Activities and Places of Interest – Granada, Spain
For those attending the Project World School Family Summit in Granada, please find this useful guide compiled by the Summit’s Location Partner, Carli Flower.
ACTIVITIES AND PLACES YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
Granada is a millenary city, the capital of Andalucía and one of the most beautiful cities of Spain. If it is your first time, you will be dazzled by many different aspects. If you have been before, you will be happy to return.
The city has a privileged location at the bottom of Sierra Nevada, close to Las Alpujarras and not far from the sea. Granada was for centuries a proud capital city of the Zaidie and Nasrid Hispanic – Muslim kingdoms until it passed to Christian hands, in 1492 during the reign of the Reyes Católicos. It is a melting pot of cultures that possesses a worldwide first level architectonic patrimony in which the Alhambra is distinguished and the most visited monument of Spain.
Visiting Granada is feasible in any season, but spring and autumn have the mildest temperatures and walking the streets is nicer during this time because it is a city with a large temperature contrast between night and day.
1. TREN TURÍSTICO
A good way to see Granada and some of its most important monuments is to buy a ticket either for the TREN TURÍSTICO or the HOP-ON-HOP-OFF TOURIST BUS. Prices and routes are different but both have audio guides and your choice will depend on what you want to see. The TREN TURÍSTICO ticket is valid for one day. If you buy a GRANADA CARD BÁSICO or PLUS or PLUS (3-DAY or 5-DAY BONO TURÍSTICO), the price of the TREN TURÍSTICO is included. There are TRAINS every 25 minutes.
The audio-guide offers an interesting commentary of Granada, its monuments and history and is available in 12 different languages. There are also two channels for children.There are two routes: the DAY route (going through the Albaicín, the city centre and up to the Alhambra) takes about 75 minutes and the NIGHT route (going through the Albaicín and the city centre) takes about 45 minutes.
2. VISIT ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN THE WORLD
The Alhambra, “The Red One”, is a palace and fortress named after its reddish colour. It is an indispensable visit for everybody. When traveling with kids we should take into account that the tour could be long and we should be prepared (water, comfortable clothes and shoes, baby carriers or stroller) trying to avoid the busiest days and times. Some zones during the tour can’t be touch or trespassed. It is very important that you book your ticket online weeks before.
We have two created events in the group. Click on the links below to read all the info given there:
To tell you a little about it, the Alhambra is formed by four areas: Alcazaba, Medina, Nasrid Palaces and Generalife. La Alcazaba is the most antique building, with the Torre de la Vela as one of the most important constructions from where you can see one of the most beautiful views. El Patio de Los Leones and its fountain will delight you.
There is an Alhambra Audio Guide Story for children in 3D that you can download as an app for your mobile: “The Alhambra. The Red Castle.” It is an interactive 3D tale that helps the kids to learn about the history of the Alhambra though augmented reality and interactive games. It is in Spanish and English.
You should also know that The Alhambra has free access to several places like Palacio de Carlos V, where you can find the museums of Alhambra and the Arts Museum, apart from several temporary art expositions (Paint, photography, sculpture…) that have free access.
In addition, Gardens of Alhambra are very beautiful to walk through. Millenary trees provide wide shadow for the hottest days and give you the perfect atmosphere to relax with the sound of the water running through the lateral channels designed wisely bay the Arabian.
3. GO ALL OVER THE ALBAICÍN
Its entangled outline will surprise your kids. It is a neighbourhood to relax, to walk through and to discover all those things that do not appear in guides. To live the atmosphere of their “bar de tapas” and terraces and enjoy the quiet as if you were in a small town. You can access from Plaza Nueva, you can go up in a microbus or by walking, just depending on the age of your kids.
You would love to walk by río Darro through Paseo de los Tristes, watching the majestic Alhambra on the top of the Colina Sabica, until cuesta de Chapiz to then, go up to the Iglesia de San Salvador. Once you are up, you can just wander around, maybe making a stop somewhere to taste tapas before heading to the arch-famous Mirador de San Nicolas to watch the sunset, in the very moment when the Alhambra is tinged red.
It is also possible, if you do not get at the top, or just we prefer a less crowded place, visiting Mirador Placeta de los Carvajales. Go see the Iglesia de San Miguel Bajo where there is a nice square to have something to drink/eat. Going down you walk to Puerta de Elvira (it was the bigger and main door of the city to enter in la Madina). And don’t forget to discover the Aljibes (water tanks) spread all over the neighbourhood, in fact there is a Route of the Aljibes! That is definitely an interesting way to explore this part of the city.
