Are you planning a visit to the Alhambra? It’s the most visited attraction in Spain, and it’s simply amazing. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your visit.
1. Buy your tickets online at least a month before your planned date, 2-3 months is better. Tickets sell out fast, especially in the summer months and over the Christmas holidays. Here is the official website to purchase tickets. Make sure you have the passport numbers for everyone in your party handy.
2. It is also a good idea to have a map of the complex as there are not as many signs as one might like. Free maps are available at the entrance or use Google maps.
3. You can also visit the Alhambra grounds for free anytime during opening hours. You can’t get into any of the buildings except the Charles V Palace. Enter at the Puerta de la Justicia or the Torre de las Cabezas.
4. When visiting the Nasrid Palace you must be at its entrance at the time printed on your ticket. They are very strict about the time. If you are late they won’t let you in. Keep in mind that the Alhambra is quite large and the Nasrid Palace is quite a distance from the main entrance.
5. How much time should you spend? I have looked this up on other sites and must say that we spent more time. The minimum is 20 min for the Generalife, 20 min for the Alcazaba, 15 min to 1 hour for Charles V Palace ( this palace has 2 museums, optional) the Nasrid Palace takes at least 1 hour. You will also walk about 3.5 km and we recommend to take extra time to enjoy the fabulous gardens. Depending on the time of year you also might have to spend up to one hour waiting in line.
6. You can see the various attractions of the complex in any order you like. Most people start with the Generalife, the summer palace with its amazing gardens. The Alcazaba is the oldest part. It’s a fortress dating back to the 9th century. You can explore the fortifications and watchtowers and enjoy great views of the surrounding countryside. The Charles V Palace is an interesting oval building. It is the home of 2 museums, the Alhambra Museum in the south wing of the lower level is dedicated to Hispano-Muslim culture and art and the Museum of Fine Arts on the upper level of the palace. The Nasrid Palace is the most famous feature of the Alhambra, totally incredible.
7. Did you know that you can actually stay within the Alhambra grounds. There is a hotel, the Parador de Granada. Check out their website here.
8. Following your Alhambra visit we recommend a walk into the old part of Granada. When you exit the complex keep left and follow the cobblestone road downhill and across the river. Here you will find a great many tapas bars, some are very touristy. But if you go a little bit further into the labyrinth of tiny alleyways you quickly find places with great food and great atmosphere.
9. There is one more thing to make your visit an extraordinary experience. You get the most amazing view of the Alhambra with the Sierra Nevada as a backdrop from the Mirador de Nicolas especially if you catch the sunset.
10. Take amazing photos!