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La Alhambra guided tours in Granada

Visit the legendary Nasrid palatine city, the last living trace of this dynasty in Spain, whose beauty has inspired travelers from all over the world for centuries.

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

13 min read

La Alhambra guided tours in Granada

Inside the Alhambra | ©Cayetano Gros

When we think of Granada, the first thing that comes to mind for many travelers is the legendary Alhambra. Declared a World Heritage Site, Granada received more than five million tourists in 2019, beating its all-time record.

Being the most popular monument in Spain, it is advisable to get tickets for the Alhambra in Granada at least a month or two in advance. If you want to include it in your trip to the city you have several ways to discover this ancient Andalusian palace city. I explain them below:

The best option

Official Ticket with Guided Tour of The Alhambra

The complete guided tour of the Alhambra including entrance tickets

Discovering the Alhambra and its historical and artistic importance is much more interesting if you do it with an expert guide. This guided tour also includes all entrance fees.

Duration: 3 to 4 hours

The best thing about this activity is the good value for money, as you will be able to visit the Alhambra, the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife together with a specialized local guide. The tour lasts almost 4 hours and is very enjoyable thanks to the incredible places you will discover and the experience of the guide, which makes the tour a very pleasant visit.

In addition, with these skip-the-line tickets you will be sure to access the monument directly and without waiting (something very important considering the great affluence of the Alhambra. You will be able to see the Nasrid Palaces, the Alcazaba, the Generalife, the palace of Charles V, the palace El Partal and the gardens of the Alhambra.

You will take a real trip back in time to learn what the Islamic kingdom of Granada was like in the Middle Ages, who ordered the Alhambra to be built, why it was erected and how it became the residence of Christian royalty in 1492.

Why I like this option: this is the most complete option to know the Alhambra, the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife with an expert guide at a very reasonable price.

Recommended if you want to complete your visit to Granada knowing the best kept secrets of the Alhambra.


In small groups

Alhambra and Generalife Small Group Guided Tour with Skip the Line Tickets

For a little more, the same guided tour of the Alhambra in small groups

If you want to visit the Alhambra with an expert guide, but you are not seduced by the idea of joining a large group of tourists, consider the small group option. As in the previous one, it also includes the entrance fees to the monuments.

Duration: 3 hours

If taking a walk through the Alhambra and its gardens with an expert guide is an experience 100% recommendable, doing it in small groups adds charm to the visit. In a small group (here will participate at most 20 people) you will connect better with the guide, you will be able to ask more questions, ask for suggestions...

In general, guided tours in small groups tend to be more effective and better listened to, and the difference in price makes up for it. Regarding the itinerary and duration of the tour, it is the same as in the previous option. You will visit the Nasrid Palaces, the Alcazaba, the Generalife, the Palace of Charles V, the palace El Partal and the gardens of the Alhambra.

Why I like this option: it is the complete tour of the Alhambra to discover its majesty with a guide but in a small group, which improves the quality of the experience.

Recommended if you feel like adding a premium point to the experience.


In summary, we compare the options


How much does a guided tour of the Alhambra in Granada cost?

The price of the entrance to the Alhambra will depend on the type of tour you book and what it includes. In Hellotickets you can compare prices and types of tickets (day or night tours, with or without guided tour, in small or standard groups, etc.) to choose the one that best suits your tastes and budget.

For example, you can find a guided tour of the Alhambra from 37 € (including the Nasrid Palaces, the Generalife, the Alcazaba and the Palace of Charles V) in a standard group but if you are looking for a more personalized experience, you will also find options from 50 € for a more exclusive version of this visit in a small group.

In the post Alhambra ticket prices I tell you everything you need to know about this topic and about other issues such as how to book tickets in advance or what you can see for free in the Nasrid fortress. Don't miss it!

Why go on a guided tour instead of visiting the Alhambra on your own?

Interior courtyard of the Palace of Charles V| ©Clark Van Der Beken
Interior courtyard of the Palace of Charles V| ©Clark Van Der Beken

Buying tickets and visiting the Alhambra without an expert guide is not the option I recommend. There is no doubt that if you explore the Alhambra on your own you will see a beautiful monument but the experience may not be enough.

It is a very large monumental complex divided into several parts, where if you are not familiar with its history and architecture you could miss many details and curiosities about the different spaces that compose it if it is the first time you visit it. In short, you will not have the global vision of the Nasrid fortress provided by a professional guide.

In addition, if you take a guided tour of the Alhambra you can be sure that you will have a great time because the guides do not just recite boring facts but interact with the group and know how to turn a cultural visit into a very enjoyable experience.

How long does it take to visit the Alhambra?

