15 essential Alhambra tips and tricks to help you to make the most of your Alhambra visit.
Alhambra is the most visited site in Spain.
2.000.000 people visit Alhambra every year, while visits to Alhambra are limited to 6.600 visitors a day.
Arm yourself with these 15 Alhambra tips and tricks to have a relaxed and magnificent Alhambra visit.
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NOTE: On 17 June 2020 the Alhambra Palace reopened for visits after 3 months of closure during Spain’s lockdown.
- HOW TO VISIT ALHAMBRA IN GRANADA: TOP 15 ALHAMBRA TIPS AND TRICKS
- 1. BUY ALHAMBRA TICKETS ONLINE ON THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE
- 2. CHOOSE THE TYPE OF ALHAMBRA TICKET
- 3. ALHAMBRA TICKET PRICE
- 4. CHOOSE YOUR TIME OF VISITING ALHAMBRA WISELY – BEST TIME TO VISIT ALHAMBRA
- 5. KEEP YOUR ALHAMBRA PALACE TICKET IN YOUR PHONE
- 6. BE AT THE ENTRANCE AT LEAST 30 MIN BEFORE THE TIME ON YOUR TICKET
- 7. CONSIDER BUYING SKIP-THE-LINE TICKET
- 8. BEGIN YOUR ALHAMBRA VISIT WITH THE NASRID PALACES
- 9. PLAN TO SPEND ABOUT 3 HOURS IN THE COMPLEX
- 10. CHOOSE YOUR STAY IN GRANADA SMART
- 11. DECIDE HOW YOU WILL GET TO THE ALHAMBRA COMPLEX
- 12. ADMIRE ALHAMBRA FROM DIFFERENT VIEWS IN GRANADA
- 13. ALHAMBRA HOURS
- 14. WHERE TO STAY IN GRANADA
- 15. ALHAMBRA TOURS
HOW TO VISIT ALHAMBRA IN GRANADA: TOP 15 ALHAMBRA TIPS AND TRICKS
Spain is the second most visited country in the World, following only France. And, Alhambra Palace in Granada is the most visited site in Spain.
Every year more than 80 million people visit Spain. And more than 2 million people a year visit Alhambra.
When you visit Alhambra, it gets perfectly clear why Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage site, a top tourist attraction in Spain, the most visited monument in Spain, the best of the best castles in Spain, and one of the most famous tourist attractions in the World overall. There are only a few places in the world that can be compared to Alhambra in Spain. Probably the Taj Mahal in India is the one.
La Alhambra in Spain has been inspiring poets, writers, artists, and alike for centuries: among others Washington Irving, Salaman Rushdie, Federico Garcia Lorca, Paulo Coelho, and George Brandard Shaw. And, Morrish poets called El Alhambra ‘a pearl set in emeralds’.
The Alhambra complex is colorful in every sense: historical, cultural, architectural, artistic… Alhambra is deep and rich with history, cultures, and stories. Alhambra is a palace, yet a fort. Alhambra of Spain is romantic, yet mystical. It is royal, yet military. But above all Spain s Alhambra is impressive in every way.
The Alhambra Palace is majestic and the Alhambra setting is stunning. The Alhambra Palace stands on the top of Al-Sabika hill superiorly overlooking the valley of the river Darro and dominating the city of Granada in Spain with the Sierra Nevada in the background.
Alhambra Castle was named the Red Castle by Moors since Alhambra means literally ‘the Red One’ in Arabic. Although it was founded by Romans, the true shine was given to Al Alhambra by the Moors in the 8th century during the Al Andalus era, while the Renaissance style was added by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella in the 15th century.
Alhambra is a unique mix of architectural and artistic styles of exceptional universal value. Thus, it is not surprising that Alhambra is one of the most visited sites in the World.
These essential Alhambra tips on how to visit Alhambra will help you to prepare yourself for visiting Alhambra.
1. BUY ALHAMBRA TICKETS ONLINE ON THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE
Buy La Alhambra tickets in advance on the Alhambra official website, choosing the date, with the exact time of your visit to Alhambra and type of ticket. Visits to Alhambra are limited to 6.600 visitors a day. The official recommendation of the Alhambra is to buy tickets for Alhambra 90 days in advance since only 300 people can enter the Nasrid Palaces (the main attraction of the Alhambra complex) every 30 min.
