Every tourist who visits Granada must take a route through its historic center, where true jewels of our heritage are located, keeping a memorable past. If you are also wondering what are the best things to do in the historic center of Granada, as well as which are the essential places that you cannot leave behind, here are 2 essential routes: one with the 10 main monuments in central Granada and another with the 10 Tourist attractions that you cannot miss.
All of them located very close to each other, so that you can create a perfect tourist route through Granada.
What monuments to visit in the historic center of Granada (route 1)
To begin with, if you are wondering how to visit the historic center of Granada, we can tell you clearly that this area can be explored on foot without any problem.
Moreover, the circulation of private vehicles is not allowed on some streets, others are completely pedestrianized and the distances between the monuments are short.
Actually, when visiting Granada center, you will notice the proximity of some historical buildings to others, and you can even find several of them in the same street or square.
So doing a route through the Historic Center of Granada on foot is the best option.
To give you an idea, from the same tourist Street Oficios you can access monuments such as the Cathedral, the Royal Chapel, the Lonja de Mercaderes, the Madraza Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Alcaicería area or the José Guerrero Center.
So what is the best route through the old town of Granada?
Below we share a proposal with the essential places to visit, starting with the Corral del Carbón, crossing the Alcaicería to reach and walk through the Calle Oficios and reaching Plaza Nueva:
1.Corral del Carbon
The Corral del Carbón is a building of the utmost importance in the city, as it is the only alhóndiga of Al-Andalus that is conserved throughout the Spanish territory.
And what a Alhóndiga was?
It was an establishment where grain and coal were sold, bought and stored. It also meant accommodation for merchants and even over time, it became a neighborhood corral and a Comedy Corral.
The Corral del Carbón de Granada is, therefore, an emblematic place of the city and one of the places to see in the historic center of Granada, since it is one of the most important buildings preserved from the Nasrid period in Granada.
It currently houses the office of the Granada International Music and Dance Festival, but it is also used as a space for cultural activities in the city, such as shows, music and dance recitals or theatrical performances.
Most of the activities take place in summer!
The Corral del Carbón de Granada is located on Calle Mariana Pineda, a street parallel to Calle Recogidas. You will find it easily thanks to its spectacular entrance with a horseshoe arch.
The Corral del Carbón de Granada is open every day of the week and can be visited by purchasing the Dobla de Oro tourist card or the Andalusian Monuments card..
Didn’t you know that a souk was located in the historic center of Granada?
Right next to the Cathedral and Royal Chapel of Granada, the Alcaicería is located, a place that will take you to another era in a matter of seconds.
If we go back in history, the Alcaicería was a typical Muslim neighborhood, with narrow streets, where the souk was located and where silk was manufactured and sold. It had about 200 stores.
But a fire in 1843 destroyed much of this artisan market. Currently there are only a few streets, but the architectural recreation is the closest thing to a souk as we know it.
Therefore, we encourage you to come to this great bazaar to buy beautiful and typical Granada handicraft souvenirs, such as the popular Fajalauza earthenware, inlaid objects, colored glass street lamps, other manufactured products, books, jewelry …
The Cathedral of Granada is an iconic Renaissance building in the city and has been a source of inspiration and historical reference for subsequent constructions. It is part of a monumental complex that is completed by the Royal Chapel, the Lonja and the Iglesia del Sagrario.
Did you know that its name is due to the fact that the first stone for its construction was placed in 1523, the day of the Incarnation? And it is that its full name is Santa Iglesia Catedral Metropolitana de la Encarnación.
Although the first construction project was entrusted to Enrique de Egas, with the arrival of Emperor Carlos V, Diego de Siloé was joined as senior teacher.
Later, for different reasons, it will go to Juan de Maeda, Ambrosio de Vico or Alonso Cano. The latter was the one who was in charge of the spectacular main cover.
The main entrance door is located in the Plaza de las Pasiegas, one of the most beautiful and central in Granada.
Its interior does not leave anyone indifferent and houses large pieces by the Granada-born sculptor, painter and architect Alonso Cano.
If you want to visit the Cathedral of Granada on your own, you can buy the ticket directly at the ticket office at the door to the monument. Or you can also book a Cathedral, Royal Chapel and Madraza private guided tour here.
The Cathedral of Granada can be visited from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6:30 pm and Sundays from 3pm to 5:45 pm. General admission is priced at € 5 per person and includes an audio guide..
4. Archbishop’s Palace
In Plaza Alonso Cano, practically in front of the main entrance of the Cathedral and Church of the Rosary, there is another of the monuments of the historic center of Granada, the old Ecclesiastical Curia and Archbishop’s Palace.
This is what was the first headquarters of the Christian University of Granada, created by Emperor Carlos V, in 1526. Later, the headquarters were moved to the current building of the Faculty of Law.
