If you order and pre-pay for Alhambra tickets, you'll be able to avoid the (usually) long lines of people trying to buy same-day tickets. Instead, you'll go to a nearby bank of ATM-like machines. You'll need the credit (or debit) card with which you paid for the tickets.
The sales office (including the 'ATM-like' machines) is located at the bottom of the hill on which the Alhambra is located. If you're staying at the Parador de Granada (or the small inn next to it) -- and unless you have a car -- it'll take you up to an hour to walk down the hill, collect your tickets, and walk back up. In the heat that can be exhausting.
A better idea is to get your tickets before first going up the hill: ask your taxi driver to wait for you.
Fondest memory: The Alhambra. The Generalife. The Parador de Granada, room and meals.
Favorite thing: Visits to the Alhambra have become so popular that the number of visitors per day has been restricted. In order not to miss out you really need to book in advance especially during the summer months. The times on your tickets need to be adhered to and of course the tickets are only valid for the day they are given. Getting in is the major part, once in you can stay as long as you like – well until closing time anyway. There are several types of tickets you can purchase so do your research well before you go.
You don't have to purchase a full ticket for the Alhambra if time or cash is short. At the ticket office, you have the option to purchase, for 6 euros, a ticket to the gardens. This gives access to everything except the Nasrid Palace and is superb value for money. We visited in February and got up to the ticket office early, so no queue and enjoyed the experience enormously.
Fondest memory: Sunshine!
Favorite thing: Idolatry is not tolerated in Islam, so all of the carvings and mosaic designs in the Nasrid-constructed Alhambra are geometric and do not depict the human body. In contrast, the Catholic religion does accept icons and statues as part of the religious adornment. Many places in Spain that were under Moorish domination, and then Catholic domination, have structures that are a combination of both Moorish and Spanish architecture. Where the Moorish architecture and design has been preserved, you can tell when you are moving between the Moorish and the Spanish design by the absence or depiction of the human body as part of the design.
I highly recommend the audio tour at the Alhambra. It is very informative and the best part was the Moorish background music. It really made me feel I was in a sultan's palace and I would expect to see the sultan and his harem around the next corner.
These audio devices do not have headsets, so you have to hold them to your ear like a telephone. I would find that most irritating, since I don't like holding a phone to my ear for any length of time. Fortunately, my daughter had her iPod with her, and offered her earbuds to me. They plugged right into the audio device and not only did I not have to hold that thing to my ear, I had a much better audio quality.
Bring your earbuds or Bose Quietcomforts along.
Only 7,700 people are allowed in per day on a timed ticket!
There are many hundreds of people pouring in on coach trips.!
Plan ahead! if you dont want to wait in a long queue for hours to see the palaces.
Buy tickets in advance if you can. Ask your hotel if they can arrange this. Or go to the main Granada branch of (BBVA) Banco de Bilbao Vizcaya, in Plaza Isabel la Catolica 1, in the morning.
Or book up to a year ahead from their website: decompras.bbv.es. Alterrnatively book on www.alhambratickets.com
We left it too late to pre-book tickets for the Alhambra so on our last day in the city we woke at 6 am to make sure we got a good place in the queue.
Unfortunately, the night before we had spend the evening bar-hopping for tapas and wine so we felt a bit rough waking up early. Our hotel was in a good location so we went on foot. I had started reading Tales of the Alhambra the evening before so and as it was still dark it felt rather eerie and wonderful walking up to the palace.
At the top we expected to be near the front of the queue but there were already about 200 people there. Most had spent the night here though a number had arrived before us that morning. We took our place in the queue and waited for the doors to open at 8.30am. One guy had obviously overdone it the night before as he was conked out and snoring on the grass near where we queued. I hope he had friends in the queue keeping his place.
There was one small cafe doing a great trade in coffee and food. We had brought our own food but the coffee was really useful at time of the morning. The queue for the shop was fairly bad itself and it about 10 minutes to get served.
It felt good being part of the queue and we chatted to people from all over the world. Though when the gates opened I did feel jealous of those lucky ones who had pre-booked their tickets - they just strolled up and walked straight through. As the gates opened the loudspeaker announced how many tickets would be on sale for the day ahead. It was pretty obvious not everyone in the queue would get in but I was confident we would. More worrying was what time we would be assigned for the palaces as we had a flight to take later that day.