Tickets for the Alhambra complex are valid for the whole day, but the tickets for the Nasrid Palaces are valid only for an exact time slot indicated on the Alhambra ticket.
If the tickets are not sold out, you can buy tickets to Alhambra Spain at the Ticket Office on the same day. Before you head to the Ticket Office, check out the official Alhambra website to see if there any available tickets for the day. If Alhambra tickets are sold out, there s no need for you to get up the hill to Alhambra fortress.
I visited Granada and Alhambra in May and bought my ticket for visiting Alhambra 2 days before heading to Granada. I got lucky. I traveled to Spain without a strict itinerary and had the freedom to select the dates of visiting Granada. If you travel Andalusia with limited time, I strongly advise buying Alhambra tickets online in advance.
2. CHOOSE THE TYPE OF ALHAMBRA TICKET
There are different types of tickets to Alhambra: General Alhambra Entrance, Generalife and Alcazaba, Night Visit to Nazrid Palaces, Night Visit to Generalife, Combined Visit, and Alhambra Experiences (the nighttime visit to Nasrid Palaces with the daytime visit to Alcazaba and Generalife gardens on two consecutive days).
The Alhambra General Ticket (a ticket that allows visiting the entire Alhambra complex during the day) and the Alhambra Palaces at Night Ticket are the most sought after Alhambra Palace tickets.
I bought the Alhambra General Ticket which gave me access to the whole Alhambra complex.
3. ALHAMBRA TICKET PRICE
Alhambra tickets vary in the range from 7 EUR – 14 EUR
General Alhambra admission ticket fee (the one I bought): 14 EUR
4. CHOOSE YOUR TIME OF VISITING ALHAMBRA WISELY – BEST TIME TO VISIT ALHAMBRA
The best time of day to visit Alhambra is the early morning.
If you want to have Alhambra visit with no crowds, aim to buy a ticket for visiting Alhambra at the earliest time as possible, before big group tours come: at 8:3o. I went to Alhambra at the earliest possible time (8:30 am) and took some great Alhambra photos with no tourists.
5. KEEP YOUR ALHAMBRA PALACE TICKET IN YOUR PHONE
When you buy a ticket online, you don’t need to print it. Previously, visitors needed to print their bought-online tickets. But, not anymore. You just need to show the QR code of your ticket on your phone for scanning and to show your passport.
6. BE AT THE ENTRANCE AT LEAST 30 MIN BEFORE THE TIME ON YOUR TICKET
Aim to be at least 30 minutes ahead of the time on your ticket at the entrance to the Nasrid Palaces. If you are late, you won’t be allowed to enter the Alhambra.
You can’t change the date and time of your entry to Alhambra.
7. CONSIDER BUYING SKIP-THE-LINE TICKET
If you don’t like or don’t have time to wait in line, buy Skip-The-Line Ticket
8. BEGIN YOUR ALHAMBRA VISIT WITH THE NASRID PALACES
Plan your Alhambra itinerary. The best is to start the Alhambra visit with the Nasrid Palaces and then head to the Generalife Palace and Gardens, Alcazaba, and the rest of the Alhambra complex.
Keep in mind, visits to the Nasrid Palaces are restricted by the time slots.
Main structures of the Alhambra complex in Spain are the Court of the Myrtles, the Nasrid Palaces, the Generalife Place with Gardens, the Partal Palace with the Partal Gardens, the Palace of Carlos V, and Alcazaba.
The Nasrid Palaces consist of the Palace of the Lions with central Patio of the Lions, Hall of the Mocarabes, Hall of the Abencerrajes, Harem, Hall of the Kings, Hall of the Two Sisters, Hall of the Ajimeces, Daraxa’s Mirador, the Emperor’s Chambers, Queen’s Dressing Room, Patio of the Wrought Iron Grille, Daraxa’s Garden, and Baths
You can find Alhambra map for the download here
9. PLAN TO SPEND ABOUT 3 HOURS IN THE COMPLEX
Time to visit the Alhambra complex takes 3 hours on average (wear comfortable shoes, bring some water and snacks with you).
