A first visit to Granada would not be complete without a tour of Spain’s most visited tourist attraction: the magnificent Alhambra Palace.
I’ve personally visited the Alhambra and its Generalife gardens four times now; three times by day, once at night. I’ve never needed to book tickets online since I live in Granada, but buying Alhambra tickets online is obviously the sensible thing for tourists to do.
How can you do this? In this up-to-date post I will explain everything you need to know, from booking and collecting Alhambra tickets to making significant savings in the long run during your stay in Granada. I’ll also answer some FAQs.
Buying Alhambra Tickets
Option 1: Buy from the official website
The Alhambra has its own new page dedicated to ticket sales. This is the the best place to buy single tickets to access all areas of the complex, including the Nasrid Palaces. However, these tickets sell out very fast – often months in advance during high season. You choose the type of visit you want, an available date, a time (morning or afternoon) and pay for your tickets. Some members of your group may qualify for one of the following concessions:
- Carnet Joven (‘young person’s card) – €5 discount
- Mayores 65 A.UE (over 65s) – €5 discount
- Niños de 12-15 A (children 12-15 years) – €6 discount
- Discapacidad>33 (disabled) – €6 discount
- Niños menos 12 A (children less than 12 years) – Free
Option 2: Buy from Tiquets
Tiquets offers you discounts, group offers and the option to skip the line at many major attractions across Europe. The Alhambra Palace package is one of its bestsellers – and a great option if there are no tickets available on your preferred dates via the Alhambra tickets page. The catch is you have to buy tickets for a guided tour with skip-the-line entry, which comes in at around £40-45 pp. However, buying with Tiquets gives you the opportunity to make savings in the long run, avoid queues, visit other historic monuments and experience authentic Flamenco shows. With Tiquets, you can:
- select any date you want, regardless of what days are sold out on Ticket Master
- avoid the queue to purchase tickets at the Alhambra, of which there is no guarantee and can often take up to 2 hours
- get instant ticket delivery to your smartphone
- pre-book a Guided Tour with an English or Spanish speaking guide
Buying with Tiquets is also incredibly easy. Just go through the very simple steps of choosing your preferred date, time and number of tickets. Then you enter some personal details, before making your payment. Your tickets will be emailed to you instantly, so you can simply arrive at the Alhambra with your tickets on your phone.
Option 3: Buy in Granada
This is not a good option. Many visitors end up doing this, meaning you’ll not only have to get up extremely early and walk up a great big steep hill to the Alhambra entrance, but you’ll also have to queue for potentially as long as two hours.
This option is also completely avoidable – even if you find yourself in Granada without an Alhambra ticket and all the remaining days you are in Granada are sold out. Just book with Tiquets, as there is almost always availability.
You can also purchase Alhambra tickets from the Alhambra library shop (C/ Reyes Católicos 40), but you need to do this a week or so in advance (perhaps useful if you have a friend or relative living in Granada).
Collecting Your Alhambra Tickets
If you booked on the official website, you can collect your Alhambra tickets at the Alhambra itself, the official ticket office or by using a La Caixa cash machine at any La Caixa bank. These cash machines provide the same service as Click & Collect machines in UK train stations. If you booked with Tiquets, you won’t have to collect your tickets as they will already be available to scan on your phone.
1) Collect from The Alhambra
The onsite Alhambra ticket office opens at 08.00am. You can collect your tickets from the cash points to the right of the entrance. You’ll need the original credit or debit card you used to make the booking. If you don’t have your card with you, you’ll have to queue and present your reference number and proof of identification at the entrance.
2) Collect from The Alhambra Palace Ticket Office
The official ticket office is the Corral del Carbón (C/ Reyes Católicos). Opening hours are 09.00-18.00 and all the assistants speak very good English so you shouldn’t worry about the language barrier. You will need your reference number and the bank card you used to make your reservation.
3) Collect from a La Caixa Cash Machine
I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve passed a La Caixa cash point and been asked by a frantic tourist how to collect Alhambra tickets. It makes me smile every time, since the process is actually very simple. You just need to use the credit/debit card you used to make the booking. Pop it in, select English, follow the instructions and hey presto, your Alhambra tickets appear from the receipt dispenser. You may want to take your reference number just in case but it isn’t actually necessary.
