Alhambra Castle – tickets, prices, discounts, guided tours, what to see

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The Alhambra is a fortress complex of Granada’s Moorish monarchs in Spain and attracts 2.7 million tourists annually.

Built on a plateau between 1238 and 1358, Alhambra overlooks the Albaicín quarter of Granada city.

The Alhambra Castle consists of four distinct zones: the Nasrid Palaces, Alcazaba (the military zone), Medina (the city), and the Generalife.

In this article, we share everything you must know before booking your tour of Alhambra.

Important: While visiting Alhambra, please carry your passport. It is the only form of identification accepted at the venue.

What to expect at Alhambra


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How to get to Alhambra

Alhambra is 2.5 Kms (1.5 Miles) from the center of Granada City. 

If you are in and around the city of Granada, board any of these buses:

  1. Bus No. C30 (Route map)
  2. Bus No. C32 (Route map)
  3. Bus No. C35 (Route Map)

Bus No. 30 and 32 have the following stops in the Alhambra complex:

  1. Entrance Pavillion (the Ticket Offices)
  2. Tower of the Heads (Torre de las Cabezas), which is near Charles V Palace and the Nasrid Palaces
  3. Gate of Justice (Puerta de la Justicia), closest to Alcazaba.

All the routes have a frequency of at least two buses an hour, so you won’t have to wait long. 

Your next best option is to take Uber to reach Alhambra.

From the city center, you can reach the fortress in around 5 Euros.

Alhambra car park

Private transport is not allowed to enter Alhambra. 

However, visitors can find around 500 parking spaces some distance from the Alhambra Box Office and the castle’s main entrance. Get driving directions

Walking to Alhambra

To enjoy nature, artistic surroundings and take in a lot of history, we suggest you walk the last mile to Alhambra.

When you travel by other means of transport, it is easy to miss the approaching monument’s beauty.

You have two options – 

1. Start from Plaza Nueva

Walking distance: 1.4 Kms (1 Mile)
Elevation gained: 97 meters (320 feet)
Duration: 21 minutes

2. Start from Cuesta de Gomérez street

Walking distance: 850 meters (half a mile)
Elevation gained: 52 meters (170 feet)
Duration: 13 minutes

Some visitors may even call this walk a ‘hike to Alhambra’, but we recommend it if you are healthy enough.


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Alhambra entrance

If you have already bought Alhambra tickets online, it is best to enter the complex through the Gate of Justice (Puerta de la Justicia). Get Directions

Of the three gates in the Alhambra walls, the Gate of Justice is the largest and most impressive entrance. 

It is also known as the Gate of the Esplanade (Puerta de la Explanada) because of the vast esplanade that extends before it. 

If you don’t buy your Alhambra tickets in advance, you can get them from the ticket office situated at the Access Pavillion entrance.

Access Pavillion is 600 meters (approx half a mile) from the Gate of Justice. Directions to the ticket office

The third Alhambra entrance is called Gate of the Carts. It is closest to the Nasrid Palaces entry and the Charles V Palace. Directions


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Alhambra opening hours

During the summer months (1 April to 14 October), Alhambra opens at 8.30 am and closes at 8 pm.

In winter (15 October to 31 March), Alhambra continues to open at 8.30 am but closes early at 6 pm.

The Ticket Office opens at 8 am and winds down with Alhambra Castle’s closure all through the year.

If you plan to visit the Gardens during the day, Alhambra’s hours apply. 

Alhambra Gardens night timings

Alhambra Gardens are not open for night visits from 1 June to 31 August and from 15 November to 31 March.

Rest of the year, from Tuesday to Saturday, the Gardens follow these timings:

MonthsGardens entryTicket Office
1 Apr to 31 May10 pm – 11.30 pm9 pm – 10.45 pm
1 Sept to 14 Oct10 pm – 11.30 pm9 pm – 10.45 pm
15 Oct to 14 Nov8 pm – 9.30 pm7 pm – 8.45 pm

On Sundays and Mondays, night visits aren’t allowed. 

Alhambra remains closed on two days a year – 25 December and 1 and January.

The last entry to all areas of Alhambra is one hour before closing time.

All visitors inside the Fortress complex are requested to leave the monument at closing time.


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How long does Alhambra take?

Most visitors to Alhambra take four to five hours to explore Alhambra Castle fully.

This involves a walk of around 3.5 km (2.1 miles) if you plan to see all the Fort complex attractions.

Here is the break up of the time you are likely to spend at Alhambra –

AttractionTime taken
Alcazaba15 to 30 mins
Nasrid Palace30 to 45 mins
Generalife30 to 45 mins
Charles V Palace15 to 30 mins
Museums (2)20 to 30 mins
*Walking 60 to 90 mins

*Since the attractions are at a distance from each other, you will spend a considerable amount of time walking from one to the other.

