Buy the cheapest tickets for the Alhambra, Nasrid Palaces, and the Generalife in Granada online in advance to ensure admission with skip-the-line timeslot reservations. Tours and combination tickets may give access on busy days.
Tickets for the Alhambra in Granada, one of the top sights to see in Spain, often sell out. It is highly advisable to buy skip-the-line tickets online well in advance. The cheapest Alhambra and Nasrid Palace tickets are sold by the Alhambra itself but at busy times, it is easier to get tickets as part of a tour group or on a day-trip visit from Seville or Malaga. The Nasrid Palace may only be seen on time-slot tickets but the rest of the Alhambra, including the Alcazaba Fortress and Generalife Garden is seen any time and in any order during opening hours.
Ticket Options for the Alhambra Palace Complex in Spain
The number of visitors to the Alhambra, and especially the Nasrid Palace, is strictly controlled. As a result, tickets often sell out and most visitors arrive with a skip-the-line ticket.
It is important to distinguish between the different tickets that are available for the Alhambra. Only the Nasrid Palace (Palacios Nazaries) has a specific time slot that must be adhered to. The time will be printed on the ticket (Hora Palacios Nazaries) and is the time visitors must be at the Nasrid Palace, not the time of admission to the larger Alhambra complex.
Below are the official tickets for the Alhambra if bought onsite — a very risky proposition except at the lowest of low seasons. Any online purchase has a convenience surcharge that is absolutely worth the expense – not so much to skip the lines but to ensure actual admission into the Alhambra.
- €18 – Alhambra General – includes timed admission to the Nasrid Palace, and access to all other sites (gardens, Generalife and Alcazaba)
- €10 — Garden Tickets – no admission to the Nasrid Palace but admission to all other sites (gardens, Generalife and Alcazaba)
- €18 – Alhambra Experiences – Visit the Nasrid Palace at night with timed admission and the following day visit the Alcazaba and Generalife Gardens during the day. (A same-day option is not available.)
- €10 – Night Visit to the Nasrid Palace with timed admission (no admission to the Generalife)
- €7 – Night Visit to the Gardens and Generalife (no admission to the Nasrid Palace or Alcazaba)
Discounted tickets are available for:
- Children 12 to 15 years
- EU citizens over 65
- European Youth Cardholders
Admission for children under 12 is free but they MUST have a free minor’s ticket, which must be added at the time of booking. These tickets are NOT available at the ticket office at the time of entry (except for children under 3 years but do add them when reserving online if possible).
Buying Tickets Online for the Alhambra and the Nasrid Palace
Buying tickets in advance online is almost essential to see the Alhambra and especially the Nasrid Palace. The cheapest advance purchase tickets for the Alhambra are sold directly at the official website.
The official website of the Alhambra is www.alhambra-patronato.es even if many others claim official in the name. Tickets bought here are the cheapest and carry just a very small service charge. Travelers planning several months ahead could buy tickets from online resellers, well before these tickets become available at the official website. These advance tickets have a surcharge but are an alternative to booking a guided tour, as a certain way of guaranteeing admission, and generally have better cancelation conditions.
Individuals may not resell Alhambra tickets, or change names and booking details after the purchase. Use the correct names and carry official identification (Passport or EU identification card) when visiting the Alhambra complex.
Online tickets are currently available several months to midnight the day before a visit. Tickets on weekends and holiday periods sell out fast and even for seemingly normal days may be unavailable. This is in part due to official resellers purchasing for tour groups – tickets not resold may return to the system shortly before the actual date, which explains admission slots becoming available again.
If tickets are not available on a specific date, either hope for the best and risk trying to buy returned tickets in person on the day of the visit – see below – or buy a more expensive combination ticket option that will guarantee admission to the Alhambra on a specific day.
