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Alhambra --tour on my own or with a guide?

I want to maximize my Alhambra tour as am very interested in the art, etc. Rick's 2021 Spain guide is very helpful but am considering hiring a guide. Would appreciate recommendations or guidance. Also I'm not sure if I should buy the regular ticket or would a guide service cover that?

Posted by
27368 posts

I haven't taken a guided tour such as you are contemplating and cannot answer your question. The audio guide was enough for me.

One to thing to be aware of with the Alhambra tours: There are a few places in the complex (primary among them being the Nasrid Palaces) that you can enter only one time on a single ticket. (The same rule applies to individual travelers not on tours.) The Nasrid Palaces are usually very crowded, so I can well imagine folks interested in photography wanting/needing to hang back as they try to get pictures that aren't full of other people. If you hire a guide, it seems to me you won't get full benefit from his or her expertise if you dilly-dally in the Palaces, taking pictures. If you go through at the guide's pace, you won't be able to return to the Palaces later on your own--unless you've had the foresight to buy a second ticket.

I you're really serious about an in-depth visit to the Alhambra, have two tickets (they're only 14 euros each) wouldn't be a bad plan at all. Quite a few of us have done a full daytime visit and also the nighttime visit that covers only the Nasrid Palaces.

Posted by
2360 posts

We used the audio guide when we went in 2019. Looking back, I would have liked to have a guide. My family moved at a faster pace than I did - I absolutely fell in love with the Alhambra. So if you have the time, I would get a guide for a daytime tour. I would also get tickets for a night visit. It’s an enchanting place!

Another caution about the gardens (Generalife). This area requires a ticket for entry. You enter in and proceed through the gardens, but you exit through a different area. It’s a kind of one way traffic flow through the gardens. You can’t wander back through and exit the same way. There were things I wanted to take pictures of, but thought “I’ll stop on the way back”. But the way back is a different route and not very scenic. So take your time in the gardens on your way to the summer palace.

Posted by
36 posts

I am in Granada as I write this response. We just completed a guided tour with Margarita Ortiz de Landazuri [email protected]. We met her at the entrance to the Alhambra and she was the kindest, knowledgeable person and guide. She paced the morning perfectly and made sure we didn’t miss a thing. She took our pictures when we asked and knew how to skirt us around the crowds. We spent four hours at the Alhambra. We walked together to the downtown section and separated for about a one hour lunch. Margarita gave us excellent recommendations and we ended up at a bodega for tapas and vermouth. After lunch we spent another three and a half hours with Margarita seeing the highlights of the city, Sacramonte and the Alcabaniz. Again she provided such detail and insight. Margarita does a half day or full day tour. She will customize the tour for your needs. We are conscious of how we spend our travel dollars and I feel this was money very well spent. The private guides have suffered significantly during the COVID epidemic. They are once again experiencing a decrease in demand due to the Ukranian crisis. If. I can support some of these wonderful guides, I will try my best.

Travel in Spain right now is magical. Lighter crowds, most of the population is vaccinated and high mask compliance.

Posted by
697 posts

I second the recommendation for Margarita Ortiz de Landazuri. We used her services for a guided tour of the Alhambra a couple of months ago for our friends (their first visit), and she was excellent. She is a wealth of knowledge and will be able to answer any questions you might have, which an audioguide can't do. Well worth every euro.

If you decide to hire her, contact her via e-mail and coordinate a day/time. As soon as you have a day/time set, you will then purchase your entrance ticket ("Alhambra General" from the official website https://tickets.alhambra-patronato.es/en/) on your own. Then the day of the tour, meet her at the Alhambra and pay her in cash after your tour is over. Remember to bring your passport; you will need to show ID with your ticket.

If you have time, I would also recommend a night visit -- tickets are not very expensive, and the palaces are absolutely beautiful with the lighting.

Have a wonderful visit. The Alhambra is magical -- I've been many times and can't wait to go back!

Posted by
922 posts

I would second experiencing the Alhambra both at night and during the day. If you need a taxi after the night visit, especially, make sure you make arrangements before. There is another way to experience the Alhambra and that is by seeing the outside from a distance just as the sun sets. It is a glorious view especially from Restaurante Carmen De Aben Humeya. There are probably many restaurants/viewing spots but it was at this restaurant that my husband and I saw the sun bathe and illuminate the outside of the Alhambra. Stunning. I hope you have a wonderful time. We plan to be there again in October.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks to everyone who jumped in with excellent suggestions on the various ways to visit and enjoy the Alhambra. I will definitely contact the tour guide that 2 of you recommended so highly. My trip is mid-May so I am hoping she'll be available when I'm there.

Posted by
8214 posts

We went on a guided tour of Alhambra, and it's the only way to go. But I'm going to warn you that it's a long tour, and there's quite a bit of step climbing, etc. But it's well worth the efforts.

My wife is having some mobility issues presently, and we're so glad we saw the place three years ago. Granada's a neat and very inexpensive little town to visit. When we go back, we want to take in a Gypsy Flamingo dance show up in their caves above the city.