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Alhambra and Generalife Gardens: 5 tips to visit this gem in Granada

  • Travel tips
Priority entrance and guided tours to visit Alhambra in Granada Priority entrance and guided tours to visit Alhambra in Granada from 34€ find offers

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain, Granada, enchants more than 6000 visitors every day. With its magical Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife Gardens, the Alhambra of Granada is a priceless gem, a fairytale stop for anyone. You want to go there, don't you? There is only one small, big obstacle that separates you from the most fascinating attraction in Andalusia: getting the Alhambra tickets.

The Alhambra palaces are almost as famous as the Disneyland Castle in Paris so you understand that the demand for tickets comes at all times from all corners of the world. Going to Granada and not visiting the Alhambra complex is a bit like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower: pure madness!

Did you know that the Alhambra palaces were competing until the final stage to be selected as one of the Seven wonders of the world?

It's easy to guess that a tour of Alhambra palace with its Nasrid Palaces and Generalife Gardens should be planned ahead: we leave you with some useful tips that will help you to book your Alhambra tickets and plan your day trip in detail. You don't need good luck: we are sure that after reading this guide it is as if you have already got the ticket in your pocket!

Alhambra tickets: book them well in advance!

You will have understood that, unlike all the other attractions, it is not enough to show up at the entrance of the Alhambra palaces to buy a ticket. Or rather, you might as well, but you'll miss the most important part, the highlight of the visit: the Nasrid Palaces.

The first tip is to BOOK ONLINE ALHAMBRA TICKETS. Believe us, you really should do that, if you have any hope of visiting the best of this fantastic landmark in Granada.

The alternative is to go to the ticket office at the beginning of the day and buy the Alhambra tickets. Though, consider that you are allowed to use the ticket on that day ONLY. The availability of daily tickets is super limited, so queues start a lot of time before the opening of the ticket office (usually around 08.00).

  • Purchasing Alhambra tickets directly on site is the most inconvenient option: in addition to waiting in line early in the morning, note that you CANNOT change neither the date nor the time nor get a refund. Anything unforeseen, therefore, can blow up your reservation.

How to book Alhambra tickets: the usual way

Excluding the option to purchase Alhambra tickets on site, the most popular method used by travellers to visit the fortress and the Generalife Gardens is to pre-book tickets online.

Alhambra palazzo moresco internoThe complex of the Alhambra palaces can accommodate a maximum of 6600 visitors per day. It may seem like a huge number - it's easy to buy one ticket out of more than 6000 tickets - yet we assure you that the attraction is so popular that availability goes sold-out in no time. Moreover, you have to consider that they limit the number of entries to make sure that a maximum of 300 people visit the Nasrid Palace every 30 minutes - this is to preserve the beauty of the site.

This means that the Alhambra tickets are sold at "time slots". So, when booking, you must also specify the time of the visit.

This may sound like an exaggeration but our second suggestion is to book your visit to the Alhambra palaces of Granada several months in advance.

When you purchase your tickets you will be able to select the day, time and type of ticket you wish to book. You can choose between different options: the classic ticket, the one that allows you to visit only some areas of the complex and the night tour (take it into consideration, the Alhambra palaces at nightfall is a spectacle: ecstasy guaranteed!).

  • USEFUL INFO: time slot reservation can be confusing. Remember that the time you go to select is referred to the entrance to the Nasrid Palaces and not the access to the Alhambra. This misunderstanding causes many visitors to miss their turn to visit the palaces because they arrive late (consider that from the main entrance of the attraction you must walk a little to reach the Nasrid Palace area). The hourly reservation you have chosen must be respected with Swiss precision: no delays are allowed and, once that time slot has passed, you there is no possibility of entering to the Alhambra palaces with the next group.

The third tip is therefore to always travel with an eye to the clock and give priority to the Nasrid Palaces (get in line at least 20 minutes before your turn) and then you are free to enjoy your visit to the complex. In doing so, you'll have free time to stroll through the gardens and ruins of the fortress without having to constantly check the time to not lose your reservation.

...and Parachute Solution: Priority Access and Alhambra Guided Tours

Queueing at the entrance, timetables to be strictly observed, connecting several times in the same day on the official website of the Alhambra palaces with the hope to find availability of tickets on the day you are interested. We already feel the anxiety going up!

