Visiting the Alhambra in Granada is quite often a bucket list item, it’s something you’ll likely only do once and an experience that you’ll definitely want to make the most of.
Which is why in this blog post we’re giving you all the essential information you need to enjoy your Alhambra visit to the max. From parking to visiting with kids and where to eat nearby to when to book tickets we’ve got you covered.
To kick things off here’s a few top tips for visiting the Alhambra:
- Book your tickets well in advance
- Go early/late to avoid the heat
- Take a water bottle to fill up
- Don’t forget your passport
- Store bags/pushchairs in lockers
- Leave yourself plenty of time for queuing
But now, let’s dig into things in more detail, FAQ style!
Visiting The Alhambra: All Your Q’s Answered
What is the Alhambra?
Founded in the 8th century by the once rulers of this part of Spain, the Moors, the Alhambra is a sprawling complex of ancient palaces and fortresses. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the best preserved examples of Islamic architecture in the world.
Where is the Alhambra?
The Alhambra is located in Granada, Andalucia, which is in the south of Spain. Tooked into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Granada is a relatively small Spanish city. But owing to being the home of the mighty Alhambra, one of the most well known.
Which parts of the Alhambra complex are the best?
The Nasrid Palaces are the showstoppers, the intricacy of the architecture is just mind blowing. Then there’s the Alcazaba, which is a fortress with arresting views of the city below. And also the Generalife which includes a smaller palace and ornate gardens.
How much does it cost to visit the Alhambra?
Well it all depends on which parts you want to see, whether you want to visit during the day or at night and whether you want a guide or not.
The cheapest tickets without access to the Nasrid Palaces start at around €12, but you can find tickets to visit everything for €15. The night tickets for the Nasrid Palaces are around €8 and for just the Generalife €5. It’s not possible to visit the Alcazaba at night.
An audio guide with access to the Nasrid Palaces costs about €30 per person and you can find group guided tours for around €35. Private guided tours are obviously the most expensive and start at around €150.
You’ll also find better prices for everything by booking in advance.
Should I get a guide when visiting the Alhambra?
If you are interested in learning about the history of the Alhambra, then yes a guided tour is recommended. Group tours tend to be not much more than audio guides, so our advice would be to go with one of those then you get a much more interactive experience.
When do I need to book tickets for the Alhambra?
Depending on the type of ticket you are buying and whether you want to visit at a specific time you may need to book up to a month in advance to visit the Alhambra. If you’re coming to Granada to see the Alhambra, book as well in advance as possible to avoid disappointment.
How much time should I allow for visiting the Alhambra?
If you are visiting the whole complex (Nasrid Palaces, Alcazar and Generalife) you’ll need a minimum of three hours. But it’s best to allow even longer so you have time to take some breaks, it can be intense especially visiting in the heat of summer.
What are the Alhambra opening times?
You can visit the Alhambra every day of the year except for the 31st December and 1st January. Day time visits are available from 8:30am – 8:00pm during 1st April – 14th October and 8:30am – 6:00pm during 15th October – 31st March.
There are also evening visits available from 8:00pm – 11:30pm Tuesday – Saturday during 1st April – 14th October. And from 8:00pm – 9:30pm on Friday and Saturdays only during 15th October – 31st March. There’s no night garden visit during this time.
Please note for the day visits you have a book a specific time to visit the Nasrid Palaces.
What if I am late for the Nasrid Palaces?
You’re only given a window of half an hour to enter the Nasrid Palaces. It’s pretty strict and there’s usually a long queue so be sure to get there well in advance.
What is the best time of day for visiting the Alhambra?
If you are visiting during the day over the summer months, mornings or late afternoons are better as the heat is slightly less intense. Evenings are obviously cooler and you get to see the complex illuminated with dramatic lighting.
You cannot however visit the Alcazaba or parts of Nasrid Palaces and photographs are pretty difficult to take. You also miss out on the more intricate details of the architecture and views.
When is the best time of year to visit the Alhambra?
Spring is the best time of year for visiting the Alhambra. The flowers in the gardens are in full bloom and don’t have the intense summer sun to dodge. Autumn is also a good time as it’s less busy and the gardens are still very pretty during this season.
Do I need my passport to visit the Alhambra?
You’ll need to enter your passport details when you book your tickets and yes you will need to take your passport with you. You are checked in and out of various sections of the Alhambra complex so will need it on hand throughout the day.
What should I wear to visit the Alhambra?
The Alhambra is not a religious monument so there is no dress code. Most people visiting the Alhambra on an evening do tend to wear more smart casual attire than the day time visitors.
How do I get to the Alhambra?
The Alhambra is within walking distance of both the city centre. Walking from Plaza Nueva and up Cuesta de Gómerez to enter the complex through the Puerta de las Granadas is a really pretty walk through the Alhambra Forest. I should take around 30 minutes.
But it is uphill! So you may want to consider getting the bus. In which case jump on either the C30 or C32 red minibuses from Isabel Católica Square. They leave around every 10 minutes.