Architecturally, the Archbishop’s Palace of Granada is a Plateresque and palatial style building, which initially consisted of a group of Moorish houses that were fitted out as the Archbishop’s residence. Originally, it had its entrance through the Plaza Bib-Rambla.
The cover is from 1530 and is due to Juan de Marquina, and the windows are from 1544-1545 and are due to Sebastián de Alcántara. Inside, its rectangular patio stands out with its fine Doric white marble columns.
The last restoration was carried out after a fire on Christmas 1982, which completely destroyed the facade facing Bib-Rambla. This remodeling was in charge of the architect Pedro Salmerón, it lasted 20 years and elevators, hoists, services and new offices were added to the building.
The Archdiocese of Granada building can be visited from Monday to Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m..
5. José Guerrero Art Center
The José Guerrero Center is a contemporary art museum inaugurated in 2000, where the works created by the universal 20th-century painter from Granada, José Guerrero, are collected.
Despite being one of the places to visit in the historic center of Granada, this building is very different from the ones mentioned above, as it emulates the industrial buildings used as studios in New York’s Soho.
Therefore, the José Guerrero Art Center is a publicly owned art gallery whose objectives are the custody, cataloging, exhibition and dissemination of the painter’s work, as well as the promotion of research on his life and artistic production. In addition, temporary exhibitions and cultural activities are also held.
The visit to the José Guerrero Art Center is free and the schedule is from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m..
6.Lonja de Mercaderes
Right next to the Royal Chapel is the Lonja de Mercaderes de Granada, located in the area that was the economic, administrative and religious center of Granada since the beginning of the 16th century.
It was a trading house, where deals and meetings were held between merchants. That is why it was located in front of what was the City Hall at that time (the Palacio de la Madraza) and very close to the Alcaicería, where the essential product of the Granada economy was traded in the 14th and 15th centuries.
After several uses throughout its history, it is currently the archive and library of the Royal Chapel and a prelude to a tourist visit to it.
Architecturally, its façade draws attention to the four semicircular arches supported by columns decorated with spheres, spiral cords and Gothic leaf capitals. And inside, the lower part of absolute transparency, with smooth windows facing the outside.
** As a clarification and for more information on your visit to the historic center of Granada, we recommend that you observe the little corner that remains, behind a fence, between the buildings of the Royal Chapel and the Lonja de los Mercaderes. It is the last testimony of the existence of the Great Mosque of Granada, which was located right here until the construction of these buildings and its destruction was ordered. Today there is only a white marble curb of the public cistern where ablutions were performed before entering to pray. **
7. Capilla Real
Another of the main monuments in the historic center of Granada is the Capilla Real.
The Capilla Real means for art the passage from medieval to modern times and was built in the year 1,504, in order to serve as a holy sepulcher for the Catholic Monarchs, where today their remains are found, as well as those of Felipe el Hermoso and Juana la Loca.
Architecturally speaking, the Capilla Real of Granada is the result of a fusion between a very rich interior ornamentation and a sober exterior style, something that was an impressive novelty for the Spanish Renaissance at that time.
Inside, we must highlight the tombs, the main gate and the main altarpiece, true references of Spanish and universal art.
The initial architectural contributions are due to Domenico Fancelli, Ordoñez, Bigarny and Jacobo Florentino, although later on, artists from the 16th century Granada school will also participate, such as Pedro Machuca and Diego de Siloé.
The visit to the Royal Chapel has a general cost of € 5 with audio guide and is open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6:30 pm and Sundays from 11am to 6pm..
Right in front of the entrance to the Royal Chapel, this Nasrid, Mudejar and Baroque style building is located that you should include in your visit to the historic center of Granada. It was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC) and it is the first Public University of Al-Andalus.
Its origin dates back to the year 1,349, thanks to Yusuf I, when it was consolidated as a center for higher studies dedicated to theological teachings, jurisprudence, medicine and mathematics. So it was a symbol of the importance of Granada as the capital of Andalusian culture.
After the conquest of the city and until the mid-nineteenth century, the Madrasa served as the City Council, later it was moved to its current location, the Plaza del Carmen.
At present, it serves as the headquarters of the Center for Contemporary Culture of the University of Granada, and here exhibitions, seminars, conferences, book presentations, literary readings and workshops are held.
When visiting this symbolic Granada building, the most remarkable thing is the XXIV Knights’ Hall, where a splendid Mudejar armor from the early 16th century is located.
The visit to the Palacio de la Madraza has a general cost of € 2 per person and is open from Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 2pm.
On your way through the central Plaza Nueva, you will come across this monumental building with a Mannerist façade, which was built between 1531 and 1587, in order to serve as a judicial body and house public institutions after the conquest of Granada.
Therefore, it is a place established by the Catholic Monarchs, when moving the Royal Court and Chancery from Ciudad Real to Granada (the Royal Court of Castile was divided into two chancelleries, one based in Valladolid and the other in Ciudad Real) . Although this change already became effective after the death of Isabel I and Juana I.
