GRANADA – The Basics
If you only have a short time in Granada. Here are some no nonsense practical tips to help you plan ahead.
If you want to read detail about the Alhambra palace See this post. The Alhambra palace of Granada – A Photo Essay
Or take a look at this quick A to Z guide of Granada to get an overview of this magical city.
When to visit Granada, Spain. See this Granada calendar with annual activities and fiestas.
Information about Granada Airport and connections is here.
If you have more time here is information about the whole province of Granada. The Alpujarra, Coast and ski resort.
The Alhambra Palace – The basics
As this monument is visited everyday by thousands of people it is very important to book weeks ahead to guarantee that you get a ticket on the day that you are in Granada. Ticket numbers are limited to protect the conversation of the Palace.
If you are in Spain
You can buy at the SERVICAIXA cash point anywhere in Spain. As shown in the photo. The advantage is that tickets are printed directly and no queue later on. Payment by credit card.
You can buy tickets online at Ticketmaster. It´s best to do this as far in advance as possible. You will get a confirmation number after completing the purcashe. You will need to print the tickets in Granada when you arrive. You can do this in the shop in Plaza Nueva Square in the city centre or in the Alhambra entrance itself (there could be a short queue)
Book day tickets well in advance as they often sell out. Especially April – June. There are two options for planning your visit. Night time or daytime visit. When you go to purchase online tickets you need to take care when you select which ticket you are buying.
The night time visit is to enter the Nazrid palaces only. This is includes the famous patio of the Lions. The day time ticket includes Alcazaba, Nazrid palace and rest of the complex.
Generalife Garden visit refers to the White Summer palace and it´s gardens. This visit is a great compliment once you have seen the rest of the monument. In spring and summer the fragrance from the plants and colors from the flowers are spectacular.
When you are heading to the Alhambra palace for your visit, it is very important to arrive earlier than the time printed on the ticket. The time printed on the ticket is not the time to go in the Main entrance but the time you have been allocated for part of the monument. If you arrive at the Naiad palace door later that the time printed on your ticket you will not be allowed entrance. The door is quite a way from the Main entrance. (At least 30 mins required)
Remember to save your ticket after arrival. You may need to show this on different doors further along the visit.
The full visit: If you go for the whole day, wear comfy shoes or trainers. Along the route there are dusty tracks, cobbles, steps to climb and smooth marble floors. Please make sure you are prepared for the day, some parts of the visit are outside. You may need to take a jumper/coat or lashings of sun cream and hat depending on the time of year. I recommend the Audio guide for the daytime visit. Following the numbers on this guided route ensures you take a logical path around the huge complex to prevent having to back track and walk further.
There are a few restaurants at the entrance to the Alhambra. Restaurante El Mimbre or Jardines de Alberto. Both reasonably priced but not inside the complex. Inside the complex itself there are sandwiches, baguettes and hot drinks sold in a small hut near to Alcazaba. Vending machines and the toilets are located close to Palacio Carlos V. This is in the centre of the Alhambra complex. A packed lunch would be a good choice if you plan to be there all day.
How to get to the Alhambra
• Take a small red bus from Plaza Isabel la Catolica (ticket 1.20 euros)
• If you want you can walk up the steep hill from Plaza Nueva. Take Cuesta Gomerez all the way up through the woods and you will arrive at Hotel Washington Irving & then to the Ticket office and main entrance.
• A taxi will cost 5 or 6 euros depending where you are in the city. I think this is the best option. Downhill is better for a stroll ; )
This post may be useful if you have more than one day in Granada: Free things to do in Granada
Take in the famous view from the Saint Nicolas Square or Mirador de San Nicolas. See this: Best view in Granada
You can get a taxi up the hill for about 6 euros or you can get a bus from Plaza Nueva. (no 31 stops there) The driver can tell you which stop to get off if you ask him clearly for Mirador San Nicolas.
Once you get off the bus walk up the slope and then up the cobbled stairs to see the beautiful view. This is spectacular at Sunset.
Here are two posts written about the Albaicin & Mirador San Nicolas area.
- A walk in the Albaicin
- Have dinner in a typical Carmen such as Mirador de Morayma.
- Read more about Typical Carmens in Granada.
For a different view over the city. Get a taxi to the Hotel Alhambra Palace, have a snack or a coffee on the terrace, see the city sprawl below from their balcony.
Granada´s Jewish District – El Realejo
Granada doesn´t have a Synagogue or specific monument to visit as other Spanish cities do, such as Cordoba or Girona. Although there is a history to the Jewish quarter of Granada
Read more: Granada & its Jewish quarter
If you are considering Moving to Granada. Read these FAQs
Find out and Explore the Granada Province here
Typical Gifts & Souvenirs
Need to take gifts home? Here are 15 gift ideas from Granada & Andalusia These are things that I would actually buy myself.