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Granada may not be one of the most generally recognizable cities in Spain among tourists, but the city does have one special landmark that puts it on the map: the Alhambra. This phenomenal attraction is a big part of any Granada itinerary, so making the most of your time at the Alhambra will go a long way to enjoying your time in the city. Planning for your visit is crucial to getting the most out of the experience, and a big part of that is making sure you get the Alhambra tickets that work best for you.
To help you with your planning, we’ve created this guide on how to buy tickets for the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.
Quick Answer – How to Buy Tickets to the Alhambra: Unless you like spending your vacation waiting in long lines, we highly recommended you either book your skip-the-line Alhambra tickets in advance here or book a guided tour of the Alhambra. Out of these two, the guided tour is the better option as you get to learn about the history of this beautiful palace from an expert guide.
Best Ways to Get Tickets to the Alhambra
Because it is the most popular and iconic attraction in Granada, there are several different ways to buy tickets for the Alhambra. Some people don’t realize all the options there are for getting Alhambra tickets, so we’ve laid them all out below to help you find the right one for you.
1. Line-Up in Person (Not Recommended)
As with any famous tourist attraction, the worst way to buy tickets for the Alhambra is waiting until you get there on the day and lining up at the ticket office. Not only will you have to wait in the line to purchase your Alhambra tickets, you run the risk of missing out if all the time slots for the Nasrid Palaces are already sold out. Lines for tickets can easily take over an hour, so even if tickets aren’t sold out, you’re losing precious time from your vacation just standing around in a line.
2. Book Online (Recommended)
A much smarter option for getting your tickets for the Alhambra Palace is to go online and book tickets for the Alhambra in advance. Skip-the-line tickets to the Alhambra can be bought online up to the day prior to the visit and will give you a much better chance of not missing out. Not only do they save you time lining up, they also help you plan your day better as you’ll already know the time slot for your visit to the Nasrid Palaces.
Tickets can be bought through the official website for the Alhambra; however, these tickets are personal, nontransferable, and nonrefundable. That is why we recommend booking your tickets through this link, which will allow you to cancel up to 24 hours in advance and receive a full refund. It should be said that these tickets are a bit more expensive, but they offer you peace of mind that you can get your money back if your plans change.
No matter which way you go, be sure to book your tickets with as much notice as possible to ensure you get exactly the ticket you want.
3. Book a Guided Tour
To really understand and appreciate the significance and history of the Alhambra, you’ll want to consider taking a guided tour for your visit. Unfortunately, guided tours of the Alhambra are not offered through the official website, so the only way to arrange one is to book through a link like this.
This kind of visit comes with an experienced guide who will show you around and skip-the-line tickets to the Alhambra to really help you get the most from the experience. With a tour, you have the choice of either joining a small group tour or having a private tour all to yourself.
4. Purchase a Granada Card
The Alhambra isn’t the only attraction in Granada worth seeing, so chances are you’ll be doing quite a bit of sightseeing during your visit. If that’s the case, you’ll definitely want to investigate the Granada Card and see if it’s right for you.
This special city pass includes access to a range of major Granada attractions, including the Granada Cathedral, Royal Chapel, and Casa De Zafra, as well as travel on the city’s public transport. There are also versions of the Granada Card, namely its 48 and 72 hour versions, that include full tickets for the Alhambra without a guide.
Whether the Granada Card is right for you depends on how much sightseeing you have planned. If you’re planning on doing a lot, it could end up saving you quite a bit of money on entrance fees and transport costs.
Useful Information for Visiting the Alhambra
Alhambra Hours of Operation
The Alhambra is open every day of the week during the day but is open at night only on certain days of the week. The site is closed on December 25 and January 1.
Opening hours are set differently for high season and low season, with high season occurring from April 1 to October 14 and low season occurring from October 15 to March 31. During high season, the daytime opening hours are 8:30 to 20:00, while in low season, they are from 8:30 to 18:00.
Alhambra tours at night are held from Tuesday to Saturday in high season and only on Friday and Saturday in low season. Opening hours during high season are from 22:00 to 23:30 and during low season from 20:00 to 21.30. The ticket office closes 45 minutes before the attraction closes.
What’s the Best Time to Visit the Alhambra?
Not only are there better tickets to get than others, there are also better times to visit the Alhambra than others. Knowing the best times to visit can help you plan your visit, but, ultimately, the best time to visit is whenever you’re able to get tickets.
Granada is best visited during spring and autumn, when there’s a balance of nice weather and fewer tourists. The same holds true for the Alhambra, with April to June and October to November great times to visit. However, if you’re after the quietest time of year, then consider coming in winter.
The Alhambra is generally at its quietest first thing in the morning as the site opens, because it’s before the tour groups arrive. Another good time is midafternoon, during the local lunch hour. Although night visits of the Alhambra are usually quieter than during the daytime, some visitors find that the experience of visiting at night suffers a little due to the way things are illuminated.
How to Get to the Alhambra
Visitors looking to get to the Alhambra once in Granada will find that they have a couple of options for reaching the tourist attraction from the center of the city.
For those who don’t mind stretching their legs, the easiest way to reach the Alhambra is on foot. From a central spot like Plaza Nueva, simply head up Cuesta de Gomérez to the Puerta de las Granadas and then follow the signs along the pedestrian path. The walk should take 15 to 20 minutes.
If you don’t feel like walking up the hill to the site, the other option is to take a bus. There are three local buses that travel up to near the Alhambra, two of which stop at the Puerta de la Justicia right by the entrance. They are the C30 that runs from Plaza Isabel la Católica in the city center and the C32 that runs from the neighborhood of Albaicín.