Years later, when a series of judicial reforms and reorganization of the royal audiences took place, the Royal Chancellery of Granada lost part of its jurisdiction. And in 1531, King Carlos I ordered the construction of the Palace of the Chancellery, being the first building of this type to be built in Spain to house a court of justice.
At present, it is declared an Asset of Cultural Interest and is used as the seat of the Superior Court of Justice of Andalusia.
Entry to the Real Chancillería of Granada is free and can be visited from Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
10.Santa Ana Church
The Parish Church of San Gil and Santa Ana, is a Site of Cultural Interest and presides over the popular Plaza Nueva, forming part of the set of Mudejar churches in the city.
Architecturally, it is a construction where the Mudejar and Renaissance styles coexist, and it basically consists of a single nave to which side chapels, the main chapel and the sacristy are attached.
The most remarkable thing visually from the outside is the tower, built between 1561 and 1563 by Juan Castellar. It is, like the rest of the temple, made of brick, very slender and with subtle decorative elements like an alfiz.
The Church of Santa Ana can be freely visited at times when mass is not being offered..
Below we show you the route of this route through monuments and places of interest in central Granada on the map:
Squares and places to visit in the Historic Center of Granada (route 2)
In addition to all the emblematic buildings described above, there are many other places and things to see in the historic center of Granada!
Squares, streets, commemorative statues and typical places in the city, which await centuries of history, and where some of the most popular bars, cafes or restaurants are located.
In addition, this area is ideal to visit in a couple of days, so if you want to know what to do in the historic center of Granada in a weekend, in addition to the main monuments, sign up for these other places!
1.Plaza del Carmen
It is the square where the Town Hall is located and in its surroundings you will find many shops to go shopping.
It is also one of the most famous areas among tourists for tapas in Granada, as Calle Navas is located right next to it.
Besides being very central and very close to the main monuments, it is a good place to have some tapas or a coffee. It is also surrounded by shops, since Mesones and Puentezuelas streets are located right next to it, two magnificent streets for shopping.
3.Plaza de la Romanilla
It is a beautiful square, ideal for eating or having a drink around here, with a lot of atmosphere and with splendid views of the Cathedral tower.
In this same square is the Federico García Lorca Center, a building of avant-garde design that houses the cultural institution dedicated to the study and research of the life and work of the Granada-born poet Federico García Lorca. It has a library, theater, exhibition hall and spaces for workshops and offices.
4.Plaza de las Pasiegas
It is the square where the entrance and portal of the Cathedral of Granada is located and it is one of the most charming.
Visitors often sit on its stairs to enjoy its good atmosphere.
It is essential to pass and photograph this place!
If you want to know what to do in Granada, note the Plaza Bib-Rambla, one of the most beautiful squares, presided over by the Fountain of the Giants and with classic cafes and restaurants.
From here you can see the tower of the Cathedral and it is a square with a lot of history, both in its Arab origins and in its Christian past.
It always has a great atmosphere and is surrounded by many shops and sometimes markets.
6.Plaza Isabel la Católica
It is a square of passage, where the monument to Isabel la Católica and Cristobal Colón is located, which commemorates the discovery of America. The work belongs to the famous sculptor Mariano Benlliure.
7. Calle Elvira
Another must see in the center of Granada and one of the classic streets of the city.
It is a narrow and cobbled street, where many tapas bars and Moorish shops are located.
It also leads to one of the most famous streets in Granada, the street of tea shops.
Here is the Real Chancillería and the Church of San Gil and Santa Ana mentioned above.
You will also find restaurants, cafes, ice cream parlors, taxi rank, bus stop and tourist train …
In addition to the access to the Alhambra through the Cuesta Gomérez and access to the Paseo de los Tristes.
9.Paseo de los Tristes
Without a doubt, the most touristy street and they say the most beautiful in Granada and one of the most beautiful in Spain.
It borders the Darro River and the Alhambra enclosure, so you could not expect anything else from this place 🙂
Therefore, the Paseo de los Tristes de Granada is a must-see. The ideal is to start from Plaza Nueva and go to the end, where you will find the Paseo de los Tristes Fountain and a beautiful view of the Alhambra.
From this street you have numerous accesses to the Albaicín neighborhood, bars, accommodation …
Traffic is restricted here only to taxis, buses, and vehicles with access to accommodation.
These are original 11th century Arab baths. It is in a very good state of preservation, it can be visited and has been declared a National Monument.
Below you can see on the map, this tourist route through the historic center of Granada, which you can easily walk.
Undoubtedly, these two routes, the one of monuments and the one of squares and places of interest, will help you to know what to do in the historic center of Granada. So take note and enjoy your visit to the city!
Here we tell you many more things to do in Granada city and province😉