Alhambra Granada & Generalife

You’ve probably heard of it and you’ve seen the pictures, but what exactly is the Alhambra and why is this UNESCO World Heritage Site one of the most visited attractions in Spain? 

The origins of the Alhambra palace complex can be traced back to the mid-13th century when the Nasrid Dynasty, the last Muslim rulers of the Iberian Peninsula, decided to build a fortress on the Sabika Hill overlooking the city of Granada. Over the centuries, successive rulers expanded and embellished the complex, creating a masterpiece of architecture and art.

On entering the Nasrid Palaces you'll be blown away by the exquisite courtyards, intricate stucco work and colourful tiles. The Generalife Gardens, next to the palaces, offer a tranquil retreat with terraced greenery, fountains and breathtaking views of the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains.

In 1492, the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, took control of the Alhambra, kicking off a new chapter in its history. The subsequent additions, such as the Palace of Charles V, reflect Renaissance and Mudejar influences.

Don’t think of the Alhambra as an attraction to visit - think of it as a little hilltop village with numerous things to see. Most of the complex is ticketed but some parts are open to everyone, including areas with cafes, shops and restaurants. So it very much gives the impression that you’re leaving one attraction and then entering another. You’ll need to allow at least 3 hours to see everything.

How do I book tickets for Alhambra Granada?

To buy your tickets for the Alhambra visit the official website. You’ll need to purchase tickets well in advance as it’s very unlikely there'll be any tickets available on the day, even for low season dates. For popular dates you may need to book a month or two in advance.

You’ll be asked to select the date you want to visit, and if you pick the ‘complete visit’ option, a time slot for the Nasrid Palaces. You can visit the other attractions in any order on the date of your ticket. You’ll also need to enter your passport number and take your passport when you visit. There’s no longer any need to print out your ticket – and even if your phone battery dies, it won’t be an issue, as long as you have your passport with you.

How do I get to Granada?

If you’re staying in Almeria, Córdoba, Malaga or Seville you could take the train through the stunning mountain range to reach Granada. There’s also scheduled coach services from Alicante, Almeria, Córdoba, Malaga, Murcia and Seville. Prefer to travel on your own schedule? If you’re staying anywhere on the coast between Estepona and Carboneras you can reach Granada in your hire car in under 2 hours, whether you’re on holiday in Marbella or Fuengirola.

How do I get to Alhambra Granada from the city centre?

You can walk from the cathedral to the gate for the Generalife – it’s 1.2km uphill, but if that’s not for you, don’t worry, there are other options There’s regular minibuses (routes C30 and C32) and taxis are available. The bus fare is €1.40 single and a taxi costs €5-7 (2023 prices). The Generalife has its own bus stop, uphill from the Puerta de la Justicia stop, which is the closest to the Nasrid Palaces.

How do I get to Alhambra Granada from the train station?

The train station is around 3km from the Generalife. The C32 bus stops outside Jardines del Triunfo (800m from the station), or you can catch any bus going towards the city centre and then follow the instructions as above.

How do I get to Alhambra Granada from the bus station?

Spotted a cheap coach fare for your day trip to Granada? The bad news is they’ll drop you off 5km from the Generalife. From there, the 33 bus will take you into central Granada, connecting with the C30 and C32 routes. Alternatively, a taxi will cost €10-12 (as of 2023).



Alhambra Granada & Generalife

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