Probably all your friends told you: are you visiting south Spain? Then you MUST visit Alhambra. Maybe you decide to stay at Costa del Sol and purchasing your tickets one or two days in advance. You think you’re plenty of time but when you get to your destination, uh-oh there are not tickets until…two months ahead? Gosh! But don’t panic, here it’s our Alhambra Tickets survivor guide.


What is Alhambra

Alhambra it’s a monument located at the city of Granada, in Southern Spain. In the Middle-Ages, Spain was divided: Christians ruled in the north and Muslims ruled in the South, and they were fighting for the land for centuries. The last Muslim family who ruled in South Spain was Nasrid Dynasty, and they built a citadel at Granada, the capital of their empire, to set their fortress and palace: the Alhambra. Its name means “the red one” in arab, because its outer walls are made from reddish colour bricks. 


Which are the Alhambra areas I can visit?

Alhambra is a huge complex and some areas have been modificated throughout the years. When conquered by Christians, a big part was used to Christianize the area, so you will find a church (Santa María de la Alhambra) and a convent (Convento de San Francisco), nowadays refurbished into a hotel. Other parts like the Medina (old town) are not really interesting if it’s your first visit. So, which areas can you visit?



Christian buildings:

Palacio de Carlos V. It’s a rounded palace built for the grandson of the Christian conquerors of the Alhambra. It’s a highlight of Spain’s Renaissance architecture.


Arab buildings:


Alcazaba: is the military area of the fortress. Although it’s mainly ruins, it’s interesting to be compared with the richness of the palaces.

Palacios Nazaríes (Nasrid Palaces): is the jewel of the Alhambra and the must see without doubt. Nasrid Palaces consist in three palaces built by the sultans in different eras: Mexuar, Patio de Comares (Comares Courtyard, also known as Patio de los Arrayanes or Myrtle Courtyard) and Patio de los Leones (Lions Courtyard).

El Partal: an old palace outside Nasrid Palaces.

Baños de la Mezquita (The baths of the Mosque): public baths for Alhambra non-royal residents.

Generalife: the summer residence of the sultan, it’s a palace surrounded by exquisite gardens. It’s located upper than the citadel on the hill.


Only the “Alhambra General” ticket will let you visit all this places. If you buy any other kind of ticket, some parts of the monument will be excluded.


Alhambra’s highlight is Nasrid Palaces and here the great, great problem of the monument appears: its aisles and courtyards are very narrow, so only 300 people are allowed to enter every 30 minutes. That means 6600 people a day. Maybe it sounds a lot of tickets and you think maybe you’ll have your chance, but keep in mind Alhambra is the most visited monument in Southern Europe.


So…ready? Let’s start the Alhambra Tickets Survivor Guide!!!



Where can I buy Alhambra tickets if I’m staying at Costa del Sol?


1. Buying Alhambra Tickets from Official Website

If you’re going with children under 12, this will be your best option. You must book really in advance, but if your Rent a Car from Costa del Sol you will get to Alhambra in 1,5 hours. This way you will have more freedom than going on an organized group, and…children won’t pay! Let’s see what type of tickets you’ll find at Patronato de la Alhambra Official Tickets Website:



Types of tickets:


Alhambra General: the only one including Nasrid Palaces, Generalife, Partal, Alcazaba, Baños de la Mezquita and Palacio de Carlos V. Not guided.


Gardens, Generalife and Alcazaba: you can visit everything except Nasrid Palaces. Not guided.

Night Visit to Nasrid Palaces: Gardens like Generlife are excluded

Night Visit to Gardens and Generalife: Nasrid Palaces are excluded.

Alhambra Experiences: Night Visit to Nasrid Palaces and Daytime visit to Generalife next morning.

Alhambra and Rodríguez Acosta Foundation: you will visit the monument and the XX century artist’s house.

Dobla de oro: this ticket, with variations, let you visit full Granada’s Arab heritage: Alhambra and Albaicín District monuments.


Andalusi monuments: Albaicín District monuments tickets without Alhambra.



Alhambra General Ticket

Aka I want it all! Yes, you want to visit the full monument and, of course, not to miss Nasrid Palaces, so let’s focus on this ticket.


Step 1: Choose how many people will go (up to 10). There are discounts for children and UE citizens with youth or senior cards. Remember children under 12 can enter the Alhambra for free, but you must add this free ticket to your purchase and print it.


Step 2: Choose the date you will visit the whole Alhambra complex and then choose the hour you will enter the Nasrid Palaces. The ticket indicates a specific time to see the Nasrid Palaces in order to control the number of visitors. Okay, but…what to choose? Keep in mind visit to the entire complex lasts 3 hours. It’s always more comfortable to visit Nasrid Palaces first, since you’ve got a specific time, and then to visit the rest, so choose morning times. Think about three important things: you’re coming from another city and you don’t know the roads, you will have to queue anyway at Nasrid Palaces main door and if you choose a late morning hour it may coincide with your lunch time. 


Our advice? If your decided to Rent a Car and get to Alhambra from Costa del Sol, calculate 2,5 hours to get there and park if you are not familiar with Spanish roads and traffic. You can park at Alhambra parking, which is a bit expensive, or at the city centre parkings, where you can take the shuttle bus or enjoy the promenade up the hill by foot.


Step 3: Enter your contact details. There is a difference between buyer’s details and visitor’s details. First you must enter “Tickets buyer data”. After, “Visitor data ticket holder Alhambra General Ticket”. Remember when you show your ticket at Nasrid Palaces main door you must show the same Passport/ID (originals only) you entered on this step


Step 4: time to pay! Remember only credit cards are valid.


Step 5: print all your tickets.



2. Buying Alhambra Tickets on an organized tour

Viator and Getyourguide: it’s a very popular option to buy your guided tour from these websites but we advice you to read very well what’s included: sometimes last time offers or cheap options doesn’t include Nasrid Palaces. We are not against them, but read carefully and ask if necessary. The problem with this tours if you’re coming from Costa del Sol is they start soon in the morning and they are expensive.


Granada & Alhambra standard guided tour from Costa del Sol: one of our specialities, on this organized tour an escort guide will pick you up at your hotel or at a nearby meeting point at Costa del Sol. On the arrival to Alhambra, you will meet your local guide and start the visit with a group of 30 people in 2 different languages. This visit will include Nasrid Palaces, Palacio de Carlos V, El Partal and El Generalife gardens. After your Alhambra visit, your escort guide will lead you to Granada’s city centre where you will have some free time for lunch and/or shopping.


Granada & Alhambra VIP guided tour from Costa del Sol:  


3. Buying Alhambra Tickets within Granada Card:

If you’re staying at Costa del Sol but you want to enjoy Granada for several days, maybe it’s a good idea to purchase Granada Card, the touristic card that allows you to visit the city’s most important monuments (including Alhambra), museums, public transport and touristic train. Remember, on this option you will also have to choose the hour to visit the Nasrid Palaces.


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