There’s also plenty of taxis denoted by a green light on the roof. Depending on where you are coming from you can expect to pay between €5-10. Taxis are allowed to drive within the Alhambra complex so can get you right to the entrance.
You can of course also drive yourself if you have a car.
Is there a carpark near the Alhambra?
Yes there’s lots of parking available near the Alhambra. Head up Avenida de Santa Maria then take the road to the cemetery, ‘Camino Viejo del Cementerio’. Parking costs for the Alhmabra are €3 per hour, so really not the cheapest.
Is there car parking for motorhomes near the Alhambra?
Yes. Just before turning down to the parking area for cars, there’s a dedicated parking area for larger vehicles including motorhomes and campervans. Same price per hour or €32 for 24 hours. It’s secure but there are no services.
Is the Alhambra wheelchair accessible?
Unfortunately not. While there are some places you could get a wheelchair around, most of the Alhambra complex involves lots of steps and some very narrow passages.
How much walking does visiting the Alhambra involve?
It depends how many different parts you are visiting. But if, for instance, you are visiting the Nasri Palaces, the Alcazar and the Generalife expect to be on your feet for a good few hours. There are plenty of benches here and there where you can rest in between though.
Can I visit the Alhambra with kids?
Absolutely. Under 12’s have a discounted price and under 3’s enter for free. You need to provide and take with you their passports too.
Are there storage lockers in the Alhambra?
Yes, near the entrance to the Nasri Palaces. Security will need to pass your bags through a scanner before you are assigned a locker so leave plenty of time to do this if you have a Nasri Palace booking.
Can I take a pushchair into the Alhambra?
You can take it in but you can’t take it into many parts of the complex including Nasri Palaces, the Alcazar and the Generalife. You’ll need to leave it in the storage locker area. Allow extra time to do this if you have a Nasri Palace time slot to get too as there are often big queues.
Are there toilets inside the Alhambra?
There are toilets outside, just near the ticket office. But also yes, there are toilets inside the Alhambra complex so you don’t need to worry about getting caught short. There’s some in the Generalife and some in the area just outside the Nasrid Palace.
Can I buy drinks inside the Alhambra?
Yes there are vending machines in the storage locker area just outside the Nasrid Palaces and a kiosk just outside the entrance to the Alcazaba. There are a few drinking water fountains dotted about though too so it’s way cheaper to bring a bottle and fill up from those.
Is there somewhere to eat inside the Alhambra?
Yes there is a Parador with a restaurant inside the Alhambra complex – Parador de Granada. Paradors are state run hotels and you’ll find them all over Spain. The concept being that the hotel’s profits are used to maintain the historic properties they are attached to.
You can also buy sandwiches and snacks from the kiosk outside the entrance to the Alcazaba.
Can I take food and drink into the Alhambra?
Yes you can take your own food and drink into the Alhambra. You aren’t allowed to take large bags into the Nasrid Palaces, Alcazaba or Generalife though so you may need to use the storage lockers while you are exploring those.
Where to eat near the Alhambra?
Aside from the Parador inside the Alhambra complex, there’s a Restaurante La Mimbre and Restaurante Jardines Alberto very close by. They both serve various tapas, seafood and a mix of traditional Andalusian cuisine.
Alternatively check out this blog post with the best tapas bars in Granada.
Where to stay near the Alhambra?
Well first up, you can’t get much nearer than the luxurious Parador de Granada which is set within the grounds of the Alhambra Palace. Housed in a 15th century convent building, the hotel has stone archway, wooden beam original features and a gorgeous patio.
Close by there’s also the Hotel Alhambra Palace located just outside the walls of the Alhambra complex. With its Moorish-inspired decor and spectacular views of the city of Granada, this really is a gem of a place to stay near the Alhambra.
Alternatively there’s the stunningly chic CANDIL SUITE Realejo with its moorish style pool, roll top baths and rooftop views over Sierra Nevada mountain range. Reviews say that it’s even more beautiful than the photos and that the breakfasts are great.
If none of these tickle your fancy, we have another blog post with lots more amazing places to stay in Granada.
Is visiting the Alhambra worth it?
Yes, absolutely. In fact if you are anywhere near this area of Spain, it’s something that you really don’t want to miss out on. The best thing is you can take as much from it as you like too. Just spend a few hours wandering around or get a guide and really dig into the history.
Well folks, hopefully we’ve answered all of your burning questions about visiting the Alhambra. If there’s anything else you want to know, drop it in a comment down below and do our best to help.
Alternatively if you have any other tips for how to visit the Alhambra, pop those in a comment too.
We also have a blog post all about things to do in Granada aside from the Alhambra that you may find useful for planning your trip to this fascinating city.
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Yorkshire born & bred, Sarah is a professional blogger who loves to travel. Pushing her boundaries with new adventures is her jam, so you likely won’t find her in one place for too long. Also a serious Marmite addict.