Detail of the Nasrid Palaces| ©Clark Van Der Beken
Detail of the Nasrid Palaces| ©Clark Van Der Beken

The average estimated time of a visit is 3 hours with a 30 minute wait in the entrance queue. However, it is difficult to determine how long it takes to see the Alhambra in Granada, as the visit to a monument of this size, historical importance and artistic beauty will depend on the fascination it arouses in you.

If you just want to see the Alhambra from above in order to add it to your list of traveler landmarks, perhaps this time will be enough to get an idea of what the palace complex is like, or even less. However, if you are passionate about history and art, you will not want to spend less than 4 to 6 hours inside the Alhambra in order to explore it inch by inch in detail.

If you are organizing a trip to Granada, in my article Duration of the visit to the Alhambra I tell you in detail how much time you will need to see the monument in full or how long the visit to the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife lasts among other questions.

How far in advance should I book the visit?

The Generalife| ©Paul VanDerWerf
The Generalife| ©Paul VanDerWerf

The Alhambra is the most visited monument in Spain and the eighth wonder of the world, so there is a great demand to visit it both nationally and internationally.

For security and conservation reasons the capacity is limited, so I advise you to book your guided tour of the Alhambra in Granada as far in advance as possible.

If your trip coincides with long weekends, weekends or holidays, do it at least one or two months before the visit.

Do children have to pay to enter the Alhambra?

View of the Alhambra| ©Vidar Nordli-Mathisen
View of the Alhambra| ©Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

Indeed, the visit to the Alhambra is paid and it is mandatory that children have their ticket to access this monumental complex. However, the kids can get them at a lower price than adults, something that allows families to save a little on vacation which always comes in handy.

If your dream is to visit the Alhambra and you would like to visit it with your family for less money or for free, in the post How to get free or discounted tickets for the Alhambra I tell you how you can do it.

This is one of the tips I give you when visiting the Nasrid fortress but if you travel to Granada with children, I recommend you to read the post Visit the Alhambra in Granada with children to see some more that will surely be useful.

Opening hours of the Alhambra

Be dazzled by the beauty of the decoration of the palaces| ©Austin Gardner
Be dazzled by the beauty of the decoration of the palaces| ©Austin Gardner

The monumental complex of the Alhambra is open every day except December 25 and January 1. The opening hours of the Alhambra are as follows:

  • Low season (from October 15 to March 31) opens from 8:30 AM to 6 PM.
  • High season (from April 1 to October 14) opens from 8:30 AM to 8 PM.

If you want to know more about the opening hours of the Alhambra and especially of such emblematic places inside the monument as the Nasrid Palaces or the Generalife, then I recommend you to read the article Timetables of the Alhambra in Granada where I explain everything in detail.

What is the best time to visit the Alhambra in Granada?

Normally, the best time is when the monument opens. Early in the morning there are usually not so many crowds at the monument and after the visit you will have the rest of the day to make other excursions around the city.

In the afternoon, around 3 or 4 PM the number of visitors decreases somewhat so it is also a good time to visit. In addition, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the sunset while strolling within its walls, watching how the Alhambra is tinged with the reddish color of the sunset light.

However, if you want to focus on seeing the Nasrid Palaces or the Generalife and its gardens, the night visits to the Alhambra(in summer at 10 PM and in winter at 8 PM) are very charming and are a highly recommended option if you want to enjoy the monument in an original and intimate way. Contemplate it in the stillness of the night and the moonlight is a magical and enigmatic experience that you will love.

What is the best time of the year to visit the Alhambra in Granada?

To admire the beauty of the Generalife gardens in all their splendor and enjoy the good weather, spring (April, May, June) and autumn (September and October) are the best time.

During the summer, temperatures are very high and the heat is suffocating. However, if you decide to visit the Alhambra in summer, remember to wear cool, comfortable clothes, a fan and a hat, and always be well hydrated.

In winter the trees of the Alhambra begin to change color and the flowers begin to disappear. The change of season that occurs during the low season can also be a good time to visit this monument, if your priority is to admire its architecture and take pictures.

How to get to the Alhambra?

Bus to the Alhambra| ©Tim Adams
Bus to the Alhambra| ©Tim Adams

The fortress is located in the center of the city, on a hill that is accessed by climbing several slopes. There are several options to get to the Alhambra and depending on your preferences you can go walking, by bus or by car.

On foot

If you leave from the Plaza Nueva, you only have to take the slope of Gomérez. When you reach the Puerta de las Granadas, turn left and continue until you reach the Puerta de la Justicia, which serves as the entrance to the Alhambra in Granada.

