Granada was the first place I visited in Spain and I had no idea what to expect from this country and this trip in general. One thing I knew is that I wanted to visit the Alhambra. But seeing as we didn’t plan all that well, I was at a loss for how I was going to go about my visit. All these questions were in my head and as for expectations, let’s just say I was really excited. I can now say that I was not disappointed at all. Loved the food (especially tapas), people are nice and helpful, and the weather was the best I could hope for.
A few months of travel can be exhausting, so we decided to have a time out in Granada, not to rush but relax, get into the culture and better understand the lifestyle.
With two weeks in Granada, I did not worry much about planning in advance, but decided that everything would work out by itself. And that was my huge mistake!
If you heard anything about Granada, you probably heard about the Alhambra. The Alhambra is a complex of palaces and fortresses located on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada overlooking Granada. Of course, the Alhambra was the first in our “unwritten” plan. Happy and naive, we decided to buy a ticket on the third day after arriving and it became clear to us how bad the situation is. All tickets a month in advance were redeemed.
I’ll also tell you in this article (based on my experience and mistakes), what to do if you didn’t buy tickets with four ways to visit the Alhambra in Granada.
First of all, if you are going to Granada sometime in the future, buy your tickets to the Alhambra in advance and I mean in a month or two before the trip. To go to the official website click here. Ticket price is 14 euros, all other tickets with a higher price are through intermediary companies. If you want to visit the Alhambra in Granada then this is the easiest and most straightforward way to get your tickets.
If you didn’t manage to do it in time or even didn’t know that you need to do this at all, then here are some options that might help you:
The highlight of the Alhambra is the Nasrid Palace. Therefore, one of the options is a night visit to the Alhambra when the ticket price is only 8 euros. Of course you will not see the whole complex of palaces, but the Nasrid Palaces are, in my opinion, the most beautiful part of the Alhambra. It is a good alternative plus a night visit with special lighting will create a romantic atmosphere and such an experience is no worse than a day visit. You can check the availability of tickets here.
Granada Card. It is sometimes possible to book a visit to the Alhambra through the Granada Card when all the tickets have already been redeemed. One inconvenience is that the card is valid for 5 days and includes a large number of museums and historical monuments and that is why the price is quite high (40 euros), so if you are not going to visit all these places or you have less than three days, it is not practical or economical. Otherwise, this is the best option.
You can buy Granada Cards on this website (be careful, there are different types of cards and some visits to the Alhambra are not included). Click here, or on the image of the card to go to my guide for choosing the right Granada card for you.
Another option is to check the official website at midnight each day, as sometimes the ticket office may put up several unsold tickets for the the next day. To check for tickets, click here. This option is not reliable, especially during the season (May – June, September – October).
And if none of the above options helped you to visit the Alhambra, the last resort is: intermediaries or guided tours. Although the price is sometimes far too high and the tourist groups are large, it is certainly better than arriving in Granada and not visiting the Alhambra at all. It is not difficult to find such tours, just google a guided tour of the Alhambra and check all the links, if you are lucky, you will find something suitable for yourself. But be prepared, the price can be quite high. This is the method I had to employ as I could not find tickets any other way due to poor planning. My cost was 65 Euros, or about $72. This included the tickets to access all parts of The Alhambra and Generalife as well as a tour guide who was able to teach me all about the history of the buildings.