- 1 What to see and do in Sacromonte neighborhood of Granada
The emblematic Barrio del Sacromonte is one of the essentials in the capital of Granada. So if you plan to come here, you will have to take note of what are the best things to do in Sacromonte of Granada.
A picturesque neighborhood, away from the hubbub of the city, between pitas and caves, the cradle of flamenco, with its own customs and language, which exudes beauty and history in each of its corners, and which deserves a careful visit to enter its most deeply rooted traditions and origins, before being one of the most touristic places in Granada.
Can we see what are the things you cannot miss on your visit to Sacromonte?
What to see and do in Sacromonte neighborhood of Granada
Located in the Valparaíso Valley and opposite La Alhambra, is this idyllic suburb of Granada’s gypsies.
With their own language (caló), they inhabited the famous caves and were portrayed by Federico García Lorca in “Romancero Gitano”.
But, what is the origin of Sacromonte and what were its first inhabitants?
It is said that the origin of the Sacromonte neighborhood is in the 16th century, when Muslims and Jews, marginalized and expelled from their homes, found a place to live in the caves.
On the other hand, with the arrival of the Catholic Monarchs to the city, an army of gypsies also do so, who will be the ones who take care of their defense.
As a consequence, these three cultural groups, Moors, Jews and Gypsies, end up settling in the neighborhood, in a very humble way and taking advantage of the caves that nature itself has left, to make them their own homes. Unfortunately, this implied being outside the administrative control and ecclesiastical order of the city.
Although it maintains that essence and we should not forget its modest roots, it is currently one of the most touristic spots in Granada. At the same time, it is also the cradle of flamenco and a place of reference to enjoy this art.
If all this is interesting to you, wait to see what are the things to visit in the Sacromonte of Granada!
1. Walking route through the Sacromonte of Granada
If your tourist visit to Sacromonte allows it, it is highly recommended to do a walking route.
Just walk up and down the streets, stroll around, explore, observe, walk slowly, ask and discover for yourself what one of the best neighborhoods in Granada is like and one of the best things to see in Granada.
As you walk through this emblematic neighborhood, you will realize that it is truly a small town located very close to the center of the city, with just 600 inhabitants, and that has its own identity and essence, which you can only find here.
You can get there easily from the city center, although you will need to reserve at least two hours between roundtrip. And of course, put on comfortable shoes and don’t forget your camera! 😉
Walk the Camino del Sacromonte and stroll through narrow and steep streets, between prickly pears, gypsy Zambras, tapas bars and houses with white facades. All looking for the best perspective to see the Alhambra.
Do not give up and go to the end, pass by the Casa de la Sevillana (cover photo) and even go up Calle Siete Cuestas until you reach the Mirador de la Abadía del Sacromonte.
Take a walk listening to the sound of flamenco coming from the houses. Stop whenever you can to take a photo with the best views.
If you want to be guided and explained along the way, we recommend taking this tour through the Alhambra, Albaicín and Sacromonte. All in one!
2.Visit the Museum of the Sacromonte Caves
The particular cave-houses of the Sacromonte extend along the slopes of Cerro San Miguel in the Valparaíso valley and along the Carrera del Darro, clustering in the ravines and forming a kind of streets.
The types of caves you will find are:
- Las Zambras: the best known. Dedicated to flamenco shows, they are spacious, white caves adorned with copper pots that hang on the walls.
- The most humble caves: located in the high areas of Sacromonte. They served as a habitual residence, the entrance was also used as a kitchen and dining room and had only one or two bedrooms.
However, visiting the Ethnographic Museum of the Sacromonte Caves is the best way to learn about the true history, culture, traditional trades, customs and surroundings of the Caves. And it is the main option that we recommend you to know and visit the caves of Sacromonte of Granada.
This Ethnographic Museum is located outdoors in the Barranco de los Negros and the best way to get there is on foot, from Paseo del Darro and up the Cuesta del Chapiz.
