When we think of Granada, the first thing that comes to mind for many travellers is its legendary Alhambra. Declared a World Heritage Site, Granada received more than five million tourists in 2019, beating its all-time record.
As Spain's most popular monument, it is advisable to get tickets for the Alhambra in Granada at least a month or two in advance. If you want to include it in your trip to the city, there are several ways to discover this ancient Andalusian palace city. I will explain them below:
The full guided tour of the Alhambra including entrance tickets
Discovering the Alhambra and its historical and artistic importance is much more interesting if you do it with an expert guide. This guided tour also includes all entrance fees.
The best thing about this activity is the good value for money, as you will be able to visit the Alhambra, the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife with a specialised local guide. This guided tour lasts almost 4 hours and is very enjoyable thanks to the incredible places you will discover and the experience of the guide, which makes the tour a very pleasant visit.
Moreover, with these skip-the-line tickets you will be assured of direct access to the monument without waiting (something very important considering the large number of visitors to the Alhambra). You will be able to see the Nasrid Palaces, the Alcazaba, the Generalife, the palace of Charles V, the palace of El Partal and the Alhambra gardens.
You will take a real trip back in time to see what the Islamic kingdom of Granada was like in the Middle Ages, who ordered the Alhambra to be built, why it was erected and how it became the residence of the Christian royalty in 1492.
Why I like this option: this is the most complete option to get to know the Alhambra, the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife with an expert guide at a very reasonable price.
Recommended if... you want to complete your visit to Granada knowing the best kept secrets of the Alhambra.
For a little more, the same guided tour of the Alhambra in the moonlight
If you want to visit the Alhambra with an expert guide, but you are not seduced by the idea of joining a large group of tourists, consider the night option in a small group. As with the previous option, it also includes entrance to the monument.
If walking around the Alhambra and its gardens with an expert guide is an experience 100% recommendable, doing it in small groups and at night adds charm to the visit. In a small group (here there will be a maximum of 10 people) you will connect better with the guide, you will be able to ask more questions, make suggestions...
In general, night guided tours of the Alhambra tend to be more enjoyable and the difference in price makes up for it. In addition, doing it at dusk means that the complex is less crowded and you can enjoy the visit in a very special way.
Why I like this option: it is the complete tour of the Alhambra to discover its majesty with a guide but in a small group, which improves the quality of the experience.
Recommended if... you feel like adding a premium touch to the experience.
In summary, we compare the options
Discover the Alhambra in Granada, with an expert guide
Strolling through the gardens, courtyards and interior of the Alhambra is much more interesting if you do it with an expert guide to help you understand everything you see. Join a guided tour at the best price. Includes the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife.
A more intimate experience to discover the Alhambra with a guide
This option is perfect if you want to see a unique monument with the magic of special lighting. The tour is also for small groups of no more than 10 people.
How much does a guided tour of the Alhambra in Granada cost?
The price of the entrance to the Alhambra will depend on the kind of tour you book and what it includes. In Hellotickets you can compare prices and types of tickets (day or night tours, with or without guided tour, in small or standard groups, etc.) to choose the one that best suits your tastes and budget.
For example, you can find a guided tour of the Alhambra from €37 (including the Nasrid Palaces, the Generalife, the Alcazaba and the Palace of Charles V) in a standard group but if you are looking for a more personalised experience, you will also find options from €50 for a more exclusive version of this tour in a small group.
In the post Alhambra ticket prices I tell you everything you need to know about this and other issues such as how to book tickets in advance or what you can see for free in the Nasrid fortress. Don't miss it!
Why take a guided tour instead of visiting the Alhambra on your own?
Buying tickets and visiting the Alhambra without an expert guide is not the option I recommend. There is no doubt that if you explore the Alhambra on your own you will see a beautiful monument but the experience may not be enough.
It is a very large monumental complex divided into several parts, where if you are not familiar with its history and architecture you could miss many details and curiosities about the different spaces that compose it if it is the first time you visit it. In short, you won't get the overview of the Nasrid fortress that a professional guide provides.
Moreover, if you take a guided tour of the Alhambra you can be sure that you will have a great time because the guides don't just recite boring facts but interact with the group and know how to turn a cultural visit into a very enjoyable experience.