I give you two link of this route:
It is also recommendable to visit Baños Árabes del Bañuelo (free admission).
4. WALK IN EL REALEJO
El Albaicín was the Arabic quarter and El Realejo is the ancient Jewish district that the Reyes Católicos destroyed in order to build the houses of the nobles within the Christian Granada. Nowadays, El Realejo is one of the most popular quarters, charm and bohemian atmosphere, where students, artists, musicians, tourists and locals who have lived there all their lives merge.
From plaza de Isabel la Católica taking the Pavaneras Street you will be going into the neighbourhood in which we can visit some of the expositions in Casa de los Tiros. We can walk until Campo del Principe where kids can enjoy the playground while you take “a tapa” in one of the multiple terraces.
We can walk to the upper part of the quarter and visit the “Lavadero,” of Jewish origin from S XVII that is located in Puerta del Sol (which belonged to the Zirid Wall, demolished in 1867). This is one of the less known places of Granada, but it is worth it to find it, because give you one of the best views of Granada.
From there, in just a step, we can go to Torres Bermejas, not very frequented neither, whose mission was to guard and protect the city. Located in front of the Alhambra but separated by Barranco de la Sabika. These towers were used as headquarters and prison for women until 1936.
Another attraction of El Realejo are the graffitis of El Niño de la Pintura, pseudonym of Raúl Ruíz, a well-known artist of the quarter who has been decorating the walls for years. We will find these paintings walking the quarter, and they are accompanied by quotes about life and existence that will make you thinking over for a while.
5. PARQUE DE LAS CIENCIAS (LOCATION)
Parque de las Ciencias is a classic with kids in Granada and very popular among local families. A very big space dedicated to spread science and knowledge. It has a tropical butterfly house, interactive options about the planet, animals or human body combined with big format representations of savage animals in movement or Robot exposition.
Remarkable is the workshop of Rapaces en vuelo (predatory at fly) about biology, ecology and the importance of the conservation of this species.
In addition, Parque de las Ciencias has a play and experiment area with an amazing sighting tower as well as big gardens with shadows where we will find ingenuity games and other curiosities as giant chess, swing that work with the wind, vegetal labyrinth or the garden of astronomy.
6. MUSEO CAJA GRANADA (LOCATION)
Museo Caja Granada is very recommendable with kids, not only because the building itself that is astonishing and modern, but also because shows the cultural and natural patrimony and explain the History of Andalucía through the senses with many objects to touch, smell, images and interactive videos.
In this museum, you will find virtual characters at real size of different periods to explain what life was like before, and you can activate different options in the interactive menus, pointing with your hands in front of a big screen. In addition, there are lockers where you can leave your belongings and visit the museum without carrying extra weight.
It is possible to ask for a clue game at the entrance of the museum, and become an authentic detective, discovering how life in al-Andalus was.
The museum is located in the building of Centro cultural Caja Granada with a very impressive structure and its patio elíptico with two intertwine walkaways with a diameter of 30 meters.
7. GREEN AREAS AND PLAYGROUNDS
PARQUE TICO MEDINA (Location )
It is the biggest of the capital, just in front of Centro Cultural Caja Granada and Parque de las Ciencias. It has 75.000 square meters being the biggest leisure area of the city. Ideal for biking, running and training. Walk and train dogs at a prepared zone.
It’s a perfect place for the family because of it wide green areas with grass to make a picnic, play or just lay and relax doing the typical Spanish siesta, if kids let you, that is!
PARQUE GARCÍA LORCA (Location)
It is located at an area known as Arabial, close to the Comercial Center Neptuno. Is one of the most visited by locals because it has several zones with swings, giant toboggan, tirolina and a small pond with ducks. It also has a play centre with activities for kids..
Inside the park, you can find Huerta de San Vicente that used to be the house of the family García Lorca and nowadays is a Museum.
8. CARMEN DE LOS MÁRTIRES (LOCATION)
-Find your beautiful corner-
It is a wonderful place for local families that many tourists do not know. It is located near Alhambra and it has more than seven hectares. This place is dated from SXIX and before it was called Corral de los Cautivos (captive pen) in the memory of the Christian captives who were kept in the Arabian dungeons. Nowadays, there is a small palace, and a group of romantic gardens, merging French and English gardens and declares historic garden in 1943.
Although the small palace is not open to the public, it is worth it to visit this place because of its variety of vegetation, fountains and benches for resting. Favourite place for the kids is the big pond with ducks and fishes.
