Set in the heart of southern Spain's largest region, Andalucia, Granada is a city with much more for the adventure traveler than the medieval Moorish masterpiece that it is considered synonymous with: the Alhambra. It is the closest city to the epic Sierra Nevada mountain range, within a day trip of beach and water-sports hub Costa del Sol, and close enough to desert, volcanic rock formations, and rushing rivers to get you worrying that you didn't put aside nearly enough time to do all that needs doing while in Granada.
In the city of Granada, there is a decent amount of green space for those who just want a chance for recreation or tranquility. The gardens of the Alhambra or Generalife are both lovely and abundant, but you'll see with the long queues of people looking to get in that you'll get neither a chance at recreation or pure tranquility (although Generalife's park is quite sizable). The park named after Federico García Lorca in Camino de Ronda is more along these lines with its tree-lined boulevards and its grassy, open spaces.
For preeminent adventure circumstances, though, you need to get out of the city. With excellent natural parks in every direction, your biggest decision may be as simple as north, south, east or west. Our choice to start north here is purely arbitrary. The Sierra Mágina Natural park is less than hour off, a great place for hikes up its centerpiece, Pico Mágina, which tops out at 2,164 meters (7,100 feet) high. Further north, there are plenty of signposted trails in the hills and valleys of the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro Nature Park, as well as the watershed of the Castril River. You could walk for miles along the river or follow the trails that break off toward rocky summits and into cave systems like the massive Don Fernando that lie deep in these craggy formations. Just outside the town of Castril, there are also the Fuente de Tubos hot springs.
To the south and east of Granada are a handful of incredible adventure locations that span the full range of geological wonders. Closest to the city is the Sierra Nevada National Park. For climbers, hikers, and skiers there is not bigger or better option in southern Spain. With peaks over 11,000 feet and a medley of trails that bring you to look over a world of endemic species, snow strongholds, and views that are hard to match in your good old backyard. Popular local bases from which to access the best peaks of this majestic range are Capileira, Trevélez, Monachil (where the Sierra Nevada Ski Station is located), Güéjar Sierra, and Bubión. Just east of this is the oddity that is the Tabernas Desert. Once the setting of Spaghetti westerns, it is still a very interesting place to scramble about on the hardpan and provides very little shade from the baking sun. Just east of this, bordering the ocean, is the volcanic mountain chain called Cabo de Gata. There are a handful of dive centers in the area that rival anything on the southern coast, while the true star here is the above-water beauty of the green peaks that tumble down to the shoreline for miles on end. There are a lot of hikes to be had here, whether you hike from the city of San Jose or choose a take a picturesque walk to or from Playa de los Genoveses (or any of many other attractive locales in the park).
South and west of Granada is the Costa del Sol. There are so many beaches and resort towns along this stretch that we'd need a lot more space to do it justice. Painting with broader strokes, the best places to access everything that is wonderful about this balmy area so close to Africa where the British love to holiday are Tarifa and Almuñecar. Sure, you can find a good beach pretty much anywhere, but these are the cream of the crop. Tarifa has gained a reputation as one of the best places on Earth for windsurfing, while there are also beaches where surfing the sand dunes is your best bet for a bit of adventure. Almuñecar, on the other hand, is somewhat closer to Granada and a few inland natural parks where activities like rock climbing, hiking, and more make the world go round.
Undoubtedly, you'll want more than to just skim the surface of what can be accessed in a day's time from Granada. Whether you're more of an extreme adventurer (yes, skydiving is definitely an option in Andalucia) or are fine with a set of flippers and a snorkel (or a pair of skis or a good pair of hiking shoes; the list goes on), we think it best that you scour our activity pages for which adventure suits you best. Even better, talk with our embark community or check out travel pictures or videos of these stellar places.