Best Day Trips from Nerja to Granada + Alhambra Tour [2024]

Best Day Trips from Nerja to Granada + Alhambra Tour [2024]

Do you want to plan a day trip from Nerja to Granada? 

In that case, this article has everything you need to know to plan a perfect day trip.

I have visited Granada six times, so as a local living on Costa del Sol, I can also offer practical insights and local tips that will save you time and money.

Let’s skip to the chase – the best option to see the Granada on a day trip is booking a tour from a local company.

If you prefer driving or using public transport, I have included instructions for these further down the article, together with my itinerary for one day trip.

PS: this article contains affiliate links, I will earn a small fee if you book through them, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for helping me run this blog!

granada day trip from nerja

No time to read the article?

Book your day trip to Granada with a guided tour of the Alhambra Palace using the button below!


Is Granada Worth Visiting on a Day Trip?

​Yes, of course it is!

​As I mentioned, I visited Granda six times and have been to Alhambra three times – you can tell I’m a big fan.

Granada is one of the most beautiful destinations in Southern Spain and one of the best day trips from Nerja. Visiting the Nasrid Palaces and the whole Alhambra complex will be the highlight of your stay in Spain.

A day in Granada is plenty of time to explore the whole Alhambra complex, see the narrow streets of the historic old town – Albaicin, and you will even get some free time to explore on your own or buy some souvenirs.

View of the Alhambra palace from Mirador St Nicolas in autumn.
The stunning Alhambra palace in Granada.

3 Reasons for Booking a Tour from Nerja to Granada

Booking a day excursion from a local company is the easiest and best way to see Granada on a day trip, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

1. Skip the Line Tickets to Alhambra

If there is one thing you need to know about planning a trip to Granada, it’s the fact that tickets to Alhambra are not easy to get, especially on short notice and in the main season. Even in winter time, you can’t just get tickets for next day or the same day, they sell out fast. 

​Booking a tour to Granada with a local company will guarantee you get the skip the line tickets to Alhambra, with a pre-booked time slot. The trip is also planned well to ensure that you will get there ahead of the time so you don’t miss out on your slot.

2. Tour Guide & Hassle Free Transport

​Instead of driving to Granada yourself and navigating the local transport, you can enjoy the short one-hour drive on board a comfortable bus and get dropped off by the entrance to Alhambra.

The complex has strict rules for access to cars and parking, so using the bus is super convenient and you don’t get lost looking for the entrance.

The tour also includes the services of a private guide, who will tell you everything you need about Granada, and you will also have a guided tour of the Alhambra complex in English, so you don’t have to pay anything extra for the complex.

3. Often the Cheapest option

If you add up the cost of the transport, car rental, petrol, parking, getting tickets to Alhambra and a guide, an organized tour might be actually a cheaper and easier way to see Granada.

Book Your Granada Day Trip

Only available once a week, book your spot fast so you don’t miss out.

Main Attractions on a Day Trip From Nerja To Granada

The Famous Alhambra

Alhambra is a palace complex built in the 13th century by the Moorish rulers, and one of the best preserved examples of Islamic architecture.

Tour this UNESCO World Heritage Site and learn everything about it’s history from your local guide. The tour includes entrance to all parts of Alhambra – the Nasrid Palace, Generalife Gardens, Alcazaba and Charles V Palace.

Albaicin District of Granada

Albaicin is an absolute highlight of any trip to Granada – the oldest part of Granada will charm you with narrow cobblestone streets leading up to the hill, from where you can see the Alhambra peaking from around the corner.

Paseo de los Tristes, Albaicin - Granada, Spain
Paseo de los Tristes in Granada, Southern Spain
Albaicin in Granada, Spain
Albaicin in Granada

Itinerary for Your Excursion from Nerja to Granada

  • you will get picked up at two different locations in Nerja
  • enjoy stunning views on your one hour drive to Granada
  • start your day by a guided tour of the Alhambra complex
  • visit the beautiful town center – the old Albaicin
  • you can either choose a walking tour of Albaicin or explore on your own
  • you will be picked up after that and travel back to Nerja

Book Your Granada Day Trip

Only available once a week, book your spot fast so you don’t miss out.

