Granada is a city that undoubtedly deserves more than just a one day visit. However, for travellers with a limited amount of time to explore Southern Spain, undertaking a Granada day trip from Malaga or Seville is a great way to see the highlights of the city and to give you a taste of what Granada has to offer for a return a visit.
Wondering what the best way is to go on a Granada day trip from Seville or Malaga? This article outlines all the options available for travellers and tips on how to make the most of your one day in Granada!
Malaga to Granada Day Trip
Granada is located 125 kilometres north of the city of Malaga, making it a great option for a day trip if you prefer to base yourself close to the beach and sea!
How to Get from Malaga to Granada
For travellers who want to undertake a Malaga to Granada day trip, there are four main options: bus, car, guided tour or BlaBlaCar
Malaga to Granada by Bus
There are frequent buses leaving from Malaga to Granada every morning taking approximately 2 hours one way and departing around every 30 minutes before noon. Return buses are slightly less frequent, though still depart around every hour in the evening. Click here to browse bus fares and schedules
Malaga to Granada by Car
Renting a car in Spain allows you to not be at the mercy of the bus schedules and have a more leisurely day trip. It also gives you the option to stop in Antequera – a small charming Andalucian town – though it might be rushed if you intend to do a lot of sightseeing during your Granada day trip from Malaga.
Make sure to also buy excess insurance from a third party like iCarHireInsurance which works out considerably cheaper than buying it from the car rental company.
Malaga to Granada by Guided Tour
If you’re on a short holiday and want to have a stress-free journey, then letting a third party organise your Malaga to Granada day trip is a great option. This will also have the additional benefit of giving you a better chance of being able to see Granada’s most famous attraction – the Alhambra – on your visit.
If you haven’t pre-booked tickets online (they tend to sell out months in advance) then the best way to visit is by an organised tour as these companies tend to buy out a large number of tickets when they go on sale.
I recommend either booking this tour from GetYourGuide or this tour available on Viator. Both these tours include a skip-the-line visit to all of the Alhambra (including the Nasrid Palaces), time to explore the Albaicín neighbourhood and transport to and from your hotel in Malaga.
Malaga to Granada by BlaBlaCar
For travellers looking to minimise their Spain trip cost as much as possible, then BlaBlaCar is a great option for a Malaga to Granada day trip. There are regular rides available in both directions which take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes one way.
Seville to Granada Day Trip
While there are a number of fantastic day trips that visitors can do from Seville including visiting nearby Córdoba or Jerez and Cadiz, a Seville to Granada day trip is undoubtedly going to be a much longer day.
The two cities are approximately 250 kilometres apart, meaning you need to be up quite early to visit Granada as a day trip. I only recommend travellers undertake a Seville to Granada day trip if they are extremely limited in time on their Spain trip and want to get a taste of Granada.
How to Get from Seville to Granada
There a number of options for visitors that want to undertake a Seville to Granada day trip including train, bus, organised tour, car and BlaBlaCar.
Due to there only be a small number of suitable train and bus connections available, I’d recommend travellers to take an organised tour or rent a car if they are set on doing a Granada day trip from Seville.
Seville to Granada by Train
Travellers who want to take the train from Seville to Granada on their day trip need to ensure they get the 6:35 am train that leaves from Seville and gets to Granada approximately 4 hours later. The return train from Granada either leaves at 5:03 pm or 8:25 pm and arrives back in Seville 3 hours and 45 minutes later.
If you plan on using trains for your Seville to Granada day trip, it is advisable to book ahead not only to ensure you get a seat on the required train but also so you get the best possible deals available. Click here to browse and buy train tickets
Seville to Granada by Bus
The bus from Seville to Granada takes 3 hours and, similar to if you plan on taking the train, you need to book in advance to ensure you secure your place on the best bus options.
From Seville, there is an 8:15 am bus or 10 am bus that would be suitable for a Granada day trip. Returning from Granada, there are buses at 4:30, 6:30 and 8:30 which allows for at least 5 hours exploring Granada. Click here to browse bus fares and schedules
Seville to Granada by Guided Tour
To ensure you make the most of your one day in Granada, an organised tour is undoubtedly one of the best options due to the distance between the two cities. I recommend booking either this tour on GetYourGuide on this tour on Viator.
Similarly to the tours I recommend if taking a Malaga to Granada day trip, they include skip-the-line tickets to all of the Alhambra including the Nasrid Palaces, some time to explore the Albaicín and comfortable transport from your hotel. Both these tours require an early start but will ensure you see the highlights of the city without having to worry about the logistical challenges of travelling to Granada.
Seville to Granada by Car or BlaBlaCar
Travelling to Granada from Seville by car or BlaBlaCar is similar to if you’re undertaking a Malaga to Granada day trip. You should search
How To Spend One day in Granada
For travellers embarking on a Granada day trip from Malaga or Seville and wondering how to best spend their one day in Granada, we recommend one of two options. One option factors in spending most of your day at the Alhambra if you have pre-purchased tickets. The second option is based on you not being able to get tickets to the Alhambra.
