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 in the city of Granada in Spain.
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- How to visit Alhambra in Granada: 20 Best Alhambra tips and tricks
- 1. Buy an Alhambra ticket online on the official website
- 2. Choose the type of Alhambra ticket
- 3. Alhambra ticket price
- 4. Choose your time of visiting Alhambra wisely – The best time to visit Alhambra
- 5. Keep your Alhambra Palace ticket on your phone
- 6. Be at the entrance at least 30 min before the time on your ticket
- 7. Consider buying a fast-track ticket
- 8. Bring your ID
- 9. Keep in mind that Alhambra has two entrances
- 10. Start your Alhambra visit with Nasrid Palaces
- 11. Plan to spend about 3 hours in the complex
- 12. Chose your stay in Granada smart
- 13. Decide if you want to walk to Alhambra
- 14. Decide if you want to go to Alhambra by bus
- 15. Decide if you want to go to Alhambra by car
- 16. Admire Alhambra from different views in Granada
- 17. Alhambra Hours
- 18. Choose where to stay in Granada for visiting Granada
- 19. Consider taking Alhambra tours to get valuable insights into the history of Alhambra
- 20. Dress comfortably
How to visit Alhambra in Granada: 20 Best Alhambra tips and tricks
Are you planning a trip to Granada last minute?
If you are traveling to Granada last minute, I prepared for you a short summary of the best tours of Alhambra, and the best hotels in Granada.
BEST EXPERIENCES AND TOURS OF ALHAMBRA:
Granada: Alhambra Skip-the-Line Tour with Nasrid Palaces (the most popular Skip-the-Line guided tour in Alhambra)
Málaga: Alcazaba and Roman Theatre Guided Tour With Entry (the best-seller Skip-the-Line tickets)
BEST HOTELS IN GRANADA:
Alhambra Palace – (luxury; just outside of the ancient walls of Alhambra)
Apartamentos Campo Del Príncipe – (mid-range; 10 min walk from the Alhambra Palace)
Lemon Rock Hostel – (budget, 25 min walk from the Palace Alhambra)
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 visit Alhambra a year.
Visiting Alhambra in Granada in southern Spain on an amazing Andalucia road trip and sampling along the way flavourful Spain foods (which are among the best food in the world) are among the top things to do in Spain.
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, and artistic. Alhambra is deep and rich in history, culture, 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 simply majestic and the Alhambra setting is absolutely stunning.
Magnificent 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.
Magical 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.
A unique mix of architectural and artistic styles adorns Alhambra. Thus, it is not surprising that Alhambra is one of the most visited sites in the World.
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VISITING ALHAMBRA TIPS
These essential Alhambra tips on how to visit Alhambra will help you to prepare yourself for visiting Alhambra.
1. Buy an Alhambra ticket online on the official website
Buy La Alhambra tickets in advance on the Alhambra official website. Choose the date, with the exact time of your visit to Alhambra and the 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.
ALHAMBRA TICKETS OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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 are any available tickets for the day. If Alhambra tickets are sold out, there s no need for you to get up the hill to the 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 to Andalusia with limited time, I strongly advise buying Alhambra tickets online in advance.
ALHAMBRA TICKETS OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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 7,42 EUR – 19,09 EUR
General Alhambra admission ticket fee (the one I bought): 19,09 EUR
4. Choose your time of visiting Alhambra wisely – The 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 possible, before big group tours come: at 8:30. 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 on your phone
When you buy a ticket online, you don’t need to print it.
You just need to show the QR code of your ticket on your phone for scanning and to show your passport.
Visitors needed to print their bought-online tickets in past. But, not anymore.
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 a fast-track ticket
If you don’t like or don’t have time to wait in line, buy a Fast-Track Ticket.
8. Bring your ID
To enter the Alhambra Palace you need to show your government ID or passport. So, don’t forget to take your ID or passport with you!
9. Keep in mind that Alhambra has two entrances
The Alhambra palace has two entrances: the Main Entrance and the Gate of Justice Entrance.
If you are visiting Alhambra on a tour, you are most likely going to meet at the Main Entrance. However, if you are visiting Alhambra independently, you can choose whichever.
The main Entrance is close to the Generalife Palace, while the Gate of Justice Entrance is close to the Nasrid Palaces, Alcazaba, and Charles V Palace.
10. Start your Alhambra visit with Nasrid Palaces
Plan your Alhambra itinerary.
The 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 Partal Gardens, the Palace of Carlos V, and Alcazaba.
The most beautiful part of the Alhambra complex is the Nasrid Palaces.
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.
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 the Alhambra map for download here
11. Plan to spend about 3 hours in the complex
Time to visit the Alhambra complex takes 3 hours on average (wear comfortable shoes and bring some water and snacks with you).
12. Chose 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 Alhambra to enter. The best would be to stay nearby Alhambra or to take stay in an Alhambra Palace hotel.
There are two options to stay within the grounds of Alhambra Castle: Hotel America and Parador de Granada.
13. Decide if you want to walk to Alhambra
Decide how you will get to the Alhambra complex.