Weekends and holidays attract many visitors, which can further extend the time needed to explore Alhambra.

When you buy Alhambra tickets in advance, you save yourself 30 to 60 minutes of waiting time at the ticketing counter queues.


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Best time to visit Alhambra

Alhambra opens at 8.30 am, and the crowd starts coming in by 10 am, so the best time to visit Alhambra Castle is before 10 am. 

There are three significant benefits of starting early – you get to avoid the hot Spanish Sun, you avoid the crowd, and you also get to finish your tour by 2 pm and head to the city of Granada for lunch.

The second best time to visit Granada is 3 pm, after a nice local lunch in the city. 

By this time, the crowd has already left or is planning to go, and if you stay long enough, you also get to see stunning sunset views from the Towers. 

In the summer: We suggest you start outdoors when the temperatures are still bearable. Once it gets hot, move indoors to the Nasrid Palaces.

In the winter: You must start your tour with Nasrid Palaces and as the Sun comes up, and it gets warmer, move outdoors to Generalife and Alcazaba. 

*Entry to Nasrid Palace is timed.


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Alhambra tickets

Alhambra is a complicated tourist attraction, and that’s why it is better to know everything before booking your Alhambra Granada tickets.

Crowd control through ticket sales

The authorities sell only 6,600 Alhambra Palace tickets every day to protect the historic attraction from overcrowding.

Visitors to the Nasrid Palaces are also restricted, and only 300 people are allowed inside every half hour. 

During peak months, Alhambra tickets sell out months in advance – sometimes 90 days in advance. 

This is why there is a massive demand for last minute Alhambra tickets.

Number of tickets per person

Because of these strict restrictions, a person can only book ten tickets at a time. 

This means, if you are a bigger group, you must break it into two and book tickets separately. 

Are Alhambra tickets timed?

Yes, Alhambra entrance tickets have a time mentioned on them. 

This helps the authorities limit the number of people inside the attraction at any point in time. 

If you don’t enter the Fortress complex at the time specified on your ticket, you lose the right to visit this area.

The same applies to Nasrid Palace, which is inside Alhambra Fort – you must enter it in the time slot indicated on your ticket. 

Note: If your Nasrid Palace entry time is an hour before closing, you must explore Generalife and Alcazaba much before. 

Alhambra tickets at the door

Yes, visitors can buy tickets at the venue. 

The Alhambra ticket office is in the Access Pavillion, and from there itself, visitors can gain access to the Alcazaba, Nasrid Palaces, and the Generalife.

However, we won’t recommend that because the number of tickets sold every day is limited, and the day’s tickets get sold weeks (if not months) in advance. 

Besides, you also waste time getting from the ticket counters to the attractions within the complex. 

For instance, from the Alhambra ticket counters, you must walk:

  • 20 minutes to get to the Alcazaba
  • 17 minutes to reach Nasrid Palaces
  • 15 minutes to get to the Generalife

If you already have your entry tickets when you reach Alhambra, you can enter through the Gate of Justice, part of Alcazaba.

Why online tickets are better

Three reasons why you must always buy Alhambra tickets online and in advance

1. With more than 7000 tourists visiting daily, the tickets dry up soon. You don’t want to reach there and find out that all tickets have sold out.

2. When you buy your Alhambra Palace tickets online, you don’t waste your time waiting in long ticketing counter queues

Waiting in such long lines at Alhambra’s ticket office is a waste of time, which can instead be used to explore the attraction. Image: Fromtheretoheretheblog.com

3. Entry to Nasrid Palaces is timed. When you buy tickets at the venue, you may get a time slot further away into the day, and you may have to wait longer.

4. You miss the grand entry into Alhambra via the Gate of Justice because you must reach the ticket counters, which are at another entrance – the Access Pavillion.

Alhambra audio guide

When you book the Alhambra tickets recommended below, you also get the audio guide with it. 

If you decide to buy tickets from the venue, you can pick up audio guides from the Entrance Pavilion (next to the ticket office) or Charles V’s Palace.

These Alhambra audio guides are available in Spanish, Gallego, Catalán, Euskera, English, French, Italian, German, Dutch and Portuguese.


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Alhambra Castle tours

There are many types of Alhambra Castle tours, and we explain them below. 

Because of the attraction’s nature, we recommend Alhambra tickets with a guide, but then the choice is yours.

1. Best guided Alhambra tour of all areas

This General Alhambra ticket gives you Skip the Line access to all areas of the attraction.

A local guide leads you through the fortress (the Alcazaba), the Nasrid Palaces, and the Generalife’s Palace and Gardens.

