Granada in Winter: Your Guide by a Local Expert [2024]

Granada in Winter: Your Guide by a Local Expert [2024]

Are you thinking about visiting Granada in winter?

Do you wonder what the weather is like, whether you will see some snow, and how busy it gets?

In that case, this article has all the answers you need!

I am living in Southern Spain and visit Granada a couple of times each year, including in the winter season, so I have plenty of personal experience with the winter conditions in the city.

This article will offer a comprehensive guide to visiting Granada in winter and give you all the information you need to plan a wonderful trip to my favourite city in Southern Spain.

Let’s dive in!

Granada in Winter: Is it Worth a Visit?

Yes, Granada is worth visiting in the winter months!

While you can’t count on good weather at all times, wintertime offers unique ways to explore this wonderful Andalusian city, including its main attractions like the Alhambra, Generalife Gardens, Albaicin, and much more.

cloudy day in Albaicin, Granada
Cloudy day in Albaicin, Granada

7 Reasons to Visit Granada in Winter

1. Skiing Season in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Take a break from sightseeing and put on your ski gear – in Granada, you’re only an hour away from a big skiing resort in the Sierra Nevada, where you will find the highest point in continental Spain – Mulhacén, at 3,479 meters above sea level.

While there is rarely any snow in Granada, you can head out of the city for some winter fun activities, and capture the idyllic winter scenes from high elevation.

2. Fewer Crowds

Winter months are the quietest when it comes to tourism, so you can expect lower demand for popular places like Alhambra.

The city is not completely empty though, there are local Spanish tourists who also visit in the winter months, especially around Christmas time (remember that in Andalucia, Christmas is celebrated on the 6th of January).

Another benefit of this low season is the fact that it’s easier to take photos at the landmarks without tourists, so your best photo opportunities will be in the winter months.

Restaurante El Huerto de Juan Ranas, Granada
Alhambra views from El Huerto del Juan Ranas restaurant

3. Unique Alhambra Views

Fancy capturing the famous Alhambra with snow-covered mountain peaks behind it? In that case you need to visit Granada in the wintertime!

I got some of the best images of the snowy peaks from the viewpoints in Albaicin, but also from Alcazaba of Alhambra (photo below).

The Alcazar of Granada
Snowy peaks of Sierra Nevada – view from Alcazaba of Granada

4. Spanish Christmas in Granada

Spanish people love Christmas, and even though it’s not as big an affair as Easter, spending Christmas in Southern Spain will be certainly an experience to remember.

In Granada, you can expect Christmas parades around the town, beautiful Christmas lights all around the city, Christmas markets, and on the main day – 6th January – the famous Three Kings Parade!

This local blog has all the details for celebrating Christmas 2023 in Granada.

5. Best Deals on Hotels

It’s no secret that getting the best price on your hotel means traveling off-season. In Granada, that means in the wintertime.

Beware though – you might want to avoid booking a place around Christmas time (24 – 27 Dec and 6 Jan) and New Years, as they come with premium rates.

Hotel rooms in winter are often a fraction of the price compared to summer months, and you get much better availability too. The earlier you book, the better deals you usually get.

Hotel Casa 1800, Granada
Hotel Casa 1800 in Albaicin, Granada

6. Free Tapas Even in Winter

If you love free stuff, you will love Granada too! Granada is one of the few remaining places in Spain where they still maintain the old custom of serving a free small tapas meal with every drink!

Just sit down in any establishment, and a small meal will arrive as soon as you order your drink. And no, I’m not talking about some nuts and crisps – these are things like meatballs, meat stew, small bocadillos (baguettes), Russian salad and similar.

7. Winter Sunshine Break

Don’t let the low temperatures put you off from visiting Granada in winter!

There are still plenty of sunny days even on the coldest days. Granada is the perfect winter sun destination as it offers much more than any beachside town – a combination of history, stunning landmarks, wonderful restaurants and even skiing!

late autumn in Granada, Spain
Early winter conditions in Granada, Spain – me & my little guide exploring fountains in a park.

Does it Snow in Granada?

Yes, it does snow in Granada, but that’s the province of Granada.

It only rarely snows in the city of Granada. To see some winter landscapes covered in snow, you will have to head about an hour out of the city towards the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which is covered in snow as early as mid November, until March.

Granada in Winter: Average Temperatures

These are some typical winter temperatures and weather conditions in Granada, and I also included a detailed month-by-month breakdown below.

If you’re wondering which one of the winter months is best to visit, I would personally vote for December. The weather conditions are still relatively stable and there are plenty of extra activities to keep you busy.

Month Average High Average Low
November 16°C (61°F) 6°C (43°F)
December 13°C (55°F) 3°C (37°F)
January 12°C (54°F) 2°C (36°F)
February 13°C (55°F) 3°C (37°F)

Granada in Winter: December Weather

Below are the average conditions you can expect in Granada in December.

