There is no trip complete to Granada if you don’t visit Alhambra Palace. When I was telling my colleagues that I am going to Granada, all in one voice told me that I just don’t have to miss this piece of art. In my hubby’s case, was the same.
Previously to our trip to Granada, we had lots of work at our jobs and at home, so there was no time to prepare well for the trip and to buy tickets to Alhambra. I was thinking that we are lucky enough and will get tickets right there. What a wrong decision, Alhambra is on top list of every traveller. There is no traveller who come to this place and miss Alhambra, and tickets sell out fast.
TICKETS TO THE ALHAMBRA GRANADA
By the end, we got lucky and were able to get some last minute tickets on the official site of Alhambra a General Ticket for only 14EUR per person. Kids till 12 years go free, but you need to get them a ticket as well. When buying, you have to specify all the people who will enter Alhambra. Ticket includes a visit to Alcazaba, Generalife, and a timed entry to Nasrid Palace.
Then, we took an audio Guide: 6€ – We wanted to rent one audio guide between the two of us. But at the end, we had an offer 2×1. Then we understood that it would be difficult with only one audio guide as there were only one single earpiece. But if you have your headphones, then it can be an option. The guide was super useful and we learned a lot about the Palace and its history.
I think that the older we get, the more we appreciate history, and efforts made behind masterpieces like that. I remember me 10 years ago, I would never spend money on audioguide.
Guided Tours: range from 39€ to 120€ and can be purchased online. It is easier to find online a guided tour then to buy a General ticket by yourself.
Tickets are good for the entire day, but there is a timed entry for the Nasrid Palace. The first entry is at 8:30am. You must be present for your time slot allotment or you won’t be granted access to the Nasrid Palace. Our tickets were for 2:00pm, so we toured around the Nasrid Palace and then Nasrid Palace itself. And by the end of the day we went to Generalife gardens.
I wanted tickets for an earlier hour, as kids by this time get tired. But then, found out that it was just perfect for us. As we got to Alhambra at 11.30am, so we didn’t wait to much to enter the Palace. Meanwhile we took our sandwiches and watched around it was the time to enter. The best thing is, that we were able to take our time through Generalife, Alcazaba, and Charles V Palace. And kids allowed us to enjoy the Alhambra :), even if there were lots of negotiation skills applied.
FOOD AND DRINK IN THE ALHAMBRA GRANADA
There are places available to buy food and drink on the premises, we knew it. But we took sandwiches and water, as we expected those to be full and we didn’t want our lunch to take much time while there. We wanted something quick and enjoy the fortress. There are hordes of benches throughout the property which make for great picnic spots filled with people watching. Alhambra is also dotted with water fountains, making it easy to stay hydrated with your reusable water bottle.
GETTING TO THE ALHAMBRA GRANADA
Alhambra Palace is at the top of a hill. Many people said that even if it is a hill, it is a pleasant walk. I agree with them if only you do not have 2 kids who want you to carry them on your arms. There are buses that run from Plaza Nuevo in the city centre to the main gate C32 and C33. As well touristic train has a stop there.
MORE THAN A PALACE – THE ALHAMBRA GRANADA
The Alhambra is a whole complex of buildings and gardens, many of which can only be visited once. During your visit you’ll want to see the following:
Nasrid Palace – The Palaces of Mexuar, Comares, and Mohammed V. The marvelous Moorish architecture is the highlight of the Alhambra.
Alcazaba – See the military fortifications of the Alhambra.
Palace of Charles V – This was an attempt to marry Christian design with the existing Arabic styling. It began in the 16th century but wasn’t finished until the 20th.
Rauda – Visit this cemetery for Royals.
Medina – This mini-town has public baths and housing for government officials.
Museo de Bellas Artes – Granada’s fine art museum is found on the grounds of the Alhambra.
Generalife Gardens – These gardens are an attraction in their own right (you can visit them separately if you want). The orchards and gardens surrounding the villas were used by the Moorish rulers in their leisure time.
HISTORY OF THE ALHAMBRA PALACE GRANADA
Parts of the palace were originally constructed in the 9th century. The kings from the Nasrid dynasty (Yusuf I and Mohammed V) built much of what stands today in the 1300’s. Alhambra stands today as a reminder of Muslim rule of Spain before the Reconquista of Spanish Christians in the 1400’s.
The Islamic Moorish architecture that is present throughout the palace is intricate and detailed. The numerous connected buildings and gardens are truly impressive. It’s easy to see why Alhambra is one of Spain’s most visited attractions. Sultans of all times wanted Alhambra to be the most exquisite masterpiece in the world. They invested lots of time till they got what we see.
On every win Muslim had, Sultans had to build another palace inside Alhambra or to refurbish an existing one. It was the room all 10 of Muslim rulers had. There is so much history and background information about this place that we even watched a documentary video on youtube, while we were on our way to Malaga. Below, I will share only he highlights.
Historically it was a problem with water in the palace. And many engineers, worked on how to get the water from the river, up to the palace. They had to solve this problem as quickly as possible, as there were more than 5000 people living in Alhambra, workers and servers of the Palace.
NASRID PALACE – ALHAMBRA GRANADA
The main attraction in the Alhambra grounds is the Nasrid Palace. This space is home to numerous independent buildings, created by different rulers. All feature incredible architectural details and jaw-dropping intricacies. Highlights of our time in Nasrid Palace include the Palacio de los Leones (Palace of the Lions) – with its lion fountains and marble arched columns; Palacio de los Arrayanes (Court of the Myrtles) – featuring the beautiful reflecting pool with a mirror image of the Comares tower above; and the various Halls that feature tiles of Islamic calligraphy, endless mosaics, and impressive arches.
ALCAZABA – ALHAMBRA GRANADA
The Alcazaba is the oldest part of the Alhambra Palace dating back to the 9th century. It was mainly used as a fortress for military purposes. However, while the Nasrid Palace was completed it was used as a royal residence. There are several towers in the Alcazaba grounds which provide incredible views of the city streets and clustered buildings below (Torre Quebrada, Torre del Homenaje, and Torre de la Vela) . These towers were created on a special purpose, to get news from other fortress if enemy is around. All the signs were sent with mirrors.
GENERALIFE – ALHAMBRA GRANADA
Generalife was mainly used as a refuge or leisure place for the Granadian kings when they wanted to escape the pressures of Palace life. The architecture and decoration within Generalife is less ornate and intricate than what is featured within the Nasrid Palace. The gardens are large and vast, with spectacular views of the Alhambra Palace.
THE END OF MOORISH CONTROL
The Alhambra remained under Moorish control until the late 15th century. Moorish Granada was conquered by the Catholics. Some parts of the palaces were used by the new rulers, but others were demolished and rebuilt.
Eventually, though, the palaces were used less and less and fell into disrepair for hundreds of years. A lot of the original artwork was lost. Parts were destroyed in the 1800s during battles with the French and a strong earthquake.
It’s possible that the entire complex could have been forgotten about altogether if it hadn’t been “rediscovered” by European scholars in the 1820s. Since then, its been reclaimed and is still undergoing restoration.
It was a tough day, kids were tires, as it went our 3rd day of travel, and they totally lost the routine. We wanted to see more. But, by the end, I couldn’t be more grateful to all us 4, that we did it, and saw the most amazing place in the world.