Here you can take a guided or self-guided tour of the 10 caves that recreate what the real houses were like, their origins and what it meant to live there.
It is detailed what the habitat was like, but also, how were the jobs that were carried out there; basketwork, forge, ceramics, loom …
In the Museum you can also visit the Nature Classroom, where information on the fauna and flora, climate, landscape and agriculture of the area is offered.
The cost of entry to the Cuevas del Sacromonte Ethnographic Museum ranges from € 5 for an individual entry with a self-guided visit, to € 30 for an entry for two people with a guided tour. For groups there are offers. And on Sundays entry is free for residents of Granada.
The visit lasts 1 hour and you can make your reservation and request information by email email@example.com or by phone 958215120.
3.Visiting the Sacromonte Abbey
One of the most popular places in Sacromonte and Granada is the Abbey, due to its great historical and cultural importance.
The history of this place begins when in the year 1595 they find the relics of San Cecilio, disciple of the Apostle Santiago, being the first Christians found in the city.
Likewise, the lead books were found, lead plates written in Arabic that tell legendary stories about the apostolic and Arab origins of Christianity in Granada. Although later, the Vatican proclaimed them as false.
From this moment on, the people of Granada began a massive pilgrimage movement to this place. And 1,200 crosses are located on the road to the Holy Caves (today there are only 5 left).
In the year 1,600 all these relics are recognized as authentic and that is when Monte Ilipulitano is renamed as Sacromonte.
In 1609 work began on the Sacromonte Abbey, by decision of Don Pedro de Castro, bishop of the city. From the beginning, the abbey has promoted numerous activities of a social nature, going so far as to found one of the first university colleges in Europe, in 1610.
Unfortunately, in the history of the Sacromonte Abbey there is an event to highlight, and that is that in the year 2000, the monument suffered a fire. Because of this, later on, a new Museum was built and the Abadía del Sacromonte Foundation was created, with the main objective of rebuilding the entire monument.
Therefore, we are currently talking about a fantastic monumental, cultural, artistic and religious complex to visit in Granada capital and one of the best places to visit in Sacromonte.
During the visit to the Abadía del Sacromonte, the following facilities are seen:
- The Holy Caves (the Holy Caves of the Sacromonte Abbey are only visited between the hours of 12h and 16h)
- The cloister
- Las Crujías
- The Church of San Dionisio
- The chorus
- The Collegiate Church
- The old College
- The permanent exhibition
- The restoration workshop
- The Museum (where some of the main pictorial works of Spain are located, such as the Goya of the portrait of Francisco Saavedra)
In this post you can learn more about how to visit the Sacromonte Abbey in Granada, what are its hours, rates …
And if you want to book a guided tour, you can do it at this link.
You can get to the Abbey, walking through the Camino del Sacromonte, where you will find great viewpoints towards the Alhambra. It can be accessed from the very center of the city and in less than 1 hour and after having made an ideal route through the Sacromonte, culminating the walk at the Abbey.
But you can also access it by private vehicle, on the Camino Viejo del Fargue road, with the C34 microbus leaving Plaza Nueva, or by taxi.
In addition, it is well worth taking a walk around and contemplate the Sacromonte Abbey viewpoint, from where you can see a wonderful perspective of the Alhambra and the Valparaíso Valley.
4.See a flamenco show
One of the best activities to do in the Sacromonte neighborhood of Granada is to attend a flamenco show in a Zambra.
The current Zambras del Sacromonte have their origin in the Moorish Zambra, the party that these made at weddings. The gypsies who lived here adopted it and adapted it to their culture, thus giving rise to the flamenco Zambra that we know today. Unlike a flamenco tablao, in the Zambras people dance very close to the public.
Over time, these traditional festivals have been enabled for tourist enjoyment, and although they are more automated, they are worth it if you want to delve deeper into this culture and have a good time.