This explains why a very high percentage of travelers choose to adopt the alternative and more convenient solution to buy Alhambra tickets: guided tours with priority access. What are the advantages? We summarize them in 3 points:

  • You have a good availability of Alhambra tickets even on dates not far from the day of booking;
  • You avoid waiting in line outdoor of the Alhambra palaces thanks to the fast-track admission to the attraction;
  • You will be accompanied by an official guide explaining secrets, stories, legends and artistic details of the place for about 3 hours (trust me, they will be more and more in-depth than the searches you can do on the web alone at home);

Alhambra Andalusia fontanaThe demand for guided tours to the Alhambra palaces is high but at the same time also the offer of tours is very varied. Whilst the route is the same for all of them - Nasrid Palaces, Generalife Gardens, Charles V Palace and so on, each tour offers different options: the possibility to collect tickets directly in the hotel or in the city centre, the help of an audioguide or the presence of professional guides. Some tours, give the added advantage of booking group private tours or excursions departing from nearby locations (think of Malaga, less than an hour from Granada).

Fourth suggestion, based on personal taste: the majority of visitors opt for a daytime visit. If you have the opportunity, choose a night tour of the Alhambra palaces: the buildings are magically illuminated.


Granada Card and Alhambra tickets: is it worth?

The last cartridge left to enter the Alhambra palaces? Buy a Granada Card, the tourist pass of the Andalusian town which includes the entrance to the attraction, always available even when the availability of tickets is exhausted.

What to visit at the Alhambra palaces: A quick overview

What does await you once you've got your Alhambra tickets and access the entrance?

Alhambra palazzo moresco giardinoYou have entered a huge citadel surrounded by nature made by various palaces, fortresses and impressive gardens. You simply get lost in front of so much beauty! Know that you are admiring the best example of Islamic palace in the world, wonderful views of the mountains of the Sierra Nevada and the radiant hills of the Andalusian country.

Here's a short itinerary of top things to see in the Alhambra:

  • Nasrid Palaces, the "royal" attraction of the Alhambra. Don't be scared of the big queue you'll find at the entrance, it flows away quickly. As said, you'd better get there at least 20 minutes before your time slot and you'll get in without any problems. The Palaces are divided into 3 areas that tell the Moorish history of Granada: the Palacio de Los Leones (Palace of the Lions) much loved by travellers according to the reviews, the Palacio de Comares (Comares Palace) the king's residence with halls and courtyards, and the old hall of the Mexuar.
  • Palace and Gardens of the Generalife, an evergreen paradise, generally the starting point of any visit to the Alhambra. Fantastic gardens with fountains, pavilions and a show of colourful flowers.
  • Palacio de Carlo V (Palace of Charles V), a majestic palace that houses two museums: the Museo de la Alhambra, with collections of Islamic artifacts and the Museo de Bellas Artes.
  • Alcazaba, the 13th century fortress with the famous Guard Tower. Take the spiral staircase that leads to the top and take a wonderful photo of the roofs of Granada.

Tip number 5: If you have opted for a do-it-yourself tour, remember that the attractions of the Alhambra palaces can be visited in any order, except for the Nasrid Palaces where you have a mandatory timetable. Good to know: most visitors start at the Generalife Gardens, as the other attractions are within walking distance of each other.

How long is the visit to the Alhambra palaces

In total you will walk more than 3 km so get ready to visit the Alhambra palaces with comfortable clothing and sneakers on your feet.

Alhambra Palazzo Moresco Granada panoramaTo give you an idea of the size of the structure, keep in mind that the different points of interest are scattered within the area and you can walk 15/20 minutes to move from one area to another. Almost all guided tours at the Alhambra palaces last 3 hours. According to all visitors this is the right time required to enjoy the visit in peace.

When to visit the Alhambra palaces: Wait for Spring!

The best season to visit the Alhambra palaces is the spring-summer period when the blossoming gardens is at the height of its splendour. Being high season, you'll find more people than other months of the year but in general the attraction is always full of tourists.

  • Morning or afternoon? Most Alhambra guided tours take place in the early hours of the day. So, if you travel independently and are looking for a quieter atmosphere, you'd better choose the time from after lunch to sunset.

Granada, Malaga and Seville: Andalusia on the road

The city of Granada and its Alhambra palaces are just one of the eight wonders of Andalusia. Have you ever thought about an on-the-road itinerary in this beautiful Spanish region? We give you 3 more reasons to travel to Andalusia: the museums of Malaga and the beaches of the Costa del Sol, the "roman" Cordoba with its Mezquita, days at the rhythm of flamenco in the always beautiful Seville.

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