I don’t know if it’s because I’m from Granada and Andalusia, but for me Granada has much more to visit besides the Alhambra and the city. We are lucky to have in the same province culture, beach and mountain. I could make an endless list of places and beautiful villages to admire, but since you come for tourism, and not to live, I will mention the essentials. So if you are so lucky to have more than a couple of days to enjoy this magnificent city, here are other places that deserve a visit:
SIERRA NEVADA. (32KM = 40 MIN)
Sierra Nevada is the highest mountainous massif of the peninsula. Its highest peak is the Mulhacen (3482m) and has the most southern ski resort in Europe. You can drive to the altitude of 2500 meters and here you can decide between spending a day at the skiing station or leaving the car in the free parking at the height of the Virgen de las Nieves and spend a great day with sledges.
It’s also a highly recommended option if you come in summer, since in addition to the ski area there are many trails for hiking. The views are amazing. During the summer a shuttle (a vehicle) can take you from the parking that I mentioned before (next to the University Hostel) up to 3000 m altitude, if you don’t want to walk. If you go in summer, remember that it’s very cold in the early hours of the morning.
You can check all the activities, both in summer and in winter, directly on their website.
TROGLODISM. (55KM = 35 MIN)
A half hour drive from Granada. In Guadix (and also in Purullena) you can visit the neighborhood of the caves. It is a very special and surprising landscape since they are houses that are built inside the rocks. This experience will transport you to the old culture of families that still live inside the caves. You can even book a cave house and spend a night in it.
ALPUJARRA. (70 KM = 1 H)
The region of the Alpujarra in Granada has magnificent landscapes, including almond plantations, vineyards and crops grown on terraces. Due to the terrain in particular mountainous, the villages have adapted to the uneven terrain, the houses are built with white facing facing south, to make the most of the mild Mediterranean climate. The winding streets are ideal to go for a walk and breathe calm and tranquility. Time really seems to have stopped at the Alpujarra.
The Balcón de la Alpujarra, formed by the white villages of Cañar, Soportújar and Carataunas, and the Barranco de Poqueira, where the towns of Pampaneira, Bubión and Capileira live, are a must-see in this region.
The cuisine in the Alpujarra mainly offers meats and sausages, especially Trévelez ham. This town is famous for being the highest municipality in Spain, as well as its typical Arab sweets and cakes. Do not leave this area without eating a typical Alpujarran dish (“patatas a lo pobre” (soft fried potatoes) with peppers, sausage and “morcilla” (blood sausage)) and take advantage to buy a jarapa, unique carpets made in this area that are beautiful and cheap.
As a curiosity, in this area you can visit a Tibetan retreat center (Oseling), founded in 1980, where you will find a Buddhist temple. The XIV Dalai Lama visited him in 1982 and gave name to the center which means “Place of Clear Light”.
TROPICAL COAST: (100KM = 1 H) NERJA AND FRIGILIANA
The Costa Tropical has 28 km (18 miles) of beaches. The mountains that come directly to the sea in this area, create a series of coves and promontories on the coast, forming one of the most picturesque stretches of the southern Mediterranean.
The beaches here are smaller and less known to foreign visitors than those on the Costa del Sol in Malaga. At the moment, at least, the Costa Tropical stays away from the usual tourist circuit, especially on the beaches of Cabria or Cantarriján (naturist).
In this area it is worth mentioning the town of Nerja. This is a bit more crowded by tourism, with a unique architectural charm as well as its beaches. Also worth a visit is the town of Frigiliana, in the direction of Malaga from Nerja, whose construction in the middle of the mountain, with views of the sea and steep slopes will enchant you. Do not leave without tasting their sweet wine.
In Nerja I recommend you eat at El Ayo chiriringuito
TORCAL DE ANTEQUERA. (110 KM = 1H 15 MIN)
El Torcal National Park is an ideal place for walking, hiking, wildlife watching, rock climbing, photography or painting. The 17 square kilometers of the park include some of the most beautiful and impressive limestone landscapes in Europe.
There are two walking routes through the park, both clearly indicated by the different colored wooden poles and easily accessible with the help of the maps of the visitor center. The “green route” is the shortest and easiest, has 1.5 km and takes about 40 minutes. The yellow route covers most of the area, is 2.5 km long and takes you to “Las Ventanillas”, a 1200 m viewpoint with panoramic views of the Malaga Valley.
CAMINITO DEL REY (150 KM = 2H)
The Los Gaitanes Desfiladero Natural Area is located in the center of the province, between the municipalities of Álora, Antequera and Ardales. It constitutes one of the most spectacular landscapes of the Malaga mountain range, with steep walls and of considerable height, between which the Guadalhorce River flows after passing through the reservoirs of El Chorro, Guadalhorce, Guadalteba and Gaitanejo. The Desfiladero de los Gaitanes is a canyon excavated by the Guadalhorce River in the municipality of Álora, with access from the north by the Guadalhorce reservoirs and from the south by El Chorro, which in some points is only 10 meters wide and which reaches 700 meters deep.
You have to buy tickets in advance, but it’s worth it.