On many occasions, dinners with a show are offered and other times only a show and a drink.
Some of the most popular Zambras in Sacromonte are Los Tarantos, María la Canastera, Venta del Gallo, La Rocío …
* As an advice, we would tell you not to enter a cave house just because someone invites you to come in, because sometimes, they do not offer a flamenco show and they will simply require you to pay a ticket.
5.Eat tapas in the Sacromonte
On your Sacromonte of Granada route, you cannot miss a few typical dishes.
This is not a neighborhood where tapas bars abound, but you can find some where you can sit while you have tapas and watch the coming and going of people on the street.
However, we encourage you to read this post to see which are the best tapas areas in Granada.
What you cannot miss is a lunch or dinner in one of the restaurants with a terrace and with views of the Alhambra in the Sacromonte neighborhood.
Ask for a Sacromonte omelette, a Zalamandroña salad or some delicious broad beans with ham 🙂
6.Explore the Sacromonte viewpoints
One of the best things to do in Granada capital is to visit all its viewpoints. And despite the fact that some viewpoints of the Albaicín dwarf them touristically, in Sacromonte there are some of the best viewpoints in Granada that you cannot miss!
Therefore, take a camera in hand, walk through the Barrio del Sacromonte and portray the Alhambra and the Valparaíso Valley from all possible perspectives. Many of the typical images of the city are taken from somewhere in the Sacromonte.
These are the best viewpoints of the Sacromonte in Granada:
- Mirador Sacromonte: a stop on the Camino del Sacromonte from where you can view the side of the Alhambra and realize its magnitude and beauty.
- Mirador de la Vereda de Enmedio or Mirador dedicated to Mario Maya: another point from which to enjoy pleasant views with little crowds. It may take you a bit to find it, but it is definitely worth sitting on a bench and seeing the Alhambra from here.
- Mirador Cueva Rincón el Corazón: also located on Calle Verea de Enmedio, it is worth stopping to take a snapshot from this place.
- Mirador de la Abadía del Sacromonte: right on the esplanade of the Abadía del Sacromonte in Granada you have this beautiful place where you can see one of the most photographed views of the city.
- Mirador de la Lola: a viewpoint a little away from the city, in the middle of nature and away from the hustle and bustle, to stop quietly to observe Granada from the heights.
- Cuevas del Sacromonte Museum Viewpoint: if you visit this Museum (we have previously told you where it is and how to visit it), you will come across great and not so widespread views of the Alhambra and its surroundings.
We assure you that watching the sunset at one of the Sacromonte viewpoints will create an image in your mind that will take you a long time to forget.
Don’t forget this is one of the best things to do in Sacromonte of Granada!
7. Discover the Sacromonte festivities
If you wonder what to see and do in the Sacromonte neighborhood of Granada that we have not already mentioned, there is another activity you can do, and it involves visiting the neighborhood on a special date, such as some of its festivities.
- San Cecilio: it is the day of the patron saint of Granada and one of the most traditional festivals in the capital. At the same time, it is one of the most important moments of the year for the Barrio del Sacromonte. On the first Sunday of February, crowds of people come in pilgrimage to the Abbey to celebrate the festival, eating the typical dishes of the Sacromonte; broad beans with ham, “salaíllas”, jayuyas cakes, cod and the typical Sacromonte omelette (made with mutton brains, criadillas, breadcrumbs, peas and walnuts).
- Holy Wednesday: of all Holy Week, this is the most special day for the Barrio del Sacromonte, because at dawn on Holy Wednesday, the Cristo de los Gitanos (Santísimo Cristo del Consuelo), who rests all year in the Abadía del Sacormonte, goes down towards the capital, surrounded by arrows and bonfires. It is, without a doubt, one of the most special, beautiful and long-awaited pictures of Holy Week in Granada.
And having said all this, we hope you don’t miss out on visiting the Sacromonte neighborhood of Granada, one of the must-see spots on your getaway to the capital.