The Nasrid Palaces are the most popular area of the Alhambra and the place where the kings of Granada, the last rulers of Al-Andalus, resided. These palaces are the great jewel of the monumental complex and a sample of the refinement and good taste of the Nasrid sultans. They will leave you speechless!
Visiting the Nasrid Palaces of the Alhambra is a must to do during your trip to Granada. Keep reading and I will tell you how to get tickets for the Nasrid Palaces and some tips to make the most of the experience.
1. How to buy tickets for the Nasrid Palaces?
This is the most visited part of the fortress so to ensure access on the date and time you want, I advise you to book your tickets to the Alhambra online and as far in advance as possible, about one or two months before your trip.
Buying your tickets online has several advantages. Not only will you be able to compare prices and types of tickets (day or night tours, with or without a guided tour, in small or standard groups, etc.) but you will also avoid endless queues at the ticket office and the risk of running out of tickets, as they are highly coveted and capacity is limited each day.
2. How much do tickets to the Nasrid Palaces cost?
The entrance to the Nasrid Palace is included in the price of the Alhambra tickets and in most of the guided tours of the Alhambra, so you will not have to pay extra to access this part of the fortress.
The price of the Alhambra tickets (which include access to the Nasrid Palaces, the Partal, the Alcazaba and the Generalife) is 14 euros but getting them at the ticket office is not the best idea. Every day the capacity is limited and the demand to visit is very high so you risk a long queue at the ticket office without the certainty of being able to get them.
You will only be assured access if you decide to buy online a ticket to the Alhambra without queues with which you can go directly to the monument and you will have the attention of an expert guide throughout the visit.
If you want to know more about this topic, do not miss the post Alhambra ticket prices.
3. Is it worth taking a guided tour of the Nasrid Palaces in the Alhambra?
Absolutely. In my opinion, guided tours of the Alhambra are the best way to get to know and get into the ancient palatine city, especially if it is the first time you visit and you are not familiar with it.
A professional guide will take you on a journey back in time to the origins of this monument to discover its history and delve into the meaning of its beautiful architecture, which has amazed travelers from all over the world for generations.
During the tour the guide will explain in detail all the sites you see. 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 because you will miss the context, the anecdotes and, ultimately, the overall view of the Nasrid fortress provided by a professional guide.
They will give you a much more complete and interesting vision not only of the historical importance of the Alhambra but also of its artistic dimension. In addition, you can be sure that you will have a great time as they do not just recite facts but interact with the group and know how to turn a cultural visit into a fun and enjoyable experience that you will remember when you return home. So don't hesitate, you will succeed for sure!
4. How to visit the Nasrid Palaces?
The most visited part of the Alhambra are the Nasrid Palaces, the space where the sovereigns of the ancient kingdom of Granada resided.
Taking this into account, the tour of the Alhambra should be organized according to the time of access to the Nasrid Palaces, since each visitor can only visit this part of the fortress at the time indicated at the entrance and can not be changed.
5. How long is the visit to the Nasrid Palaces?
To avoid the deterioration of the monument and not to accumulate too many people inside, the entrance to the Nasrid Palaces is done in shifts of 30 minutes.
As you can see time is limited and although you could spend hours admiring the beauty, I advise you to be punctual to make the most of the visit because if you are late they will not let you in. In fact, if you can be there 15 minutes before the time marked on your ticket, all the better.
Once inside, open your eyes wide and pay attention to all the details of the architecture and ornamentation present in the different rooms of the palaces. They are amazing!
The Nasrid Palaces are an important part of the visit to the Nasrid fortress but there are other very interesting ones. 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 its entirety, among other questions.
6. Can I visit the Nasrid Palaces at night?
This is a magical experience! Highly recommended if you want to enjoy the Alhambra in an original and different way under the stars.
While in the daytime visits you can tour the entire monumental complex, the night tours focus exclusively on the Nasrid Palaces or the Generalife Palace and gardens. Both are done at the same time but separately and usually last 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Seeing the Nasrid Palaces at night is something not to be missed during your trip to Granada. If the beauty of the Alhambra is striking in daylight, I must say that at night it looks with an enigmatic and special charm.
As it takes place during the silence of the night, the walk through the Alhambra is peaceful and you can enjoy much more of the fusion between the surrounding nature and the architecture of the palatine city. In addition, the delicate lighting of the monument creates an intimate atmosphere and allows to better appreciate some ornamental elements such as the muqarnas or the reliefs of the plasterwork.
If you would like to know more about the night visit to the Nasrid Palaces, I recommend you to read my article Night visits to the Alhambra, a visit you will not forget!
7. What to bring to see the Nasrid Palaces?
In addition to a good camera to help you capture the beauty of what is considered the eighth wonder of the world, remember to bring your ID or passport with you on the day of your visit.
It is very important! For reasons of security and conservation of the monument, the Alhambra staff performs identification checks on visitors and it is necessary to show this document along with the tickets, which are nominative, personal and non-transferable.