High Temperature 11°C (52°F)
Low Temperature 2°C (36°F)
Average Temperature 7°C (45°F)
Rainfall 61mm
Rainy Days 10 days
Sunshine Hours 5 hours

With average daily temperatures between 7°C (45°F) and 11°C (52°F) it will feel a little chilly, but on sunny days it’s very pleasant if you avoid the shade. Early mornings and late evenings are much colder than the average temperatures and you need to prepare to wrap up warm when you’re heading out in the morning.

There are only about 10 rainy days this month, and it’s very unlikely you will see more consecutive rainy days at this time of the year.

Visiting Alhambra in December

December is the perfect time to visit the Alhambra, especially if you get lucky with the weather and get a bit of sunshine during the say too. Book a spot closer to lunchtime as the sun will be out and you will avoid the harsh early morning shadows in the palaces (much better for photography!)

Please remember that Alhambra is closed during the Christmas season on 25th December (and also 1st January).

Granada in Winter: January Weather

Below are the average conditions you can expect in Granada in January.

High Temperature 11°C (52°F)
Low Temperature 1°C (34°F)
Average Temperature 6°C (43°F)
Rainfall 53mm
Rainy Days 8 days
Sunshine Hours 5 hours

January can be quite sunny and bright in Granada, and as the month progresses, the daily temperatures begin to rise, so it will feel warmer closer to the end of the month.

January is considered the heart of the winter in Granada, marking the shift from the coldest months to gradually warmer temperatures from February onwards. The temperatures are hovering just above freezing, and there are fewer rainy days compared to December.

Visiting Alhambra in January

In January, you stand a better chance of catching a dry sunny day to explore this wonderful Andalusian monument. Get your tickets in advance online, and book your time slot just before noon or early afternoon, to enjoy the best light conditions and be able to stay warmer in the sun. Remember that Alhambra is closed on 1st of January.

Granada in Winter: February Conditions

Below are the average conditions you can expect in Granada in February.

High temperature 12°C (54°F)
Low temperature 2°C (36°F)
Average temperature 7°C (45°F)
Rainfall 55mm
Rainy days 9 days
Sunshine hours 7 hours

February weather in Granada is still pretty mixed, with plenty of cloudy days and some rain around. The weather conditions can also change pretty quickly this time of the year. Even with an average of 9 rainy days this month, it’s not very common that these will be consecutive rainy days, and they are likely to be scattered closer to the beginning of the month.

Visiting Alhambra in February

Same as during the other winter months, Alhambra will be relatively peaceful in February, with fewer crowds and less demand for entrance tickets. Having said that, you should still book them in advance to avoid disappointment. Alhambra is open the whole month without any closures in February.

winter in a local market in Albaicin, Granada
Winter in a local market in Albaicin, Granada

Granada in Winter: 13 Best Things To Do

So now you probably picked the right month and time to book your trip, all that’s left to do is to choose the places to see and things to do on your trip.

Here is my list of the best winter activities in Granada – to keep this section short, I linked each one to an individual guide or article I’ve written about the place, so you can check the details right there.

Other activities are local tours which are linked to the tour provider and marked.

  1. Visit the Alhambra – a must-do for any trip to Granada! Get your skip the line tickets here.
  2. Granada Science Museum – perfect for a rainy day, especially if you travel with kids.
  3. Sacromonte Abbey – another rainy day activity that offers beautiful views.
  4. Day at Arab Baths – no, not the archaeological site, but the modern spa version at Hammam Al Andalus (local company).
  5. Granada Cathedral – another one of the essential monuments of Granada. Skip the line tickets & tour here.
  6. Visiting a local Tea Room – warm up with a traditional Arab tea blend.
  7. Flamenco Show – book the most popular one in La Alborea (local tour link). I visited and loved it – check the flamenco review here.
  8. Sierra Nevada 4WD Tour – if you don’t want to drive, you can join this local tour company for an epic day trip to the peaks of Sierra Nevada.
  9. Sacromonte Caves – experience the local life like never before, in an authentic cave museum.
  10. Torture Museum – for those who love unconventional way to learn about the history.
  11. Basilica San Juan de Dios – the most beautiful church of Granada.
  12. Albaicin Walking Tour – learn more about the oldest part of Granada on this local tour.
  13. La Cartuja Monastery – another rainy day activity.

Where to Stay in Granada in Winter

If you’re visiting Granada in winter, I recommend staying in Albaicin which will allow you to explore most of the sights on foot. Below are my tips for the best hotels in this area.

Eurostar hotel in Granada, Spain
Eurostar hotel in Granada, Spain (Gran Via)

Luxury Hotels in Granada (Albaicin)

TOP PICK: Áurea Washington Irving by Eurostars Hotel Company – this hotel is in an exclusive location inside the Alhambra forest, a short walk away from the entrance to Alhambra Gardens. If you want luxury and serenity, with five star service, Washington Irving is the best choice.

NEXT TO ALHAMBRA: Parador de Granada – Paradors are hotels in historic locations run by the government, and this one is the closest you will ever stay to Granada. Traditional simple rooms and beautiful surroundings, especially the courtyard!