10. CHOOSE YOUR STAY IN GRANADA SMART
Alhambra is on a hill. From the center of the city of Granada to Alhambra takes a 20 min walk or a 20 min drive. Plan enough time to reach the Alhambra to enter. The best would be to stay nearby Alhambra or to take a stay in an Alhambra Palace hotel. There are two options to stay within the grounds of the Alhambra Castle: Hotel America and Parador de Granada.
11. DECIDE HOW YOU WILL GET TO THE ALHAMBRA COMPLEX
You can get to the Alhambra complex: on foot, by bus, and by car. The walk up the hill is steep and it takes about 20 min to the Alhambra complex from Plaza Nueva.
There are two gates to enter the Alhambra complex: the Gate of Justice and the Gate of Pomegranates. The Gate of Justice is the place to enter the Nasrid Palace. If you are planning to start your visit to Alhambra from the Generalife Palace and Gardens, you need to go to the Main Entrance. If you are planning to start your Alhambra visit from the Nasrid Palaces, you need to enter Alhambra at the Gate of Justice.
If you are not into uphill walking, take bus No 30 and No 32 from the Plaza Nueva in Granada. The one-way ticket costs about 1.20 EUR. But, the bus takes to the Main Entrance, not to the Gate of Justice. If you haven’t bought your ticket in advance, you need to wait in the long queue to buy the ticket. From the Main Entrance, you can visit the Generalife Gardens before going to the Nasrid Palace.
If you choose to get to Alhambra by car, there’s a parking lot in front of the Main Entrance. Alhambra parking ticket costs 5.45 EUR for 3 hours, 7 EUR for 4 hours. You will get the ticket when you enter the parking lot. And you need to pay the parking at the parking machine before leaving the parking lot. From the center of Granada to the parking lot take a 15 min drive on average.
12. ADMIRE ALHAMBRA FROM DIFFERENT VIEWS IN GRANADA
See Alhambra from different places in Granada. Take a stroll in Granada and admire the fortress-palace from the banks of the river Darro, from Alabacin (famous medieval Moorish neighborhood), charming Sacromonte neighborhood (famous gypsy quarter). The views of the Alhambra complex from Alabacin and Sacromonte are especially spectacular in the sunset. The best sunset view of Alhambra is from Mirador de San Nicolas (Plaza San Nicolas in Alabacin).
13. ALHAMBRA HOURS
Alhambra opening hours:
8:30 – 18:00 (Mon-Sun; mid-Oct – Mar)
8:30 – 18:00 (Mon-Sun, Apr – mid-Oct)
Nasrid Palace at Night:
20:00 to 21:30 (Fri-Sat; mid-Oct – Mar)
22:00 to 23:30 (Tue-Sat, April – Mid-Oct)
Generalife Palace & Gardens at Night
22:00 to 23:30 (Tue-Sat; Apr-May)
22:00 to 23:30 (Tue to Sat; Sep – mid-Oct)
20:00 to 21:30 (Fri-Sat; mid-Oct – mid-Nov)
14. WHERE TO STAY IN GRANADA
Alhambra tips for finding a perfect stay in Granada
Hotels in Granada Spain near Alhambra:
Hotel America – a boutique-style hotel within the grounds of the Alhambra Palace
Parador de Granada – a luxury hotel within the grounds of the Alhambra overlooking the Generalife. Romantic, especially recommended for couples
Alhambra Palace – a luxury hotel just outside of the ancient walls of Alhambra with spectacular views of the city of Granada. A peaceful oasis with the views of Granada to die for.
Apartamentos Campo Del Príncipe – 10 min walk from the Alhambra Palace, 500 m from Albaicin and 600 m from the Arab Baths. Great value for the money.
Lemon Rock Hostel – a budget option 25 min walk from the Palace Alhambra, in the heart of Granada. New and modern.
15. ALHAMBRA TOURS
If you don’t buy your Alhambra ticket online through official Alhambra website www.alhambra-tickets.es, or at the Ticket Office on the Alhambra entrance, you can buy Alhambra guided tour in an Authorized Travel Agency.
Alhambra tours: Book Alhambra tour
Or if you want to learn more about the history of the Alhambra, a good idea is to take a guided tour with an expert guide.
If you are in Seville, Malaga, Marabella, and Estepona, you can take a day trip to Granada and visit Alhambra.
An extra tip in the end! You will need comfortable walking shoes for visiting Alhambra. If you are traveling in summer, check out my list of top comfort women’s sandals for walking.
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