Visiting the Alhambra - Spain Away View of the Alhambra
Visiting the Alhambra - Spain Away Patio de Los Leones
Visiting the Alhambra - Spain Away Generalife
Visiting the Alhambra - Spain Away Inscription from the Koran on Alhambra wall

OVERVIEW OF THE ALHAMBRA

The oldest part of the Alhambra is called the Alcazaba, or citadel, and only its massive outer walls, towers and ramparts are left. The most distinctive feature of the Alcazaba is its watch tower, the Torre de la Vela, and it was here that the flag of Ferdinand and Isabella was first raised to mark the Spanish re-conquest of Granada in 1942.

The Palaces of the Moorish monarchs (Los Palacios Nazaríes) are made up of a maze of beautiful courtyards linked by passageways and corridors, and filled with fountains, plants and ornamental ponds. One of these is the famous Patio of the Lions, with its central fountain supported by twelve lions in white marble, not designed with sculptural accuracy, but as emblems of strength and courage.

The Generalife was the Moorish rulers’ summer residence set to the east of the Alhambra and boasts magnificent gardens which, with their clipped hedges, grottos, fountains, and cypress avenues, are said to retain their original Moorish character.

The Renaissance-style Palace of Carlos V was added later by the Christian monarchs, and some of the original Arab architecture within the complex was also altered and restored over the years, including work to repair damage caused by an earthquake in 1821.

GETTING TICKETS

In order to protect the monument, there is a limit to the number of visitors per day. Therefore ticket numbers are limited and are sold according to availability. The tickets are always in great demand so advance booking is recommended.

If you decide just to turn up on the day get there as early as possible and be prepared not to get a ticket. The maximum number of tickets per person per day is five and the ticket is valid only for the day of the visit.

Tickets are issued for entry in the morning, afternoon or evening and once you are inside you may stay until the end of the time limit on your ticket. During the daytime you can either buy a general day ticket, which gives you access to everything – the Palacios Nazaríes, the Alcazaba, the Generalife and gardens – or a gardens visit, which gives you access to the gardens, Generalife, Alcazaba but NOT to the Palacios Nazaríes. The evening visit ONLY includes the Palacios Nazaríes.

If you already have a ticket then enter the grounds via the Justice Gate (La Puerta de la Justicia), otherwise go to the ticket office in the Access Pavilion (el Pabellón de Acceso).

ACCESS TO THE PALACIOS NAZARÍES

Your ticket will assign you a half-hour time slot for entrance to the Palacios Nazaríes, due to a maximum of 300 people being allowed in every half hour. If you miss your assigned time slot you will not be allowed in. It therefore makes sense to enter the Alhambra well before your assigned time. You can then visit other sections of the Alhambra beforehand. The last entrance time for the Palaces will be one hour before closing time.

OPENING HOURS

From November to February Visiting hours Ticket office

Daytime visits*
(Monday to Sunday)

8:30 - 18:00 8:00 - 17:00

Evening visits
(Friday and Saturday only)

20:00 - 21:30 19:30 - 20:30

 

From March to October Visiting hours Ticket office

Daytime visits*
(Monday to Sunday)

8:30 - 20:00 8:00 - 19:00

Evening visits
(Every day except Sunday and Monday)

22:00 - 23:30 21:30 - 22:30

(*) The daytime visits are in two sessions, morning tickets (08.30-14:00) and afternoon tickets (14:00 to closing).

Tickets can either be bought at the ticket office on the day of your visit or in advance. In either case, the maximum number of tickets per person is ten.

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