The Alhambra

The Alhambra

The Alhambra is a complex of palaces and fortresses on a large hill that overlooks the city of Granada, Spain. Most of the buildings were built by the Moors over the course of several centuries when they controlled much of the Iberian Peninsula. There are sprawling gardens and massive fortifications. The crown jewels, so to speak, are the Nasrid palaces which feature a level of detailed craftsmanship so astonishing you’ll find yourself staring at walls and ceilings wondering just how much work went into building them.

Image of the Generalife
The Palace of the Generalife. The Emirs’ home away from home. The Alhambra is on the hill to the left in the background

Buy your tickets online well in advance as they can sell out. We didn’t and thought we were out of luck as the only tours available were well out of our price range. Fortunately, Granada offers a great tourist card that includes admission to the Alhambra.

The Granada Bono Card includes admission into the Alhambra, the cathedral, the royal chapel, a couple of monasteries, and the science and culture museums. It also provides you with a few free bus rides to get to some of these locations. Most importantly it allows you to skip the ticket line at the Alhambra.

Image of Court of the Water Channel
In the Court of the Water Channel in the Generalife.

There are always some tickets available at the ticket office but you never know how many. You can waste a lot of time waiting in line with no guarantee there will be any tickets left when you finally get to the front. After seeing the ticket line we were very glad to have purchased the Bono Card.

Pack a lunch. There aren’t rules about bringing in food and there are plenty of places on the grounds where you can enjoy your lunch with a good view. Bring water, too. It can get hot and you’ll be there for a while.

Image of  Hanging out in the Court of the Myrtles.
Hanging out in the Court of the Myrtles.

While you have to schedule a specific time to tour the Nasrid palaces, there is no real official time limit for going through them. Take your time. There are chairs everywhere. Grab a seat and take it in. If you get to a room that is just too crowded to enjoy, be patient. People come through in waves. There will be a lull at some point.

Since we purchased our tickets late the only times available to visit the Nasrid palaces were in the late afternoon. If we went back I would definitely book our visit for the earliest possible time in the morning. Not only is it cooler but the light isn’t nearly as harsh.

There were too many photos to just use a few to highlight the Alhambra for such a short post so here are some of our favorites from our afternoon there:

Image of Alhambra entrance
How’s that for a front door?
Image of Tower of Justice entrance.
I don’t think they got many solicitors.
Image of Court of the Myrtles
The Court of the Myrtles in the Nasrid Palaces.
Image of The Palace of Charles V
The Palace of Charles V.
Image of the Alhambra and Granada
The main fortifications overlooking Granada.
Imager detail of Alhambra stonework
Detail of stonework.
Image of Patio of the Guilded Room.
Julie on the Patio of the Gilded Room.
Image of The Court of the Lions
The Court of the Lions
Image of Arch and ceiling in the Generalife.
Arch and ceiling in the Generalife.
Image of stone detail
More detailed stone work.
Image of The Hall of the Ajimeces.
The Hall of the Ajimeces.
Image of stone work.
Can you tell I like this stuff? Not sure what is more impressive: All of the actual stone carving or the fact that some poor bastard had to paint all of it.
Image of Julie in the Court of the Lions
Julie in the Court of the Lions
Image of Julie in the Court of the Lions
My Court of the Lions photo.
Image of Nasrid ceiling.
Dig that ceiling.
Image of The gardens and the Ladies Tower.
The gardens and the Ladies Tower.

 

 

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We're Mark & Julie

We quit our jobs at the end of 2013 to backpack around the world. We're sharing our stories, travel advice and hopefully some inspiration. Read more...

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