After seeing the Nasrid Palaces in the Alhambra and the Sacromonte caves, you may be ready to check out other areas near Granada. Here’s the good news: Granada has a prime location, close to both the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea.
With this in mind, there are tons of options to choose from for day trips from this Andalusian city! For example, you could hit the beach in Costa del Sol, see the mountain villages, or even tour the most popular attractions in Southern Spain.
Since there are so many exciting destinations within reach, we’ve narrowed down the top ten Granada day trips for this article. No matter which adventure you choose, each is 100% worth a visit. Plus, you can even combine some of these destinations into a more extensive day trip. Without further ado, here are the best options for day trips from Granada, Spain!
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Although Nerja is a popular beach destination in the summertime, it maintains the charm of a smaller coastal town. If you’re looking to soak up some sun, check out Playa de Burriana, Playa de Maro, or La Caleta de Maro. Besides the stunning Costa del Sol beaches, Nerja’s other big attraction is its limestone caverns.
These Nerja Caves span over three miles (5 km) and are an excellent activity for families traveling with kids! To best understand the caves and their history, make sure to do a guided tour.
For dinnertime, head into town and grab a spot near the Balcón de Europa to watch the sunset. This balcony is the ideal location to snap a photo before heading back to Granada. Another great idea is pairing Nerja with Frigiliana on a guided tour from Granada or by renting a car for the day.
How to get from Granada to Nerja
There are three ways to travel from Granada to Nerja: by bus, car, or on a day tour in a small group. The cheapest option, which runs at about 11€, is to take a bus with ALSA from the Granada bus station to Nerja. Moreover, this journey takes approximately two and a half hours each way.
If you’d rather have more flexibility, I’d recommend renting a car for the quick one-hour drive. Additionally, if you want to choose the most hands-off approach, there are many options for guided tours from Granada to Nerja. I’ve listed a few of these below in case you’d like to go this route!
On a trip to Southern Spain, you won’t want to miss the chance to see its most famous white villages. I’d highly recommend spending a few hours in Frigiliana, which is frequently called the “prettiest village in Andalusia.” You’ll be able to see why as soon as you arrive! Frigiliana might even have you wondering if you’ve left Spain and been transported to Greece with all its whitewashed buildings.
This town is just over an hour away from Granada, making it an easy day trip! Plus, Frigiliana is a tiny town, so it should only take a few hours to explore on foot and grab some lunch. As I mentioned previously, Frigiliana and Nerja can be combined into one day trip from Granada due to their proximity. I suggest spending the afternoon in Frigiliana and then grabbing dinner in Nerja and watching the sunset there.
How to get from Granada to Frigiliana
The best option to visit Frigiliana from Granada is either to rent a car or sign up for a guided tour. Although it’s possible to take a bus from Granada to Nerja and then take a taxi to Frigiliana, it’s a lot more complicated. To make your day trip as easy as possible, the top choice is to take a guided day tour!
In fact, you’ll even be able to see both Nerja and Frigiliana on most guided day trips. If you feel comfortable driving in Spain (note: there are many hills), you can also rent a car. The drive from Granada to Frigiliana is just over an hour.
One of the most special day trips from Granada is to visit Guadix, which sits at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Now, why would this small country village be so popular as a tourist destination? Well, the majority of people visit to see the famous cave houses. In fact, approximately half of Guadix’s locals live underground in these caves and have done so for hundreds of years.
Although you might think a cave would be a dreary place to live, these homes are filled with color and a welcoming presence. If you come across “troglodytes” (the local cave-dwellers), they tend to be super friendly and may even invite you in to show off their houses! While in Guadix, it’s also worth visiting the Guadix Cathedral and the Guadix Cave Museum.
How to get from Granada to Guadix
As Guadix is only about 34 miles from Granada, this destination might be one of the simplest day trips on this list! If you decide to rent a car for the day, it only takes 45-50 minutes to reach this provincial town.
However, the most affordable option is to take an ALSA bus from the Granada bus station. This trip by bus only takes about an hour each way and is extremely affordable! The cost normally runs about 6€.
