Grapevine rhytidome (the outer layer of bark on trunk), as an abundant and low-cost precursor, was used to prepare granular activated carbon with high surface area for the removal of methyl violet from aqueous solution. Microwave heating source was used to reduce the treatment time and energy consumption. To optimize the preparation, the effects of the different parameters, such as phosphoric acid concentration, acid/precursor weight ratio, impregnation time, microwave power, radiation time, and oven heating time on the ability of the samples for removal of methyl violet were studied. The obtained activated carbon was characterized by N2 adsorption/desorption, SAXS, TEM and SEM methods. The adsorption of methyl violet onto the activated carbon was studied from both equilibrium and kinetic point of view and the results were compared with the commercial granular activated carbon. The rate of adsorption onto the prepared activated carbon was faster than commercial activated carbon. Different kinetic models were used to analyze the experimental kinetic data. The obtained activated carbon showed higher adsorption capacity (more than twice) for the adsorption of methyl violet in comparison with the commercial one. The equilibrium data were analyzed using different isotherm models. Adsorption was found to be maximum in the pH range 7–9.