​Practical Tips for a Day Trip to Granada &  Alhambra

  • Granada is very hot in the summer, wear light clothes, hat and sun protection
  • You get free tapas with each drink in Granada – something you should definitely experience
  • I recommend grabbing a drink in a restaurant in Paseo de los Tristes where you get the best views of Alhambra
  • Wear comfortable shoes for exploring Alhambra and the gardens, the complex is pretty big.
  • The old town is mostly cobblestone streets, so do not wear high heels.
  • To enter the Nasrid Palaces, you need to have your ID – they check that against your ticket, so its absolutely essential
  • Take water with you to stay hydrated, especially in summer
  • No large backpacks are allowed inside the Alhambra, also no selfie sticks or tripods
  • You can’t enter the Nasrid Palace with a baby pram, you need to leave it at the storage
  • Toilets are available between the Nasrid Palace and Alcazaba

Book Your Granada Day Trip

Only available once a week, book your spot fast so you don’t miss out.

Other Transport Options for this Day Trip

In this section you will find instructions for visiting Granada on a day trip by car or by public transport. I have also included a one day itinerary so you can plan your day in Granada easily.

Day Trip from Nerja to Granada with Rental Car

If you already rented a car for your stay in Nerja, it makes the most sense to do this day trip with the car. 

I have outlined the journey in the map below. 

Here are a few things you should know:

  • first of all, get your tickets to Alhambra well in advance before you get to Granada
  • the distance to Granada is about 95 km, which would be 1-hour 15-minute drive one way – I have outlined the journey on the map below
  • some of the roads may be toll roads (the ones with “P” in the name), so have some cash ready in the car in case you hit the toll booth
  • be mindful of your speed, there are traffic cameras everywhere
  • check parking options in Granada in advance, especially so if you’re planning to get to Alhambra – in that case, it may be much easier to park somewhere in central Granada and take a local taxi there

Skip the Line Alhambra Tickets

Book your tickets in advance online. Includes audio guide.

Day Trip to Granada with Public Transport from Nerja

For those who are on a tight budget, this may be the most cost-effective option. 

The only thing you need to remember is to check your travel connections early, and secure your tickets to Alhambra well in advance.

The entrance to the Nasrid palace has a dedicated time slot you can’t miss, so give yourself plenty of time when checking your bus arrivals in Granada.

granada spain bus station 1
The main bus station in Granada, Spain.

Distance from Nerja to Granada

The distance between Nerja and Granada is approximately 95 kilometers, which is about 1 hour drive.

Buses from Nerja to Granada

Nerja is well connected to Granada with a network of local buses.

There are roughly 6 to 8 connections from Nerja bus station per day with local bus operator Alsa

The journey time will vary depending on which bus you take, as some make more stops along the way – the fastest buses take 1 hour 50 minutes, and the slowest ones 2 hours 45 minutes

The tickets start just under 10 euros one way.

Check the departure options on the Alsa website in advance, to make sure you can get to Granada in the desired time, especially if you have tickets to Alhambra which have a dedicated time slot

Once you get to Granada, just take a local taxi to Alhambra to get to the entrance of the Nasrid palace on time, within your dedicated time slot.

The journey should take about 15 – 20 minutes directly to the Alhambra entrance.

Skip the Line Alhambra Tickets

Book your tickets in advance online. Includes audio guide.

Nerja to Granada by Train

There are no train connections between Nerja and Granada, Nerja has no train station.

Are Alhambra Tickets Sold Out?

Unfortunately, if the tickets are sold out for your selected day, you have very limited options. You can’t simply walk to the ticket office and ask if they have any available.

The best option – check if you can get a local tour.

If you are already in Granada, or booked your transport there, you can check local guided tours for Alhambra, which also include tickets to the monument.

You can check this small group guided tour, which lasts 3 hours.

granada spain alhambra tickets 1
The main ticket office at the Alhambra monument.

Is Granada Worth Visiting Without Seeing Alhambra?

Yes and no.

Seeing the Alhambra is definitely the highlight of visiting Granada, but if you already booked your trip and you can’t get the tickets, don’t cancel your journey.

Granada has so much to offer and if nothing else, you can enjoy stunning views of the Alhambra from many viewpoints of Granada.

Check my itinerary below to get some ideas, and I have also included a list of my favourite places in Granada.

Skip the Line Alhambra Tickets

Book your tickets in advance online. Includes audio guide.

One Day Itinerary For Visiting Granada

While truly immersing yourself in all Granada has to offer could take days, a well-planned one-day itinerary can still capture the essence of this Andalusian gem.