4. LAS ALPUJARRAS
If you enjoy Guadix, you’ll also enjoy exploring Las Alpujarras, a region of white villages on the south slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains. On this day trip, you can experience the natural beauty of one of the most peaceful corners of Europe. Some of the picturesque mountain villages you can explore include Lanjarón, Orgiva, Trevélez, and Capileira.
Each is surrounded by a gorgeous landscape, which is particular to this region in Spain. Besides the adorable villages and breathtaking views of the mountains, you can also try the delicious Iberian ham and traditional foods from this area! If you’d like to see more of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, check out this 4WD safari small group tour.
How to get from Granada to Las Alpujarras
Since there are numerous towns in Las Alpujarras, it can be hard to choose which to visit! So, your best option is likely to take a guided tour from Granada through these historical mountain villages. Your tour guide will show you how authentic Alpujarreños live and point out traditional food from the region on this day trip.
Depending on where you go within Las Alpujarras, the ride should take about an hour and a half by car. As far as public transportation, it’s possible to take a bus to one of the villages; nonetheless, a guided tour is the most straightforward option by far.
5. CAMINITO DEL REY
For all of the adventure travelers out there, you won’t want to miss El Caminito del Rey: the world’s most dangerous walkway. Although its direct translation is “The King’s Little Path,” this hike isn’t exactly short! In fact, El Caminito del Rey’s full length is 4.8 miles (7.7 km). Nonetheless, most travelers will be able to tackle the most famous stretch, which includes Hoyo Valley and the boardwalks; this section is only 1.8 miles (2.9 km).
While the title of “most dangerous” anything doesn’t sound particularly appealing, you’ll be happy to know that El Caminito was recently re-opened in 2015 after four years of renovations and repairs. So, you shouldn’t be afraid to take on this hike, which is now lined with wooden boardwalks and glass-floored lookouts. For those traveling with kids, be aware that children under the age of 8 are not permitted to walk the trail.
How to get from Granada to El Caminito del Rey
The best option is to rent a car for the day and drive to El Caminito del Rey from Granada. This journey takes approximately two hours in each direction. It’s important to know that the number of visitors per day on the trail is limited due to safety regulations. Therefore, if you’re visiting on your own, you’ll want to book your tickets ahead of time here.
If you’d prefer to hike El Caminito del Rey on a guided tour from Granada, here is one option. This way, you don’t have to go through the hassle of renting a car for the day. This tour includes your ticket, transportation from Granada, and a local guide.
For an introduction to Spain’s famous Costa del Sol, look no further than Málaga! The great part about this coastal city is that it has both amazing beaches and an adorable Old Town. So, whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach experience or a stroll through a historic neighborhood, there are plenty of things to do in Malaga!
For a real Málaga experience, you’ll want to grab lunch at the Atarazanas Market, where you can sample fresh fish, meat, cheese, fruits, and vegetables. If you’d like to check out the nearest beach, head to Playa de la Malagueta. This beach is an easy walk from the city center.
Afterward, I recommend driving up to Gibralfaro Castle, where you’ll find a fantastic view of Málaga from above. You can even combine your ticket to Gibralfaro with a ticket to the Alcazaba. It’s definitely worth seeing both while you’re in the area!
How to get from Granada to Malaga
The most budget-friendly option is to take a bus from the Granada bus station, which takes approximately two hours in each direction. I would NOT recommend taking the train from Granada to Málaga as there are no direct trains, so you’d have to transfer trains in Antequera.
To save time and have more mobility once you arrive at Málaga, you may want to consider the option of renting a car for the day. In fact, the drive is a bit shorter than the bus ride, taking about an hour and a half. Additionally, you could even spend part of the day in Málaga and the other part in Marbella if you’d like to cover more ground.
A day trip to Marbella provides a fantastic opportunity to experience the Costa del Sol. This luxury travel destination offers beaches, upscale shopping, golf, and fine dining. When visiting for the day, you’ll most likely want to explore the quaint Old Town area on foot.
Take in the tapa bars, coffee shops, and boutiques that wind along the flower-lined streets. Plaza de los Naranjos, in particular, is a great place to experience Marbella as a popular spot for live music and where locals hang out. If you’re visiting to catch some rays, hit the beaches on the “Golden Mile. “ These 3 miles of the Mediterranean coast are the ideal spot to play in the sand.
