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Granada or Seville: Which Spanish City Should You Visit?

If you’ve come across this article, you’re likely in the middle of making a hard decision: Granada or Seville? Although southern Spain has various beautiful destinations, these two cities are undoubtedly the most popular.

So, especially if this is your first trip to Spain, you’ll want to take the time to compare Sevilla vs. Granada before opting for one over the other. I’ve explored the vibrant streets of both Granada and Seville multiple times. So, I understand the dilemma you face.

My aim in this article is to serve as your guide, sharing insights into each city’s distinctive charms and nuances. Whether you’re pressed for time or prefer to spend your vacation in one location, I’ll endeavor to help you decide between these enchanting Andalusian cities.

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission when you purchase a product or book a stay through these links at no extra cost to you.

Granada or Seville: Quick comparison

View of the Alhambra as seen looking out over historic homes in Granada, Spain
Main things to doThe Alhambra & Generalife
Albaicín neighborhood
Mirador de San Nicolás
Royal Alcázar
Seville Cathedral
Plaza de España
AreaFoot of the Sierra Nevada mountainsOn the Guadalquivir River
Best time to visitSpring and fallSpring and fall
Known forMoorish influence & historyArchitecture, flamenco, & tapas
Special eventsInternational Music & Dance FestivalFeria de Abril
Day tripsNerja
Sierra Nevada
Caminito del Rey

Top attractions in Granada

View of the inside of the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, showing reflection pool and building façade with tourists walking by.Going to Granada is almost synonymous with touring the famous Alhambra–the most visited place in Spain. You could easily spend hours enjoying the Alhambra’s grounds between the palatial structures and gardens.

Secure your Nasrid Palace tickets in advance for individual visits or opt for a guided tour for a more immersive experience. Here are some of our favorite Alhambra tours:

Even if you’re not a history buff, Granada is worth a visit! After all, anyone can enjoy the narrow streets of Granada’s picturesque Albaicín neighborhood. Once the Arab Quarter, the Albaicín is now the heart of the city’s old town (and tourism). 

View of the city of Granada's skyline, showing the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the distance.For a great place to watch the sunset, head over to the Mirador de San Nicolás, where the views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains are unbeatable. Or, if you have time for a longer hike, don’t miss the Mirador de San Miguel Alto. 

Especially for foodies, the tapas scene in Granada is one of the main attractions. In fact, when you order a drink in this city, the waiter will bring you a free portion of tapas. 

For the best tapas and restaurants, check out the Realejo area, which was historically the old Jewish quarter. Make sure to drop by Taberna La Tana, Bodegas Castañeda, La Botillería, or Los Diamantes to tapear like a true granadino.

Pros and cons of Granada

Photo of the Court of the Lions inside the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.Considering its historical importance, everyone should plan a visit to Granada at least once in their lifetime. Whether it’s a day trip to see the Alhambra or spending multiple days perusing the city, that’s up to you!

Nonetheless, to help you choose between Granada or Seville for this particular vacation, let’s evaluate the pros and cons of visiting Granada specifically:

View of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, at nightHistory buffs should pick Granada.

In Granada’s favor, the Alhambra, the Generalife, and the Albaicín are all listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Alhambra, often called a crown jewel of Islamic architecture in Spain, is a monumental reason to choose Granada. This city is the obvious pick for history lovers and those interested in learning about the Moorish influence on Spain’s culture.

Additionally, if you’re interested in the famous Catholic Monarchs of Spain and the Reconquista, you’ll find a visit to the Alhambra very informative. As a matter of fact, if this sounds like you, you may even want to splurge on a private tour.

View of the city of Granada in Andalusia as seen from the Alhambra Palace.Granada has more picturesque views.

Moreover, in our opinion, when we compare Granada vs Sevilla, the former wins slightly regarding picturesque views and charming historic neighborhoods. For instance, between the Albaicín and Sacromonte barrios, you could spend days wandering and enjoying the sights.

View of staircase leading up to the Puerta del Sol in Granada in historic neighborhoodGranada is hilly and has lots of stairs.

Considering the palace and the well-preserved historic homes, Granada can feel like something out of a storybook! However, on the other hand, if you have trouble with hills or stairs, Granada might not be the place for you to spend multiple days.

In this case, the best choice is probably to travel to Seville and take a day trip to the Alhambra. If you choose to go to Granada, you’ll want to wear comfortable walking shoes with good traction.

Top attractions in Seville

Woman standing on colorful bridge in the Plaza de España in Seville, Spain.If you’re looking for an authentic Andalusian experience, head to Seville! Famous for its flamenco dancing, tapas scene, and the Feria de Abril, this city is 100% worth visiting.

The three most visited attractions here are the Royal Alcázar, the Plaza de España, and the Catedral de Sevilla. However, due to the sheer number of things to do in the Andalusian capital, you’ll want to spend at least three days in Seville.

