Moorish poets described the Alhambra as “a pearl set in emeralds”, an allusion to the colour of its buildings and the woods around them.
The Alhambra covers an area of 35 acres or 142,000 square metres.
TIP 1 : Plan your itinerary and prioritise the places to visit depending on your personal interests and time available to avoid weariness.
TIP 2 : Visits have an average duration of 3 hours.
TIP 3 : Wear appropriate and comfortable footwear as well as sun protection in summertime.
TIP 4 : Due to the great demand and restriction on the number of visitors it is recommended you purchase your ticket in advance. There are a variety of tickets for Daytime, Evening and Garden visits with discounts available with justification of retirement for over 65 years old. Accompanied children under 12 are free.
Tickets can now be purchased directly from The Alhambra, when purchasing you will need to decide what time you want to visit the Nasrid Palaces. See Tip: 16 for more ticket information.
TIP 5 : The Nasrid Palaces may only be accessed in the hour indicated on your ticket, due to limited capacity. Plan your visit to the rest of The Alhambra around your allocated time for the Nasrid Palaces.
TIP 6 : Due to the large crowds it is advisable to arrive in advance, especially on weekends and holidays.
4 main areas to visit at The Alhambra:
1 The Alcazaba
The Alcazaba is one of the oldest parts of the Alhambra where the king established the royal residence until the palaces were finished. It was then used as a fortress for military purposes and a state prison, even during the French occupation.
All that remains are its massive outer walls, towers and ramparts. On its watchtower, the 25 m (85 ft) high Torre de la Vela, the flag of Ferdinand and Isabella was first raised as a symbol of the Spanish conquest of Granada on 2 January 1492.
TIP 7 : It takes 20 minutes to get to the Alcazaba from the Entrance Pavilion (Ticket Office).
2 The Nasrid Palaces
The Nasrid Palaces were the heart of the Alhambra and the seat of the Sultans' Court.
The palatial complex consists of 3 buildings:
- The Mexuar - was used as a courtroom and for meetings between ministers of the king.
- The Palace of Comares - was erected around the Patio de los Arrayanes (Courtyard of the Myrtles). The side exits lead to the Sala de los Embajadores (Hall of Ambassadors) which is located inside the Tower of Comares and the Sala de la Barca (Hall of the Boat).
- The Palace of the Lions - a royal residence comprising of a central courtyard, the Courtyard of the Lions, and halls along each side - the Hall of the Mocarabes, the Hall of the Kings, the Hall of the Two Sisters, the Hall of the Ajimeces, leading on to the mirador Daraxa viewpoint, and the Hall of the Abencerrajes, along with the Harem.
TIP 8 : To manage the demand each person is assigned a specific time which is printed on your admission ticket for access to The Nasrid Palaces. Plan the order of places to visit around your assigned time as you will not be able to access The Nasrid Palaces after this specific time, they are very strict about this.
TIP 9 : It takes 17 minutes to get to the Nasrid Palaces from the Entrance Pavilion (Ticket Office).
TIP 10 : On weekends and holidays there could be a line to enter this section of the Monument, keep this in mind so you arrive at the Palaces at the time indicated on your ticket.
TIP 11 : The Nasrid Palaces exit onto the Partal gardens where there is a rest area which is the perfect place to take a break.
3 The Partal
El Partal comes from an Arabic word meaning "the portico". The Partal of the Alhambra is the area including the Tower of the Ladies and the Gardens. The Tower of the Ladies, or Torre de las Damas with its open portico and pool in front can be found next to the Courtyard of the Lions.
TIP 12 : The Tower of the Ladies has a beautiful reflecting pool in front where you can take a great picture of the building and it’s reflection in the water. From here you can also see the gardens of the Partal, the Albaicin and the orchards of the Generalife.
TIP 13 : The Partal Gardens are not part of the Nasrid Palaces so you can visit this area as many times as you like.
4 The Generalife
The Palacio de Generalife was the summer palace and country estate of the Nasrid rulers and were built during the reign of Muhammed II. The complex consists of the Patio de la Acequia (Court of the Water Channel or Water-Garden Courtyard), which has a long pool framed by flowerbeds, fountains, colonnades and pavilions, and the Jardím de la Sultana(Sultana's Garden or Courtyard of the Cypress).
TIP 14 : There is a rest area at the exit of the Palace which is perfect for a break, particularly since it is a distance to the entrances of the other three places to visit and the General Exit.
TIP 15 : It takes 15 minutes to get to the Generalife from the Entrance Pavilion (Ticket Office).
Purchase Your Ticket in Advance to Avoid Disappointment
There are several types of tickets: Daytime visit, Garden visit and Evening or Night visit.
TIP 16 : The Daytime visit includes all the areas of the Garden visit. The Garden Visit only includes part of the public areas.
Tickets can now be purchased directly from the Alhambra, when purchasing you will need to decide what time you want to visit the Nazrid Palaces.
- This visit includes the areas of the Alcazaba, Charles V Palace, the Nasrid Palaces, the Generalife, the Mosque baths and Gardens. It is also possible to visit those places that have been designated as "area of the month" (areas which are not normally accessible by the public), as long as these areas are included in the itineraries allowed in your ticket.
- There are two kinds of evening visits: evening visit around the Nasrid Palaces and evening visit around the Gardens.
- These visits are independent and incompatible because they take place at the same time.
- This ticket does not include the visit to The Alhambra during the daytime.
- This ticket provides you with the access to The Alhambra except to the Nasrid palaces.
- It is also possible to visit those places that have been designated as "area of the month" (areas which are not normally accessible by the public), as long as these areas are included within the itineraries allowed by this ticket.
- Visitors may access to the following gardens:
- Alhambra: Walk of the Cypresses (Paseo de los Cipreses), Unirrigated Land (Secano), Saint Francis´Gardens (Jardines de San Francisco.)
- Alcazaba: Garden of the Ramparts (Jardines de los Adarves.)
- The Partal: Portico of the Palace, Gardens and Walks, Rauda, Palace of Yusuff III, Tower Walk.
- Generalife: Lower Gardens and High Gardens.
- This ticket combines the visit to Nasrid Palaces lit at night and daytime visits to Alcazaba, the Generalife Gardens and Palace on two consecutive days.
- The night visit allows you to visit Nasrid Palaces with special illuminations.
- The visit commences at the Alhambra Atrium, continues along a passageway by the walls, looking onto the Torre del Agua (Water Tower), Torre de Baltasar de la Cruz, Torre de los Siete Suelos (Seven-Storeyed Tower), Tower del Capitán, Torre de la Bruja (Tower of the Witch) and Torre de las Cabezas (Tower of Heads), arriving at the Palace of Charles V (on visit) through the gates Puerta de la Justicia or the Puerta de los Carros.
- The visit continues through areas of the Nasrid Palaces.
Online Tickets - you can print a paper version with a QR code to use as your ticket.
Tickets ordered by phone - you will need to collect your tickets in Granada from The Alhambra. Phone The Alhambra Ticket Office +34 858 953 616
TIP 17 : Watch this video to learn more about the Alhambra Palace.