Here’s how to make the most of your day in Granada, from dawn till dusk.

Morning: The Alhambra (3 hours)

Start your day early at the Alhambra, the jewel of Granada.

This UNESCO World Heritage site, renowned for its stunning Islamic art and architecture, requires at least three hours to explore its palaces, gardens, and fortresses. Highlights include the Nasrid Palaces, the Generalife gardens, and the Alcazaba.

Alhambra in Granada, Spain
The famous Patio de los Leones in the Alhambra Palace

Lunch Break: Paseo de los Tristes (1 hour)

After your morning at the Alhambra, head down to Paseo de los Tristes, a picturesque street located at the bottom of the Alhambra hill.

Here, you can enjoy lunch in a local restaurant with a view of the Alhambra. Choose one of the many terraces offering traditional Andalusian dishes, such as tapas and paella. Alternatively, check my guide on best restaurants in Granada to find your favourite.

Alhambra views from Paseo de los Tristes in Granada, Spain
Views from Paseo de los Tristes, Granada

Afternoon: Albayzín and Mirador de San Nicolás (2 hours)

Post-lunch, wander through the winding streets of Albayzín, the old Muslim quarter.

This area is a delightful maze of narrow lanes and whitewashed houses, leading to the famous Mirador de San Nicolás. The view from this lookout point offers a breathtaking panorama of the Alhambra against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Spend time soaking in the views and the vibrant atmosphere, perhaps enjoying a café con leche at one of the nearby cafes.

Sunrise at Mirador Saint Nicholas, Granada
Sunrise at Mirador Saint Nicholas, Granada

Late Afternoon: Granada Cathedral and Royal Chapel (1.5 hours)

Make your way to the Granada Cathedral, an impressive example of Spanish Renaissance architecture.

Spend about an hour exploring its grand interior and the adjacent Royal Chapel, where the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel and Ferdinand, are buried. The intricate artwork and historical significance make this a must-visit.

Evening: Flamenco Show & Dinner in Sacromonte (1 hour)

No visit to Granada is complete without experiencing a Flamenco show.

Head to the Sacromonte district, where the city’s best tablaos (Flamenco bars) are nestled among the traditional cave houses. You can book this show at Cueva Tarantos, which I also visited and really enjoyed (photos below).

Flamenco at Cueva Los Tarantos, Granada

My Favourite Places in Granada

Fancy a few more ideas? Here are articles about some of my favourite places in Granada, check them out before you head there:

Final Thoughts

If you feel like you’ve seen everything Nerja and Costa Tropical has to offer – Nerja Caves, the old town or spending time on the beautiful beaches, I hope you found Granada to be the perfect day trip option.

This article has everything I learned from my extensive travel in Granada, and I hope it answers all your questions.

If there is something specific you want to know, please leave a comment below, and I will be happy to help.

LOVE it? SAVE it for Later!

Not ready to plan your day trip? Save these pin images in your Pinterest account for later!

Don’t forget to also check my dedicated Pinterest boards for best things to do in Granada and my Granada travel tips.

Pinterest image showing the Alhambra view from Mirador St Nicolas, with a headline - Granada day trip from Nerja, Best Day Trips from Nerja
Pinterest image showing the courtyard of the lions at the Alhambra palace in Granada, with a headline - Granada day trip from Nerja, Best Day Trips from Nerja

Southern Spain Travel Tips

Find Best Hotels

Find Hotels

I have been using for all my trips in Spain and abroad, and it’s the best place to book your hotel.

Find Car Rental

Find Car Rental

To rent a car, I highly recommend Discover Cars, an award-winning price comparison site for car rentals.

Book Your Tour

Local travel companies offer many day trip options from almost all the destinations in Southern Spain. You can check them out here.

Book Local Transport

To get the cheapest bus or train tickets, take a look at Omio to find the timetables and prices.

Find Cheap Flights

Get the best flight deals when you book early via

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links - if you decide to book using one of the links, I will earn a small commission that helps me run this site. This is at no extra cost to you.

Hi, I'm Lucia

At Viva La Vita, I will help you to discover Southern Spain like a local!

I've been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and fill these pages with first-hand insights, personal experience and practical tips that will help you plan a wonderful trip to Spain.

Make yourself at home and find the best places to explore in Andalusia and beyond.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.