Read More: Game of Thrones Locations in Seville

View of the inside of the Royal Alcazar of Seville.Especially for the Alcázar, purchasing your tickets in advance would be ideal. For Game of Thrones fans, seeing this tourist attraction in Spain is a must-do activity since it served as the primary filming location for Dorne.

The Seville Cathedral is conveniently located across the street from the Alcazar in Barrio Santa Cruz (the old Jewish quarter). Apart from being the third-largest church in the world, this Roman Catholic cathedral is also the burial place of Christopher Columbus and home to the Giralda bell tower. 

View of the Plaza de España in Seville, SpainYou’ll definitely want to make time for the Plaza de España, located within Maria Luisa Park. It’s likely the most recognizable structure in the city (mainly thanks to Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones). Plus, it’s the perfect spot to snap some instagrammable photos.

Read More: Is Spain or Italy Better for a Vacation?

Pros and cons of Seville

View inside the palace gardens of the Royal Alcazar of Seville in Andalusia.Seville embodies Andalusian culture.

If it’s your first trip to Spain, we’re not sure you can justify skipping Seville. This city is exemplary of Andalusia and the particular culture of the Southern region of Spain. Plus, there’s so much to do!

When visiting Seville, you have to stop by the Alcázar, Cathedral, and Plaza de España at the very least. Regarding historical sites, we also recommend the Casa de Pilatos, the Setas de Sevilla (Metropol Parasol), and the Torre del Oro.

To fully complete your introduction to Seville, you’ll need to indulge in tapas at local bars and restaurants. Then, you have to catch a traditional flamenco show! 

Woman sitting on bench in front of colorful tiled wall inside the Casa de Pilatos in Seville, Spain.Seville is best visited with at least three days.

If you have at least three days and have to choose between Seville or Granada, we lean towards choosing Seville. You’ll generally find more to do here to fill your time. Plus, you can always take a day trip from Seville to Granada to see the Alhambra!

The Giralda Bell Tower in Seville as seen from underneath an arch in the AlcazarAvoid Seville in the summertime.

This Andalusian city has one of the warmest climates in Europe. Therefore, although temperatures are quite agreeable into the fall and spring, summertime can be sweltering.

Remember to monitor the temperature if you choose to visit between June, July, and August. The daily highs during the summertime can exceed 95-96°F (35-35.6°C)!

Due to the heat, we suggest waking up early to explore outdoor attractions and spend the afternoon indoors. Therefore, if you’re not an early bird, you may not want to vacation in Seville during its hottest months.

People walking along decorated street in Seville dressed in costumers for the Feria de AbrilSkip holidays, like Easter and the Seville Fair, to save money.

Additionally, you might not want to visit Seville during a major holiday, especially if you’re trying to plan a budget-friendly trip. During peak season, you may not be able to see all the attractions you had hoped to see. Furthermore, you’ll pay more for flights, accommodations, and food.

Granada or Seville?

Although we can’t decide for you, we can help you consider certain factors for each city. Choosing between Seville vs. Granada ultimately boils down to the question: how badly do you want to see the Alhambra? 

Make sure to think about the following questions as well:

How much time do you have?

Sunset over Seville, showing the city skylineWhen deciding whether to visit Seville vs Granada, the latter is the better choice if you only have a day or two! It’s simply not possible to see everything Seville has to offer in a short amount of time. However, Seville is definitely worth visiting if you have three days or more.

This way, you’ll be able to see all the city has to offer! Plus, you’ll have enough time to take a day trip to the Alhambra or even stay overnight in Granada. 

During what season are you planning to travel?

View of the gardens inside the Generalife in Granada, Andalusia.The climates in Sevilla vs Granada can vary greatly depending on the season. Generally speaking, Seville experiences slightly hotter summers than Granada, and winters in Granada are a tad cooler than in Seville.

Additionally, you’ll want to verify whether or not you’ll be traveling during a holiday. For example, Holy Week in Seville could be overwhelming if you didn’t intend to visit for this purpose.

Do you prefer to have specific activities to do, or would you rather wander?

View of gardens inside the Royal Alcazar of Seville, showing trees and surrounding Arabic-style structures.If you’d like to check activities off a list, Seville is more up your alley. To name just a few, the Royal Alcázar of Seville, the Seville Cathedral, the Torre del Oro, and Casa de Pilatos are all located in Seville.

However, if you’re more of a “go with the flow” person, you’ll like Granada’s chill mountainside vibes. Remember that Granada is known for its Moorish influence and historic neighborhoods, and in particular, the Alhambra.

However, other top things to do in Granada involve wandering the Albayzín and Sacromonte areas or the Alcaicería, an Arabic-style bazaar. You can also experience a flamenco show in a cave in Granada!

Do you have difficulty with stairs? 

Side view of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.When comparing Granada vs. Sevilla, it’s worth noting that Granada is certainly more hilly. This fact can make it challenging to get around if you have difficulty with stairs.

Therefore, if you’re trying to choose between these two cities, you may want to consider spending most of your time in Seville and taking a guided day tour of the Alhambra. This way, you can see the best of Granada without worrying about getting around the city.

