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Written by Savi, 17 Comments

Malaga, the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, is one of the largest cities in Southern Spain. Last summer we flew down to Malaga to attend The Malaga Feria, a carnival like no other. We spent our first two days celebrating with locals, downing sangria by the litre, and devouring all that Malaga has to offer. Once the Feria was over, things quietened a bit. That was when the itchy-feet syndrome (trust us guys, it’s a real thing! 🙂 ) hit us and we began our road trip in real ernest. We rented a Seat Ibiza from the green collection at Hertz in Malaga and drove to a number of  gorgeous beaches in Costa Del Sol.


The next day, we took a Day Trip from Malaga. We drove down to one of the most famous buildings in Spain – The Alhambra in Granada. Granada is just 1.5 hours (120 km) away from Malaga but we steered clear of the modern highway and opted for the longer and more scenic route. This route goes through expansive stretches of Spanish hinterland dotted with vineyards, olive groves, and citrus orchards.


Day Trip from Malaga Granada
Check out that road – now we’re talking!


If you’re driving down this route, make sure you stop at the li’l village of Riofrio midway between Malaga and Granada. This village is just off the A 92 (Seville – Granada highway). Riofrio is essentially a little hamlet with a few cottages and a gurgling stream. Except it specialises in trout and caviar. Spend a couple of hours walking around the village, exploring its alleys, and watching trout farmers at work. Once you have worked up an appetite, order a trout-based dish at one of the restaurants in Riofrio. We loved the grilled trout and the trout salad. Nom!


Day Trip from Malaga Granada
Trout salad in Riofrio, Andalucia, Spain


Day Trip from Malaga Granada
Sid (Savi’s brother), Savi, and gluttony


We meandered through a number of Andalusian towns and villages before reaching finally reading Granada. As we pulled into Granada’s car park, we gasped at the sight of The Alhambra. The Palace is a feat of Islamic and Moorish architecture and it is tough not to be seduced by it. Vast courtyards, intricate carvings, dozens of fountains, reflecting pools, manicured gardens, and crumbling columns flirt with each other at The Alhambra’s complex.


Day Trip from Malaga Granada
Manicured gardens and fountains at The Palacio de Generalife


Day Trip from Malaga Granada
Intricately-carved ceilings at Alhambra


Day Trip from Malaga Granada
The ceiling, up close


Day Trip from Malaga Granada
Bright, tiled walls at Alhambra


Day Trip from Malaga Granada
Mysterious courtyards and columns


Day Trip from Malaga Granada
Orange-laden trees in the gardens


Day Trip from Malaga Granada
Surprises at Alhambra’s gardens


Day Trip from Malaga Granada
Sid and I at Alhambra – I’m obviously unhappy about Savi maltreating my camera 😉


We spent the next few hours trying to absorb as much as we could. We were completely enamoured by the Nasrid Palaces, the towers, Alcazaba Fortress, and Alhambra’s gardens full of roses and oranges. But our favourite bit was the view from the terrace of The Alhambra – a bird’s eye view of the town of Granada. It’s such a feast for the eyes.


Day Trip from Malaga Granada
First look – The city of Granada from Alhambra’s terrace


Day Trip from Malaga Granada
Savi at Alhambra’s gardens


Day Trip from Malaga Granada
The two of us at Alhambra 🙂


Day Trip from Malaga Granada
A bird’s eye view of the city of Granada



  • If you’re driving to Alhambra from Malaga, take the Old Road to Granada instead of the highway – it’s gorgeous!
  • Make sure you stop at Riofrio on the way to Granada and try fresh trout/caviar.
  • If you’re planning to visit The Alhambra on a day trip from Malaga, book your tickets in advance. Prices vary according to time of day. Read further instructions about booking tickets on Alhambra’s official website



Need more ideas for day trips around Malaga? Don’t forget to read our article on  Antequera’s surreal rock formations

Dreaming about an epic road trip in Spain? Here’s our favourite itinerary for a Road Trip in Spain 🙂

Don’t forget to binge on all these amazing dishes while you are in Malaga/Southern Spain

Need some travel fashion inspiration? Here’s what Savi wore to the Alhambra




17 thoughts on “The Alhambra, Granada : A Perfect Day Trip from Malaga

    1. Hey Laura, long time! How’ve you been? I hope you make it to Granada (lil baby in tow?) sometime, it’s a stunning place 🙂

  1. Thanks for the tip about Riofrio. I had never heard of this place, but I love trout, so I’ll make sure to stop there when I’m in the area. I’m about to relocate to Spain, so I hope to visit Granada soon. I’ve been to Andalucía, but we’ve been to Seville, Cordoba, Cadiz, and the pueblos blancos, but not Granada unfortunately.

    1. Relocating to Spain? Stefania you just made us VERY jealous. Hope you make it to Rio Frio – it’s the cutest li’l village, very different from the white-washed villages around Cordoba 🙂

  2. Haven’t been to Malaga since I was a young child but this is such a different picture to what I remember but then again, we didn’t really explore the surrounding area at all. That’s a beautiful view of Granada and seems like it was a beautiful clear day for it 🙂

    1. The countryside around Malaga is absolutely gorgeous Shikha – you must explore it sometime 🙂

  3. Hi guys,
    Lovely shots. In particular I really liked the mysterious courtyards shot and the second shot of you both in
    “The two of us at Alhambra”. Cute.

    And I could totally understand Vid’s annoyance about maltreating the camera. 🙂
    Seriously, if killing people is not a crime, I would have killed at least half a dozen of people by now for maltreating my camera

  4. I have so many happy memories in that part of the world! I actually stayed in the Alhambra when I was a little girl and met Stephen Hawkings when I was there! Funny the random things you remember!

    Katie <3

    1. Haha absolutely – I remember random bits like that all the time. It must’ve been quite the experience staying in the Alhambra 🙂

  5. Hi guys,

    My friend and I are heading to Spain soon! Your blog is such an inspiration, thanks! I wanted to ask you guys what the official number is of the “Old Road to Granada.” I tried looking it up in maps and google, but I’m not able to find a road that’s called “Old Road.” Also, how is the terrain on this road? Is it dangerous? Finally, are there gas pumps in this route? Don’t want to run out of gas in the middle of the mountains! Thanks!

    1. Hi Divya,

      Glad to hear that our articles on Spain are helpful. Well, we followed a book called “Old Road to Granada” and it took some trial and error to get on the road 🙂 That said, you can refer to: for a map. The terrain is not too difficult. It does go through hills but we never had any difficult driving. There aren’t gas pumps on this route but always keep in mind that you can get to the expressway quit easily anytime you feel that you don’t want to continue on this road.

      Hope that helps

  6. Hi,

    Is it advisble to take the guided tour of the Alhambra? I know the entrance fee is 14 Euros and the one with guides can go to 60 Euros. What would you recommend?

  7. Hi guys… Planning a trip to Spain.. I am more in love with it after reading all your posts… My plan (tentative) includes going from Mumbai to Madrid (2days) then Barcelona (2days) flying or taking AVE to Granada(1 day) and lastly Seville for a day.. will I be able to cover all.. should I drop something from the list… Any tip or advice. Two of us will be traveling in January or February..

    1. Hi Surabhi,

      Your trip sounds a bit rushed. We’d say either add another day at the end for Seville 🙂

      Have a great trip

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