The Alhambra is a spectacular palace and fortress built in AD889. It’s located in the Andalusian city of Granada in Southern Spain. The name comes from the Arabic word “Al-Ḥamrā” which translates to “the red one”, both a nod to the reddish tones of its outer clay-walls and a testimony of Spain’s eight centuries-long Islamic ruling (nowadays referred to as the Al-Andalus era).
Strategically situated on a hill which is fairly difficult to access, the fortress is surrounded by forests and mountains. Its intricate location makes sense considering the Alhambra was originally designed as a military complex to protect the Muslim emirate (and then caliphate) from invasions. The Alcazaba was thus built in 1057 to house soldiers and it’s now the oldest part of the place. Over time, it became the residence of royalty and of Granada’s court. The first palace was built by its founder, King Mohammad ibn Yusuf ben Nasr in 1333.
It was then completed in the late 14th century by Sultan Yusuf I and then Muhammad V, both from the Arab Nasrid Dynasty. Several Nasrid palaces and most notably the Casa Real Vieja were built under their ruling. This dynasty also happened to be the last to rule over Spain until 1492. By that time, the Alhambra became a place of refuge and the last rampart before the Reconquista by Spanish Christians took over Spain, thus ending the Al-Andalus era.
After that, it became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella the Catholics. Christopher Columbus received royal benedictions for his exploring of the Americas in Alhambra’s court. Their successor, Charles Quint, most notably built the Renaissance eponymous palace right at the center of Alhambra in 1524.
Nowadays, the Alhambra sits as one of the most exquisite jewels on Spain’s crown. Its architecture, which mixes different styles from Moorish to Renaissance, is a testimony of the region’s rich history. It has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 and also has been the inspiration for many works of literature and music. It’s a must see for every person finding themselves in Granada as it’s most definitely the highlight of the beautiful city.
There are several types of tickets for the Alhambra, as explained below:
General Alhambra ticket: it includes a visit to Alcazaba, Nasrid Palaces, Generalife. The tickets prices are:
Night Visit to Nasrid Palaces: it includes a visit to the Alhambra Atrium and Nasrid Palaces. The tickets prices are:
Night Visit to Gardens and Generalife: it includes a visit to the gardens and palace of the Generalife. The tickets prices are:
Gardens, Generalife and Alcazaba: it includes a promenade of the Cypress Trees, Secano, Gardens of the Monastery of San Franicsco, Alcazaba, Partal and Palace of the Generalife. The tickets prices are:
Alhambra Experience: it includes a visit to the Nasrid Palaces, the Alcazaba and Gardens of Generalife. The tickets prices are:
Alhambra and Rodriguez Acosta Foundation Combined Tour: it includes a visit to the Alcazaba, Nasrid Palaces, Generalife, and the Carmen of the Rodriguez-Acosta Foundation. The tickets prices are:
If the Alhambra tickets are sold out on the official website and you are still looking for a last minute ticket we suggest you choose one of those two solutions:
If you are staying in another city, such as Seville or Màlaga, you can also book a day trip from there which include the entrance to the Alhambra. You can read more about it below.
You can enjoy a guided visit of the Alhambra by joining a group tour, a private tour or a night visit.
Yes, absolutely! Visiting alone might be a little difficult as you will find yourself confused by the itineraries. A private tour is an amazing option, as it will help you see the monuments calmly with the help of a guide, and allow you to have as much information as possible about the history of the palace.
Also, your tickets are already included in the tour; all you will have to do is meeting your guide at the entrance gate and start your visit!
The palace is opened weekly except on December 25th and January 1st. The overall schedule is split into two (from April 1st to October 14th and October 15th to March 31st) and parts of the Alhambra have different schedules.
Night visits to the Nasrid palaces
Night visits to the gardens and Generalife palace
If you are looking to make the most of your stay in Granada, know that combined tickets are available!
Check the website for available deals for Alhambra tickets paired with other monuments. Take advantage of combos offering visits to:
The Alhambra is located on Calle Real de la Alhambra, 18009 Granada, Spain.
There are several ways to reach the Alhambra from Granada’s city center.
If you are the athletic type (remember, it’s on a hill!), you can walk by foot to the splendid monument. There are several routes with different starting points: one at Cuesta de Goménez, roughly 1 kilometer away from the Alhambra (the longest path, but the most interesting scenery-wise) and one at Cuesta del Rey Chico, roughly 860 meters away. The whole journey should take approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
You can also take the bus. Several lines have stops near the Alhambra: the C30 (Alhambra – Centro) and the C32 (Alhambra-Albaicin) where you must get off at Alhambra-Generalife 2.
If you wish to go by car, two guarded parking lots are located near the Alhambra’s ticket booths. The price is around 2.80€ for an hour. You can reach the parking by Ronda Sur A-395 on Granada’s ring road. Take the Circunvalación de Granada’s N-323/A-44 road and follow the signs to the Alhambra. After passing the Serallo tunnels, take the 5A exit. Finally, take a left turn to the Avda. de Santa María de la Alhambra and then the Camino Viejo del Cementerio street and you should find yourself in the parking lot.
Seville is 260km far from the Alhambra in Granada. You can get to Granada by:
Remember: if you decide to go either by bus or train to Granada, you'll have to take a bus to get to Alhambra once you arrive at Granada's bus station or train station.
Malaga is 123 kilometers away from them Alhambra, Granada. To get to it, you can go by:
You can go to Granada from the Costa del Sol's towns (Torremolinos, Nerja, Marbella, etc.) by:
From Torremolinos: a 1h40 car ride by taking the A-92 highway or the A-7 and A-44 highway.
From Nerja: a 1h car ride by taking the A-7 and A-44 highway.
From Marbella: a 2h car ride, by taking either A-92, A-355 and A-92, or A-7 highway.
The best time to fully enjoy the Alhambra and its magnificent gardens is of course during spring and summer seasons! If you have time and possibility, you can also visit Alhambra in two parts: one during daytime and another at night. The experience just isn’t the same and both are equally incredible.
You must keep in mind that the Alhambra is extremely popular. Therefore, it’s busy at all time. The best way to ensure that you’ll be able to enter on your desired date is to pre-book tickets or guided visits. It is the only way to avoid queues and be sure to enter.