Granada is world-famous for one thing and one thing only: the Alhambra. It’s gorgeous. Iconic. Inspiring. Heavily toured by endless flocks of the unwashed masses.
Yep. Been there, done that.
If you’re a repeat visitor to Granada (and, let’s face it, if you’ve ever been to Granada you should be a repeat customer), you might be in search of a breath of fresh air in the ancient city.
If so, check out these equally nifty places to see in the city that aren’t the Alhambra.
1. El Bañuelo
If you’re looking for a taste of traditional Moorish architecture at a fraction of the cost and half the tourists, take a walk down the Carrera del Darro and pop into El Bañuelo.
El Bañuelo is a well-preserved bathhouse that features the iconic starred ceilings and gorgeous arches typical of Arabic architecture. Located right off one of the city’s main tourist drags, it tends to get overlooked by a lot of, well, tourists somehow.
Bonus? You get a nice view of the Alhambra perched above the Darro River from here. Yesss.
2. Corral del Carbón
Looking for a unique bit of history? Head over to the Corral del Carbón.
Constructed in the 14th century, the Corral del Carbón– or Coal House– is the only surviving Nasrid-era alhóndiga (public house) in the entire Iberian peninsula.
These alhóndigas used to be staples in cities throughout Moorish Iberia. And this one in particular used to serve as a multi-purpose public area. The Corral del Carbón was used as everything from a market, a warehouse, and even an inn for travelers to medieval Granada.
Nowadays, the Corral del Carbón is home to the City of Granada Orchestra, and it plays host to a variety of flamenco concerts and theatrical performances throughout the year. Try to catch a show!
3. Museo Cuevas del Sacromonte
Put on a good pair of sneakers and hike up the Sacromonte. Here, in the Barranco de los Negros, you’ll find the Sacromonte Cave Museum. And you’ll find a lot of tradition, too.
In the museum, you’ll be given a tour of Granada’s traditional cave dwellings, where people lived in villages carved into the Sacromonte hillside. You’ll also be treated to the history of flamenco while you’re there.
It’s a must-do. And, at just €5 for admission with gorgeous views of the Alhambra (of course, what else?), it’s a no-brainer. But it is a bit of a climb, especially on hot days– be sure your fitness level is up to the task!
4. Palacio de los Olvidados
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.
Or at least I certainly didn’t when I stumbled into this torture chamber museum one fine afternoon after too many, uh, tapas.
The museum, which is located inside an old aristocratic estate, houses a number of odd, ghoulish, and downright nightmarish instruments of torture that were used to force the conversion of Jews to Christianity after the start of the Spanish Inquisition in 1478.
It’s certainly not for the faint of heart. But if remembering the mistakes of history is at all important to you, then this place is worth a visit.
Be sure to head up to the museum’s rooftop gallows (yep, that’s apparently a thing here), where you’ll catch another amazing view of– yes, you guessed it– the Alhambra.
You just can’t shake the Alhambra in this town, can you?
4. Parque de las Ciencias
Science Park, fun for the whole family!
It has a raptor section. A RAPTOR section. A whole section devoted to raptors. I don’t think I need to say any more.
If raptors aren’t your thing, they also have a butterfly house, a Birds of Prey demonstration, a journey through the human body, and a planetarium.
Science Park also has an amazing observation tower, where you can enjoy excellent views of the Sierra Nevada and the city. And the Alhambra.
5. The Alhambra
Why would you come to Granada and not see the Alhambra?!
I mean, you visit everything else, and the place is still staring right back at you the whole time.
Don’t fool yourself. You’re definitely going to be visiting, even if you’ve already stomped in the water in the Patio de los Leones, frolicked through the spring gardens of the Generalife, and stared gaping at the detailed ceilings in the Nasrid Palaces a hundred or more times.
It’s just that amazing.
Pro tip: you can enter the main courtyard of the Alhambra and admire the exterior of the buildings free of charge via la Puerta de la Justicia. You are welcome, pals.
In such an ancient city, there are always new and fascinating things to find off of the weathered tourist trail. Just get out there and start looking!
*Did we miss anything? What are your favorite non-Alhambra places to visit in Granada? *