One Day in Granada with Alhambra Tickets
If the main purpose of your visit to Granada is to see the Alhambra then you should plan your visit around the time that your ticket allows you to visit the Nasrid Palaces. If you are a good planner and purchase Alhambra tickets well in advance, then I recommend planning your day around visiting the Alhambra first.
If you want to visit the Alhambra but can’t buy last minute tickets directly, then the best option is to organise a guided tour. If you organise your own transport from Seville or Malaga, then you can purchase a guided tour directly in Granada.
I recommend either this tour available on GetYourGuide or this tour that is available on Viator. Both these guided tours include access to the Nasrid Palaces which many other last-minute options exclude. It also gives you the additional benefits of having a lot of the history and meaning behind the Alhambra explained.
Allow yourself to spend at least 3 hours to see all of the Alhambra and ensure that you’re at the Nasrid Palaces at the exact time that your ticket says. They are strict at controlling the number of people visiting the Palaces and you will not be able to enter if you miss your allocated time.
Enjoy the Unique Tapas Culture
One of the highlights of spending one day in Granada is to enjoy the unique tapas culture that exists in this Andalucian city. Unlike if you visit Seville or Cordoba, a tapa is provided for free when ordering a drink at the majority of bars in Granada. Some places allow you to choose a tapa from a list, while others will just provide you with a tapa of their choice when serving you a drink.
Tapas bars in Granada are typically open from around 1-4pm for lunch with the peak lunch hour occurring approximately between 2-3pm. This means that you can easily spend a few hours exploring the Alhambra in the morning and then still have plenty of time to enjoy some tapas for lunch!
A couple of great traditional places that are located centrally include Bodegas Castañeda, Bar Provincias and Los Diamantes. The latter two specialise in seafood dishes while Bodegas Castañeda has a range of traditional Spanish tapas. Bar Provincias is also a great option if you want to visit the Granada Cathedral as it’s located on a small alley just a minute away from the monument.
Explore the Albaicín
A great way to spend the last hour or two of your Granada day trip from Malaga or Seville is to explore the Albaicín neighbourhood. This area is the historic Arab quarter of the city and is known for its winding cobblestone streets and whitewashed buildings. This part of the city is built on a hill so there will be a lot of uphill walking but you will be rewarded with some amazing views of the city and of the Alhambra.
If visiting during the winter months or planning a late departure from Granada on your day trip, then make sure to head to Mirador de San Nicolas for sunset. It’s one of the most popular viewpoints in the Albaicín due to Bill Clinton famously visiting this spot when he was president and claiming it was the best sunset of the world. You can’t actually see the sunset from this spot but the views of the Alhambra are spectacular!
Another good option to explore the Albaicín is to take a free walking tour with Walk in Granada Tours. They offer walking tours of the Albaicín four times per week. During the months of October to March, the tour begins at 4 pm which is well-timed for visitors only spending one day in Granada. From April to September, the tour begins at 6 pm.
One Day in Granada without Alhambra Tickets
If you are unable to purchase Alhambra tickets and a guided tour is outside of your budget, then there is still a lot to see in Granada during your one day visit. I suggest spending the second part of your day in the same way as outlined above by enjoying the unique tapas culture and explore the magnificent Albaicín neighbourhood.
In the morning, visitors spending a day in Granada can explore more of the historical centre which they otherwise would not have time for. A free walking tour run by Walk in Granada leaves daily at 11 am from Plaza Nueva and will show travellers the main historical parts of Granada’s city centre as well as explaining a lot of the history of the city.
The tour lasts for approximately 2.5 hours and if travellers have some energy left over before lunch then they can take a short 15-minute walk to the Alhambra and enjoy some of the natural beauty that surrounds the magnificent attraction.
Where to Stay in Malaga or Seville
For travellers undertaking a Granada day trip from Seville or Malaga, here are some recommendations for places to stay in both those cities.
Where to Stay in Malaga
The Lights Hostel — A social budget hostel located in downtown Malaga that offers both dorm and private rooms. A buffet breakfast is available at an extra charge and is a great choice if trying to reduce how much you spend in Malaga. Click here to check their availability
Madeinterranea Suites — One of the best luxury options in Malaga, they offer superb spacious and elegant rooms. A fantastic breakfast is included in the room rate and they have a restaurant and bar on site. Click here to check their availability.
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Malaga!
Where to Stay in Seville
Hotel Bécquer — One of the best-located hotels in Seville’s Old Town, they offer a range of comfortable modern private rooms. There is a fantastic rooftop pool and the option to include breakfast in your daily rate. Click here to check their availability
Monte Triana — A great hotel if you want to stay in Triana district which is where you’ll find some of the best tapas bars in the city of Seville. They offer a range of luxurious rooms and are still within walking distance of all of Seville’s main attractions. Click here to check their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Seville!
While spending a few days in Granada is undoubtedly the best way to experience the city, a Granada day trip from Malaga or Seville is a great option if you are short on time and want to ensure you experience at least some of this amazing city.
When travelling in Granada, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a travel insurance policy so you’re covered for any unfortunate events! We like WorldNomads and always use them for our trips – click here to get a quote from WorldNomads
Are you planning a Granada day trip? Are you thinking of visiting from Seville or Malaga? Let us know in the comments below!