10 Helpful Tips for a Trip to Alhambra

Looking for tips on a successful trip to Alhambra?  If you are looking to plan a trip to visit Alhambra you may be hard pressed to find details.  Alhambra is largely considered to be one of the top 10 wonders of the world – and it brings nearly 9,000 people to Granada every day.  If you are visiting Spain – Alhambra is a must see, use our tips below to make sure your visit is a success!

  1. Get Tickets Early – tickets can sell out FAST.  One of the first things you should do when planning to go to Spain is to reserve your tickets for Alhambra.  Try to book your tickets around 3 months before you plan on going.  Since they limit the number of entrants each day – you can find that tickets may be sold out even a month in advance.  Don’t forget you will need a ticket to enter the grounds and a timed ticket to tour the Nasrid Palace within the grounds.  Don’t panic if there are no tickets remaining – you have three other options
    1. Look for the Dobla de Oro tickets – these are also available through Ticketmaster, and include entry into a few other sites around Granada – and are very similarly priced to the normal tickets
    2. The Granadacard is a tourist card for sites in Granada, you can use these to get in to Alhambra
    3. Use Viator – there are several paid tours of the site – which will be more expensive but you will have a guide lead you through the site.
  2. Mirador San Nicolas – If you are staying in Granada for longer than one day, be sure to make a stop at this scenic overlook.  This is a great place to watch the sunset with the Alhambra palace as the background.
  3. Pick a shift – when you get your tickets you will have to chose either the morning or afternoon shift.  I prefer getting the afternoon shift so I am not rushed in the morning.  The afternoon shift also makes for stunning photos as you get to see the grounds during sunset.  When picking your tickets for visiting the Nasrid Palaces – I suggest getting tickets early in the shift.  If you get the first tour of the shift you will have to fight less crowds (but be aware you will have to rush to get to the entrance of the palace as it is not in the same place as the entrance to the grounds.  Even though you have a timed ticket – that only means you have to start the tour within your time – you can take as long as you want, so later shifts may have to contend with bigger crowds as people take longer than normal.  One thing to keep in mind: They are very strict with the times, so be sure to stay on schedule – if you show up late they will not let you in.
  4. Getting There – you have two options
    1. Metro Bus – take the C3 bus from Plaza Isabel La Catolica to the Generalife ticket office
    2. Walk – there are several routes that lead to the Alhambra.  Take either Cuesta de Gomerez or Cuesta del Rey Chico for the 30 min walk from the city center to the gates.
  5. Picking Up Tickets Early – the easiest way to skip the lines at the ticket office is to pick up your tickets before getting to Alhambra.  You can use the vending machines in Tienda de La Alhambra, which is in the city center very close to Plaza Isabel La Catolica to get your tickets.  This way when you get to the site you already have tickets and can go straight in.
  6. What Order to Go In –
    • If you start at the main gate – start in the Medina, head towards the Alcazaba, followed by the Nasrid Palces and finally the Generalife.
    • If you have already picked up tickets and have one of the first Nasrid Palace tours you can start at the Justice Gate which is very close to the Nasrid Palace (but there is no ticket office there – YOU MUST ALREADY HAVE YOUR TICKETS).  You can then do the Nasrid Palaces, followed by the Alcazaba and the Medina and finish with the Generalife Gardens.
  7. Use the audioguide – most tickets will include the use of a free audio guide.  I highly suggest using these, they guide you through all parts of the tour and give you lots of history you would not otherwise know.  While there are lots of guide books with tours – the free audioguide will allow you to focus on the magnificent architecture and beautiful gardens rather than a book.
  8. Pack a snack – there are very few options for food within the park (and those that exist are overpriced).  Bring a snack so you can utilize all of your allotted time period to explore the grounds.
  9. How to get to Granada – if you are coming from Seville the easiest way to get to the city is via train.  From Malaga there are hourly buses which will get you to Granada in 90 minutes.  From other major cities in Spain (as well as Portugal) use sites like Skyscanner to find the cheapest flight into to Granada International (flights from Madrid, Lisbon, Valencia and Barcelona operate on a daily basis).
  10. Dont skip the Alcazaba – hidden behind the Nasrid Palace, the Alcazba has some of the most scenic views of Granada.  This is a great place to take pictures or escape the crowds of the Nasrid Palace.  This is the least popular of the three main areas of the Alhambra, but it is not something that should be missed.

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