Sacromonte Abbey (Abadia del Sacromonte) is nested amongst the pretty landscape of Granada, sitting on top of the ‘Sacred Mountain’ after which it has been named.
From Valparaíso Hill, it offers spectacular views of the valley with Alhambra and a chance to discover its unique history and a secret hiding underground.
This July was my second visit to the Abbey, and this time I also brought my camera to show you around!
Before we dive into the pictures, let me tell you a bit about it.
History of Sacromonte Abbey
The origins of the Abbey date back to the 17th century, but its history is closely tied to the medieval past of Granada.
The Abbey is closely connected to the Romani people, who settled in the area of Sacromonte, in the famous caves you can still visit today (as I did on the same day!).
It is in this region where they say the authentic flamenco comes from.
The original cave homes of the Romani people have now mostly been transformed into small Flamenco performance venues, and you can even find a cave museum within walking distance from the Abbey.
If you’re interested in booking a performance in one of these caves, you can check this option.
Sacromonte Abbey also has a deep spiritual significance for the region, as it’s known for its veneration of the relics of Saint Caecilius and other Christian martyrs. It has drawn pilgrims from all around the world in search of solace, reflection, and contemplation.
The Abbey is currently undergoing vast renovation works (as of summer 2023), and it looks like it will take at least a year or two to complete.
Luckily, the work is mostly focused on the outside areas and you can enjoy the main courtyard and inner parts of the Abbey without interruptions.
The Abbey is a blend of different architectural styles, reflecting the different periods it lived through. However, you certainly won’t be disappointed to find a traditional Andalusian courtyard in the heart of it.
Let’s take a little tour so I can finally reveal what secrets it hides inside!
The Main Courtyard
The beautiful main courtyard is accessible when you leave the ticket office inside the building.
From the cloister with a fountain in the middle, you can walk into individual exhibition rooms that display different religious artifacts and also visit the Baroque-style Collegiate Church.
I have to admit I only quickly scanned through the exhibits and spent most of my time admiring the beautiful columns and fountains outside.
Venancio Blanco’s Patio
From the courtyard, you can access a large patio hiding in the back, where you will find a beautiful collection of artwork – the most impressive one being the Last Supper right at the center.
The patio area will lead you to a small door at the back, which looks like a small church.
Inside, you will find a door that leads underground, where the real gem is.
The Holy Caves
The caves are a truly unique experience when you visit the Abbey.
As you enter the doorway, you are guided through a narrow pathway with small lights illuminating the way forward. On the side, there are small domes with altars for the saints, which are supposed to symbolise the place where they were martyred.
You will also see an old cross that is believed to belong to St John of God and it is located at the site where the holy men were burnt.
Further down the pathway, you will also see a couple of small chapels and, at the end of it, a full-size church altar, with doors leading outside. To get back into the Abbey, you have to follow the pathway back out to the patio.
So there you have it – a church with chapels, hiding underground in a small church building, inside an Abbey!
How is that for a unique place to visit?
Is it Worth a Visit?
You may be asking yourself: ‘but I only have 2 days in Granada’ – is it worth my time?
I would say if you’re tight on time, try to fit in more time to see the highlights.
The Abbey is a better option for those who have already visited Granada before, or have more time to explore the lesser-known sights.
How to Get to Sacromonte Abbey
By Taxi: we took a taxi from Plaza St Ana where we were staying. It was about 10 euros for the journey up to the hill. We walked back to Sacromonte, which was around 15 – 20 minutes. Please note that you can’t take an uber to the Abbey, only licensed taxis are allowed.
By Car: you can’t drive to the Abbey by car. There is an alternative route around, but honestly, it’s not worth the hassle. I would recommend getting the taxi, or the local bus which also goes from Plaza St Ana.
By Local Bus: get bus number C34 which will drop you off right by the Abbey. They are small red buses that run every 20 minutes or so. The journey takes around 15 minutes. Please have small change with you when you get your ticket, the drivers don’t like anything bigger than 10 euros to pay for them.
Location of Sacromonte Abbey: I have marked it on the map below. You will see it under Spanish name as Abadia del Sacromonte.
Tickets to Sacromonte Abbey
I got my tickets in advance online here, and they cost 5 euros per person.
Sacromonte Abbey is a living testament to the history, culture and spiritual influences of the region.
It’s a great place to get away from the crowds, enjoy the serenity of the place and views that are hard to beat!
Plus, it’s not every day that you get to see a church built underground!