See also: how to buy Alhambra Tickets.
1. A Guided Tour Takes The Trouble Out of an Alhambra Visit
All of the tips on this page became redundant if you take a guided tour.
Not only does a guided tour of the Alhambra give you a local expert with in-depth knowledge of the fortress and gardens. Also, you don't have to go to the trouble of collecting tickets and there's no need to stand in line at every stage of your visit either!
2. You Can Stay In The AlhambraThe Alhambra is also a hotel! Spain's state-run parador network features some of the best hotel settings in Spain, but arguably the best is the Alhambra.
3. It's Best to Book Your Alhambra Tickets in AdvanceIf you don't want to book a guided tour of the Alhambra, then be sure to book your tickets well in advance. Tickets sell out fast, so you don't want to be disappointed. You can book online here: Alhambra Tickets.
4. Each Alhambra Ticket Vendor Has Its Own Allocation of TicketsThe website said they'd sold out of Alhambra tickets? You can still try in person, or take a guided tour.
5. Entry to the Palace is Strictly TimedWhen you buy your Alhambra ticket, you are given the choice of when to enter the Nasrid Palace. This is the most popular part of the Alhambra, so the authorities have restricted entry to 300 per half hour to avoid overcrowding.
The Alhambra has two 'sessions' - the morning session (from 8.30am until 2pm) and afternoon session (from 2pm until 6pm in winter and 8pm in summer). Your palace entry time tells you which session you must enter in.
When you approach the building complex, you will see a guard. My companion and I thought that was the entry to the palace so, being 20 minutes early, loitered outside. It turned out this was not the entry to the palace. There was further to walk, by which time the line for the palace entry had grown somewhat. So keep walking until you see the line (there will always be one!)
6. Your Entry Times are Just that - ENTRY TimesThe times for you to enter the Alambra grounds and the Nasrid Palace are strictly enforced. But no-one tells you when you have to leave. Once you are inside, you can stay as long as you like. If you enter in the morning session, you can stay until the afternoon if you want.
7. Other Buildings Are Restricted to One EntryThe Alcazaba (fortress) and some of the other buildings in the Alhambra are restricted to a single entry, though when you enter are not restricted. If you try to enter too close to your palace entry time, the attendant will kindly suggest to you that you visit the palace first and come back later.
8. There Are Buses to the AlhambraThe walk up to the Alhambra is very pretty - but it's pretty steep. If you'd prefer to take the bus up, catch it from the stop in Plaza Nueva. There are Lless frequent buses to and from the Albaizyn Moorish quarter.
9. Granada and the Alhambra Can be Done as a Day Trip
Though Granada is one of my favorite cities in Spain, most of its sights can be seen in a day trip.
These guided tours include a guided tour of the Alhambra and time to explore Granada by yourself:
10. Avoid Summer Weekends, Holidays and 'Puentes'
Foreign tourists visit the Alhambra all year round, but the biggest obstacle to getting tickets will be the large numbers of Spanish tourists who travel at particular times of year.
The Spanish tend to travel at weekends, especially in summer. Public holidays are also a popular time to travel. Note that when a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, the Spanish do what they call a 'puente' (bridge), taking the Monday or Friday off too for an extra long weekend off. These days will also be popular days to visit the Alhambra.