You can even collect your tickets from a La Caixa cashpoint in other cities before you arrive in Granada (tripadvisor.com).
Directions to the Alhambra
There are two ways to get to the Alhambra from the city centre on foot. The first and most popular route is the sloping Cuesta de Gomérez which starts at Plaza Nueva (the street is well signposted). This is a very steep road (as are all cuestas, meaning ‘quests’ in English) so take your time and plenty of water! You will soon come to Puerta de las Granadas, which marks the beginning of the Alhambra grounds. From here the walk is very scenic, as you pass through the Alhambra woods and a pretty fountain or two.
By Bus or Taxi
Both buses C3 and C4 take you directly to the Alhambra. You can hop on at Plaza Nueva or Plaza Isabel la Católica. Your Granada Card will cover the cost of these buses. If you’d like to take a cab, go to Plaza Nueva taxi rank to ensure you get there as quickly and cheaply as possible.
You can’t access the Alhambra from the city center with a private vehicle. You’ll have to head out to the ring road first (A-395) and follow signs to the Alhambra. When you come to the Serrallo tunnel, use the left lane and take exit 5A. At the roundabout, turn left and continue up Avenida Santa María de la Alhambra. Then follow the road (Camino Viejo del Cementerio) where you will find signs for the car park, found just a few metres away from the ticket office and main entrance.
How to get Alhambra Tickets: FAQs
Can I buy Alhambra tickets by phone?
Yes you can, but only when you call from within Spain. The operators speak Spanish, French and English. Call this number: 902 888 001
How many Alhambra tickets can I buy in advance?
You may buy 10 Alhambra tickets at once but not all for the same day.
Can I book tickets with a guided tour?
Yes you can. Seeing the Alhambra and the Generalife gardens with a guide is worth the extra money, in my opinion. The Alhambra breathes 750 years of fascinating, compelling history, which you will only scratch the surface of without a guided tour. You can pre-book guided tours with Tiquets (the cheapest option), or you can try to arrange a guide when you arrive in Granada. All guides speak English. Most speak another language too.
Are there audio guides?
Yes. If you’d rather not join a group for a guided tour but would like to learn about the Alhambra’s past, you can pay a little extra for an audio guide. These are available in 5 languages (Spanish, English, French, Italian, German) and can be bought at the desk at the main entrance. If the batteries run out, you can replace them at Carlos V Palace.
What are the different Alhambra tours available?
When you book your Alhambra tickets you’ll find there are a number of different tour options available:
- Alhambra Palace General admission, morning or afternoon (includes: Nazrid Palaces, Alcazaba, Alhambra Gardens & Generalife)
- Alhambra Palace Partial admission, morning or afternoon (includes: Alcazaba, Alhambra Gardens & Generalife)
- Alhambra Palace at Night, evening (includes: Alcazaba, Alhambra Gardens & Generalife)
- Nazrid Palaces at Night, evening (Nazrid Palaces only)
- Alhambra Experiences (Nasrid Palaces at night, Alcazaba and Generalife the following morning)
The Telegraph recently published this very detailed and educational ‘Guide to The Alhambra‘ article, which I’d recommend reading before you go.
What’s the best time of day to visit the Alhambra?
The Alhambra is strikingly beautiful at any time, but the Nazrid Palaces are only open during the day and the views obviously stretch a lot further. Nevertheless, the gardens are spectacularly lit up at night and there is a slightly heightened sense of awe as you walk around and discover the Alhambra at night. It can get cold in the Autumn/Winter though so bring a coat, hat and gloves!
How long does it take to see the Alhambra?
It takes roughly 3 hours to visit the whole of the Alhambra complex, but this obviously depends on how interested or able-bodied you are! The whole route is 3.5km long.
What if I arrive late?
The time printed on your ticket is the entry time to the Nazrid Palaces. You must not arrive late for this, as you’ll almost certainly be refused entrance. You can see the Generalife and Alcazaba either before or after the Nazrid Palaces – if you go in late spring/summer you may want to avoid Generalife from 2-4 as it gets extremely hot and there is less shade than in other areas.
Is there parking?
Yes. There is a large car park close to the main entrance, which is not accessible from the city centre (see directions to the Alhambra above).