On the other hand, if like many other tourists you travel to Granada during the summer vacations to visit the Nasrid Palaces and the rest of the monumental complex, you should know that at this time of the year it is very hot in the city.
To protect yourself from the high temperatures it is essential to cover your head with a hat, apply sunscreen, use a fan to cool off and wear sunglasses.
If at some point during the tour you get hungry, I recommend that you carry a bottle of cold water and a snack in your bag. Of course, do not forget to book a table at a restaurant to eat at the end of the visit. In the post Where to eat near the Alhambra you will find several proposals near the monument and with magnificent views.
And don't forget to wear comfortable shoes because the visit to the Nasrid fortress is long (3.5 kilometers) and you will walk a lot from one place to another. At the end of the day, you will see how your feet will thank you.
8. When is the best time to visit the Nasrid Palaces?
If you want to see the Nasrid Palaces along with the rest of the Alhambra there are two times during the day that are the best to see the monument: early in the morning when the fortress opens its doors or after lunch around 3 or 4 PM. There are not many tourists and you will be able to tour the Alhambra at your leisure.
However, if you want to focus on seeing the Nasrid Palaces, the night visits to the Alhambra (in summer at 10 PM and in winter at 8 PM) are very charming and a highly recommended option. Contemplating it in the stillness of the night and the moonlight is a magical experience.
If you would like to know more about the opening and closing times of the Alhambra to better plan your visit, then I advise you to read the article Timetables of the Alhambra in Granada where I explain everything in detail.
9. Can you see the Nasrid Palaces for free?
No, this is generally not possible. Access to the Nasrid Palaces is paid and you will need to buy a ticket to tour this part of the Alhambra, whether it is a daytime or nighttime visit.
But there are also exceptions! Only if you are from Granada or a resident of Granada can you visit the Alhambra for free on weekends as part of an initiative launched by the Patronato de la Alhambra y Generalife to raise awareness among the local population of the historical relevance of the Alhambra.
These types of visits are highly coveted and it is not easy to get a place. However, you can try your luck and try to make a reservation online by filling out the form and attaching the required supporting documentation. Another option is to apply in person at the Residents' Office located in the Corral del Carbón.
However, if you are an out-of-town traveler who is just passing through Granada, don't worry because there are ways to save a little on your Alhambra tickets. I tell you about it in the article How to get free or discounted tickets to the Alhambra!
10. What will I see during my visit to the Nasrid Palaces?
The most visited part of the Alhambra in Granada are the Nasrid Palaces, one of the parts that most excited me along with the Generalife during the tour of the monument.
It was the complex where the kings of the Nasrid dynasty resided and is composed of three independent buildings known as the Comares Palace (official house of the king), the Mexuar (audience hall) and the Palace of the Lions (the harem and the abode of the royal family), built on one side of the Alhambra and facing the Albaicin.
- The Mexuar: this is the first area you see when you enter the Nasrid Palaces and the oldest of the three buildings. In this room the sultan dispensed justice, met with the council of ministers or held audiences.
- The Comares Palace: it was the official residence of the sultan and the place where the throne room was located. It was built in the time of Yusuf I and the decoration of this space stands out for its richness, since the Nasrid dynasty sought to amaze visitors who came to the Alhambra with its power.
- The Palace of the Lions: built by Mohamed V, in this building lived the royal family of the sultan and his harem. Prepare your camera because it is here where the Nasrid art reached its maximum splendor and where you will see the famous Patio de los Leones.
What rooms will you see during the tour?
Inside the Nasrid Palaces you will see such beautiful spaces as the Hall of Ambassadors (the symbolic center of Nasrid power), the Hall of the Barca (place of coronation of the sultans of Granada), the Court of the Myrtles (where the great receptions of embassies were organized), the Hall of the Abencerrajes (the king's bedroom), the Hall of the Kings (the hall of the sultan's council) or the Court of the Lions (an allegory of paradise whose fountain has been converted into a fountain), the Sala de los Abencerrajes (the king's bedchamber), the Sala de los Reyes (the sultan's council room) and the Patio de los Leones (an allegory of paradise whose fountain has become an icon of the Alhambra itself), among many others.
How is the decoration of the Nasrid Palaces?
During the tour of the Nasrid Palaces I advise you to observe carefully its spectacular plasterwork, glazed tile plinths and impressive muqarnas in arches and domes.
These palaces are famous for being a sample of the sophisticated taste of the Nasrids, the last rulers of Al-Andalus, in arts and architecture.
Something that really caught my attention were the delicate epigraphic inscriptions in classical Arabic carved in wood or plaster that are scattered on the ceilings and walls of the Alhambra. There are about ten thousand of them!
The guide who accompanied us during the visit to the Nasrid Palaces told us that most of them are poems, ejaculations, texts from the Koran or the motto of the Nasrid dynasty: "There is no conqueror but Allah". Spectacular!