Discover the Alhambra, a UNESCO icon of Granada and the eighth wonder of the world
[Updated January 2023]
Set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, the Alhambra palace is one of the greatest surviving examples of Islamic architecture in Europe, and an icon of Granada’s Moorish past.
The network of red-stone palaces (Alhambra means ‘red fort’ in Arabic) sit atop the hills of the Darro Valley – each building telling its own unique story. Within the walls, discover an opulent Moorish interior of intricate tile work, gold decoration, and regal columns before exploring the manicured rose gardens, terraces, and trickling fountains.
For a different perspective, head to the Mirador de San Nicolas in bustling Albaicín, where you can look directly onto the Alhambra and surrounding valley scenery. Admire the architectural masterpiece as you watch the sun go down, bathing the red walls in the most beautiful light.
Discover more information on how to buy Alhambra tickets online with this informative guide.
Índice de contenidos
- 1 How to visit the Alhambra
- 2 How to buy tickets for the Alhambra
- 3 Types of Alhambra tickets
- 4 The most unique way to see the Alhambra
- 5 Behind the scenes of Alhambra
How to visit the Alhambra
Visiting the Alhambra is an unforgettable way to experience Andalusia’s Islamic past. One of Spain’s most beautiful palaces and often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world, the fortress is home to three groups of buildings: the Palacios Nazaríes (Nasrid palaces), the palace gardens of the Generalife, and the Alcazaba.
Once ruled by Nasrids, the rulers of Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain), the palace is one of the finest examples of an Islamic building in Europe. Because of this, it’s one of the most popular things to do in Granada, so we recommend booking your tour well in advance.
Quick tips to know before visiting
- You can only stay in the Alhambra for an allocated amount of time.
- Some of the buildings are ticketed, so you have to be there at your designated time to enter.
- Bring your walking shoes; the complex is large, and you’ll spend several hours exploring the beauty of Granada’s Moorish past.
- Get some context and experience the Moorish influence by exploring the rest of Granada, especially the historic Albaicin neighborhood.
- Don’t forget to bring your tickets and passport with you. Tickets are nominative, so a passport number is required.
How to buy tickets for the Alhambra
There are numerous ways to buy Alhambra tickets online. Here are some of the best ways to guarantee your visit to the palace of Granada.
Alhambra tickets on the Patronato website
Buying tickets to the Alhambra from their Patronato website is quick and easy, thanks to an intuitive site design. Book a few weeks in advance as it’s one of the most visited monuments in Spain. However, if you can’t get tickets the first time, keep trying, there might be availability later on.
Alhambra tickets with the Granada Card
Get access to Granada’s most important monuments and transport services with the Granada Card. This is a great option to secure entry to the Alhambra, as the website reserves an allotted number of tickets, especially for Granada Card members.
If you’re spending more than one night in the city, you can also book accommodation using the Granada Card Pernocta for more favorable rates and added benefits.
When choosing both options, you’ll receive a 30% discount on other tourist services, such as Alhambra bus tickets. Sales are open for three calendar months in advance, so you can ensure that you won’t miss out on anything during your stay in Granada.
Can I buy Alhambra tickets on the day?
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to buy tickets on the day, but if there are any available, you’ll find them at Alhambra’s ticket office. We don’t recommend this option as it’s so easy to buy tickets online, and we would only suggest it as a last-minute attempt as it’s often impossible in the high season.
Types of Alhambra tickets
Whether you want to visit Alhambra’s gardens by day or explore the Nasrid palaces by night, there’s a ticket for every type of requirement.
Select this option to visit the entire complex, from the original citadel at the Alcazaba to the Nasrid palaces and beautiful Generalife gardens. This is the most popular and best option as it gives you a complete immersion into Granada’s rich history.
Alhambra and Carmen Fundación Rodríguez Acosta
Along with a general visit, you’ll also get the chance to experience one of Granada’s most original Cármenes: the Fundación Rodríguez Acosta. The building is a blend of various architectural styles and was created by Granada-born artist José María Rodríguez Acosta and displays works by Francisco Pacheco, Alonso Cano, and Francisco de Zurbarán.
Gardens, Generalife, and Alcazaba
Explore the beautiful pools and fountains of the palace gardens and experience the Sultan’s summer escape and ancient Alcazaba citadel. This ticket doesn’t include a visit to the Nasrid palaces.
Night Visit to the Nasrid Palaces
Discover the secrets and conspiracies of the Nasrid rulers with a visit to the Nasrid palaces at nighttime. The Nasrid palaces are Alhambra’s stunning centerpiece, also known as the Palacios Nazaríes.
Night visit to the Gardens and the Generalife
See the beautiful gardens and Generalife under a blanket of stars with this unique night tour. Wander past the patios, pools, and fountains as you inhale the intoxicating scent of the beautiful gardens. Many people choose to visit during the day and night for a different perspective.
The most unique way to see the Alhambra
When discovering the Alhambra, you can visit the complex alone or opt for a local tour guide. If you plan to visit by yourself, we recommend reading up on the fascinating history of the Nasrid rule in Andalusia to fully experience the incredible buildings and gardens.
At Cicerone, we’ve been showing visitors around Alhambra and Granada since 2003 and offer private tours of the city. We take this approach as we believe large groups are less personable and can affect the experience of the monument itself. Instead, we create personal tours with sustainability in mind, ensuring our groups are small to help preserve the surroundings we treasure so much. Our guides are always local tourism professionals and have an in-depth knowledge of the city’s history and cultural heritage.
Behind the scenes of Alhambra
We’ll take you around the Alhambra complex on either a private tour or a small group tour, where we’ll tell you the fascinating tales and mysteries of Moorish rule. Ask your burning questions, and we’ll delve deeper into the topics that interest you the most. We also offer a full-day tour in Granada, with a private visit to the Alhambra and Dobla de Oro monuments to fully immerse yourself in Granada’s exciting Hispanic-Muslim culture.
Alternatively, opt for an exclusive Alhambra night tour, where we’ll explore the beautiful palaces and gardens bathed in moonlight.
There are various ways to buy Alhambra tickets online for your eagerly-anticipated trip to Granada. Whether you’re dropping in for a quick visit or have plenty of time to spare, there are several tours to choose from. Immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and step back in time by joining a Cicerone guided tour; it’s the perfect way to delve further into the Nasrid rule and the secrets of the beautiful Alhambra palace.
Visit the Alhambra with a tour tailored to you