The vines are woven with wisdom through weathered wire frames and ageless white light filters through ancient windows. Sophisticated fountains and aqueducts nourish fragrant blooms and keep the grounds cool and calm. With fortress walls that wrap 1.4 kilometres around, a grand amphitheatre, acres of gardens and a labyrinth of rooms, this palace is a visual symphony and, for me, was one of the highlights of Spain.
The medieval Muslim palace is perched on Sabika hill above Granada, looking across the white jig-saw city and out to the ashen-grey Sierra Nevada peaks beyond. Dating back to the Islamic rule of the thirteenth century, the palace is in impressive condition for its age and has been diligently maintained for the droves of tourists that visit daily.
I was doing my best to curb a photographic frenzy as I explored the halls and terraces and gardens, but the beauty of the place may have got the best of me. Here are a few of the many hundreds of photos I snapped of the Alhambra.
Tips for visiting the Alhambra:
- Tickets can be bought online at Alhambra Online or at the sales counter onsite. I’ve heard stories about long lines and tickets selling out in the height of summer, but we (a party of five at the time) rocked up about 2pm, and easily bought tickets after lining up for about 10 minutes.
- Tickets are sold in morning and afternoon sessions. The morning session is 8.30am-2pm and the afternoon session is 2pm-8pm in summer, or to 5pm in winter.
- There are different ticket types, some excluding the palace building, which I think is one of the best bits. If you do buy a ticket including the palace, you will notice your ticket allocates you a separate time to enter. You will notice people lining up on the hour near the amphitheatre as per their allocation.
- A general full entrance adult ticket costs 14 Euros. For more, you can also buy a tour ticket,a ticket with GPS, a night tour ticket, and sometimes there are performances held in the Alhambra too.
- To get there, you can take a steep stroll up the hill, about 20 minutes through the windy little streets, or you can take bus from the town centre, near the tourist information office.
- If you can, visit in Spring to experience the full glory of the gardens. Rose lovers will not be disappointed, with blooms full, fragrant and frequent throughout the grounds.
- There are not many food and drink options inside the grounds. You can pay inflated prices for a cheese sandwich or corn chips with a soft drink or water, or you can pack your own picnic and enjoy a nice lunch in one of the glorious courtyards. There is also a cafeteria near the ticket office outside the grounds, and some restaurants on the way up the hill.
- Wear comfortable shoes, there is a surprising amount of walking in this sightseeing day, and the heat makes it harder to stand for hours on end.
- Allow 2 hours minimum and up to 4-5 hours for a visit. Of course you can whip around, but this sight is best enjoyed at strolling, meandering, wandering pace, with drink stops to stave off dehydration and spells on bench seats to ponder the view.
A thank you to Fraser, one of my travel buddies, who has shared some of his beautiful images with me, and now you.For image credits and information, just hover your mouse over each frame. If you would like to view a bigger version of the image, just click on it to enlarge.
All rights to content on this site remain the sole property of Nic Freeman, unless otherwise credited. If you would like to use an image or text from this site, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to seek permission first. Your respect and consideration is appreciated.