Visiting the Alhambra: practical tips and information

A major witness to the Muslim era in Spain, this palace is an architectural gem. Here are some tips for visiting the Alhambra
Visiting the Alhambra

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The article in brief:

Visiting the Alhambra in Granada is a must. This architectural gem includes the Alcazaba, the Nasrid Palaces, the Generalife and El Partal. Book your tickets in advance, ideally two months in advance. Bring water, a picnic and download the official app for an audio guide. Enjoy the views from the Albaicin and Sacromonte.

Don’t forget to:

The Alhambra in Granada is one of the most visited monuments in Europe. Once you step inside, it’s easy to see why. Every nook and cranny of its 14,000m² is undeniably beautiful and captivates every visitor. The Alhambra is the most important testimony to the Muslim era in Spain (the Al-Andalus kingdom), and is a palatial complex made up of four main parts: The Alcazaba, the Nasrid Palaces, the Generalife and El Partal.

A map is available here.

The Alhambra: a visit not to be missed

When visiting Andalusia and passing through Granada, a (half) day at the Alhambra is a must. This ancient palace, located on the heights of the city, is made up of four main parts:

The Alcazaba

The Alcazaba is one of the oldest parts of the Alhambra. Historically, it served as a military fortress to protect the Nasrid kings. From the Alcazaba, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Alhambra, Granada and the Sierra Nevada mountains on the horizon.

The Nasrid Palaces

THE part of the Alhambra you cannot miss. In fact, this is the one you absolutely must buy a ticket for and select a time to visit. Considered the jewel in the Alhambra’s crown, the Nasrid Palaces are a must-see. These palaces reflect the splendour of Islamic art in Spain. Every room, every courtyard, every architectural detail bears witness to the expertise of the craftsmen of the time. The intricate geometric patterns carved wooden ceilings and refreshing fountains create a serene atmosphere. The complex is made up of three main palaces, built by different kings over the centuries, each adding its own unique touch to the whole.

The Generalife

Located at the Northern end of the Alhambra, the Generalife was the summer palace of the Nasrid kings. It is a haven of peace away from the hustle and bustle of the main palace. The gardens of the Generalife are a perfect example of Andalusian garden design, with fountains, pools and a variety of plants in bloom throughout the year. The terraces offer breathtaking views of the Alhambra and the Alcazaba (my favourite view!), making the visit even more memorable.

El Partal

El Partal is an area that encompasses several gardens and buildings, including the remarkable Palace of Charles V, an example of the Spanish Renaissance. This palace contrasts with the Islamic architecture of the rest of the Alhambra, bearing witness to Granada’s rich history. The El Partal gardens, with their pools reflecting the buildings, are the ideal place to relax after exploring the other parts of the Alhambra.

The visit must be prepared in advance. The number of people per day is limited in order to protect this historic monument (particularly the Nasrid Palaces).

Here are some tips for visiting the Alhambra.

Visit the Alhambra

Buy your ticket

First tip …. Buy your ticket for the Alhambra in advance (around 2 months is ideal). When you buy your ticket, select the monuments you want to see.

  • The complete tour including the Nasrid Palaces – the one we recommend
  • The gardens, the Alcazaba and the Generalife without the Nasrid Palaces.

Book your ticket for the Alhambra

It’s a good idea to book your entry to the Alhambra in Granada well in advance. It would be a shame to miss out on a visit to this Andalusian gem!

Tip: if you’re thinking of visiting several of Granada’s monuments, you can opt for the Granada City Pass, which includes the Alhambra and the Nasrid Palaces, as well as the hop-on/hop-off tourist train (a great way to get an overview of the city) and a French audio guide to the city and the Alhambra!

💡 You can also choose a guided tour in English for €49 (entrance fee included).

You can also opt for a night-time visit. However, for a first visit, I would advise you to take the daytime tour.

Opening times and visit

The Alhambra is open from 8.30am to 6pm / 8pm to 9.30pm in the winter and from 8.30am to 8pm / 10pm to 11.30pm in the summer.

When you buy your “full visit” ticket, you will be asked to choose a time when you can enter the Nasrid Palaces (don’t miss the time, as you won’t be able to enter later!) 

Suggested order of visit: Alcazaba – Nasrid Palaces (11am or 11.30am) – El Partal – Generalife.

Expect to spend around 3 or 4 hours there, or even more if, like me, you want to photograph every corner of the Alhambra.

How to get there

By foot from the historic centre or from the Paseo de los Tristes, it’s a tough climb! But the view is worth it.

By bus for €1.40.

By car, with ample parking available on site.

Accommodation at the Alhambra?

If you’re prepared to break the bank, you can stay at the Alhambra in one of the country’s most beautiful paradises: the Alhambra Parador.For more affordable accommodation, opt for a hotel in the heart of the city.

Free access

Even without a ticket, you have access to some free activities:

  • Los Aljibes esplanade
  • The Palace of Charles V
  • The Alhambra Museum
  • The Bellas Artes Museum
  • Santa Maria Church (where weddings are sometimes held right before your eyes!)
  • The Mezquita baths (sometimes with an art exhibition)
  • Le Parador (for a drink or just a stroll around the patio)

Other tips

A few more practical tips for visiting the Alhambra :

  • Don’t forget your water! Take a water bottle with you, as there are numerous fountains throughout the site.
  • Take a picnic – some areas are set aside for eating (and apart from a few souvenir shops, you won’t find much to eat there).
  • Toilets are available right next to the Nasrid Palaces (and the view is pretty cool!).
  • For the audio guide, you can download the official Alhambra app (Alhambra y el Generalife). Some of the rooms are explained free of charge, while others have to be paid for.
  • There is also a free left-luggage facility on presentation of your ticket.
  • For a great view of the Alhambra, head for the Albaicin (with its famous Mirador San Nicolas) and the Sacromonte.

Alhambra photo album

Before you leave, don’t forget to book your ticket!

It’s a good idea to book your entry to the Alhambra in Granada well in advance. It would be a shame to miss out on a visit to this Andalusian gem!

Tip: if you’re thinking of visiting several of Granada’s monuments, you can opt for the Granada City Pass, which includes the Alhambra and the Nasrid Palaces, as well as the hop-on/hop-off tourist train (a great way to get an overview of the city) and a French audio guide to the city and the Alhambra!

Q&A : Tips for visiting the Alhambra

The Alhambra is a palace complex in Granada, Spain. It is made up of four main parts: The Alcazaba, the Nasrid Palaces, the Generalife and El Partal.

The Alhambra is one of the most visited monuments in Europe, bearing witness to the Muslim era in Spain. Its architectural and historical beauty attracts visitors from all over the world.

It is advisable to buy your tickets in advance, around 2 months before your visit. Make sure you choose the time to visit the Nasrid Palaces when you buy your tickets.

In winter, the Alhambra is open from 8.30am to 6pm and from 8pm to 9.30pm. In summer, it is open from 8.30am to 8pm and from 10pm to 11.30pm.

You can get there by foot from Granada’s historic centre, by bus for €1.40 or by car. A large car park is available on site.

Yes, the Parador de l’Alhambra is an on-site hotel. However, there are many other more affordable accommodations in the heart of Granada.

Yes, some areas such as the Esplanade de los Aljibes, the Palace of Charles V and the Alhambra Museum are accessible free of charge.

  • Bring water and a picnic.
  • Use the official Alhambra app for an audio guide.
  • Enjoy the views from the Albaicin and Sacromonte.

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Hello! I’m Julie, digital content creator, travel enthusiast and Spain lover!

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