Granada is internationally renowned for its historic buildings and monuments, and its outstanding beauty. Nonetheless, during your stay you will no doubt want a change of scene now and again. Fortunately, the beauty of the city is matched by that of its surroundings. There are loads of natural beauty spots and charming locales a short (or slightly longer) bus ride or car ride from Granada, which will leave you spoiled for choice. This guide explores some of the best day trips from Granada, which will ensure you’ll never have a dull weekend.
1. Guéjar Sierra
This charming mountain town is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, and offers spectacular views and classic Andalusíán architecture. As if that wasn’t enough, just a 20 minute walk from the town centre lies a resplendent blue natural reservoir, perfect from sunbathing and cooling off on those hot southern Spanish days. The reservoir boasts deep, mild water and rocks for practicing your diving from, and, while there are no long, sandy beaches, there are plenty of perfect spots along the banks for dozing lazily in the sun.
Travel to Guéjar Sierra couldn’t be simpler. Simply hop on the local bus at any of the central stops it conveniently passes by, including Gran Via and Paseo de los Basilios (a timetable is available here). The journey takes just under an hour, and little to no advance planning is required.
2. Cahorros de Monachil
This incredible natural landmark is located in the hills east of the city of Granada, and offers a 3 hour round walk through narrow canyons, over swinging rope bridges and under cavernous tunnels. If you don’t fancy doing the whole hike, the midway point offers lush woodland and flowing streams which provide shade and refreshment. At certain points of the walk you will have to scramble along the outside of a cliff, using metal handles nailed into the cliffside as your only support (so avoid packing a heavy bag!). Unfortunately, the bridges can only support a limited number of people on them at any one time, so if you don’t want to hang around it is better to visit this landmark during the week or in the off-season, when there will be less tourists and locals out for a breath of fresh air.
To top it all off, just beneath the car park there are two fabulous bars, which offer a refreshing tinto de verano or cerveza Alhambra to cool you off after the gruelling hike, complete with the traditional complementary tapas.
Travel to the Cahorros is easiest by car; there is a small car park right at the start of the trail. However, there is also a bus from Granada city centre to the town of Monachil, which is a 1.5km walk from the Cahorros. While the walk from the town is short, it is mostly on public roads with little shelter, so be prepared to walk in the hot sun for a short while.
3. Playa de los Muertos
This beautiful pebbled beach is nestled between arid rolling hills in the Cabo de Gata natural park. The road to the playa runs through Tabernas, the only official desert in Europe, which was used in times gone by as the set for world-famous Spaghetti Westerns.
Due to its inaccessible location, the beach itself is entirely virgin, although there is a small food-stand and toilets in the car park, which is about 15 minutes walk uphill from the beach.
No guide to the best day trips from Granada would be complete without Marbella! The playground of the rich and famous, Marbella is the Costa del Sol’s answer to Monaco. Featuring a beautiful beach, glitzy marina and well-equipped promenade, as well as a historic old-town nestled away amongst the imposing villas, it is the perfect beach day out.
The Alpujarras are the sprawling foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Long, winding roads lead to beautiful flat-roofed white villages, frozen in time far from the bustle of the cosmopolitan regional capital of Granada. Take in the incredible views from the white village of Capileira, sample delicious local chocolate in Abuela Ili Chocolate, in Pampaneira, or discover the secrets behind the world-famous jamón in a secadero in Spain’s unofficial highest village, Trevélez.
This concludes our list of the best day trips from Granada, however the adventure doesn’t end here: this is just a drop in the ocean of what Andalusia has to offer. The nearby Andalusian cities of Córdoba, Seville, Málaga, Jaen and Cádiz also offer fascinating day or weekend trips, and in-depth guides to all of these destinations can be enjoyed on Studiberia.