How long does it take to visit the Alhambra?
The average estimated time for a visit is 3 hours with a 30 minute wait in the entrance queue. However, it is difficult to determine how long it takes to see the Alhambra in Granada, as a visit to a monument of this size, historical importance and artistic beauty will depend on your fascination with it.
If you just want to see the Alhambra in order to add it to your list of travelling landmarks, this time may be enough to get an idea of what the palace complex is like, or even less. However, if you are passionate about history and art, you won't want to spend less than 4 or 6 hours inside the Alhambra to be able to explore it inch by inch in detail.
If you are planning a trip to Granada, in my article Duration of the Alhambra visit I tell you in detail how much time you will need to see the monument in its entirety or how long the visit to the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife lasts, among other questions.
How far in advance should I book the visit?
The Alhambra is the most visited monument in Spain and the eighth wonder of the world, so there is a great demand to visit it both nationally and internationally.
For security and conservation reasons the capacity is limited, so I advise you to book your guided tour of the Alhambra in Granada as far in advance as possible.
If your trip coincides with long weekends, weekends or public holidays, do so at least one or two months before the visit.
Do children have to pay to enter the Alhambra?
Indeed, the visit to the Alhambra is paid and it is compulsory for children to have a ticket to access this monumental complex. However, children can get them at a lower price than adults, which allows families to save a little on holidays, which is always a good thing.
If your dream is to visit the Alhambra and you would like to visit it as a family for less money or for free, in the post How to get free or discounted tickets to the Alhambra I tell you how you can do it.
This is one of the tips I give you when visiting the Nasrid fortress but if you are travelling to Granada with children, I recommend you to read the post Visit the Alhambra in Granada with children to see some more that will surely be useful for you.
Opening hours of the Alhambra
The monumental complex of the Alhambra is open every day except 25th December and 1st January. The opening hours of the Alhambra are as follows:
- Low season (from October 15th to March 31st) open from 8:30 AM to 6 PM.
- High season (from April 1st to October 14th) opens from 8:30 AM to 8 PM.
If you want to know more about the opening hours of the Alhambra and especially of such emblematic places inside the monument as the Nasrid Palaces or the Generalife, then I recommend you to read the article Timetables of the Alhambra in Granada where I explain everything in detail.
What is the best time to visit the Alhambra in Granada?
Normally, the best time is when the Alhambra opens. Early in the morning the monument is less crowded and after the visit you will have the rest of the day to do other excursions around the city.
In the afternoon, around 3 or 4 PM the number of visitors decreases somewhat, so it is also a good time to visit the Alhambra. You will also have the opportunity to enjoy the sunset as you stroll within its walls, watching the Alhambra as it is tinged with the reddish colour of the sunset light.
However, if you want to focus on seeing the Nasrid Palaces or the Generalife and its gardens, the night visits to the Alhambra(in summer at 10 PM and in winter at 8 PM) are very charming and are a highly recommended option if you want to enjoy the monument in an original and intimate way. Contemplating it in the stillness of the night and in the moonlight is a magical and enigmatic experience that you will love.
What is the best time of the year to visit the Alhambra in Granada?
To admire the beauty of the Generalife gardens in all their splendour and enjoy the good weather, spring (April, May, June) and autumn (September and October) are the best time of year.
During the summer, temperatures are very high and the heat is stifling. However, if you decide to visit the Alhambra in summer, remember to bring cool, comfortable clothes, a fan and a hat, and always be well hydrated.
In winter the trees of the Alhambra begin to change colour and the flowers begin to disappear. The change of season during the low season can also be a good time to visit this monument, if your priority is to admire its architecture and take photographs.
How to get to the Alhambra?
The fortress is located in the centre of the city, on a hill which can be reached by climbing up several slopes. There are several options to get to the Alhambra and depending on your preferences you can walk, take a bus or go by car.
If you leave the Plaza Nueva, all you have to do is take the Gomérez slope. When you reach the Puerta de las Granadas, turn left and continue until you reach the Puerta de la Justicia, which serves as the entrance to the Alhambra in Granada.
Several city bus lines make the journey to the Alhambra. These include the C30, C32 and C35. A single ticket costs 1.40 euros.