Rating: 4.8 / 5
Duration: 3 hours
Tour timings: 4.30 pm
Tour Guide: Yes

Meeting point: Polinario Café Bar next to the Alhambra ticket office. Look for a guide wearing GetYourGuide attire and holding a red GetYourGuide flag standing by the cafe’s entrance. Get Directions

Alhambra tickets price

Adult ticket (12+ years): 42 Euros
Child ticket (6 to 11 years): 21 Euros
Infant ticket (up to 5 years): Free entry

2. Best self-guided Alhambra tour

This self-guided Alhambra general ticket gets you access to all parts of the Alhambra Castle. 

You can explore Alhambra, Nasrid Palaces, Gardens, Generalife, Charles V Palace, and Alcazaba at your pace.

An audio guide comes with the ticket, and you can pick it up at the Entrance Pavilion or the Palace of Charles V. 

Rating: 4.2 / 5
Duration: 3-4 hours
Availability: 8.30 am, 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, 4 pm
Audio Guide: Yes
Hotel Pickup: Available on request

Alhambra tickets price (tour only)

Adult ticket (12+ years): 38 Euros
Child ticket (6 to 11 years): 19 Euros
Infant ticket (up to 5 years): Free entry

Tickets price (with hotel pick up)

Adult ticket (12+ years): 65 Euros
Child ticket (6 to 11 years): 32.50 Euros
Infant ticket (up to 5 years): 5 Euros

*If you want to explore the Alhambra but with a little extra help, check out this self-guided tour with the help of a GPS Navigator. Find Out More

3. Alhambra Gardens tickets – everything except Nasrid Palaces

Alhambra Castle’s Gardens. Image: GetYourGuide

These tickets are also known as the ‘Alhambra gardens tickets’ or the ‘Alhambra and Generalife tickets’ because you get to access everything in the Fort complex except the Nasrid Palaces.

If you don’t like sticking to a schedule while exploring any attraction, this ticket is best for you – because you won’t be visiting Nasrid Palaces, where entry is timed.

Rating: 4.2 / 5
Duration: 2.5 hours
Availability: 10.30 am and 3 pm
Tour Guide: Yes
Audio Guide: Yes
Hotel Pickup: Available on request

Meeting point: La Mimbre Restaurant, Granada. Get Directions

Alhambra Gardens tickets price

Adult ticket (12+ years): 35 Euros
Youth ticket (6 to 11 years): 18 Euros
Child ticket (2 to 5 years): Free entry
Infant ticket (up to 1 year): Free entry

Ticket price (with hotel transfers)

Adult ticket (12+ years): 54 Euros
Youth ticket (6 to 11 years): 27 Euros
Child ticket (2 to 5 years): 27 Euros
Infant ticket (up to 1 year): 15 Euros

4. Premium small group guided tour

This guided tour of Alhambra Castle takes place in small groups of up to 10 people, making for a more pleasant and relaxing visit.

The official guide narrates all the secrets, stories, legends, and explains the site’s artistic details, making for a memorable tour.

This highly-rated tour ticket gets you to access all areas – Nasrid Palaces, Alcazaba Generalife, Palace of Carlos V, and the Mosque Baths.

Rating: 4.9 / 5
Duration: 3 hours
Availability: 12 pm
Tour Guide: Yes
Audio Guide: No
Hotel Pickup: No

Meeting Point: At the Mural map, near the main entrance of the Alhambra, by the ticket office. The guide will be holding a white umbrella. Get Directions

Alhambra tour price

Adult ticket (12+ years): 59 Euros
Child ticket (3 to 11 years): 35 Euros
Infant ticket (up to 2 year): 25 Euros

5. Private walking tour of Alhambra

If you love a VIP treatment, this is a perfect way to explore this Moorish medieval citadel.

After all, what better way to discover the Alcazaba, Nasrid Palaces, Charles V Palace, and Generalife Gardens than with your guide.

Rating: 4.7 / 5
Duration: 3 hours
Availability: 8 am to 6 pm
Tour Guide: Yes
Audio Guide: No
Hotel Pickup: No

Meeting Point: The Café Bar, next to the ticket office of the Alhambra. Get Directions

Alhambra private tour price

Adult ticket (12+ years): 260 Euros
Child ticket (8 to 11 years): 50 Euros
Infant ticket (up to 7 years): 50 Euros

6. Cheapest Alhambra tour – only Charles V Palace entry

Charles V Palace at Alhambra. Image: Maria Bobrova

It is the cheapest Alhambra tour available, and that’s because you only explore the free areas of the Fort complex.

The local guide will help you walk a scenic route through the woods to the Alhambra’s Gate of Justice.

On the way, you will explore its exterior, walk along its walls and towers, and find out more about its Moorish history. 

From the Gate of Justice, you will enjoy the exceptional views of the Albaicín neighborhood and then step inside Alhambra to see Charles V Palace, which is free entry. 