Combination Ticket Deals for the Alhambra
Combination tickets may often still give reservations for the Nasrid Palace in the Alhambra when the standard (cheaper) tickets are sold out. Several options are available:
From the Alhambra’s website is possible to buy the following combination tickets:
- €18 – Combined admission to the Alhambra (including Nasrid Palaces) and the Rodriguez Acosta Foundation
- €20 – Dobla de Oro Ticket – similar to the Alhambra General ticket but adding admission to the Bañuelo, Casa Morisca Horno de Oro, Dar al-Horra’s Palace, Casa del Chapiz, Casa de Zafra and Corral del Carbón. (Other Dobla de Oro combinations are available for night visits and without the Nasrid Palace. )
The Granada Card offered by the tourist information office is also a good choice — it is often a cheaper option than taking a tour or audio tour combination plus giving further sightseeing and transportation advantages. A variety of versions are available but only the 48h and 72 h Granada Cards (around €50/€60) currently include admission to the Nasrid Palaces in addition to a variety of further sights in Granada and some public transportation. When buying, select the date for the Palace Nasrid admission — slots are often available on the Granada Card when standard tickets are already sold out. Visitors may enter the Alhambra any time during the day but the exact half-hour time slot for admission to the Nasrid Palaces will be during the selected morning or afternoon period and determined when picking up the actual card. (The card may also be bought directly from the tourist office and may get visitors into the Alhambra with a bit of luck but usually not on the day of purchase.)
Guided Group and Private Tours of the Alhambra
When tickets on the official website are sold out, many may still be available on the same dates through guided tours. The choice of tours is fairly extensive with the basic tours including guided visits through the group entrances to the Nasrid Palace, Generalife, and Alcazaba areas. Interesting add-on options to Alhambra tours include Flamenco shows or a visit to a Hammam day spa.
Tour providers to the Alhambra are good at telling visitors what is included in the ticket but sometimes less clear on what is not. If the admission to the Palace Nasrid is not clearly stated as included in the ticket, assume it is not. A time for entering the Palace Nasrid must be stated during the booking process – sometimes the actual time of admission may be slightly different, so always double-check the final confirmation time.
The cheapest option is usually to buy admission with an audio guide. This includes admission to the Alhambra at any time during the day, the palace Nasrid at the specified time, and an audio guide (not the official version) with a map with the numbering system of the private audio guide. This option has the advantages of being relatively cheap and allowing visitors to move around freely without having to enter at the same time as a group.
A wide variety of group tours are available but note that admission to the various sights must be together with the group. It is possible to stay within the grounds of the Alhambra at the end of the tour but not to re-enter sights that require a ticket. Miss the departure of the tour and even a printed tour ticket will not be accepted for solo travelers at the various checkpoints.
The cheapest tours do NOT include admission to the Nasrid Palace. Although the whole complex is beautiful and worth seeing, the Nasrid Palace is really special and worth the additional costs.
Guided tours to the Alhambra complex commonly last three hours – shorter tours often skip a part of the complex.
Smaller tour groups are more pleasant as are single language tours where the guide does not have to repeat all information. For smaller groups, a private tour may be a good option and for groups as small as four even work out cheaper.
Also, note the tour departure point – some start in downtown Granada and may walk, or take the bus, up to the Alhambra. Many start at or near the main entrance.
Day-Trip Tours to the Alhambra from Seville and Malaga
Day trips to the Alhambra (and Granada) from other cities in Andalusia are surprisingly good value and are often not much more expensive than a guided tour that starts in Granada.
In addition, these day-trip tours often have availability at much shorter notice than the local tour guides. Depending on the season, tours are usually available from amongst others Seville, Malaga, and Costa del Sol resort towns such as Marbella, Torremolinos, Estepona, and Fuengirola. For smaller groups, private tours from Seville may offer better value and in some cases work out cheaper than standard group tours.
Arriving in Granada Without Alhambra Tickets
Although online purchases are the most reliable way to ensure admission to the Alhambra, visitors arriving in Granada without ticket still have a few options available:
- Check the official website again – returned tickets may become available and may be bought online up to midnight the day before the visit.
- Try resellers that may still have tickets.
- Try buying tickets at the main entrance to the Alhambra – either at the ticket windows or ticket vending machines. Tickets go on sale from 8:00 (queuing usually starts a bit earlier) and are only valid on the day of purchase.
- Try buying tickets from the automatic teller cash machines of La Caixa bank branches in Granada.
- Try at the tourist information office by buying a Granada Card or at the Alhambra office in-town at Corral del Carbon – admission tickets are usually not available on the day of purchase.
- Join a guided tour – many are widely advertised and offered in Granada.
Failing everything, accept that the Nasrid Palace will require a return visit and see the rest of the Alhambra palace complex for which tickets are easier to obtain at short notice.
See also Tips on Visiting the Alhambra Palace Complex for more on visiting one of the top sights to see in Europe.