Alhambra castle is the main reason for most people to visit Granada. It’s an Unesco World heritage site and the biggest and best preserved Moorish castle in Europe, and that alone is indeed a very good reason to visit Granada. Even for a traveler like myself who has been to tens and tens of castles around the world.
Alhambra castle is almost always sold out, so you should always buy your tickets well in advance (min 1 week ahead). And if you want to visit the Nasrid palaces, you must book the tickets even much earlier than that. We didn’t visit the palaces but there was definitely still plenty to see for several hours: plenty of other buildings, several beautiful gardens, etc.
The area of La Alhambra is divided into two large parts: The Alhambra itself which includes the very old fortress of Alcazaba, The Palaces including the Nasrid Palaces, and what used to be the old town Medina, and The Generalize with its beautiful gardens.
We started our visit by turning left from the entrance and walking through the Medina towards the Palaces and Alcazaba. Some of the most memorable moments of the walk there were actually the roads lined with beautifully cut trees.
We then continued towards the Palace of Carlos V which is an impressive building free to visit even with your general entry ticket. The building is a square on the outside but include a circular open-roof patio in the middle.
We next continued our way towards admiring the beautiful palaces of Nasrid and the Alcazaba on the outside. Alcazaba fortress was built in the early 11th century by Mohammed I, and during the years has also been used as a prison.
The Generalife is most known for its beautiful gardens. It was originally built in the 14th century as the summer palace of the Nasrid rulers. Visit to the Generalife is included in the general entry and well worth a visit even if you may be feeling a little tired after exploring the Alhambra itself.
Dinner after visiting Alhambra
After our hike in the mountains and visit to the castle, we were starving and were lucky to find this perfect little Spanish restaurant (Juanillo Madriguera) in Granada. Highly recommended both for food and service!
Summary of tips for visiting Alhambra
Alhambra is a place I’d happily visit again and definitely recommend for anyone in the area, it’s worth driving even few hundred kilometers. But make sure to plan your trip well:
- Get your tickets in advance – even weeks in advance
- Proper shoes: you will walk a lot!
- It’s hot during summer time: have plenty of water. Or try to visit at a colder time of the year
- We visited Alhambra just before closing time and it was great to have so few people there
- If you’re fast and not planning to visit the Nasrid Palaces you might be able to do it in 1-2 hours, otherwise would recommend minimum 3 hours especially if you want to learn about its history