Alhambra de Granada
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The Alhambra is a stunning sight and a must for fans of architecture and history. Located on a hilltop in the city of Granada, the Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that should not be missed.
You may already know that planning ahead is important if you want to visit the Alhambra. Admission is controlled each day to keep the crowds at a manageable number. Tickets can quickly sell out, especially in the busy season.
You can purchase tickets via the Alhambra website up to three months in advance. Here is the website in English for the General Ticket which includes everything (Nasrid Palaces, Gardens, Generalife, Alcazaba). You can also look at the other types of tickets such as Doble de Oro or night time visits to the Alhambra. They have a helpful chat feature if you have questions. Or you can call them at +34 858 953 616. (By the way, you can no longer get Alhambra tickets through Ticketmaster as of 2018)
What to do if Alhambra tickets are sold out?
If you do not see any tickets available for your dates, it is still possible to visit the Alhambra with a guided tour. Here are several guided tours which will give you access to all areas of the Alhambra and Generalife. Here are some guided tours of the Alhambra. The guides are full of useful information and if you get a good one it is definitely worth the extra cost if you love to know lots of details.
A guide to visiting the Alhambra:
- The monument is basically organized into four sections: Alcazaba, Nasrid Palaces, Partal and Generalife. The Alcazaba is the military fortress section, the Nasrid Palaces are the detailed Moorish structures, the Partal is in the gardens and has lovely buildings, and the Generalife is the rural palace with large gardens.
- You can only visit the Nasrid Palace at the time shown on your ticket. Plan to be in the line for the Nasrid Palace at least 30 minutes before your scheduled time. That means if your ticket says 14:00, that means you should be in line for the Nasrid Palace at 13:30. You will gain entry to the palaces at 14:00. Usually you can stay inside for as long as you like but there is a one way route so you will probably finish within 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Don’t miss the Alcazaba section of the monument which is next to the Nasrid Palace. This is the fortress for the property. There are amazing views from these towers over the city of Granada. This area also requires a valid ticket for access but this section is not tightly controlled with timing as are the Nasrid Palaces.
- The Partal is adjacent to the Nasrid Palaces. From there walk a path along the old city wall to the Generalife, the large white building you can see from Granada’s Albaicin. This is another palace, said to be the “country home” for the royals, who would ride along the path on horseback. The Generalife gardens are an example of traditional Persian/Moorish style and are absolutely lovely.
Helpful hints for visiting the Alhambra:
- There a few kiosks located on the property where you can get a bite to eat or a drink and have a rest in the shade. You can also bring a picnic lunch. I would definitely suggest at least bringing water as it can be hot and dry. There are fountains to refill you water bottle.
- You cannot carry large bags into the Nasrid palaces, there is a bag check near the Puerta de la Justicia but it is wise to leave excess belongings at your hotel.
- Look for stands selling audio guides, they are often located close to the entry to the Nasrid Palaces and at the main entry. if you can’t find them, just ask someone with headphones where they got theirs. If you want to know what you are looking at you will need this multilingual audio guide. It costs about €6 and you must leave a credit card deposit. There is almost no signage at this monument so if you want any information you will need to purchase this guide, go with a tour, or prepare yourself with a book or audio guide before you arrive. Or you can just wander around and take in the sights.
- Don’t have Alhambra tickets? I highly recommend visiting the monument anyway. You will not be able to access the ticketed areas but there is plenty to see – lovely gardens, amazing views and stunning architecture. Access to the Palace of Carlos V, the Museum of the Alhambra and the Baths are free. Enter through the Puerta de la Justicia.
How to get to the Alhambra? You can walk up to the Alhambra via several routes. The easiest is probably via Cuesta de Gomerez. Of course you can also take a taxi, but the bus is a simple option. Hop on bus C3 and get off at Puerta de la Justicia. You can walk back down or take the bus again. You can find the bus map here.
Did you know you can stay at the Alhambra? Spain’s most popular parador hotel is located here. There is also a smaller hotel. Be sure to check out these cool places to stay in Granada, some with gorgeous views, others with beautiful gardens and swimming pools.
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