of 6 people). After you’ve booked your tour, you’ll need to purchase the Alhambra General (Complete) ticket for around €20 since it’s not included. The Nasrid Palaces are by reserved time slot only so coordinate with your guide. Start bright and early and expect to spend at least half a day here.
If you choose not to hire a guide, start with the Generalife and gardens first as soon as it opens for a more peaceful experience. Many tours save the gardens for last.
**Important: Do not forget to bring your physical passports! It’s a requirement to enter each section of the Alhambra and Generalife for security purposes. No need to print tickets. Both passports and tickets will be electronically scanned.
Mirador de San Nicolás is a popular viewpoint of the Alhambra. For another scenic view at sunset overlooking the entire city, continue walking through the Albaicin to Ermita De San Miguel Alto above the Sacromonte cave houses. There will be no street vendors, just locals hanging out with friends having a picnic enjoying a few beers. Bring a backpack to grab some Alhambra beer for a few euros on the way up. While you’ll see everyone drinking atop the hill, it’s not technically legal so best to keep your beverages concealed with your bag.
Albaicin Neighborhood – the old Arab quarter with charming, narrow streets designed for security and weather. There are free walking tours that will take you into this Muslim district and connect into Sacromonte, the gypsy district.
Royal Chapel / Capilla Real – the burial place of the Catholic Kings, Queen Isabella I and King Fernando. Buy tickets online to skip the line.
See Flamenco in a Cave (Sacromante) at La Cueva de Rocio, Maria La Canastera, or Jardines da Zoraya. Skip the dinner option and just purchase the show with one drink included for about €20. Seats are first come first serve so arrive early.
Hammam Al Andaluz – Arabic bathhouse. Book a few weeks in advance to get the service you want. I highly recommend the Midra which includes the baths, a 15 minute massage and a 15 minute exfoliation on a hot stone bed. There are no walk ins available. Al Haram is a smaller, local option so you won’t be bothered by other people/tourists.
EAT / DRINK
Granada is known for it’s free tapas. All you have to do is order a drink and you’ll receive a tapa with each drink ordered.
Bodegas Castaneda – traditional tapas restaurant, famous for their vermouth. If it’s too busy, just head next door to Bodegas Granada, where the vermouth is equally as tasty and you also get a free tapa with each drink.
Cafe 4 Gatos – perfect spot for tostadas/breakfast, cash only
La Piccola Carmela – great Italian if you need a break from tapas
Amazonia – fine Latin American cuisine
Heladería Los Italianos – famous ice cream shop, open for half of the year so check their hours online
Tetería El Bañuelo – traditional tea house with a view
Casa de Vinos La Brujidera – wine bar behind the Darro river
Get your Middle Eastern fix at La Puerta de Syria, Restaurante Teteria Riad Elvira, or El Campesino (very casual spot for freshly made to-go gyro sandwiches and falafel). Calle Calderería Nueva is full of tea houses, Arabic souvenirs, and sweets. Sabor Alhambra has a great selection of Turkish delights (purchased by weight). The pomegranate with pistachios is my favorite. After all, Granada means pomegranate in Spanish.
Next stop, Porto!