Granada is a city with a rich and diverse history, located in the heart of the province of Andalusia in southern Spain.
It is close to the Mediterranean coastline, but inland, among cooler hills and mountains in the shadow of the majestic Sierra Nevada.
It is a city famous for its Moorish heritage, as it was a city of great cultural and political importance during the Islamic occupation of Spain.
In fact, you’ll find more interesting history and Moorish influences in many of Andalusia’s surrounding towns.
From Granada, you can enjoy many day trips from famous cities like Seville or Malaga to Andalusia’s mountainous and high-altitude towns and villages.
There are always beaches to visit, and the Costa del Sol and its many coastal communities are just a short drive away.
Here are the best day trips from Granada:
1. Sierra Nevada
To the south and east of Granada, the vast Sierra Nevada will keep you coming back day after day to experience all that this outdoor region has to offer.
The mountains here are incredible as the highest peak reaches a sublime height of 3479 meters.
Mount Mulhassen is the highest peak in Spain and one of the highest in Europe.
While you might not necessarily want to climb this peak on a day trip, there are many other smaller peaks to climb, and countless trails to hike.
This is a wild and spectacular part of the country, and a truly unique place to explore.
Amazing tours on offer: Granada: 4WD Safari in the Sierra Nevada
2. Sacred Cave
Sacromonte is located on the eastern edge of Granada and is a great escape from the city.
However, you will find a very novel place in this neighborhood, because many people in Sacromonte do not live in houses, but in caves.
This has been the way the locals have lived here since at least the 16th century, when their ancestors built houses on soft rock high in the mountains to provide a safe place to live in turbulent times.
These days, caves are filled with all the usual decorations necessary for modern life, and to enter one of these unusual dwellings, you have to have a good conversation with the inhabitants, remembering that people actually still live here.
Recommended Tour: Albaicín and Sacromonte 2.5-Hour Walking Tour
Alpujarras is an area of mountain villages and towns in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada south of the Unyielding Mountains.
There are many villages to be found, all in striking locations surrounded by hills and peaks.
The houses and buildings in the area are distinctively white, and many still retain the distinctive Moorish designs and motifs originally built many centuries ago.
There are plenty of hiking opportunities in the mountains that can take you from one charming village to the next.
Suggested Tour: Alpujarra Experience: Historic Mountain Village
Ronda is another striking town, located at a high altitude in the Andalusian mountains.
It’s about two hours east of Granada and requires a steep, steep and winding ascent from an excruciating cliffside road.
It was made famous by Ernest Hemingway, who spent a lot of time here and found a lot of inspiration.
It is one of the most photogenic cities in Spain, perched on top of a hill overlooking a deep valley.
There are many cobblestone streets to walk, never-ending views, and a museum dedicated to the history of bullfighting, which offers insight into this deeply divisive practice.
5. El Caminito del Rey
If you can survive the more harrowing heights, you must head to the newly opened El Caminito del Rey, a hiking trail that translates to the King’s Trail.
This is not for the faint of heart, as the trail follows the cliffs and rocks of El Chorro Gorge, in the same area as Ronda.
Originally it was simply a plank to be nailed to the cliff, but due to too many accidents, the authorities closed the original route and turned it into a safer tourist attraction that can now be taken away with guides and safety.
The beautiful Moorish-style city of Almeria can be found on the coast of southern Grenada.
The city’s history dates back to the 10th century, when Moorish invaders built the strong fortifications of the Almeria Castle, which still stands today.
Stroll along the walls of this medieval fortress and gaze at the sea as people have done for centuries, then stroll the streets and waterfront of the modern city, stopping at local bars and restaurants along the way.
7. Lakelin Valley
The Lecrin Valley is a scenic region and charming village just a short drive south of the city.
This is the perfect escape from the city, and you’ll marvel at the stunning lakes, rolling hills and unspoiled nature of towns and villages.
Unlike most of the coast, this is an area that isn’t really developed for tourism and it doesn’t get as many tourists as Granada, so take the opportunity to really enjoy the local culture.
Nerja is a quiet coastal town known for the exquisite Roman aqueduct that still stands nearby.
This is a place rich in history, but also many people visit the natural beauty found here.
Compared to the rest of Andalusia, the beaches are very quiet and there are plenty of sea snorkeling and diving spots.
The Nerja Caves have also been a tourist attraction and are well worth a visit.
Marbella, the center of the long Costa del Sol, has long attracted holidaymakers and holidaymakers from the colder parts of Europe.
While the nearby resorts certainly aren’t worth a day trip from Grenada, the town of Marbella itself is.
It’s in a lovely coastal location, with long boulevards breezing in Mediterranean winds.
There are some great restaurants and you’ll find that most tourists prefer to explore on the beach rather than the streets.
Although located on the Costa del Sol, the city of Malaga is everything the coastline doesn’t have.
Its history, culture and for a big city still retains a certain local charm.
You don’t come to Malaga for the beach, but for the grand cathedral, intricate architecture and excellent street bars and cafés serving authentic Spanish food in a laid-back atmosphere.
Seville has an air of quiet authority.
It doesn’t need to advertise itself or lure tourists with deals or cheap flights, as this is Andalusia’s most impressive urban destination.
A magnificent building, it is the capital and largest city of the region, and a thriving center of Andalusian culture and gastronomy.
There are plenty of luxurious places to explore, plenty of museums and a maze of ancient streets to get lost in.
Don’t miss the iconic Seville Castle or the iconic Plaza de España, where you can even take a gondola ride through Venice-like waterways.
Córdoba is one of the oldest cities in Spain, with roots dating back to Roman times.
It also played an important role in Spanish history, as it was the capital of the Moorish kingdom that ruled Andalusia for centuries.
There’s a lot to see in Córdoba, from the Roman-built bridges across the river, to the UNESCO World Heritage old city centre.
Moorish palaces with Islamic designs as well as Spanish buildings and churches can be seen in Córdoba.
Cadiz is far west of Granada, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, but it’s worth starting a day trip here early to enjoy Andalusia’s most historic coastal city.
Cadiz is considered the oldest city in Spain, founded by seamen thousands of years ago.
Beginning in the 15th century, many explorers and conquerors left Cadiz to build the Spanish Empire around the world, and in later years it was one of the few cities that resisted Napoleon.
Wander the historic streets, watch the Atlantic crash against the walls of the harbour, and enjoy fresh fish at one of the many local bars.
Murcia is located to the west of Granada, and a visit here will take you out of Andalusia and into another part of Spain.
It’s a long day trip, but it’s a great way to learn more about this diverse country and experience the features and differences of each region.
There’s plenty of history, museums and Moorish castles to explore, as well as some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches to be found anywhere on the Mediterranean coast.
Gibraltar is one of the most interesting day trips from Granada.
It is one of the most important and strategic places on the coast, across the narrow strait is Tangier and North Africa.
Gibraltar is essentially just a boulder, but it’s not Spanish, it’s British.
It’s a peculiar place inhabited by a small group of people who speak English and Spanish, but who portray themselves as more British than British.
There are red mailboxes, double-decker buses and fish and chip shops.
It’s like England, but it’s sunny.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Granada, Spain
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