Mid-Range Hotels in Granada (Albaicin)

PALACE HOTEL Palacio de Mariana Pineda – 17th century palace renovated and turned into a hotel with traditional Andalusian rooms, right by the river Darro in Albaicin.

PERSONAL FAVOURITE Hotel Casa 1800 – stunning old hotel in the heart of Albaicin where I stayed on my very first trip to Granada. Beautiful grand rooms in a traditional Andalusian building (pictured below).

Hotel Casa 1800, Granada
Hotel Casa 1800, Granada

Cheap Hotels in Granada (Albaicin)

PERFECT LOCATION – Hotel Rosa De Oro – three star hotel located by the river Darro, a few minutes walk to Paseo de Los Tristes, with beautifully decorated rooms and all main sights within walking distance.

BEST VIEWS – Carmen de la Alcubilla del Caracol – a unique hotel in the proximity of Alhambra, with amazing city views. This one feels like your own home!

What to Pack for a Granada Winter Break

The winter in Granada is much colder than the coastal areas of Southern Spain, so you need to wrap up warmer. Here are a few things I recommend adding to your suitcase:

  • warm winter jacket (yes, it can be that cold!)
  • waterproof shoes (you will be quite cold in normal trainers)
  • umbrella
  • warm top layers
  • long pants
  • for kids I recommend taking a raincoat and rain cover for your pram
  • SPF lotion (you can catch a sunburn even in wintertime)

Final Thoughts

I hope this article answered all the questions you might have had about visiting Granada in winter, and made you excited about planning your trip.

Check out some of my favourite places in Granada I linked below – they will give you plenty of ideas and places to add to your Granada itinerary.

Thank you for reading!

Granada in Winter: Frequent Questions

Below are some commonly searched questions – if you didn’t find your answer here or in the article, I will be happy to help if you leave a comment at the end of the article.

What is Granada Spain like in the winter?

Granada is very pleasant in winter time, with an average of 10 rainy days per month, but lots of sunshine around. Towards the end of Febraury the temperatures start climbing back up, and you can also enjoy the city with fewer crowds.

How is the winter in Granada compare to the US?

It depends on which location in the US you’re comparing to, but in general winter in Granada is more dry and the temperatures rarely go below freezing.

What is winter like in Granada?

Winter is pretty cold but very pleasant in Granada, with plenty of sunshine. While it’s certainly very cold in the mornings and evenings, during the day you can bask in the winter sunshine. On average, you can expect up to 10 rainy days per month in winter, but these are normally scattered throughout the month.

What is Granada like in December?

December is the first colder month in Granada, but the daily temperatures don’t drop below freezing. You can expect a lot of sunshine, but also occasional rain and cloudy days. The peaks of Sierra Nevada are already covered by snow at this time, offering plenty of opportunities for winter sports on a short day trip from Granada. In December, you can also join the locals in celebrations of Christmas, and join the tradition of eating 12 grapes for the midnight countdown at New Years.

Is Granada worth visiting in January?

Yes, Granada is worth visiting in January! While the temperatures are at their lowest, January offers a unique chance to witness the Christmas celebrations on 6th of January (Three Kings Parades) and experience the main historic locations without hundreds of tourists.

What is the best month to visit Granada?

The best months to visit Granada are October, November, April and May, when the temperatures are very pleasant and the city is still not too busy with tourists.

Does Granada have snow?

Yes, Granada does have the occasional snowfall, albeit infrequently, usually only about a day in a year. Nevertheless, winter sports enthusiasts find plenty of excitement and activities in the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains.

Where can I see snow in Granada?

If you’re looking to experience some snowy scenery in Granada, your best bet is the Sierra Nevada mountains. They’re just a short drive away from the city center, and you’ll find them covered in snow typically from late November until around April. It’s a fantastic spot for skiing, snowboarding, or just enjoying the winter wonderland views. Plus, the contrast between the snowy peaks and the historic city is simply breathtaking!

Why is it so cold in Granada?

The cold and chilly weather in Granada is primarily due to its higher altitude, nestled at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains. These mountains not only offer breathtaking views but also contribute to cooler temperatures, particularly in the winter months. So, if you’re planning a trip to Granada, remember to pack a jacket – the city’s beauty is year-round, but so is its propensity for a brisk climate!

My Favourite Places in Granada

In addition to the places I mentioned and linked in the article, here are a few additional ideas you might want to check out:

Carmen de la Victoria, Granada: Tranquility Meets History

Casa del Chapiz, Granada: A Photo Tour

El Banuelo: The Oldest Arab Baths of Granada

The Queen’s Home: Palacio Dar al-Horra, Granada

The Botanical Gardens of the University of Granada

Visiting the Monastery of San Jerónimo, Granada

Love it? PIN it For Later

granada in winter1
granada in winter2
Photo of author
Lucia has been living on Costa del Sol since 2020, and through her love of photography and travel, she has been documenting the best places to see in Southern Spain and uncovering hidden gems only known to locals. All the articles on Viva La Vita are written based on personal experience and local expertise.

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.

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