Alhambra

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.

How much do Alhambra tickets cost?

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:

  • Adults: €14.85
  • EU Youth Card holders: €9.54
  • People with disabilities over 32%: €8.48
  • EU citizens over 65: €9.54
  • Under 15-12: €8.48
  • Children under 12: Free

Night Visit to Nasrid Palaces: it includes a visit to the Alhambra Atrium and Nasrid Palaces. The tickets prices are:

  • Adults: €8.48
  • EU Youth Card holders: €6.36
  • Children under 12: Free

Night Visit to Gardens and Generalife: it includes a visit to the gardens and palace of the Generalife. The tickets prices are:

  • Adults: €5.30
  • EU Youth Card holders: €4.24
  • Under 12: Free

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:

  • Adults: €7.42
  • EU Youth Card holders: €6.36
  • Under 12: Free

Alhambra Experience: it includes a visit to the Nasrid Palaces, the Alcazaba and Gardens of Generalife. The tickets prices are:

  • Adults: €14.85
  • Under 12: Free

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:

  • Adults: €18.03
  • EU Youth Card holders: €12.79
  • People with disabilities over 32%: €11.73
  • EU Citizens over 65: €12.79
  • Under 15-12: €11.73
  • Under 12: Free

How can you book your tickets last minute?

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:

  • Buy an Alhambra card: it includes, among other things, an Alhambra entrance ticket. Don't forget to select the day of the visit for the Alhambra when you buy the card. It usually costs €49.
  • Book a guided tour: this option allows you to have access to Alhambra even when tickets are sold out, plus a guided tour explaining everything you need to know about Alhambra. It usually lasts 3 hours and the prices start from €28. There are several companies offering tours, so make sure to check TourScanner to compare tours prices.

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.

Which kind of guided visits are available?

You can enjoy a guided visit of the Alhambra by joining a group tour, a private tour or a night visit.

  • Group tours: visit the Alhambra in a group tour and enjoy the beautiful sights with the help of an expert, that will explain the history of the city and its monuments.
  • Private tours: if you dislike groups and crowds, we suggest you then to choose a private tour and enjoy the visit with the help of your guide.
  • Night tours: if you're looking for a more quiet and relaxed tour then we suggest you choose this option and enjoy an amazing night tour of this magical place!

Are private tours worth it?

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!

What are Alhambra’s opening hours?

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.

Day visits

  • From April 1st to October 14th: 8.30am to 8pm. The ticket booth opens at 8am.
  • From October 15th to March 31st: 8.30am to 6pm. The ticket booth opens at 8am.

Night visits to the Nasrid palaces

  • From April 1st to October 14th: 10pm to 11.30pm. The ticket booth opens at 9pm and closes at 10.45pm.
  • From October 15th to March 31st: 8pm to 9.30pm. The ticket booth opens at 7pm and closes at 8.45pm

Night visits to the gardens and Generalife palace

  • From April 1st to October 14th: 10pm to 11.30pm from Monday to Saturday. The ticket booth opens at 9am and closes at 10.45am.
  • From October 15th to November 14th: from 8pm to 9.30pm. The ticket booth opens at 7pm to 8.45pm.

Are there any combined tickets available?

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:

How to get to the Alhambra from the city center?

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.

How to get to Alhambra from Seville?

Seville is 260km far from the Alhambra in Granada. You can get to Granada by:

  • Car: You can take the A-92 highway and it will take you approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes to get to Granada.
  • Train: You can take the train from Seville San Bernardo train station. It takes approximately 3 hours to get to Granada.
  • Bus: You can take the bus from the Prado bus station in Seville. It takes approximatevely 3 hours to get to Granada bus station.

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.

How to get to the Alhambra from Màlaga?

Malaga is 123 kilometers away from them Alhambra, Granada. To get to it, you can go by:

  • Car: You can take the A-92 highway for a 1 hour and 35 minutes ride.
  • Bus: From the Malaga bus station (Estation de Autobuses de Malaga), you can take a 2h bus ride to Granada's bus station (Estation de Autobuses de Granada).
  • Day tour: If you want to have a pre-organized trip which includes a guided visit of the Palace, opt for a full-day trip from Malaga to the Alhambra.

How can you visit the Alhambra from the towns in Costa del Sol (Torremolinos, Nerja, Marbella, etc.)?

You can go to Granada from the Costa del Sol's towns (Torremolinos, Nerja, Marbella, etc.) by:

  • Car:  

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.

  • Bus: Usually, you'll have to take a bus from one of the town's main bus station (for example, the Terminal Torremolinos Estation de Autobuses de Marbella ) to Malaga's bus station (Estacion de Autobuses de Malaga). From there, you'll have to take another bus to Granada's bus station (Estacion de Autobuses de Granada). It takes three to four hours to get to Granada.
  • Day trip: you can also choose a day tour to go to Granada, which includes a guided visit of the Alhambra. Several tours depart from the towns in Costa del Sol, for example Marbella, Nerja or Torremolinos.

What is the best time to visit the Alhambra? Is it better to visit in the morning or afternoon?

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.

Travel tips

  • Book ahead and online! The Alhambra is one of the most popular attraction in the entire Spain. Only a limited amount of tickets is available daily and it’s not uncommon for tourists to get told at the booth that the venue is fully booked. To avoid that, we strongly advise you to book online at least several weeks before your desired date of the visit.
  • Respect the entry time indicated on your ticket! Look on your ticket to see the entry time (that you should have chosen yourself) to the Nasrid Palaces and don’t be late. You’ll be refused entry. This area of the Alhambra is especially popular and sought after, so you must take your precautions and arrive on time. Once there, you’ll be able to stay as long as you wish. If you buy a guided tour, your guide will lead you to the Nasrid Palace at the correct time. You do not need to worry in that case.  
  • Take your time! The Alhambra is one of a kind and you’ll probably only be able to see it one in your lifetime so enjoy it at its fullest by not rushing your visit.  The average visit lasts around 2 to 3 hours.