Afterward, head to Puerto Banús because you can’t visit Marbella without checking out über expensive yachts! If you’d like to splurge on a meal, make sure to try one of Marbella’s many Michelin-starred restaurants.
How to get from Granada to Marbella
The best way to get to Marbella from Granada is by renting a car for the day. The drive will take just under two hours, while taking a bus would take closer to three hours. Plus, driving gives you the flexibility to see multiple destinations in one day. For example, I suggest spending half of the day in Marbella and the other half in Málaga, which is an easy stop to make on the way back to Granada.
Ronda might be the most famous of the Spanish white villages. With a location in the stunning Sierra de las Nieves National Park, you can see why this small town has inspired so many great artists, like Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already seen photos of this town’s most prominent attraction: Puente Nuevo (“new bridge”).
For a fantastic view of the bridge in the distance, take a hike to the Ronda Bridge View Point along the Carretera de los Molinos. If you’ve rented a car for the day, you can even drive to this spot! After that, leave some time to explore the historic Old Town.
How to get from Granada to Ronda
To visit Ronda from Granada, you have two options: sign up for a guided tour or rent a car for the day! If you decide to rent a car, know that Ronda is super close to many of the other white villages in Spain. So, I’d recommend making the most of your time in the area by stopping by Arcos de la Frontera or Setenil de las Bodegas before driving back to Granada.
The drive to Ronda should take you just over two hours. From there, Setenil de las Bodegas is only 30 minutes away, for example! If you don’t feel comfortable driving in the village, consider booking a guided tour to Ronda from Granada.
Córdoba is one of the lengthier day trip options from Granada. For example, the journey will take approximately one and a half to three hours each way via train, bus, or car. However, due to Cordoba’s unique history as a Muslim Caliphate capital in the 10th century, I highly recommend making the trip. You can find remnants of this period in Córdoba’s past all over the town!
The main attractions here are the Mezquita and the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. To make the most of your day in town, plan to purchase tickets for the Mezquita ahead of time. Then, make your way to the less-crowded Alcázar. Afterward, head to the Jewish Quarter and snap a photo of Calleja de las Flores. If you’re in Spain during the first two weeks of May, you won’t want to miss Córdoba’s Patio Festival.
How to get from Granada to Cordoba
There are three ways to get from Granada to Cordoba: by bus, by train, or by driving. The cheapest option is to take a bus with ALSA from the Granada Bus Station to the Cordoba Bus Station and then take a taxi into the town center. However, taking a bus is also the longest option, ranging between 2.5-3 hours in each direction.
If you’d rather arrive in Cordoba in a timely fashion, you can take a high-speed Ave train directly from Granada to Cordoba! This option only takes 1.5 hours; plus, the Ave train is even faster than renting a car. If you choose to drive from Granada to Cordoba, it’ll take approximately two hours and ten minutes.
Along with Granada and Córdoba, you also can’t miss the capital of Andalusia on your trip to this region. During your visit, the main attractions to plan to see are the Alcázar of Seville, the Seville Cathedral, the Plaza de España, and maybe even a flamenco show. These activities may seem like a lot to pack into one day in Seville, but it’s possible with a little thinking ahead! For example, you can purchase tickets for the Alcázar and the Cathedral online.
For Game of Thrones fans, visiting the Alcázar is a must-do activity in Seville since it served as the primary filming location for Dorne in this HBO TV series. After touring the palace, it’s easy to hop across the street to the Seville Cathedral. Whether or not you choose to visit the Alcázar and the Cathedral, you’ll want to stop by the Plaza de España, which is free to enter.
How to get from Granada to Seville
I think Seville deserves more than one day to explore, which is why I’ve listed it as the last of the top ten day trips from Granada. Nonetheless, if your itinerary will only allow for one day, you can make it work with the high-speed train! It should take you approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes on the AVE train to reach Seville from Granada. You can book train tickets on the Renfe website.
Additionally, there are various options for guided tours from Granada to Seville. If you choose to take a guided day tour, all you have to do is show up at the meeting point, and the tour company will plan the rest of the day for you. I’ve listed a few guided tours in the widget below for you to check out!
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This article was first published in January 2020 and has since been updated.