Are there any specific day trips you want to do?

View of the beach in Nerja, showing surrounding palm trees and mountains in the distance.Granada and Seville offer a wealth of cultural attractions that are well worth visiting. However, another aspect to consider is whether or not you plan to take day trips on your trip.

The closest day trips from Granada are to Nerja, Frigiliana, Guadix, and Las Alpujarras. Meanwhile, the most popular Seville day trips are to Granada, Cordoba, Cadiz, and Ronda.

How to get to Granada

View of the city of Granada in Spain with yellow flowers in the foreground.Due to Granada’s popularity as a tourist destination and its overall size, it’s well connected to other towns in Spain and internationally. Nonetheless, depending on your starting point, you’ll want to evaluate the easiest way to reach this Andalusian city.

Flying to Granada

For example, Granada has a small airport that doesn’t offer many flights. So, direct flights from the United States, for example, do not currently exist. For those determined to fly to Granada, there are a few different options with layovers.

The first possibility is to take an international flight from the U.S. to Madrid or Barcelona and then a domestic flight from within Spain to Granada. Since the Málaga airport is also nearby, another feasible option is to fly to Málaga and rent a car or catch a bus to Granada.


Traveling to Granada by train

If you’ll be coming from another city in Spain, the most straightforward public transportation is probably to take a train. For example, the high-speed AVE train can get you from Madrid to Granada in just over three hours! You could also take this train from Barcelona to Granada in approximately seven hours.

Traveling to Granada by bus

Taking the bus works well if you’re departing from another city in Spain. To review bus times to Granada, head to the ALSA website. Since you’ll be traveling with luggage, you’ll most likely want to take a taxi from the Granada train or bus station to your accommodations.

How to get to Seville

Photo of the Setas de Sevilla structure in Seville, Andalusia, showing entrance to walk to the top and tourists walking by.Since Seville is the largest city in southern Spain, it’s well-connected both internationally and to other cities in the country.

Flying to Seville

For overseas travelers, you can fly to the Seville airport. However, you’ll have to make a connection or two before you can get there.

If you’re traveling from the U.S., you’ll most likely fly into the large hub airports in Madrid or Barcelona first and then take a national flight to Seville. It’s important to remember that the Seville airport is outside the city center.

So, you’ll either have to take a bus or taxi to reach your hotel from the airport. With this in mind, in many cases, it makes sense to fly to a larger airport in Spain and then take the high-speed AVE train to Seville. 

A colorful street in Seville, Spain, with pedestrians walking by.Traveling to Seville by train or bus

If you’re coming to Seville from another city in Spain, you’ll have two options: a train or a bus. In our opinion, the train tends to be more comfortable! Depending on your departure point, you’ll want to investigate whether the train or bus makes more sense for you.

There are a few factors we recommend considering before making your choice between the train or bus. For example, how far are your accommodations from the train or bus station?

You’ll also want to compare ticket costs and trip duration. To do so, head to the Renfe website to check train tickets and times. You can book your tickets with ALSA if you’d prefer to take the bus.

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If you're planning a trip to southern Spain, you may find yourself having to choose between Granada and Seville. Both of these Andalusian cities are well worth visiting; so, in this article, we review the pros and cons of each Spanish destination, highlighting and comparing the top things to do in Granada and Seville.

An earlier version of this article was published in September 2019 and has since been updated.

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Sunday 20th of November 2022

I am also looking to go to southern Spain in March and will be starting in Barcelona and then to Seville. Looking at a day trip to Granada. Still looking for ideas. I have 10 days total with 3 or 4 in Barcelona

Dave Hilliard

Thursday 23rd of February 2023

@Christina, You will not want to miss the Alhambra in Granada. It will take a good part of your day. Barcelona is absolutely beautiful and you will not want to miss the Segrada Familia. I went to the Bullfights in Seville in April during the Feria Festival. You could spend at least a couple of days or more there. Safe Travels. Spain is one of my favorite places


Sunday 13th of November 2022

Has anyone been to southern Spain? We're going in May. Planning to spend 3 days in Madrid, 2.5 days in Seville, 2 days in Granada, and then looking for recommendations for one more day. Should we use it to - take a day trip from madrid to toledo, - take a day trip from seville to pueblos blancos and ronda, - take a day trip from seville to Gibraltar, - take a day trip from seville to Cordoba, or - just have an extra day in any of the 3 cities listed above?

Dave Hilliard

Thursday 23rd of February 2023

@Meghsn, I have been to Gibraltar, Toledo and Cordoba, also Avila and Jerez de la Frontera. Jerez de la Frontera has some great horse shows and Wineries. Gibraltar is unique, Toledo is where they make all the swords and knives and Cordoba has a very large Mosque which has been converted to a Catholic Church. I think Jerez de la Frontera is not far From Gibraltar. If you are driving you will cross and airport strip to enter Gibraltar as you then climb up the rock among a number of Apes. They are all over the place!!!

Good Traveling

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