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Alhambra Question - How much time for Charles Palace, the Alhambra Museum and the Alcazaba?

I'd like to thank everyone for all the great advice I've already gotten here, I'm hoping you'll indulge one more question. The Rick Steves guide recommends hitting the three attractions above prior to hitting Palacios Nazaries. I'm wondering how much time on average should one allow for doing that? Given the relatively strict ticketing policy for entry to the latter (and the possibility of a line), I'm a bit paranoid about missing my appointed time.

Earlier this year, I missed my visit to a 78 € Happy Hour visit to the Vatican due to a bit of miscommunication and I'm rather determined to avoid a repeat here.

Posted by
911 posts

I booked my ticket for the Palacios Nazaries for 10am. I arrived at the entrance to the whole fortress at 9am or that is when I intended to show up. I left the whole Alhambra just after 4pm. That included some random sitting on benches. I don't know how long the Palacios Nazaries should take. Allow 1-1/2x longer than what somebody else tells you. I don't remember exactly how many minutes I spent in each section. I was there in March of this year. As for this and every ticket, make sure you enter the date and year and time you intend to enter when you buy your ticket, print your ticket in case your phone dies, take your passport, they only let you eat near the entrance or possibly by the bathrooms. In most of the place they let you carry food if you keep it concealed and don't eat it. Remember that the Spanish date might be day-month-year instead of month-day-year.

Posted by
24050 posts

The Alhambra Museum is in the Charles V Palace. I don't remember seeing much, if anything, in the palace other than the museum. It isn't large. I think an hour would be enough for most people (I probably spent about that long, but I am slow in museums), and some folks would probably go through it in much less time.

I don't know how much time I spent at the Alcazaba.

You'll need to consider not just the time you'll spend at the Charles V Palace and the Alcazaba but also the walking time between them and on to the Nasrid Palaces. The Alhambra covers a good bit of ground. I believe I spent well over half a day there.

Also note that not all parts of the Alhambra are open all day long, every day. It's a very good idea to stop at the visitor center to check on the day's schedule to be sure you don't miss something important to you.

Don't forget that it's not just the Nasrid Palaces that can be entered only once on each ticket. That policy also applies to the museum and maybe one or two other areas of the Alhambra. Depending on what time you are due at the Nasrid Palaces and the opening schedule for the museum on the day of your visit, you may need to deviate from Rick's suggested route.

Posted by
7507 posts

Visit at your own pace; there are no rules for how long you linger. There will be others and groups on guided tours and sometimes I found that I had to wait for them to pass so I could see something closer or in more detail

Posted by
5190 posts

As Jazz said, visit at you own pace. Which order you see things in doesn’t matter. Just ensure you make your time slot to enter the Nasrid Palace. How much time you need to see the complex depends on you, but figure no less than half a day.

Posted by
115 posts

I visited Alhambra last week. As everyone mentioned visit at your pace. I bought tickets for the 8:30 am entry to Nasrid Palace. We were almost the first ones to enter the place. After visiting Nasrid we visited all other places. It took us almost 5 hours to visit everything. This includes taking a coffee break and generally relaxing in between. it is quite a bit of walking to cover the whole ground. Hope this helps.

Posted by
1771 posts

Got a slot at 10:30am and I arrived at opening time when there were few people. I was able to see most of the grounds. Charles Palace is pretty boring andI only took one picture of it. The real attractions are the palace and the Generalife garden attached.

Posted by
1745 posts

Moe- The order you list in the post's subject line is likely recommended because those smaller, quicker sights are just next to the entrance to the Palacios Nazaries. From Nazaries the 'flow' sends you to the Generalife. It's the logical, efficient progression. But nothing says you can't double back to catch a part you missed. (We had intentions of doing that order, but were running a bit behind, had just had a quick look in the museum before our timed entry to Nazares. We only got to the Alcazaba after we'd done Nazaries, Generalife, and had a very Spanish lunch (late and slow) on the terrace at the Parador.

Posted by
1253 posts

I agree with the posters who advise you to go at your own pace. We had early morning tickets for the Nasrid Palace (around 9am, I think.) This was in 2017. We got there early and spent maybe 15 minutes at Charles Palace before we entered the Nasrid Palace. The Nasrid Palace is stunning! So beautiful and intricate. We took our time; didn't rush. You really need to savor the place. Then we ate lunch on benches just outside Nasrid Palace. We had brought sandwiches.

After our light lunch, we visited the Generalife Gardens. Again, took our time. Took lots of photos. On our way back to the Alcazaba, we stopped for drinks and appetizers. I think this stop was at Hotel America. Then continued on the Alcazaba. We spent the whole day at the Alhambra and loved every minute.

We returned in the evening for the night tour which is magical! It's quieter, less crowded. You can hear the running water, and there is uplighting focused on the ornate ceilings which gives them a soft glow.

What is your appointed time?

Posted by
23 posts

Thanks, everyone!

I have a 2 PM daytime visit scheduled and an 8 PM nighttime visit.

Posted by
270 posts

Wonderful Moe glad to hear you are doing day and night visits. Plan on half a day, much depends on how much you like see and walk in a park setting and see flowers. The hill is steep and the grounds are large, once your inside it is mostley flat. If you hate looking at flowers and gardens the sites themselfs could be done in two-two and a half hours. Think of the Alhambra as the most important thing you will do that day, if not that entire trip to Spain. Time spent with the people you love is never time wasted, even if you just spend it wasting time. It's beautiful and so is the Alhambra. I hope your going to Granada on the weekend, it is so much fun. J