Rating: 4.2 / 5
Duration: 2 hours
Availability: 9.30 am, 10.30 am, 3.30 pm, 4 pm, 4.30 pm
Tour Guide: Yes
Audio Guide: No
Hotel Pickup: No

Meeting Point: Justice Gate, Calle Real de la Alhambra, 18, 18009 Granada, Spain. Get Directions

Tour price

Adult ticket (13+ years): 13.50 Euros
Child ticket (6 to 12 years): 3 Euros
Infant ticket (up to 5 years): Free entry

7. Guided tour of Alhambra, Generalife & Albaicín

This tour is a fantastic opportunity to get a holistic understanding of Alhambra and the city in which it stands. 

At 10 am, you enter Alhambra Palace, an impressive fortified complex of Muslim Spain. 

After the guide has taken you through all major attractions within the complex, you stop for a lunch break. 

After you are fresh for another round of exploration, you visit Albaicín, Granada’s ancient quarter.

Walking along the narrow, cobbled streets of Albaicín and admiring the flowering balconies and stunning views of the Moorish fortress are memories that are sure to stay with you forever. 

Rating: 4.8 / 5
Duration: 1 day
Starts at: 10 am
Tour Guide: Yes
Audio Guide: No
Hotel Pickup: No

Meeting Point: At the Mural map, near the main entrance of the Alhambra, by the ticket office. The guide will be holding a white umbrella. Get Directions

Alhambra & Albaicín tour price

Adult ticket (13+ years): 75 Euros
Child ticket (6 to 12 years): 50 Euros
Infant ticket (up to 5 years): 25 Euros

*If you want a private tour of Granada’s Alhambra, Nasrid Palaces, and Albaicín neighborhood, check this out.

Recommended Reading
1. Alhambra tours from Seville
2. Alhambra tours from Malaga


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Recommended route at Alhambra Castle

In Arabic, Alhambra means ‘the red one.’ The complex gets its name from the reddish color of the Tapia (rammed earth) used to build the outer walls.

If you have booked a guided tour at Alhambra, you don’t need to worry because your guide will handle the route for you.

However, if you love exploring attractions by yourself, here is a plan you can follow –

Step 1: Check out this article on what to see at Alhambra.

Step 2: Book a self-guided Alhambra ticket

Step 3: Enter the Fortress from the Gate of Justice. Directions

Step 4: There are three parts to the Alhambra fortress – Alcazaba, the Nasrid Palaces, and Generalife.

The best path to follow is: ALCAZABA >> NASRID PALACES >> GENERALIFE

So, head straight to Alcazaba and check out:

  • Torre del Cubo
  • Adarve of the North wall
  • Arms Square
  • Barrio Castrense
  • Terrace of the Puerta de las Armas
  • Torre de la Vela
  • Garden of the Adarves

Alcazaba takes 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your interest in history.

Since the Nasrid Palaces tour can only take place during the time indicated on your ticket, you must time your exit from Alcazaba properly.

Step 5: Alcazaba exit is only about 200 meters (650 feet) from Nasrid Palaces’ queue area.

You can be at the Nasrid Palaces entrance up to 30 minutes from the time mentioned on your ticket.

That is, if your ticket has 9.30 am mentioned on it, you will be allowed entry till 10 am. 

Get in and explore the following areas of Nasrid Palaces:

Mexuar

  • The Hall
  • Oratory
  • Gilded Room
  • Court of the Gilded Room

Comares Palace

  • Court of the Myrtles
  • Hall of the Boat
  • Hall of the Ambassadors.

Palace of the Lions

  • Hall of the Mocárabes (Muqarnas)
  • Court
  • Hall of the Abencerrajes
  • Hall of the Kings
  • Hall of the Two Sisters
  • The Emperor’s Chambers
  • Court of the Wrought Iron Grille
  • Daraxa’s Garden

The Partal

  • Pórtico del Palacio
  • Gardens and paths
  • Rauda
  • Palace of Yusuf III
  • Promenade of the Towers

Step 6: Your last stop will be Generalife, where you get to see:

Low Gardens
High Gardens
Palace of the Generalife
Water Stairway
Court of the Sultana

Since there is a lot of walking, we recommend comfortable walking shoes.

If you are visiting during the summer, carry a bottle of water and sunscreen. 

Follow the link for a map of the route to be followed at Alhamra.

Popular attractions in Granada

# Generalife
# Nasrid Palaces
# Jardines de Zoraya

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Anmol Sabharwal: She is a finance graduate with a bucket list full of places to visit and historic cities to explore. She loves to chat up and strike friendships with other travelers when she is on the move. Favorite Cities: Antwerp, Koyoto, Muscat, Bangkok

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