Thanks to Europe's public transportation, when you spend 4 months studying abroad in a big city, you automatically have easy access to a ton of awesome day-trip destinations. Granada’s location makes this even easier: it only takes an hour to get to the mountains or to get to the beach, meaning you could spend the morning skiing and the afternoon swimming in the Mediterranean! Without further ado, here are some of my favorite day trips from Granada.
1. Sierra Nevada
Only an hour (and very cheap) bus ride from the city center, the Sierra Nevadas are a great place to visit to ski and enjoy other winter sports like sledding and snowshoe hiking! The snowy mountains already serve as a gorgeous backdrop to the Alhambra in the city itself, but the ride up to the top is also stunning—with steep mountainsides, blue lakes, and finally an expanse of snowy slopes. If you in any way like skiing or snowboarding, it's a great way to spend an afternoon.
2. Nerja or Almuñécar
These two beach towns are beautiful little white villages off of the Mediterranean sea, and are a less than 2 hour bus ride from Granada. Nerja is my personal favorite, with its pebble beaches, rocky outcrops, and bright blue water. Both offer gorgeous swims during the warmer months, and I also really enjoy wandering along their beaches finding all sorts of sea glass. Spend a day out on the shore and finish it off at a chiringuito—or Spanish beach restaurant—for a refreshing meal. In Nerja, Ayo is an outdoor restaurant just off the beach that offers big plates of paella for a very affordable price!
3. Ronda and Setenil
These two white towns are located around a half hour from each other and around 2 hours from Granada. Almost like opposite puzzle pieces, Ronda is a city elevated high up on a cliff while Setenil is nestled in a valley and built into the rock walls themselves. Ronda’s Puente Nuevo and gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside make it well worth a visit, and Setenil’s cave-like buildings and restaurants are an exciting place to spend an hour or two. Frasquito and La Tasca are two such restaurants who offer good food and whose roofs are composed of a sheer rock face!
The furthest on this list, Sevilla is three hours away, and as it is the 4th largest city in Spain, it has plenty to see if one day feels like not enough. The city has some gorgeous architecture—the cathedral, the Royal Alcazar, the Plaza de España, the giant mushrooms or “setas”—and great places to bike and walk. I personally love walking along the river and through Maria Luisa park. They are also well known for their celebrations during holy week and during Feria in April.
5. The Alpujarras
Finally, Pampaneira and Capileira are two of several quaint villages tucked away in the Alpujarra mountains that offer a quiet refuge from busy cities as well as some great hikes down to local waterfalls. They are small and quiet, with gorgeous views of the surrounding slopes. There are also several water fountains along the trails that provide naturally fizzy water due to high quantity of iron in the area. I can’t lie that the temptation to pack my bags and stay in those little towns forever was very high.
All in all, each of these places—whether a city or the mountains or the beach—are all awesome places to spend a day without breaking the bank or having to spend the night. It is as simple as catching a bus or hopping in a car and a million destinations await. I can’t recommend day trips enough, especially when they are to some of the prettiest places in Andalusia!
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Hola! My name is Adah and I am a junior at North Carolina State University currently studying in Granada, Spain! Though my major is Biology, I have a passion for all things art and Spanish, and you can most likely find me sketching away during the late hours of the night. My current obsessions are gouache paints, crochet, and watching local birds! I'm so excited to share my time exploring Granada with all of you.