A Wheelchair User’s Guide to Granada, Spain
Located in the Andalusia province of southern Spain, Granada entices visitors with history, viewpoints, and the Alhambra. In this guide, I’ll show you the many wonderful wheelchair accessible things to do in Granada and how to get around the town.
Note: The information here is based on my observation as a non-wheelchair user. If you have firsthand experience as a wheelchair user in Granada, please let me know about your time there and your recommendations in the comments section. I appreciate it and know that our future readers will, too!
Getting to Granada by public transportation
You can arrive in Granada via train or bus. Both the trains and long-distance buses in Spain are wheelchair accessible.
Make sure to book your train/bus ticket in advance and indicate that you’re a wheelchair user. This way, you can be sure an accessible seat will be reserved for you.
The Granada train and bus stations offer good wheelchair accessibility and accessible restrooms.
Wheelchair accessible public transportation in Granada
Accessible public transportation in Granada gives any modern city a run for its money. All public transportation in Granada is wheelchair accessible.
The tram is a common way to travel around town. There’s an area at the boarding stations marked for wheelchair users, so you won’t have to guess where the accessible section of the tram is located. The train and bus stations are a few miles from downtown Granada and there are tram stops in front of both stations.
For the large, public buses in Granada, the backdoor offers a ramp. Each bus has space for two for wheelchairs.
In addition to the large, public buses, there are also mini public tourist buses called the Alhambra Bus. These red buses run along the route of the main tourist attractions, including the Alhambra. There’s a ramp and space for one wheelchair.
General wheelchair accessibility in the town of Granada
Granada is broken up into two main areas- the old town and new town. As you may have guessed, Granada’s new town offers better wheelchair accessibility than the old town.
In the new town, you can expect to encounter smooth sidewalks, wide paths, and drop-down curbs at all intersections.
The old town is filled with narrow, cobblestone streets, steep hills, and drop-down curbs at many- but not all- intersections.
Wheelchair accessible parking in Granada
Parking is tricky for most people in Granada and even more so for wheelchair users.
Street parking is the most common but, unfortunately, this often requires parking on a hill. I recommend having someone else drive so that they can drop you off and pick you up directly by the areas you’ll be exploring.
That being said, Granada is a place that’s fairly easy for wheelchair users to navigate without a vehicle, thanks to its excellent accessible public and tourist transportation methods. I’ll talk about this in more detail shortly.
Wheelchair accessible restrooms in Granada
The Alhambra offers a number of wheelchair accessible restrooms.
Aside from the Alhambra, you’ll likely need to rely on chain restaurants like Starbucks and McDonald’s for accessible restrooms when you’re rolling around the town of Granada.
As mentioned earlier, there are also accessible restrooms at the Granada bus and train stations.
Wheelchair accessible things to do in Granada
Although Granada undoubtedly presents challenges for wheelchair users, there are still a number of accessible activities you can do.
You’re surely itching to learn about the Alhambra and I’ll get to it, I promise! But first, let’s take a look at other wheelchair accessible things to do in Granada.
Carrera del Darro
Carrera del Darro is a street that runs along the Darro River and is one of the most scenic places in Granada’s old town. The street is cobblestone but flat, making it one of the best places for wheelchair users to explore the old town.
When you start your exploration of Carrera del Darro from the Plaza Nueva end of town, the stone wall will be too high for you to see the river. However, further down the street, the wall becomes low enough for wheelchair users to enjoy the view.
Speaking of views, you can even explore a couple of the bridges along Carrera del Darro for some great photos and higher viewpoints of the area.
Beware, however, that Carrera del Darro gets packed with tourists, even during the low season. Furthermore, this is a through street, so although few and far between, cars do pass by.
I recommend visiting Carrera del Darro in the morning to avoid the crowds. That being said, there’s no need to pull yourself out of bed too early; things get started late in Spain. Aim to arrive before 11:00am and you should be just fine.
Explore the Albaicín
The Albaicín (also known as Albayzín) is the name of the old Moorish quarter that makes up the most popular area of Granada’s old town. It’s equally stunning and a nightmare for wheelchair users.
However, there are areas of the Albaicín that are wheelchair accessible. When exploring Carrera del Darro from Plaza Nueva, the river will be on your right and the Albaicín will be on your left.
There are a number of streets on the left that intersect with Carrera del Darro that are wheelchair accessible. Namely, Zafra, Gloria, and Horno del Vidrio Streets are excellent options.
These streets are cobblestone but certainly not the worst kind around, and have a gentle incline. They’re the perfect way for wheelchair users to experience wandering down Granada’s narrow streets and admire the Moorish architecture.
Keep in mind that the streets mentioned here are only accessible via Carrera del Darro, for getting to them from the other end involves stairs.
In addition to exploring the Albaicín via the streets off of Carrera del Darro, if you have a car, driving through the Albaicín is an excellent option. This will take you to even higher viewpoints where you’ll get to peer down at steep staircases and enjoy views of the Alhambra.
Mirador de San Nicolás
The Mirador de San Nicolás is the most popular viewpoint to see the Alhambra. This mirador sits on a hill in the Albaicín.
