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 Spain Travel Guide

      Granada's Alhambra

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Granada offers many interesting activities, but the prime attraction for most travelers is the Moorish palace known as the  Alhambra. The  name translates as "Red Castle" in Arabic. 

The Alhambra possesses a majestic setting, as it is surrounded by scenic mountains (the Sierra Nevada's) and perched on the top of a hill overlooking the town of Granada. A visit to the Alhambra provides the opportunity to examine an interesting and multi-layered example of Spain's cultural history.  The site is comprised of several sections, including the Alhambra proper, the Generalife, the Alcazaba and the Palace of King Charles V. 

  A panoramic view of the Alhambra




The Alhambra complex is a place to wander and find otherwise hidden beauty










Granada City Hop-on Hop-off Tour

From Viator Tours








Historical Granada Sightseeing Tour

From Viator Tours

Best Places to Visit in Granada Top of Page
The Alhambra is a very popular attraction and the number of visitors per day is limited.  Even if you arrive early in the morning, you may wait hours for entrance.

There are two admission periods. From mid-October through mid-March the daytime hours are 0830 to 1800 from Monday through Sunday with an evening session from 1930 to 2030 and later on Friday and Saturday.  The ticket office opens earlier and closes earlier than the Alhambra.

In summer the hours are 0830 to 2000 and the evening session is from 2200 to 2330. The times are subject to change and we suggest you look at the website link below to determine times and make your reservations.

You may want to consider taking a tour of the site, as it can be the easiest way to gain entrance during busy periods.

Visit this website  for more detailed information about visiting the Alhambra and purchasing tickets.

  • The Alcazaba (fortress) dates from the 9th Century and the protection that it provided attracted a community.  In turn, the increased population led to the construction of the Alhambra Castle.
  • Later occupants turned the Alhambra into the lavish buildings and grounds.  The sumptuousness of the past is only hinted at  today, as the Alhambra has suffered from various indignities including wars and neglect.The buildings on the site were allowed to decay after the 15th century Reconquista, in which the Muslim rulers were replaced by royalty of the Catholic persuasion.
    • Although somewhat compact in size, the Alhambra contains numerous palaces (called that Nasrid Palaces) salons, patios and walkways that are intricately decorated with pleasant designs. 
    • The buildings are relatively simple but the setting and the application of the tenets of Moorish design makes the Alhambra a very special place. It is one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture in Spain.
    • The rooms of the palace are unfurnished and the visitor can only speculate at the beauty that must have existed when the palace was an active residence of the emirs. 
    • Note that admission to the Nasrid Palaces is by time-slot only.  If you miss your slot, you will not be able to see the palaces, which are the finest part of the Alhambra complex.
  • The Generalife portion of the site was the "country retreat" of the rulers and has a slightly different flavor than the Alhambra.  Take you time to tour the gardens and any of the "special areas" that are open (areas open for viewing change from time to time).
  • The Castle of Charles V is interesting and impressive, but its style of architecture appears out of place in the context of the Alhambra.
   The Patio de la Acequia (the irrigation channel) in the Generalife

Patio de la Acequia in the Generalife

The Palace of Charles V is not as interesting as the Alhambra but has some stunning art.      

The Castle of Charles V

After having visited this area those of you who have visited California will understand why the Spaniards who discovered it considered this land along the Pacific Ocean to be the "New Spain."

Additional Resources

Turismo de Granada is the official tourism website for Granada, Spain.  The site provides additional details on our recommended best places to visit, as well as information on attractions that did not make our list.

If you need information about another travel destination, try our Destination Guide Index or Googling ThereArePlaces.

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Looking out from the  Alcazaba, the Moorish fortress that is part of the Alhambra area

The Alcazaba

The Patio de Arraynes is one of the most popular areas of the Alhambra

Patio de Arraynes

Many regard the Patio de los Liones as the highlight of the Alhambra

Patio de los Liones

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