10 Visiting Alhambra Tips
Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Spanish Cultural Heritage and one of the Seven Wonders Of The Muslim World. In other words, it’s a must-see if you’re in Andalusia. It’s located in Granada, a gorgeous town with so much more to offer than just Alhambra. Read my article on why I fell in love with Granada and why I recommend spending at least one night there, or better yet, two nights. But now, back to Alhambra. After my visit, I wrote down a few visiting Alhambra tips, so you can have a hassle-free time there.
Buy Your Tickets Early Enough
One of my first visiting Alhambra tips is to buy your ticket online at the official Alhambra webpage in advance, otherwise, you might not be able to visit at all.
I was pretty surprised at the cheap tickets, only €14 per person in the off-season. But you need to book your tickets in advance, like really in advance. I visited at the end of October and managed to buy a ticket two weeks in advance. Usually, tickets sell out months in advance. So, as soon as you know when you’ll be in the south of Spain, check the tickets on the official Alhambra website. You might even want to check for tickets first and plan your trip around those dates. So again the most important of my visiting Alhambra tips is to get your ticket early enough otherwise you won’t be able to see it at all.
If the official tickets are sold out, you can check some third-party guided tours. In general, I don’t think you need a guided tour. I prefer walking at my own pace and reading things up on my phone if need be. A guided tour will also be more expensive, but better an expensive guided tour than missing out on Alhambra because the tickets were sold out.
Bring Your Passport
When you buy your ticket you already need to fill out your passport details and you’re reminded to bring the passport to your visit. So I did read that I need to bring my passport when I booked my ticket, but when the day of my visit came I almost forgot it. Because I usually leave my passport in my hotel for safety reasons. So, another one of my visiting Alhambra tips, it’s very important to bring your passport, you need to show it at every entrance. You also need to show your ticket, an online version on your phone is fine. So make sure that your phone has enough battery for the whole day to take pictures and to show your ticket. I always bring a battery bank with me on sightseeing days.
You need to show your passport and ticket at the entrances to the three main things to see at Alhambra: Generalife Garden, Alcazaba and Nasrid Palace. To walk between those main sights, which is to say to see the gates and the Palace of Charles the V does not require a ticket at all. So if you didn’t manage to buy a ticket, you can still walk around the Alhambra complex a bit.
Enter Alhambra at Any Time
When you buy your ticket for Alhambra you have to choose a timeslot. The next important tip from my visiting Alhambra tips is that your timeslot only applies to Nasrid Palace. So if you got a later time, you can explore everything else beforehand. My ticket was for 4 pm and I set off in town at 12:30 pm, which gave me enough time to check everything out. I had a bit of time to spare before my timeslot at Nasrid Palace, but not too long.
Don’t Miss Your Timeslot For Nasrid Palace
As I said before, the timeslot on your ticket is only for Nasrid Palace. So one of the most important visiting Alhambra tips is: Be at the entrance to the Nasrid Palace at the time of your ticket. Otherwise, you might miss the highlight of the whole trip and we definitely don’t want that! You can start queueing up about 15 min before your entrance time.
If you go to Generalife Garden before going to Nasrid Palace, make sure to plan enough time for that so you get back in time. It took me about one and a half hours to walk all through Generalife Garden without sitting down once.
Best Times to Take Pictures
Alhambra is one of the most visited places in all of Spain, which means it can get crowded. I visited in late October and it was actually quite alright at Generalife and Alcazaba but even then it was really crowded in Nasrid Palace. The best time to take pictures is if you hang back a bit until most of the people on the same timeslot have moved on. Don’t wait too long though, otherwise, the people from the next timeslot catch up with you.
If you want to find something positive about the amounts of people, there will always be someone around to take a picture of you. This can get very handy if you’re there on your own like I was. You are not allowed to use selfie sticks or something similar within the main attractions.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
Even though you might want to put on a pretty outfit to look great in your pictures, one of my visiting Alhambra tips is to wear comfortable shoes. You will do a lot of walking. It didn’t feel like that much walking to me because of the beautiful scenery. But I definitely got my steps in for that day.
Bring Your Waterbottle
It’s very important to stay hydrated. The best (and most eco-friendly) way to do that is to bring your own water bottle. Don’t forget to refill it at every water fountain you come across. And you’ll need a lot of water since it gets very hot in Granada and you’ll do a lot of walking. Even in late October when I visited it still had almost 30°C.
Watch Out For The Cats
Before coming to Alhambra I didn’t know that loads of cats live there! There’s a whole cat colony living there and apparently, they’re even considered a tourist attraction. You’re not allowed to feed the cats, they have specialized personnel to look after the cats. Some cats looked a bit scruffy but all in all, they seem quite happy to live in a palace ;). So when you wander around Alhambra keep an eye out for cats climbing the walls.
Best Viewpoint of Alhambra
From Alhambra, you have a great view of the city of Granada. But a visit to Alhambra wouldn’t be complete without a great view of Alhambra from afar. The most famous viewpoint is Mirador de San Nicolás, which gives you an as close as possible view. One of my visiting Alhambra tips is my favourite viewpoint, it’s from a bit further away, right in front of the Ermita de San Miguel Alto. You can read a more detailed description of the viewpoints on my 10 reasons to visit Granada list.
Where To Go Afterward To Get Away From The Crowds
Do you know that feeling of not wanting to see any people after being in a crowded place for too long? In case you know that feeling and want to find some peace and quiet after your visit to Alhambra, I know the perfect place: Carmen de Los Martires. This park is located very close to Alhambra and is overlooked by most tourists. It is a beautiful, quite big park, where you can walk in the shade of the trees and enjoy some quiet. When I visited, I almost didn’t see any other people. I don’t think it’s worth going out of your way to see this park, but if you’re in the area might as well stop by.
During your visit to Alhambra, you’re gonna be walking a lot. The best way to end a long day of exploring the Alhambra palace is to relax in an Arab bath in Granada. The hot water and the massage do wonders after a long day. So you’re refreshed the next day for whatever your journey goes next. But before you leave Granada don’t forget to check out one of the many vegan restaurants in Granada.
In case you’re not sure where to head next, check out my article if Malaga is worth visiting.
I’d never heard of this attraction before today, and now I can’t wait to visit! Feels like a hidden gem😊
It’s definitely worth visiting 🙂 !
This is interesting, first time to know about this and it looks so cool place. I will keep this in mind when visiting it. Thank you for sharing!
I hope you can visit this amazing place soon 🙂
Interesting post. Your pictures are fantastic! I always love learning about new places to explore. Thank you for sharing!
What breathtaking pictures, you sold me in the experience! This seems like a must see, thank you for the tips to make planning easier!
You’re very welcome 🙂