Granada was the last city I visited in Spain at the end of my summer abroad trip, and it was the perfect end to my time in Spain. Granada embodies everything that travelers love about Spain all in one city–stunning vistas, intricately built architecture, great wine and tapas, plus although I was there in the middle of a sweltering August, there was always a cool breeze in Granada that evaded us in Sevilla and Córdoba.
- Where to stay: Hotel Carmen
- Flight details: Fly into Málaga Airport (AGP), then take the bus to Granada (2 hours)
- Time of year visited: Summer
- Time in Granada: 3 days
- Spain itinerary: 8 weeks study abroad in Spain, including Cádiz, Granada, Madrid, and Sevilla
Save this map to use on your trip:
- Click the star to the right of the map title
- Open the Google Maps app on your smartphone
- Click on the three lines in the upper left corner and select “Your Places”
- Select “Maps” and the map will be saved there for you to use on your trip. Have fun!
Dating back to 889 AD, The Alhambra is a fortress, palace, and city all in one, and it’s served as each of those throughout its history. Like so many other historic sites in Spain, both Islam and Christianity influenced the design based on which was in power. Before you even enter the site, its easy to see that The Alhambra is special. Its crimson walls are nestled within lush green surrounding gardens, with the often white-capped mountain peaks as a backdrop. The building itself is washed in light after dark, reflecting a golden beacon in the night that can be seen anywhere in the city.
Logistics: Buy your tickets in advance. They actually do sell out during really popular times like summer weekends.
Mirador de San Nicolás
Part of the charm of Granada is that it’s a hilly city not dissimilar to San Francisco; in certain parts of the city, the only way to get where you’re going is up. But the uphill walks (or drives if you’re so inclined) are absolutely worth it for the spectacular views. Mirador de San Nicolás (Saint Nicholas Lookout) offers amazing views of The Alhambra at night, but what you’ll miss if you take most hotel’s recommendation to go up via cab or the public bus is the glimpse into local life hiding within all of the tiny, winding streets, and the increasingly spectacular views you’ll get on the way up.
Don’t miss: The walk up is as much a part of the experience as being at the top. You’ll be rewarded with a sun-kissed view of the city and a unique view of the glowing Alhambra when you get there.
Logistics: Make sure to walk up about 1.5-2 hours before sunset to avoid the heat and catch the dipping sun while you walk. There are a lot of great restaurants and bars in the immediate area, so plan to stay after dark for food and drinks. Plan your walk to hit Mirador de Santa Isabel la Real on the way up for a break and glimpse of the great view you’ll get at the top.
Book your stay at Hotel Carmen. The view from the rooftop pool (image above) is to die for!