What You Should Know About Alhambra Tickets and Tours

Ten Facts About Your Alhambra Visit

Alhambra tickets are a complicated affair. Learn about how your Alhambra tickets work to make sure you get the most of your experience, including information on how to jump the lines, the complicated timing system and how to spend a night in the Alhambra itself.

  • 01 of 10

    Guided Tours Are a Good Bet

    Enjoying the Alhambra in Granada
    ••• Enjoying the Alhambra in Granada. Image: Jesus Solana/Creative Commons (Some Rights Reserved)

    All of the tips on this page became redundant if you take a guided tour as your expert guide will help you navigate the confusing aspects of visiting one of Spain's most impressive sights.

    Not only does a guided tour of the Alhambra give you a local expert with in-depth knowledge of the fortress and gardens. Also, you don't have to go to the trouble of collecting tickets and there's no need to stand in line at every stage of your visit either!

    And from other cities in Spain:

  • 02 of 10

    Tickets Are Only Available in Select Locations

    The Alhambra in Granada at sunset
    ••• The Alhambra in Granada at sunset. (c) Damian Corrigan

    If you don't want to book a guided tour of the Alhambra, then be sure to book your tickets well in advance. Tickets sell out fast, so you don't want to be disappointed.

    When I searched on the internet for the official Alhambra ticket supplier, I was disappointed by how difficult it was. Commercial companies trying to sell you tours are hiding the fact that you can also buy normal tickets too.

    The only place you can buy Alhambra tickets (as opposed to tours) online (at the time of writing) is from Ticketmaster.es

    Any other website is selling you a tour (not necessarily a bad thing, as I explain above) or they are overcharging you.

    Other ways to buy tickets:

    • Over the Telephone

      Call 902 224 460 in Spain or +34 915 379 178 if calling from overseas.

    • At a Branch of La Caixa Bank 

    • At the Alhambra Shop 
      The shop can be found at Calle Reyes Católicos 38 in Granada city center.
    • At the Alhambra Itself

      The ticket office at the Alhambra is only open for on-the-day tickets. At the height of...MORE summer (mid-August) you have to line up from about 6am to be guaranteed a ticket.

  • 03 of 10

    Each Alhambra Ticket Vendor Has Its Own Allocation of Tickets

    Alhambra in Granada, Spain
    ••• Inside the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Image: Andrew E. Larsen/Creative Commons (Some Rights Reserved)

    The website said they've sold out of Alhambra tickets? You can still try in person, or take a guided tour.

  • 04 of 10

    Granada and the Alhambra Can be Done as a Day Trip

    The Alhambra, late afternoon, from Rambutan guest house
    ••• The Alhambra, late afternoon, from Rambutan guest house. (c) Damian Corrigan

    Though Granada is one of my favorite cities in Spain, most of its sights can be seen in a day trip.

    These guided tours include a guided tour of the Alhambra and time to explore Granada by yourself:

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Entry Is Strictly Timed

    ••• Image: Damian Corrigan

    Nasrid Palace When you buy your Alhambra ticket, you are given the choice of when to enter the Nasrid Palace. This is the most popular part of the Alhambra, so the authorities have restricted entry to 300 per half hour to avoid overcrowding.

    The Alhambra in General The Alhambra has two sessions — the morning session (from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.) and the afternoon session (from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. in winter and 8 p.m. in summer). Your palace entry time tells you which session you must enter in.

    When you approach the building complex, you will see a guard. It's easy to mistake this as the entrance, but it's not; keep walking until you see the line (there will always be one!)

    Other Buildings The Alcazaba (fortress) and some of the other buildings in the Alhambra are restricted to a single entry, though when you enter are not restricted. If you try to enter too close to your palace entry time, the attendant will kindly suggest to you that you visit the palace first and come back...MORE later.

  • 06 of 10

    There is More Than Just the Palace!

    The Alhambra is a whole complex of buildings and gardens, many of which can only be visited once. In your visit you'll want to see the following:

    • Nasrid Palace
      The Palaces of Mexuar, The Comares and Mohammed V. Marvelous Moorish architecture is the highlight of the Alhambra.
    • Alcazaba
      The military fortifications of the Alhambra.
    • Palace of Charles V
      An attempt to marry Christian design with the existing Arabic styling. Started in the 16th century but not finished until the 20th.
    • Rauda
      The Royal cemetery.
    • Medina
      A mini-town, with public baths and housing for government officials.
    • Museo de Bellas Artes
      Granada's fine art museum is found within the grounds of the Alhambra.

    • Generalife Gardens
      An attraction in their own right (you can visit these alone, if you want). Orchards and gardens that surround the villas that the Moorish rulers used in their leisure time.

  • 07 of 10

    You Can Stay In The Alhambra

    The Alhambra is also a hotel! Spain's state-run parador network features some of the best hotel settings in Spain, but arguably the best is the Alhambra.

    Book a Night at the Alhambra

  • 08 of 10

    Your Entry Times Are Just That—Entry Times

    The times for you to enter the Alambra grounds and the Nasrid Palace are strictly enforced. But no one tells you when you have to leave. Once you are inside, you can stay as long as you like. If you enter in the morning session, you can stay until the afternoon if you want.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    There Are Buses to the Alhambra

    The walk up to the Alhambra is very pretty, but it's pretty steep. If you'd prefer to take the bus up, catch it from the stop in Plaza Nueva. There are less frequent buses to and from the Albayzin Moorish quarter.

  • 10 of 10

    Avoid Summer Weekends, Holidays and Puentes

    Foreign tourists visit the Alhambra all year round, but the biggest obstacle to getting tickets will be the large numbers of Spanish tourists who travel at particular times of year.

    The Spanish tend to travel at weekends, especially in summer. Public holidays are also a popular time to travel. Note that when a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, the Spanish do what they call a puente (bridge), taking the Monday or Friday off, too for an extra long weekend. These days will also be popular days to visit the Alhambra.