Cars can access the Alhambra via the Ronda Sur (A-395). Head towards the Granada ring road (N-323/ A-44), direction South (Motril). Once you have skirted the city you will see the direction Alhambra (Ronda Sur) to the monument's car park where you can park your car. The price is 2,35 euros/hour.
If you are planning a visit to the Alhambra, I tell you all the ways to get to the monument in the post How to get to the Alhambra.
Why is it worth visiting the Alhambra in Granada?
There are several reasons why I think that visiting the Alhambra in Granada is a must for any traveller. The whole monument is absolutely admirable and just by contemplating it from one of its viewpoints, blending in with its beautiful natural surroundings, you will feel like you are in a dream.
It is the most beautiful monument in Spain
To begin with, it is a world icon, a palatine city unique in Europe and a reference point for Islamic architecture and art in Spain. If you like cultural visits, in the Alhambra in Granada you will find a very special monument full of art and history that will leave you speechless.
To better understand its significance in the history of the country, I recommend you take a guided tour, which is always much more complete and interesting than doing it on your own.
To walk through the Alhambra is to contemplate Nasrid splendour
Unlike Medina Azahara, the other great Andalusian palace city in Cordoba that was destroyed after the end of the Umayyad caliphate, the Alhambra in Granada is in an excellent state of conservation and walking through its different spaces is like taking a trip back in time to the last years of the splendour of Al-Andalus. You can feel the Arab essence in every building and street like nowhere else.
Among all the spaces that make up the Nasrid fortress, the Nasrid Palaces stand out in particular, the great jewel of the monumental complex and a sample of the good taste and refinement of this dynasty. They will leave you speechless!
A source of artistic inspiration
Moreover, the Alhambra in Granada is a place full of mysteries and legends that inspired many travellers and romantic artists such as Washington Irving for his famous book "Tales of the Alhambra". Who knows? If you have a bohemian soul, maybe the Alhambra is also your source of inspiration.
The incomparable beauty of its setting
Without a doubt, the Alhambra in Granada occupies a privileged place, where the beautiful landscape that surrounds it and its architectural delicacy blend perfectly with each other. A dream place where you can enjoy taking some of the best photographs of your trip.
The beautiful and delicate gardens of the Alhambra
Enjoying the surroundings and the gardens of the Generalife on the Cerro del Sol hill is another reason to visit the Alhambra in Granada. The most beautiful thing about these gardens, in my opinion, is the interplay between the vegetation, the light and the water in the pools. A symbol of the paradise promised by God on Earth.
How to make the most of your visit to the Alhambra
When we think of Granada, the first monument that comes to mind and with which we associate this charming Andalusian city is the Alhambra.
The visit does not disappoint, which is why it is Spain's most popular tourist attraction and a must-see during a trip to the ancient Nasrid kingdom.
In case you are planning to visit Granada soon, I recommend you to take a look at the post Tips for visiting the Alhambra where you will find very useful information to get the most out of this experience.
Eat well near the Alhambra
With permission of its legendary Alhambra, if Granada is known for something, it is for its delicious gastronomy and the art of tapas. One of the best memories I took away with me was precisely this, the flavours of this land.
If you have already booked your hotel and tickets to the Alhambra, the next step is to do the same in a restaurant in the city so that when you leave the tour of the monument you don't have to live an odyssey in the middle of rush hour trying to get a free table in such a touristy area.
So that you don't have to look for a good restaurant at the last minute with all the stress that this entails, in the article Where to eat near the Alhambra you will see some suggestions where you can have a great meal very close to the palace city and with wonderful views.
What other places to see in Granada?
Granada is the land of dreams for many travellers to enjoy an unforgettable getaway.
Itis a charming city that many fall in love with because of the lively atmosphere in its streets and bars, the warmth of its people and, of course, the beautiful historical and cultural heritage it treasures, the result of the passage of different peoples who have left their mark here over the centuries.
The Alhambra is the most popular monument in the city, but it is not the only one,Granada is full of dream places waiting for you to discover them!
If you don't know where to start, I recommend you take a look at the article The best guided tours and excursions in Granada to get some ideas. The best thing is that they are organised activities where you just have to let yourself go and have a great time.
If you fancy a more relaxing but equally authentic experience, don't hesitate to enjoy a hammam ritual in the Arab baths of Granada.