Bus

Several city bus lines make the trip to the Alhambra. Some of them are the C30, C32 and C35. The single ticket costs 1.40 euros.

By car

Cars have their access through the Ronda Sur (A-395). Head towards the Granada ring road (N-323/ A-44), direction South (Motril). Once you have skirted the city you will see the direction Alhambra (Ronda Sur) to the parking lot of the monument where you can park your car. The price is 2,35 euros/hour.

If you are planning a visit to the Alhambra, I tell you all the ways to get to the monument in the post How to get to the Alhambra.

Why is it worth visiting the Alhambra in Granada?

The Patio of the Lions| ©Junta de Andalucía
The Patio of the Lions| ©Junta de Andalucía

There are several reasons why I believe that visiting the Alhambra in Granada is a must for any traveler. The whole monument is absolutely admirable and just by contemplating it from one of its viewpoints, blending in with its beautiful natural surroundings, you will feel like you are in a dream.

It is the most beautiful monument in Spain

For starters, it is a world icon, a palatine city unique in Europe and a reference of Islamic architecture and art in Spain. If you like cultural visits, in the Alhambra in Granada you will find a very special monument full of art and history that will leave you speechless.

To better understand its significance in the history of the country, I recommend you to take a guided tour, which is always much more complete and interesting than doing it on your own.

Walking through the Alhambra is to contemplate the splendor of the Nasrid era

Unlike Medina Azahara, the other great Andalusian palatine city located in Cordoba that was destroyed after the end of the Umayyad caliphate, the Alhambra in Granada is in an excellent state of preservation and walking through its different spaces is like taking a trip back in time to the last years of splendor of Al-Andalus. You can feel the Arab essence in every building and street like nowhere else.

Among all the spaces that make up the Nasrid fortress, the Nasrid Palaces, the great jewel of the monumental complex and a sample of the good taste and refinement of this dynasty, will leave you speechless!

It is a source of artistic inspiration

In addition, the Alhambra of Granada is a place full of mysteries and legends that inspired many travelers and romantic artists such as Washington Irving for his famous book "Tales of the Alhambra". Who knows? If you have a bohemian soul, maybe the Alhambra is also your source of inspiration.

The incomparable beauty of the place in which it is located

Undoubtedly, the Alhambra in Granada occupies a privileged place, where the beautiful landscape that surrounds it and its architectural delicacy blend perfectly with each other. A dream place where you can recreate yourself taking some of the best pictures of your trip.

The precious and delicate gardens of the Alhambra

Enjoying its surroundings and the Generalife gardens on the Cerro del Sol hill is another reason to visit the Alhambra in Granada. The most beautiful thing about these gardens, in my opinion, is the game that is born between the vegetation, the light and the water of the pools. A symbol of the paradise promised by God on Earth.

How to make the most of your visit to the Alhambra

When we think of Granada, the first monument that comes to mind and to which we associate this charming Andalusian city is the Alhambra.

The visit does not disappoint, which is why it is Spain's most popular tourist attraction and a must-see during a trip to the ancient Nasrid kingdom.

In case you are planning to go to Granada soon, I recommend you to take a look at the post Tips to visit the Alhambra where you will find very useful information to get the most out of this experience.

Eat well near the Alhambra

With permission of its legendary Alhambra, if Granada is known for something is for its delicious gastronomy and the art of tapas. One of the best memories I took with me was precisely this, the flavors of this land.

If you have already booked your hotel and your tickets to the Alhambra, the next step is to do the same in a restaurant in the city so that when you leave the tour of the monument you do not have to live an odyssey in rush hour trying to get a free table in a touristy area like this.

So you don't have to look for a place in a good restaurant at the last minute with the stress that this entails, in the article Where to eat near the Alhambra you will see some proposals where you can eat great very close to the palatine city and with wonderful views.

What other places to see in Granada?

Discover the charm and beauty of the Albaicín| ©L'odyssée Belle
Discover the charm and beauty of the Albaicín| ©L'odyssée Belle

Granada is the dream land for many travelers to enjoy an unforgettable getaway.

A charming city to which many fall for the lively atmosphere that permeates its streets and bars, for the warmth of its people and, of course, for the beautiful historical and cultural heritage that treasures the fruit of the passage of different peoples who over the centuries have left their mark here.

The Alhambra is the most popular monument in the city, but not the only one,Granada is full of dreamy corners waiting for you to discover them!

If you don't know where to start, I recommend you take a look at the article The best guided tours and excursions in Granada to get some ideas. The best thing is that they are organized activities where you just have to let yourself go and have a great time.

If you feel like a more relaxing but equally authentic experience, don't hesitate to enjoy a hammam ritual in the Arab baths of Granada.