9. GO OUT FOR “TAPAS” WITH KIDS… SAFELY!
Going for Tapas sound so good until you realized you have kids, and then all this small, nice and crowded bars full of dishes and drinks going from one place to another, seem to be a bit out of our comfort zone. But! Here there are some tips for our physical and mental safety when you go out to experience tapas!
One of the attractive things of Granada is tapas: a dish of typical food that every bar serves free with your drink. It is an art that define the bars of the city and a good way to discover the gastronomy.
Some tips and several recommended places when we go with kids:
Choose a terrace where there is no traffic. Squares and pedestrian zones are ideal. In many of these places, they install outer heater in Autumn.
Some nice places recommended by local families.
In Albaicín, at the end of Paseo de los Tristes when it gets wider there is a zone with bars of tapas, near the river with views of the Alhambra from below. There is a spacious area for kids to run. Once you are up in the quarter, in the Plaza Larga, the Bar Aixa is a classic and it has in addition, a typical patio Andaluz inside.
At Placeta de Carniceros there is one of the favourite of locals, Casa Torcuato with the most typical tapas of fried fish. Another recommended place is Restaurante El Trillo, in the heart of Albaicín, with an exquisite Mediterranean food and a spectacular terrace with a lot of vegetation where you can hear the water of the fountains. El Higo is also a comfortable place where you can have breakfast or tapear, with a quiet patio where you can sometimes find live music.
In El Realejo, one of the most popular places is Campo del principe, where there is a square with several terraces for tapeo. The most visited by locals is Los Altramuces. If you feel in the mood of a change of gastronomy, El Trasgu, is a sidrería Asturiana with vegetarian tapas.
Another square of the neighbourhood where you can be calm with the kids is Plaza Carlos Cano where there are good bars of tapas like Palique Plaza.. In Molinos street is Papaupa, with tapas that get out of the traditional, vegetarian options and in the comfy inside they have some toys and games for the kids to play.
In the center, behind Acera del Darro in a little square, you can find Garden Plaza, where you can choose between a great variety of delicious tapas of modern and fusion cuisine. Another typical place that is worth it is the fabulous Kiosko Las TItas, located at the convergence of Paseo del Salón and Paseo de la Bomba, beside the river and with a very big terrace, nice and cosy at the sunset and summer nights.
10. THE SWEETEST PROPOSALS
Heladeria los Italianos, the favourite of Granadan people, with delicious artisanal ice creams. The house speciality is the cassasta and chocolate cake. A place that do not elevate prices although is getting famous. Is in the centre, at the Gran Vía, with a terrace so is the perfect spot to start with energy or to finish a route by the Albaicín, la Cuesta del Darro o Plaza Nueva.
If you want to try the typical sweet of the city, you will need to try the piononos, a little cake with cream, delicious! You can try it at Casa Ysla, the patisserie that has the fame for creating it.
11. TEA HOUSES – YOU CAN’T MISS THEM!
Granada is one of the Spanish cities with the biggest Arabian influence. One sign of the time Muslim spend here are the teterias that fill the city. Here you have some of the most famous:
Tetería La Oriental: Decorated with manuArabian details, is one of the best teterías in Granada. You can not only have tea but also accompany with one of its famous crepes and end with a variety of natural kices that they offer. And don’t leave without trying some of the little Arabian tarts…
Tetería El Folclore Andalusí: Located in the historic part of the city, is famous not only because of the tea but also the pastries, shakes and another Arabian drink: lemonade with peppermint. The decoration make you recall the Tales from the Arabian Nights.
Abaco Té: Below the Albaicín you will find one of the best teterías of Granada. You will find a variety of teas prepared in different ways, but all of them made the traditional Mudejar way.
You can also taste medicinal herbs, artisanal chocolates, natural juices and of course, the famous little Moroccan tarts.
Tetería Kasbah: If you want to taste a tea in a 10% Arabian ambient, you need to go to this one. Arcs with inscriptions at the andalusí style, cushions on the floor, handmade carpets and doors made of carved wood, a scenario that seems to come from a fairy tale.
You can have a tea or taste an authentic Arabian food at very affordable prices. Couscous is one of their star dishes, although you can’t forget the artisanal liquors they offer.
Tetería Palacio Nazarí: An exquisite decoration. A place where you can feel the Arabian influence not only because of the variety of teas, but also because of its music and food. Different concerts of Arabian music take place almost every week. They offer a great variety of teas, with teas imported from Middle East with different flavors and scents.
Tetería Alfaguara: One of the firsts teterías of the city, and if it is still open after 30 years should mean something. Decoration is merely Arabian with flashy coloured muslin curtains and unique tiles. One of the best tetería in Granada, where the Egyptian tea must be highlighted because it’s served in a very few places, and here you can find it any day.