You can get to the Alhambra complex: on foot, by bus, and by car.
The Alhambra Palace is on a hill. The walk up the hill is steep and it takes about 20 min to the Alhambra complex from the Plaza Nueva in Granada.
There are two gates to enter the Alhambra complex: the Gate of Justice and the Main Entrance. 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.
In other words, the Gate of Justice is the entrance to the Nasrid Palace.
14. Decide if you want to go to Alhambra by bus
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 don’t buy your ticket in advance, you’ll need to wait in a long queue to buy the ticket. From the Main Entrance, you can visit the Generalife Gardens before going to the Nasrid Palace.
15. Decide if you want to go to Alhambra by car
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 for 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.
16. Admire Alhambra from different views in Granada
Granada is among the most beautiful cities in Spain. Take a stroll in Granada, and see Alhambra from different places in Granada.
Admire the Alhambra fortress palace from the banks of the river Darro, from the Alabacin (a famous medieval Moorish neighborhood), and charming Sacromonte neighborhood (famous gypsy quarter).
The views of the Alhambra complex from Alabacin and Sacromonte are particularly spectacular in the sunset. The best sunset view of Alhambra is from Mirador de San Nicolas (Plaza San Nicolas in Alabacin).
17. 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)
18. Choose where to stay in Granada for visiting Granada
Alhambra tips for finding a perfect stay in Granada
Hotels in Granada Spain near Alhambra:
Hotel America – a 1-star boutique-style hotel within the grounds of the Alhambra Palace
Parador de Granada – a 4-star luxury hotel within the grounds of the Alhambra overlooking the Generalife. Romantic, especially recommended for couples
Alhambra Palace – a 5-star luxury hotel just outside of the ancient walls of Alhambra with spectacular views of the city of Granada. A peaceful oasis with views of Granada to die for.
Apartamentos Campo Del Príncipe – the 3-star apartments that are 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.
19. Consider taking Alhambra tours to get valuable insights into the history of Alhambra
If you don’t buy your Alhambra ticket online through the official Alhambra website www.alhambra-tickets.es, or at the Ticket Office at the Alhambra entrance, you can buy Alhambra guided tour from an Authorized Travel Agency.
Alhambra tours: Book Alhambra tour
Or if you want to learn more about the history of Alhambra, a good idea is to take a guided tour with an expert guide.
- Granada: Alhambra & Generalife Fast-Track Guided Tour (the most popular tour)
- Granada: Alhambra, Nasrid Palaces, and Generalife Tour (a popular small-group tour)
- Alhambra: Nasrid Palaces & Generalife Ticket with Audioguide (skip-the-line ticket)
- Alhambra: Guided Tour with Fast-Track Entry (a 3-hour private tour)
If you are in Seville, Malaga, Marabella, and Estepona, you can take a day trip to Granada and visit Alhambra.
- From Seville: Alhambra Palace and Alybacin Tour
- From Malaga: Granada & Alhambra
- From Nerja: Granada & Alhambra
- From Malaga: City of Granada & Alhambra
- From Marbella: Alhambra Small Group
- From Estepona: Alhambra Small Group
20. Dress comfortably
An extra tip in the end!
As I said, you will be touring Alhambra palace for about 3 hours. Thus, dress comfortably.
You will walk that day a lot. Especially, if you decide to walk up the hill from Granada City center to Alhambra.
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.
Pin and save these Alhambra tips and tricks to make the most of your Alhambra visit!
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Wednesday 7th of August 2019
I am loving all your Spain posts! I just subscribed :) I grew up in Southern Spain, but haven't lived there in a long time and things are really different. When I was a kid there were far fewer tourists and no need to book tickets ahead of time, etc. I'm taking my family on an Andalucian road trip next spring and using your posts to help plan. Thank you!
Wednesday 24th of July 2019
I missed Alhambra Palace in Granada during my Spain Tour due to lack of time. Now after reading your post, I regret why I missed it. Alhambra Palace in Granada is really magnificient and especially the views from top.
Wednesday 17th of July 2019
The Alhambra look magnificent. I was in Granada 2 years back and I was amazed exploring this palace. I liked how you have given the details of each corner of the huge place. Anyone visiting the Alhambra should surely keep couple of hours in hand as you have mentioned. It's really important not to miss any of it.
Monday 15th of July 2019
We, Filipinos, have Spanish ancestry as we have been a Spanish colony for over 300 years. As such, we would love to visit Alhambra---it would be like visiting to our roots. The architecture though seems to be more Indian or Middle Eastern in influence. Too bad though that it's difficult for us to go to Europe due to the fact that our passport is not exactly that "strong." But who knows? One day...
Monday 15th of July 2019
I have yet to visit Granada and am hoping to include it in our itinerary during our next visit to Spain. You’ve captured the magnificent architecture of Alhambra so beautifully through your amazing photographs. Thanks for the detailed information and excellent tips in the post that can definitely make the visit to Alhambra a memorable one. Will be referring back to this post for sure as we plan our trip to Spain.