The Alhambra is the jewel in Granada‘s crown. The ancient palace, sprawling majestically across the hills of Granada, has been the seat of sultans and kings for hundreds of years. It is an essential visit during your time in Granada, and this guide will show you how to take advantage of your residency in Granada to visit the Alhambra for free.
What to visit in the Alhambra?
While the Alhambra is referred to in the singular tense it is, in fact, a sprawling complex of gardens, palaces and fortresses, offering thousands of hidden secrets and something new at every turn. To fully appreciate the magnificence of the Alhambra, you’ll need about 5 hours, which you can, of course, split across multiple visits by taking advantage of this incredible free entry offer.
Nestled in the hills beyond the main walls of the Alhambra, the Generalife is a series of gardens, intricate water features and summer palaces. Used as a recreational playground by the Sultans of old, the Generalife is just as elegant now as it was when kings and queens walked its tree-lined paths. Within the perimeter of the Generalife you will find the Jardines Bajos, Jardines Altos, Palacio del Generalife, Patio de la Sultana and Escalera del Agua.
The ancient fortress, once the Alhambra’s defensive juggernaut, now offers spectacular views of the city from several angles, which can be taken in from its soaring towers. The towers operate with a traffic light system, letting people climb up and down in turns, so give yourself plenty of time to visit if you’re going at peak times.
Palacio de Carlos V
The Palacio de Carlos V dates from a later period than the rest of the Alhambra, after the reconquista was complete and the complex was occupied by Catholic monarchs. It is part of the free access zone of the Alhambra, so it’s magnificent circular court can be visited at any time without a ticket.
Nasrid Palaces (Palacios Nazaríes)
The heart of the Alhambra, the Nasrid palaces are a collection of royal residences constructed one-by-one during the reigns of Ismail I, Muhammad V and Yusuf I. The intricate archways and courtyards of these royal palaces will blow you away with their elegance and beauty.
These are the 4 main sections of the Alhambra, however they are interspersed by a myriad of gardens, pathways, woodland and other ancient residences and fortifications. Explore them at your leisure and immerse yourself in this incredible piece of history.
How to get free Alhambra tickets
A visit to the Alhambra will usually set you back 14€, a reasonable price considering what you will experience in return, but which can become costly if you want to make lots of visits. Luckily the Patronato de Alhambra, the cultural heritage organisation which maintains the complex, runs a generous scheme offering free tickets to granadinos and Granada residents.
To take advantage of this incredible offer, simply go to this website, or head along to the ticket office in the Corral de Carbon on Calle Recogidas. You must bring proof of residence in Granada for 6 months or more, such as a rental lease or utility bills, as well as photo ID (passport, NIE). The free visit is on Sunday, and the tickets are handed out from Monday at 9 until Friday at 12, although they usually run out well before then, so be quick!
That’s how to visit the Alhambra for free, it really is as simple as that! By taking advantage of this offer you can experience the very best Granada has to offer, without paying a single cent. Enjoy your visit!