12. EASY HIKES IN THE SURROUNDINGS (CAR NOT REQUIRED)
In the surroundings of Granada there are many options for hiking and getaway suitable for families.
If you don’t have a car and need something close, you have some options:
Walk from the end of Paseo de los Tristes to Fuente del Avellano (Map)
A walking by the Genil river to Fuente de la Bicha (Map) that it can be done by bike till the Pinos Genil town and even go up to the hermitage of Cerro de San Miguel Alto
13. BAÑOS ÁRABES (ARABIAN BATHS)
Immerse in the past through the millenary rite of Arabian Bath. A route by the culture of water and scents of the age. Consist of a form of steam bath which includes cleaning of the body, mind and enjoying an excellent state of relaxation. The building in which this could be present a structure with different rooms required for the bath process.
Minimum age for kids to enter is usually 6 in most of them, not including the massage and in some of the bath they can’t enter in the sauna to prevent a drop in blood pressure.
In this link you will find some baths, with price comparison.
14. FLAMENCO IN CAVES
Many of Granada’s best flamenco tablaos are located in the old Roman gypsy district of Sacromonte up in the hills, high above the city. To add to the magic, the majority of them are housed in historic cosy cave homes, giving a more intimate and intense performance
I have been told that the best is Venta del Gallo.
Is better not to have dinner in the caves because it rises up the price. Spectacle usually starts from 9 pm on, so you can have dinner before and chose the spectacle with a drink. It is also possible to book spectacles up to 50-60 people.
You can also take Flamenco Classes for groups, usually given in the same caves.
15. SOME MUSEUMS
16. RENTING A CAR COULD BE A GOOD IDEA
If you are staying in Granada 3 weeks or more, maybe it would be a good idea to rent a car. Why? You will find yourself in a city that will make you fall in love with. However, in addition, Granada is at one hour of Sierra Nevada, a mountain range that contents the highest point of continental Spain and the third highest in Europe and also, the city is located at one hour driving to the coast where you can enjoy some really nice beaches.
Cachorros de Monachil. A typical hike with suspension bridges over the river.
Rió Dilar leisure zone. An ideal place to refresh yourself. There are wood tables and benches. You can leave the car in Merendero lo Alayos and then walk 1,2 km to the leisure zone. Before, or after, is a good idea to visit El Aula de la Naturaleza, “Ermita vieja,” place of historic dolmens and menhirs.
Ruta del Tranvía. (Sierra Nevada Green way). On the edge of the Sierra Nevada National Park is a 6km-long vía verde (greenway) that follows an old railway line along the lush valley of the Genil river, between Güéjar-Sierra. You can use wikiloc to find different tracks for hiking.
La Cortijuela Botanic Garden. Located in the district of Monachil, in an area of extremely high ecological value in the Sierra Nevada National Park: at the foot of Cerro del Trevenque. La Cortijuela Botanical Gardens are part of the Andalusian Network of Botanical and Mycological Gardens in Protected Natural Areas.
Sierra de Huétor Natural park: The undulating, forest-clad landscape of the Sierra de Huétor offers some relatively short and easy routes, but also some great views of the Sierra Nevada.
Signedposted trail in Sierra de Alfaguara.
Las Mimbres – Prado Negro
Puerto Lobo visitor centre.
The coast of Granada is also a really good plan:
Playa de la Herradura (Almuñecar). Is a loved destination within the local families that want to escape from the crowds. Also our friend and Project World School Family Summit Community Partner, Elin Morgan has there the WorldSchool Hub that you will probably be interested in visiting. In addition, in this area you can visit the Acuario or Parque Botanico el Majuelo.
If you want more quiet areas, you will have to drive towards Malaga looking for some calas, (small bays) that usually are more quiet but with a little more complicated access.
The Lecrín valey is another area close to Granada recommended because of its towns and its landscapes of orange trees, or because of the hike Baños de Urquízar, with its hot springs. HERE you have a link with other Natural hot springs in the province of Granada.
At the eastern Mountains, a visit to Cueva de las Ventanas del Piñar will make you travel through time to understand how our ancestors lived from the Palaeolithic.
You can’t miss Las Alpujarras, one of the most visited regions in Granada. Small villages characteristic because of their houses painted all white carefully maintained and decorated with flowers, depending on the season.
I hope all this information is useful for you and helps you discover the Spanish culture!
Much of the information was extracted fromhttps://familiasenruta.com/destinos/granada-con-ninos/