Alhambra Few things are as rewarding as walking around the Alhambra of Granada. Despite not being finally chosen as one of the 7 wonders of the modern world, it deserves a place among them, and if it were for me it would be the eighth wonder. Because of its history, architecture, its excellent state of conservation, and its location make the Alhambra a place to visit once in a lifetime.
A brief step through the history of the Alhambra
Al-Ahmar, founder of the Nasrid dynasty, moves to the Alcazaba of Cadima, in the current neighborhood of Albaicin From there he could see the ruins of an old fortress where he now sits The Alhambra. It was then that he decided to start his reconstruction and move his court to a new palace, since it is a higher area and therefore less exposed to possible attacks.
Years went by and inside it there were new buildings outside the Islamic style, such as Palace of Carlos V or the church of Saint Mary of the Alhambra.
Horseshoe Arches - The Alhambra
Subsequently the Alhambra passed into private hands, distributed among several wealthy families. It was then that a key visit came, that of the writer Washington Irving. This man was amazed by the beauty of the place and wrote the book Tales of the Alhambra, having an overwhelming success that attracted the first masses of tourists. Seeing the reef that this economically brought to the city, the government decided to expropriate the lands of the Alhambra and finally open it to the public.
After getting bored a little, we will describe the points that you must not miss in every visit to the Alhambra.
Key points of the Alhambra in Granada
1. Low gardens of the Generalife
After collecting the tickets that we purchased online (about € 15) we pass to the Alhambra complex, which only has one ticket despite the size of the site. From here we have to choose where to start ... if we go straight to the walled enclosure or go to the Generalife. Sometimes you are forced to follow a certain order since at the entrance you mark the access time to the Nasrid Palaces, which you can only access just one time. Therefore we decided to visit the Generalife and two hours later the Nasrid Palaces.
Orchard of the Alhambra
The Gardens have nothing special, although they are very well maintained, but perhaps the most interesting are the views of the Alcazaba wall.
After crossing the gardens we arrived at what was the resting place of the ancients Muslim kings. Curiously it is located outside the walls of the Alhambra and from afar it looks like a building totally alien to it. But nothing is further from reality, since entering the building breathes that Muslim touch that reigns throughout the Alhambra.
Generalife - The Alhambra
Returning back to where we have come, we finally enter the walled enclosure and the first thing we see is the Granada hostel. A luxury hotel in the heart of the Alhambra. If you can afford them, I am convinced that it is a safe bet?
4. The Alcazaba
Continuing our visit we pass by the church of Saint Mary of the Alhambra through a street full of souvenir shops and the occasional restaurant, ending in a square where the toilets are located, access to the Alcazaba, the unfinished Palace of Carlos V and the magnificent Nasrid Palaces.
To locate ourselves, the Alcazaba is the walled building with touches of medieval castle that can be seen from any point of Granada and that appears prominently in numerous panoramas of the Alhambra.
La Alcazaba - The Alhambra
From its battlements we have the best views of the city of Granada and we can practically see all the historic buildings including the neighborhood of Sacromonte, where several families, nowadays wealthy, stay in houses caves restored.
La Alcazaba - The Alhambra
5. Nasrid Palaces
It is perhaps the most impressive part of the entire Alhambra. In them we have a strict schedule of entry and which we can only enter once. Logical because when we entered it was crowded with people and sometimes it was difficult to walk. This is where dozens of people gather in just two square meters at the same time to take the most characteristic photograph of the Alhambra ... This is war 😀.
Nasrid Palaces - The Alhambra - Patio de Arrayanes
This place not only has an exterior is beautiful, but in its interior rooms we can enjoy spectacular crafts. Too bad we concentrate so many tourists at the same time. Then we learned that the organized groups began their round between 9:30 and 10:00, to have known before!
Nasrid Palaces - The Alhambra
6. Courtyard of the Lions
Other of the most famous places within the Nasrid Palaces is the Courtyard of the Lions, inspired by Muhammad V. These small animals carved on white Macael marble preside over the patio. These bicharracos each weighs around 350kg and were recently restored.
Courtyard of the Lions - The Alhambra
The yard is really a Islamic garden with a series of water channels that meet in its central part. On its sides there is a set of aisles adorned with columns and an outstanding architecture on each of its rooms. If I were king, this would be my favorite place within the Alhambra.
Courtyard of the Lions - The Alhambra
Of the two rooms on the sides of the courtyard, the Abencerrajes room It was the one that captivated us the most. I don't even want to think what it would take to sculpt every detail of this place ...
Hall of the Abencerrajes - The Alhambra
7. The Partal
Going out by him Lindaraja Courtyard, which still belongs to the Nasrid Palaces we arrive at Partal Palace, closed in 2014 for restoration.
Patio of Lindaraja - The Alhambra
We can't talk much about him since we couldn't visit him, but we know he was one of the last private palaces that the government expropriated to unify the entire Alhambra. Inside it houses one of the most beautiful ponds in Granada.
El Partal - The Alhambra
8. Palace of Carlos V
Before we leave we go through the Palace of Carlos V. This building with a circular plaza in the center, was conceived as a kings residence but was not finally finished. Today it houses the Granada Museum of Fine Arts.
Palace of Carlos V - The Alhambra
9. San Nicolás Viewpoint
As a dessert we leave you the place from where you can capture the typical panorama of the Alhambra, the Saint Nicholas' lookout. I probably climbed up to 5 times during my visit to Granada and I remember that it was always crowded with tourists and it is not surprising, the views are unforgettable.
The Alhambra from the Mirador de San Nicolás
In addition to offering good views, it has become a place where objects are sold from crafts hand made. Therefore if you expect good light and it does not appear, you can always give yourself a flip and see if you are interested in anything.
When to go to the Alhambra?
Granada can be a cold city in winter and very warm in summer, so spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit it. Personally spring is the best option, not only to see the very colorful gardens but to obtain a beautiful picture of the Alhambra with the Sierra Nevada completely white
Do not forget that it is a monument visited by thousands of people every day for what I recommend, especially if you visit the complex during the weekends, buy tickets online And don't take a scare.
How to get to the Alhambra?
From the Granada center There are several buses that will leave you very close, specifically the numbers 30 Y 34, and barely cost € 1.20.
With its own vehicle, the Alhambra has a large parking Very close to the lockers.
Where to eat in Granada
Granada is a city of tapas and with this we recommend you go this way. For my taste, one of the best streets where to taste them is the Elvira Street, located near the Plaza Nueva.
Where to sleep in Granada
We leave you below a series of hotels of different prices that we liked a lot.
- Fontecruz Granada: a 5 * hotel at a good price and very close to the cathedral.
- Carmen Hotel: economic and with a pool located. What more can we ask for.
- Alhambra Palace: only for foodies and with views of the Alhambra taking off his hat.
Tours in Granada in Spanish
If you do not want to miss Granada and its corners we recommend that you hire a tour so that you know its history first hand
See tours in Spanish
Like any large complex, the ideal is to get up early and enter the first. If you do not run the easy risk of people appearing in all your photographs, something almost inevitable. Also the morning brings the best lights since the Alhambra has East-West orientation. For example the images with water reflections They are always taken in the morning.
Tours start at 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Wait to see the to become night from the Alhambra does not make much sense, since really the most beautiful evening is seen from the Albaycín, specifically from the Saint Nicholas' lookout.