The final bus option is the C35, which also goes from the Plaza Isabel la Católica but instead stops at the official car park to the Alhambra, a very short walk from the ticket office. Single trip tickets for buses in Granada start at €1.40.
How Do Alhambra Tickets Work?
To get the most out of your visit to the Alhambra, it’s important that you understand how tickets for the palace of Alhambra work. The types of tickets available include access to various combinations of attractions at different times of the day, so you’ll want to buy tickets for the Alhambra that suit how you want to visit.
There are four main sections of the Alhambra that require tickets to see: the Alcazaba, the Generalife, the Gardens, and the Nasrid Palaces. The Alhambra General ticket covers access to all four of these attractions, while the Gardens, Generalife and Alcazaba ticket excludes access to the Nasrid Palaces.
Visits to the Nasrid Palaces come with a specific half-hourly time slot of when you’re allowed to enter and visit. If you miss this time slot, you won’t be allowed in.
A special aspect of the Alhambra is that it’s possible to visit certain attractions at night. There are night tours of the Nasrid Palaces that you can combine with the Gardens, Generalife, and Alcazaba ticket if there are no time slots available during the day. It’s also possible to visit the Gardens and Generalife at night.
Tickets that are booked online come with a QR code that must be shown either printed out or digitally on your smartphone; this includes free tickets for children under 12.
How Much Do Tickets for the Alhambra Cost?
The cost of tickets for the Alhambra Palace through the official website depends on which parts of the complex you choose to visit. There are quite a few different types of tickets, but we’ll cover the prices for the most common tickets for the Palace of Alhambra and its attractions. Prices listed do not include the small commission and tax added to the ticket price.
The all-inclusive Alhambra General ticket for a daytime visit costs €14 for adults, while the Gardens, Generalife, and Alcazaba ticket costs €7 for a daytime visit. Tickets for a night visit to the Nasrid Palaces cost €8 for adults, while a night visit to the Gardens and Generalife cost €5. The Charles V Palace, the Alhambra Museum, and the Mosque baths all have free admission to the public.
EU citizens over 65 years of age, EU citizens with a youth card, visitors with a certified disability, and children aged 12 to 15 can get various discounts on tickets. Children under 12 enter free.
Hotels Near the Alhambra in Granada
If visiting the Alhambra is one of your main reasons for you to go to Granada, then it may be that you want to stay close by. Granada has plenty of places for you to choose from, and quite a few of them are conveniently close to the city’s most famous landmark. Still, here are a few suggestions to help you get started.
For a special stay full of luxury and refinement, choose the Hotel Alhambra Palace. This five-star hotel sits right below the Alhambra and boasts both gorgeous rooms and attentive service.
An excellent hotel that puts you close to the Alhambra without a huge price tag is the Hotel Alixares. This four-star hotel boasts an outdoor pool and stunning views that won’t break your budget, and it will only take you a short walk to reach the Alhambra ticket office.
Granada is home to a great range of budget options, with Hostal la Ninfa one of the closest to the Alhambra. This charming hostel is found at the foot of the hill and is only 10 minutes by foot from the entrance.
Security Process at the Alhambra
Even if you do organize tickets for the Alhambra Palace that allow you to skip the ticket line, you’ll still have to contend with the line through security. To make that process go as smoothly as possible, it helps to know what you can and cannot bring inside the Alhambra complex.
Backpacks and bags are carefully controlled at security. Bags any larger than 40 cm by 40 cm are not allowed to be brought in and instead must be deposited at the free lockers by the access pavilion and the Puerta del Vino. Small backpacks that are allowed in must be worn on your front to prevent any accidental contact with walls.
Strollers are not permitted inside the Alhambra. Instead, visitors may store their stroller and use a rented baby backpack to take their baby around during their visit.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all visitors must wear masks when visiting the Alhambra.
Visiting the Alhambra With a Disability
Various measures have been put in place around the Alhambra to assist visitors with disabilities.
These measures include touch points that communicate the details of the complex for those with visual impairments, audio guides with audio descriptions, and a sign language audio guide service for those with hearing impairments. Accredited assistance dogs and therapy and social support dogs are permitted in the Monumental Complex.
Wheelchairs are available for loan at the Entrance Pavilion. As it’s not yet possible for those visiting the Alhambra with a wheelchair to access all spaces without inconveniences or obstacles, there is a dedicated itinerary provided for them.
FAQ – Facts About the Alhambra
What Is the Alhambra?
The Alhambra is a historic fortress complex that is home to palaces and gardens.
When Was the Alhambra Built?
Although the entire complex was built in stages, the most important period of construction was from 1238 to 1358.
How Old is the Alhambra?
The oldest parts of the Alhambra are almost 800 years old.
Who Built the Alhambra?
The Alhambra was built under Ibn al-Aḥmar, the first ruler of the Emirate of Granada who founded the Nasrid dynasty.
Why Was the Alhambra Built?
Ibn al-Aḥmar ordered the Alhambra built as a residence and citadel from which he could govern the Emirate of Granada.
Where Is the Alhambra Located?
The Alhambra is located on La Sabika, a hill to the east of the center of Granada, on top of the foundations of an older fortress.
Now that you have all this information at your disposal, planning your trip to Granada and the Alhambra shouldn’t be hard. We know that you’re bound to have a much better experience if you take the time now to plan ahead and save yourself time and hassle.