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Getting tickets to the Alhambra can be a challenging task. Did you know that almost 3 million people visit this Moorish complex each year? That’s why it can be difficult to get your tickets.
This Moorish palace complex in the Andalusian city of Granada is the top tourist destination in the whole of Spain, with thousands of people pouring through its halls and gardens each and every day. To some, that might sound like a nightmare. But you will regret not going to the Alhambra if you plan to visit other destinations in Andalucía.
However, visiting Spain’s top tourist attraction has its downsides.
As you can imagine, this isn’t a place where you can just show up and buy a ticket. There is high demand for visits to the palaces, and the Council puts caps on how many people can visit each day. The Alhambra site actually recommends you book up to one month in advance to ensure you get the ticket you want.
Here is a complete guide on how to buy tickets to the Alhambra.
You should be aware that the Alhambra in Granada is a monument that receives thousands of visitors and the number of people who can visit it every day is limited. As a result, I can’t emphasize enough that you should purchase your tickets to visit the Alhambra well in advance.
If you get there there without your tickets, you risk not being able to enter the Alhambra. This is particularly true for its most wonderful area, which are the Palacios Nazaríes. This complex of palaces have even greater restrictions on the number of visitors per day.
There are many critical periods throughout the year including almost every national holiday, Easter, Christmas, and the weekends during the snow season. During these periods, tickets to visit the Alhambra can be sold out and unavailable for several days.
Nevertheless, don’t assume that because you go there during the low season you will encounter fewer tourists visiting the Alhambra. There are countless factors that can end up in tickets being quickly sold out. In low season, for example, the Alhambra receives many groups of students as well as seniors.
Do not wait until the last minute to buy your tickets. Purchase your tickets to the Alhambra as soon as you decide the date of your visit to Granada.
As a rule of thumb, you can purchase your tickets 3 months in advance. And even if you do so, depending on the time of the year as I mentionned before, tickets could be sold out for certain dates soon after they are available.
Buy your tickets through the official website of the Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife.
Please note that you cannot buy tickets online to visit the Alhambra on the same day. You must purchase them at least one day in advance.
Beware of third party websites that sell tickets to the Alhambra. It wouldn’t be the fist time I see companies selling passes of Granada attractions including the Alhambra as part of a much larger package. This option is fine if you are planning to spend many days in Granada, and have enough time to visit smaller attractions. But if you are interested only in the Alhambra, you will end up paying a much higher price for your tickets than if you get them directly from the official page.
There are several types of tickets to visit the Alhambra, and each one has a different price. Make sure you check the current prices.
Here are the different types of tickets.
This is the most complete ticket, allowing you to visit all parts of the Alhambra complex: the Alcazaba (fortress), the Palacios Nazaríes (the most spectacular part of the complex), the Generalife (summer palace and gardens) and the Palacio de Carlos V. The ticket also includes all the gardens included in the “Alhambra Gardens, Generalife and Alcazaba” entrance.
It is a ticket that allows you to visit all parts of the Alhambra complex except the Palacíos Nazaríes:
Unless the Palacio del Generalife, which has a maximum capacity, these places do not have access controlled by passage times. So you are allowed to visit them whenever you would like (in the morning or the afternoon according to what you chose at the time of the purchase and as indicated on the tickets).
I do not recommend you to purchase it because it doesn’t include the most spectacular part of the Alhambra.
A ticket to visit only the Nazaríes Palacios at night, when they are illuminated and have a very special atmosphere. During this visit you are not allowed to access to the Generalife, as there is a specific night visit for this area scheduled at the same time.
A ticket to visit only the Generalife at night, when it is illuminated. During this visit you are not allowed to access to the Palacios Nazaríes, as there is a specific night visit for this area scheduled at the same time.
This ticket allows you to visit the Palacios Nazaríes at night, and the other parts of the Alhambra complex the next morning.
This is a combined ticket that includes:
It is a very interesting ticket that includes the chance to visit other very interesting places scattered throughout Granada by just paying a bit more that the fare of the Alhambra regular ticket.
There are other types of Dobla de Oro tickets, but not interesting since the entrance to the Palacios Nazaríes is not included.
What tickets to the Alhambra should you choose?
Now that you have decided to travel to Granada, don’t go back home without visiting all the areas of the Alhambra complex. Therefore, I suggest you to choose between the Alhambra General ticket, or the Dobla de Oro General ticket, depending on your interests and the available dates and times.
It really depends on what type of traveler you are. Are you a quick visitor or a person who loves to observe every detail and contemplate the wonders of humanity very calmly?
On average, most visitors spend half a day to visit the Alhambra. The complex is very large and the distance that you will walk too. Even if you want to visit the complex quickly, do not expect to walk through the whole area in less than three or four hours.
The Alhambra complex is very extensive and the visit runs through several distant places. The official proposed itinerary goes first through the Generalife, then cross the Medina, enter the Alcazaba to finally know the most spectacular area of the Alhambra, the Palacios Nazaríes.
When buying your “Alhambra General” ticket, you must select a specific time for your entry into the Palacios Nazaríes. This specific time allowing you to access the Palacios Nazaríes will be printed on the admission tickets. I strongly recommend you to abide by this specific access time; otherwise, you will have no access to the palaces and you won’t get any refund or reimbursement for your tickets.
Nevertheless, you are free to enter the complex at any time (morning or afternoon). But the visit to the Palacios Nazaríes must be done according to your scheduled time and you must choose it whne purchase of the tickets. If you miss the appointment, you will not be able to enter to visit the most important part of the Alhambra.
Between the time of your entrance to the complex (again, you can enter whenever you want) allow a minimum of one hour before your entrance time to the Palacios Nazaríes. However, my recommendation would be to allow two hours at least.
To purchase your tickets to the Alhambra, visit the official website of the Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife and select type of ticket you want to buy.
If you are looking to purchase of the most common ticket, the “Alhambra General”:
A few minutes after the purchase, you will receive an email with your tickets. Please, when you type your personal information, double check that your email address doesn’t have any typos. Otherwise you won’t receive your tickets.
Now all you have to do is print your tickets. Don’t forget them back at home or at your accommodation in Granada!