A guide to visiting the Alhambra Palace in Granada
I have to be honest here. Until I actually started researching I have to admit (ashamedly) that I had never thought of visiting The Alhambra Palace. In fact I hadn’t even heard of it – for shame!
This vast UNESCO heritage site is really spectacular. It deserves all your attention so dedicate at least 1 day (more if possible) to absorb the entire complex.
It started life as a small fortress in 889. Later in the 11th century, the emirate of Granada transformed it into a palace. Then in the 13th century it became a fully fledged Royal Palace by the Sultan of Granada, Yusuf I.
I found it tricky to get all the information for my visit. The information I did find was a little confusing so hopefully this will help making it easier for your trip.
What to bring & expect
- Comfortable shoes – You will be walking a lot so leave the heels behind
- Camera or phone – make sure there is plenty of space and it’s fully charged. You will get snap happy.
- Water – It can get VERY hot. There are places to buy water but it is no harm to bring some with you
- Sunscreen/ hat – you will be outdoors a lot so make sure you are well protected from the rays ( it can climb into the mid 30c/90f)
- Money – you may want to buy some things and not everywhere takes cards
- Respect – please don’t litter, be mindful of others and respect the building. I saw some cringe-worthy behaviour from some fellow tourists.
How to buy tickets for the Alhambra?
So we just rocked up went to a ticket machine ( no queue) and bought a ticket. However, you might want to book in advance.
Where to buy tickets for the Alhambra:
- Book online – http://www.alhambra-tickets.es/ – (charge 10% extra tickets old via Ticketmaster) bring your credit card to claim the ticket.
- From a machine on the day at the main entrance
- In the city centre – at the Tienda de la Alhambra shop on Calle Reyes Católicos
- Phone – +34 902 888 001
What type of ticket do I need?
- Alhambra General – This gives you access to everywhere – Alcazaba, Nasrid Palaces, Generalife, Carlos V Palace, Public baths and the Mosque. [recomended] €14
- Alhambra Gardens, Generalife and the Alcazaba – Generalife and the Alcazaba visit allows access to all areas of the monument to visitors except Nazari Palaces. €7
- Alhambra at Night Palaces – Night visit around the around the Nasrid Palaces €8
What if it’s sold out?
- If it is sold out there is still a substantial quota sold on the day
- There is still loads you can see the grounds without a ticket
What time of day should I go at?
- There are 3 times slots ( morning, afternoon & evening) once inside you can stay for the remainder of the day
- Try to go in the morning or afternoon it gives you more time. The evening is great for photography and you can get some nice sunset shots.
TIP – The Palacios Nazaries can only be accessed for a half-hour time window (shown on the ticket) within your visiting period.
How to get to the Alhamabra?
- On foot – we choose this option it takes about 30-40 minutes. However, it is all uphill, and a bit of a hike. You might want to save your legs for the rest of the day and choose the other options.
- By bus – Get the C3 bus from the Pavaneras 1 stop (behind Plaza Isabel La Catolica) and the Gran Via 1 stop (next to the cathedral) which offers a direct connection to the Alhambra the fare is about €1.20
- By taxi – Costs about €5
Where can I eat?
- Bring a picnic – and enjoy the view
- Restaurante La Mimbre – We ate outsider under the shade of a leafy canopy in the late afternoon to brake up the day. The service was terribly slow but the food and ambience more than made up for it
- Paradores de Granada – We sat on the terrace enjoying a coffee and sharing an ice-cream while soaking up the view across to Generalife….bliss