The Alhambra Palace
The Alhambra was a palace, a citadel, fortress, and the home of the Nasrid sultans, high government officials, servants of the court and elite soldiers (from the 13th to the 14th century).
Alhambra Palace Today
Today, the monument is divided into four main areas: the Palaces , the military zone or Alcazaba , the city or Medina and the agricultural estate of the Generalife. All of these areas are surrounded by woods, gardens and orchards.
Other notable buildings belonging to a different time period are also included, such as the Renaissance style Palace of Charles V, which houses the Alhambra Museum (most of the items are from the site of the monument) and the Fine Art Museum.
In order to fully appreciate the unique architecture of the Alhambra set within the surrounding landscape, it is advisable to visit an area of the Albaicín called the Mirador de San Nicolás, or go to Sacromonte. From both of these places the Alhambra 's spectacular location, lying just above the city of Granada, can really be admired.
Visiting the Alhambra
In order to protect the monument, there is a limit to the number of visitors per day. Therefore ticket numbers are limited and are sold according to availability. The tickets are always in great demand so an advance booking is strongly recommended. If you decide just to turn up on the day get there as early as possible and be prepared not to get a ticket. The ticket is valid only for the day of the visit.
Tickets are issued for entry in the morning, afternoon or evening and once you are inside you may stay until the end of the time limit on your ticket. During the daytime you can either buy a general day ticket, which gives you access to everything - the Palacios Nazarķes, the Alcazaba, the Generalife and gardens - or a gardens visit, which gives you access to the gardens, Generalife, Alcazaba but NOT to the Palacios Nazarķes. The evening visit ONLY includes the Palacios Nazarķes.
Access to the Palacios Nazaríes
Your ticket will assign you a half-hour time slot for entrance to the Palacios Nazarķes, due to a maximum of 300 people being allowed in every half hour. If you miss your assigned time slot you will not be allowed in. It therefore makes sense to enter the Alhambra well before your assigned time. You can then visit other sections of the Alhambra beforehand. Logically it is best to visit first the Alcazaba then the Palace of Carlos V (with museums) before the Palacios Nazaries. Then you can walk along the North wall towards the Generalife (gardens). To visit everything at a leisurely pace will require at least three hours. The last entrance time for the Palaces will be one hour before closing time.
Access to the other areas (Gardesn, Generalife, Alcazaba) are not controlled by a specific timetable; they can be visited at any time during the morning or afternoon sessions, according to the relevant time shown on the ticket.