As such, it’s best to take a car and either park or get dropped off by the mirador. You’ll need to pop over an approximately three-inch ledge to get to the mirador itself.
Once there, the rest will be obvious- gawk at the Alhambra and fill your camera with photos!
The ledge around the mirador is wonderfully low, so your views will be entirely unobstructed.
Mirador de San Nicolás draws in a hippie crowd. You can roll around the various blankets laying around the mirador which have handmade and touristy items for sale.
The most popular time for people to visit Mirador de San Nicolás is at sunset. If you want to visit at sunset, I recommend arriving well before the sun goes down to claim your spot.
The Granada Cathedral is on the new side of town, but it’ll make you feel like you’re in the oldest area of all. The cathedral is accessible via a ramp at the front entrance.
If you’ve already got some Europe travels under your belt, visiting the Granada Cathedral might not feel so different from what you’ve already seen. However, it’s the area around the cathedral that’s the real gem.
You’ll want to enter the cathedral grounds from the backside because the front side facing Gran Vía Street has stairs.
Once there, you can explore the plaza and streets around the cathedral which are packed with vendors. The heaps of spices, lamps, and shops selling mint tea can trick you into believing that you’re in Morocco.
Historically, of course, this makes sense, for the Moors used to occupy Granada so the city has a strong Moorish influence, both architecturally and culturally.
Sacromonte is a fascinating part of Granada because it’s the area where the gypsies lived as outcasts outside of the city walls.
When you’re driving around the Albaicín, you’ll likely catch glimpses of small blockhouses covering the surface of the nearby hill. Those “houses” are just a single wall facade as the rest of them are built inside the hill. This makes Sacromonte the place of cave houses.
Nowadays, Sacromonte is a tourist spot and offers great views of the Alhambra from a different angle than Mirador de San Nicolás.
Unfortunately, narrow, cobblestone streets and steps built into the side of the hill make it a tricky place for wheelchair users to explore. However, I highly recommend driving around the main streets of the Sacromonte to get a feel for this unique area of Granada.
Take a driving tour
If you’re looking for a cheap sightseeing option, consider hopping on a public Alhambra Bus. This will take you through the Albaicín, Sacromonte, and the entrance to the Alhambra.
Another option is to book a tour with the Granada Train. This is a hop-on-hop-off style tour, although you can use the train solely for sightseeing purposes.
The Granada “Train” is closer to a vehicle than a train, as it has wheels instead of running on tracks. It offers a ramp in the caboose and large windows for viewing sites in Granada that would otherwise be inaccessible to wheelchair users.
Wheelchair accessibility at the Alhambra
Finally, the time has come to talk about the Alhambra! The Alhambra is one of the most visited monuments in Spain and it’s easy to understand why.
Because the Alhambra is so popular, it’s ultra-important to purchase your ticket in advance. I’m talking months in advance, not days. Even then, chances are high that tickets will already be sold out.
For tips on purchasing Alhambra tickets and what to do if they sell out, make sure to visit my SOS guide on what to do if Alhambra tickets are sold out.
Wheelchair users receive a discounted rate to enter the Alhambra. You need to make sure to purchase your ticket as such when you book it online and bring ID with you showing your disability status.
The only wheelchair accessible entrance to the Alhambra is the Pabellón de Acceso, which is the main ticketing area.
From there, you can grab a map that marks the recommended path for people with reduced mobility via a dotted blue line.
There are also a number of maps throughout the site that indicate the accessible path, as well.
The terrain on the accessible path through the Alhambra varies from cement to dirt to cobblestone. You can also expect some inclines, which can be long at times but at a gentle gradient.
Below are three examples of terrain at the Alhambra:
While they’ve made adjustments to turn the Alhambra into a more accessible place for wheelchair users, there are many areas that aren’t accessible as they’re packed with stairs. Namely, the building at Generalife, the Nasrid Palaces, and the Alcazaba Tower are not wheelchair accessible.
For more details on wheelchair accessibility at the different sites at the Alhambra, head over to Love Granada’s page on Alhambra accessibility.
Other Alhambra Resources
Visiting the Alhambra takes planning. For this reason, we’ve put together a guide on twelve Alhambra Tips to help you prepare.
Granada and its Alhambra are undoubtedly a breathtaking area to visit in Spain. Although Granada isn’t perfectly wheelchair accessible, there are enough accessible facilities in place to make it worth the visit.
Do you have questions about wheelchair accessibility in Granada? Leave a comment and I’ll be happy to help. If you’ve already visited Granada as a wheelchair user, I’d love to hear about your experience, your favorite accessible places, and any tips you’d like to share.
P.S.- Visiting other parts of Spain? If so, make sure to check out our resources on the following destinations:
Laura’s love for traveling started with a trip to Jamaica. Since then, she’s spent over five years living in Latin America and four years wandering the globe. She’s an early bird and backpacker at heart and can often be spotted with a dog or ten that she’s befriended along the way. Much of the content Laura writes on A Piece of Travel includes details on wheelchair accessibility, with the support of her brother-in-law and sister. You can learn about their accessibility endeavors here.