Is the Alhambra night visit worth it?

alhambra night visit

Is the Alhambra night visit worth it? It’s open both at night and during the day, but when is best to visit the Alhambra? We give you the inside scoop so that you can make up your own mind.

You can visit the Alhambra in Granada in several ways depending in the ticket you decide to purchase. For more information on this, read How to buy tickets to the Alhambra in Granada.

Among the different options there is a ticket called ‘Alhambra Nocturna – Palacios Nazaríes’, which allows visiting the Palacios Nazaríes only at night, and a second ticket called ‘Alhambra Nocturna – Generalife’ to visit the Generalife at night. The entrance to the Palacios Nazaríes does not allow visiting the Generalife, and vice versa.

Is it worth to see the Alhambra at night, and not during the day? In order to answer this question, we decided to make the night visit to the Nazaríes Palaces, the most spectacular part of the complex, having already visited the Alhambra during the day on other occasions.


How is the Alhambra night visit: the Nasrid Palaces

The Alhambra night visit time begins when it is already completely dark. As it happens during the day, the visit follows a predetermined route, that you must follow. During the night visit, you get to see the Mexuar, the Palacio de Comares and the Palacio de los Leones.

There are two major differences between daytime and nighttime visits:

  • You visit the palaces in a different order compared to the one of  the daytime visit.
  • The night visit includes less palaces and monuments, and does not allow you to visit beautiful Palacio del Partal.


How is the night lighting of the Nasrid Palaces

All the nocturnal illumination inside the Palacios Nazaríes is electric, generally white, without the warmness of the natural light of the sun. There is no attempt to imitate what would have been the illumination of the palaces in the period in which the different sultans of the Nasrid dynasty lived there.

The lighting is uneven. There are areas getting a powerful light bath while contiguous parts remain in the semi-darkness. In general, the lighting project (we cannot quite understand the criteria it follows) privileges the lighting of the upper parts while forgetting the wonderful tiles that are in the lower parts.

A special case is the wonderful Patio de los Leones, which is one of the low points of the night visit. The light chosen to light it supposedly mimics the light of the moon. All the magic that this space has during the day is lost in the night visit. It’s too dark. If you’ve never entered the Patio de los Leones with natural light, you have no idea what you’re missing out on. Any attempt to take a photograph will also be wasted, because of the minimal illumination.

Yes, with a DSLR or mirrorless camera, a very high ISO and a very slow shutter speed you can even get some decent photographs. But forget to get anything with your smartphone!

From the palace out, it’s pitch black. You won’t be able to see anything. No gardens, no walls, no other buildings. It’s a real shame.


So… Is the Alhambra night visit worth it?

In our opinion, the night visit to the Palacios Nazaríes is not worth it.

You should only choose this option if you have already visited the Alhambra during the day several times, and you are curious to know what the night visit is like.

Here is why we believe that the Alhambra night visit is not worth it:

  • The night tour does not include a visit to all the areas of the Nasrid Palaces that you can visit during the day.
  • The lighting design is not consistent. Different light sources of uneven power create a sensation of improvisation resulting in unequally lighted spaces. So no effort has been put into creating the warm and magic atmosphere that the place truly deserves. It is hard to believe that a monument as incredible as the Alhambra has not had the privilege of receiving a night-lighting project according to the importance of the complex.
  • The indescribable sensation that you experience when you first enter the Patio de los Leones, the same sensation experienced by the Catholic Kings or the Emperor Carlos V, is lost in the night visit.

Visit the Alhambra during the day and when night comes, have fun in a different way: enjoy Granada tapas bars.


Do you need more information on Granada?

This article is part of a complete guide about Granada where you can read all the information you need to plan your trip to this amazing destination in Spain.

Here is a complete summary of all the guide:

1. When to visit Granada
2. How many days to spend in Granada
3. How to get to Granada
4. How to move around Granada
5. Granada hotels: where to stay in Granada
6. What to eat in Granada
7. What to do in Granada
8. Tips to visit the Alhambra in Granada
9. How to buy tickets to the Alhambra in Granada
10. Alhambra tickets sold out. What can you do?
11. Is the Alhambra night visit worth it?


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