Visiting Granada in Spain? Forget to book your tickets to the Alhambra? Don’t panic! You can still visit this incredible UNESCO World Heritage site. Every day the Alhambra ticket office releases €7 tickets.
These tickets enable you to visit the Gardens, Generalife and Alcazaba. So stay calm if you haven’t booked your tickets in advance. Make sure you get to the ticket office for when it opens at 8am. Even if the tickets seem to have completely sold out online, they reserve tickets for visitors on the day. Tickets are released daily but make sure you arrive at 8am.
How to Get Your Tickets on the Day
I made the same error on a trip to the Alhambra in September 2018. During the peak summer season tickets can sell out three months in advance! I couldn’t believe it. Tickets don’t sell out that far in advance for Versailles, The Tower of London or the Colosseum in Rome! I learnt this after arriving in Granada but all hope was not lost.
Having arrived at the ticket gates for 8am the €7 tickets were available. These tickets are released daily. Panic over. If you book ahead of time you can see the Nasrid Palace too. I was disappointed not to see the Nasrid Palaces but after I discovered the Alhambra I soon realised there was no need to be disappointed! Seeing these sites took over three hours. I visited the Alhambra with a €7 ticket and this is everything I saw.
- How to Get Your Tickets on the Day
- What you see on a €7 ticket to the Gardens, Generalife and Alcazaba.
- Gardens and Generalife
- The Mosque Baths of the Alhambra
- Charles V Palace
- Facilities at the Alhambra, Granada
- Where to buy your tickets to the Alhambra
- Travelling to the Alhambra
- Want to read up on the Alhambra before your trip?
What you see on a €7 ticket to the Gardens, Generalife and Alcazaba.
Gardens and Generalife
After arriving at the Alhambra early in the morning the gardens sprang to life as the sun started to rise over Granada. These gardens are absolutely vast and stunning to walk around. Considering the Alhambra is the only preserved city of the Islamic period in Spain, it is amazing to see how rulers of this period designed these gardens. The use of water is clever and you can imagine it looked pretty similar today to what it did back in the 13th century.
Located within the gardens is a palace called the Generalife. This residence belonged to the emir rulers who built it during the 13th and 14th centuries. I wasn’t expecting there to be much to see for €7. How wrong I was! This palace is included with the €7 ticket.
The Mosque Baths of the Alhambra
Charles V Palace
We came across the Charles V Palace after already exploring all the gardens and couldn’t believe there was even more to see! It’s a breathtaking piece of renaissance architecture. The Emperor Charles V moved his court to the Alhambra where he spent the summer of 1526. He decided that the Moorish Alhambra wasn’t a suitable royal residence and built this palace. Today it holds a museum.
Emperor Charles V moved his court to the Alhambra where he spent the summer of 1526. He decided that the Moorish Alhambra wasn’t a suitable royal residence and built this palace. Today it holds a museum.
After already seeing two palaces in the morning, it was incredible to see there was also a castle to explore! I can’t believe how many cool buildings this place has. You can climb the towers and see brilliant views of the city below.
Facilities at the Alhambra, Granada
Food and Drink
There is a souvenir shop selling drinks as you walk from the gardens towards the Charles V Palace. There is also a little bar selling ice creams, coffee, snacks and sangria too!
Information Available (For the history geeks!)
They do have audio guides for you to hire at the Alhambra. There isn’t much information if you don’t have an audio guide. So if you want to know the history of the Alhambra in depth this is worth renting. The Alhambra is quite vast so I was happy to walk around and take in the sites without it. You can also hire a private guide or join a group tour.
Where to buy your tickets to the Alhambra
There are lots of ‘official’ looking sites but this is the only official one.
Bring your charger. There are gazillions of photo opportunities in Granada so don’t run out of phone battery before your visit!
Travelling to the Alhambra
I recommend flying to Malaga airport. You can get a train from Málaga María Zambrano railway station to Antequera-Santa Ana station to change and get the connecting train to Granada train station. Antquera is another UNESCO World Heritage site named Antequera Dolemens. You can drive from Malaga to the Alhambra in approximately 1hour and 45minutes.
The Alhambra is easy to get to from the centre of Granada. You can get the C32 bus from the centre of Granada. It’s also a walk of about 25 minutes. I took a taxi from the hotel to the ticket office as it was an early start.
Best place to view the Alhambra
Mirador San Nicolás
Walk up(literally keep going up) through the windy picturesque streets of the Albaicín area of the city until you eventually reach a store called Helados San Nicolas. This place sells ice cream, beers, wine and even mini bottles of cava! Grab your refreshments and head up the stairs opposite the shop and you will be greeted by a magnificent sweeping views of the Alhambra. For some stunning selfies it’s best to visit at sunset. There is usually a busker playing traditional spanish guitar music too.
Want to read up on the Alhambra before your trip?
The Alhambra by Robert Irwin
They sell this book in the Alhambra gift shop, so it comes recommended! It has been given a five star review by the Guardian newspaper. It is a detailed guide into the history of the Alhambra but it is written in a very accessible way. View the book on Amazon.
Granada Revealed: Alhambra Guide
This guide focuses purely on the Alhambra. It’s a great accompaniment to visiting the Alhambra. If you are wanting a more comprehensive city guide for Granada then you will probably need an additional guide. View on Amazon.
Granada & Sierra Nevada (Footprint Handbook)
The footprint series of guides is intended for people who love walking. I am not an avid walker but these guides are very detailed and normally very accurate! I confess I didn’t use this one for my trip but I do recommend the Footprint series.