All worked out well in the end and we got a 12.30 slot. After all the queuing I remember thinking: “this had better be good…”
Is the topic but is unique, If u come to granada u must see, in spanish there is a tipical sentence that says: no hay cosa mas triste q ser ciego en granada. there isn't a saddest thing that be blind in Granada, so dont be blind, open your eyes, enjoy, breathe, sit take your time.
Fondest memory: The Magic of the atmosphere
Alhambra was under construction in days of Nasrid's dynasty. Each governor brought improvements in the plan of buildings, built new halls and court yard.
After exile of arabs Alhambra belonged to Christian kings.
Alhambra represents an extensive complex of such court yard. Owners received visitors in these small court yards, were betraid to the composition of verses, contained harems...
Each small court yard is surrounded by an arcade behind which the ornate internal rooms are hidden - bedrooms, halls for feasts and reception of ambassadors.
Favorite thing: In Alhambra all the treasures are hidden inside, as well as in other moorish palaces. Outside Alhambra represents modest enough construction. Walls are unattractive, facades are not decorated. The Arabian governors did not like to parade luxury. They preferred to stay in stuffy premises rest in small court yard where fountains are murmuring and fishes are swimming in pools. Fragrant gardens have to slow walks.
Alhambra is a palace which was constructed in XIV century. Alhambra is the most known monument of moorish culture in Spain. The palace is included in the list of the world cultural heritage.
Usually in summer and in the beginning of autumn there are many visitors here and to get into the palace is very difficult. In April we have passed in the palace freely.
lets walk slowly back to the entrance now, Im tired, of course if you want to walk back down to the city you can use any of the exits, but Im going back to where I came in
look at this Wisteria vine, its trunk is so thick and twisted, I know it must have been here for a very very long time
we`ll just stop and take a look at the canons outside the Palace Carlos V, Carl is looking to see where they were ignited, but he thinks they have had so many coats of paint over the years that the hole for the detonator wick has been painted over
here are a few shops where you can buy a souvenir of your visit, I dont think I`ll bother, I dont think I will ever forget how wonderful the Alhambra is, in any case, there are so many things we didnt see that we`ll have to come back again
so now its past more lovely gardens and out of the Alhambra, I have had the most wonderful visit and I hope you enjoyed it with me
this was where the military and defensive oganisation was done, what a busy place this once was ! look at the remains of the houses, and the grilles in the floor - I can see rooms....would they be dungeons below there ? and over there were the baths, its like a seperate little town up here
be careful climbing the steps up to the towers and lookout points, they are very narrow, but the views when you reach the tops are definately worth the effort ! its such a clear day we can see for miles and miles
see the bell on the top of the Torre de la Campana ? it wasnt an alarm bell ever, it was installed after the conquest of Granada to signal irrigation times
I dont know about you, but Im ready for some food and a sit down, we have been here for over 5 hours ! lets walk slowly back to the entrance
did you enjoy the cup of hot chocolate ? wasnt the sun lovely and warm as we sat on the wall ? the cats that wander around here certainly like to have a fuss made of them
how differenet the Palace of Carlos V is to the Nasrit Palace ! it looks so stark inside after the Moorish splendour thats its almost a shock to see it
the square shape of the building doesnt prepare you for the massive circular courtyard within, just look at how that doorway was constructed - its design makes you more aware that you are standing in a circle in a square, come upstairs to the upper level, you can see what a feat of engineering and design this is, all the lines and curves of the stonework are so sharp and clear
but its a soulless place, it feels clinical, unused, unlived in, unloved
actually I dont think it was ever loved, it was commissioned in 1526 but never finished, it wasnt till the 20th century that it was roofed and finished
every year the Granada International Music and Dance festival is held here, in its favour the accoustics are very good, but to me it just looks like an inside-out bullring
the really good thing about this palace is the museum, there is no charge for entry, the information is in Spanish and English, and the displays are well lit and really interesting, especially the one about the restoration of the Lion Fountain, when it is complete people will be able to walk right up to it again, and touch it, a little bit of me is glad thats not allowed now, it will be really difficult to get a good picture of it when its surrounded by people
there are some lovely pieces in the museum, its a shame we arent allowed to take photographs