Essential tips for visiting The Alhambra, Granada

A stay in Granada is quite simply incomplete without a visit to its most famous icon – the Alhambra. Dating back to the 9th century when Spain was part of the Al-Andalus Kingdom, The Alhambra is Spain’s most visited tourist attraction, so knowing a few insider tips before you visit is essential for making the most of a day there as well as for your stay in the beautiful city of Granada.

Book your tickets

First things first. For any visit to the Alhambra book tickets as far in advance as possible. Tickets are available online at the official Alhambra website, with allotted entry times given that you must adhere to when you visit. The entry time stated on your ticket is for the magnificent Nasrid Palaces so you should aim to get there early so you can find your way to the palaces for your timed visit. An Alhambra night tour is a fantastic way to visit the Alhambra at night time with a local tour guide who will give you plenty of local knowledge and insights into this stalwart of Islamic architecture, as well as providing tips for where to eat, drink and enjoy the city like a local.

Do some research

You will appreciate your visit and understand the finer nuances of a visit to the Alhambra (as well as the whole of Southern Spain) if you know a little bit about the Alhambra history and Granada’s history, particularly from the time of the Moorish conquest and that of the Catholic Kings. Washington Irving’s Tales of the Alhambra provides an excellent insight into the fascinating history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site or you can read guidebooks or internet guides for less essay-based reading.

Wear comfortable clothing and shoes

The Alhambra complex and its accompanying Generalife gardens are enormous. Wear comfortable clothing, appropriate for the time of year. Granada gets very cold in winter because it surrounded by a mountain range and in summer the temperature really rises so take water and food with you if you do not want to buy them within the complex.

See Granada

There is more to see on a visit Alhambra holiday that you shouldn’t miss out on. If you are dining out in Granada hit the bars like the locals do. Tapas are an amazing tradition in Granada and while they might be associated with Spanish culture as a whole, it’s only in Granada that they come with a drink for free. You’ll find them in the smallest of family-run places to more commercial bars around Plaza Nueva. Every time you order a drink, which is what you will pay for, you will get a small, or large (location dependent) snack on the side. From meatballs to mini hamburgers or kebabs, Granada’s food scene is all about these tasty, social bites.

If you want to deepen in tapas in Granada, do not miss the article we prepared about typical food in Granada, explaining the main dishes of the Andalusian city.

Granada Cathedral was built on the site of a mosque on the orders of Queen Isabella immediately after the Conquest of Granada. It is just one of Granada’s must-see sites along with the old Moorish quarter, still known as the Albaicín, a higgledy-piggledy mesh of streets with traditional Arabic shops and tea rooms. A flamenco show in the Sacromonte Caves near the Albaicín should also be on the to-do list for any stay at the Hotel Catalonia Granada. Situated just five minutes from the Cathedral, is the perfect place to enjoy some time on the roof terrace which has its own pool area, free Wi-Fi, a fitness zone and breath-taking views over the Sierra Nevada and the city itself.