In our travels we have seen some pretty amazing sites, but the Alhambra really blew us away. Before embarking on this life of full time travel I had spent my entire life in the construction industry and believe me when I tell you that I have never seen anything quite like this architectural masterpiece. In this article we are going to share some tips to make the most of your visit.
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History of the Alhambra
Original portions of the Alcazaba of the Alhambra were started in the 8th century. In the mid 13th century, Mohammed I, the founder of the Nasrid dynasty laid the ground work for what would become the Alhambra we know today. Construction would continue through several successive Nasrid rulers. Until 1492, Granada and the Alhambra were the last Moorish stronghold in Europe after controlling most of Andalusia for over 800 years. Legend has it that upon his exile from the Alhambra Mohammed the XII left with his caravan across the Sierra Nevadas. Visibly upset about losing the last Moorish palace in Andalusia his mother consoled him by saying “weep like a woman for what you couldn’t defend as a man”. OUCH!
How to get to the Alhambra
The easiest ways to get to the Alhambra are walking and dedicated Alhambra buses. The walk if starting from Plaza Nueva will take less than 30 mintues. You will have to put a little research in because google maps tries to take you out of the way but head towards Puerta de las Granadas and you will be fine. The bus option is also very easy. There are red mini buses that leave from Isabel Católica Square every 10-15 minutes.
Your other options are taxi/uber and driving yourself. Taxi/Uber rates may or may not be within your budget and driving yourself is possible but there is no parking at the Alhambra directly. There is a large car park next door to the massive complex but it fills up quickly and costs roughly 2.50-3€ per hour. We feel you are going to need a minimum of four hours to see the Alhambra making self driving the most expensive option.
What are the operating hours of the Alhambra?
FROM APRIL 1 TO OCTOBER 14
Monday through Sunday
- Hour Visit – 08:30 – 20:00
- Hour ticket office – 08:00 – 20:00
Tuesday to Saturday
- Hour Visit – 22:00 – 23:30
- Hour ticket office – 21:00 – 22:45
FOM OCTOBER 15 TO MARCH 31 *Note that the Alhambra is closed on Dec. 25 and Jan.1*
- Monday to Sunday: 8.30 – 18:00.
- Ticket office: 8:00 – 18:00
- Friday and Saturday: 20:00 – 21:30
- Ticket office: 19.00 – 20:45
Alhambra entrance fees
*This is the official site (which we are in no way affiliated with) for purchasing Alhambra tickets. Many other sites look legitimate but are ridiculously overpriced: https://tickets.alhambra-patronato.es/
All inclusive tickets include the Nasrid Palaces, Generalife, Gardens and Alcazaba. Audio guides can be purchased for an additional €3 per person:
Adults (12-64) €14.85
Teens (12-15) €8.48
Young Children (3-11) Free – Must be accompanied with paid adult ticket
EU citizens (+65) €9.54
If you’re considering a visit, BOOK EARLY as tickets sell out WAY ahead of time. Booking on the day you plan to visit in NOT an option.
If you are booking without a guide or tour, we highly recommend booking the earliest slot you can and make sure to be there early. The Nasrid Palaces are the highlight and that is where your tour will start. They only allow so many people in at one time and if you miss your time slot you will lose that portion of the tour with no refund
If you’re looking for guided Alhambra tours check out these highly rated options:
What to expect at the Alhambra
You can expect to blown away the moment you enter the complex. Beginning with the lush landscaping as you follow the path towards the ticket offices and the entrance to the Nasrid Palaces where your tour will begin. Once you enter the Nasrid Palaces prepare for the most jaw dropping architecture you have ever seen. The Alhambra left us both speechless. Have you ever entered a building or seen a landscape that brought tears to your eyes? This is one of the few places we have seen in the world that had that effect on us. After being gob-smacked by the insane detail of the Moorish craftsmen who built the Nasrid Palaces, you will wander through the stunningly gorgeous Generalife. Next up is the the Alcazaba, the oldest portion of the Alhambra compound which was originally a military outpost. You finish off at the palace of Charles V who destroyed part of the original Alhambra to build his palace.
Best Time to Visit the Alhambra
The best time of day is first thing in the morning. Book that 8:30 time slot to beat most of the crowds. We have never visited during the evening hours but we did see the Alhambra illuminated at night from central Granada and it was stunning so that may be worth looking into as well.
Where to Stay in Granada when visiting the Alhambra
- AirBnb – We stayed in the little town of Ogijares so getting into Granada was just a short bus ride. If you are looking for something a little less expensive for a long term stay in Granada this may be your place.
- Luxury Accommodations –Alahmbra Palace – Alhambra Palace is located just outside the Alhambra’s ancient walls, offering spectacular views over the city of Granada. It features stylish rooms with Moorish-inspired décor.
- Mid Range Accommodations – Bibo Real Chancilleria – BiBo Real Chancilleria has air-conditioned guest accommodation in Granada, 50 m from San Juan de Dios Museum, 600 m from Paseo de los Tristes and 700 m from San Nicolas Viewpoint.
- Budget Accommodations – Casa de la Catedral – These apartments are in the historic centre of Granada, just metres from the Cathedral. Casa de la Catedral has a bar-restaurant with creative tapas.
- Hostel – Barbieri Granada – Run by notorious matron Ana (an awesome host according to one past guest) you’ll be well taken care of.
For more places to stay in Granada, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com
Have you ever been to the Alhambra? Do you have other tips or tricks for visiting this amazing location? Leave a comment down below and let us know and help other travellers who are thinking of visiting.