We will be in Granada in early April. Trying to decide the best way to see the Alhambra. Any recommendations on a tour or best approach to see it?
I used the audio guide supplied by the Alhambra and was happy with that decision. It is a large site, and I would not have wanted a tour guide deciding when I should be moving on. In addition, some parts of the complex (including the Nasrid Palaces) can only be entered one time. If you want to return to one of those areas that was visited earlier at the end of your tour, you will not be able to do so.
We went online and signed up with a tour company (this past June.) Sorry I forgot the tour's name, but it was the best way to obtain tickets. It was a 3 1/2 hour tour which was somewhat physical with many steps and hills to climb.
But I would never miss such a sight.
Hire a guide if you want an historical architectural social interpretation of what you are looking at.
We went last January without a guide but generally only do that when we know about something from research.
We heard first about the Alhambra in an Art History course in college
We bought tickets online.
I also used the audio guide. In addition, I went through the Nasrid Palace in the evening, then back for the whole area the following day. I entered through the Justice Gate, first to the Alcazaba, moving on to the Palace again, then ending with the Generalife Gardens (missed the Palace of Charles V).
It’s been 17 years, and I know ticketing policies have changed, and the number of visitors had skyrocketed, so “best” way is different than in 2002.
But the second best way, which you should do as well, is to have dinner at a view restaurant in the Albayzin neighborhood of Granada, with a view of the floodlit Alhambra nearby.
I am a fan of both a night and day visit to the Nazrid Palace with the gardens at my own pace. It is a complex site and history and I don't want someone else dictating my time. I bought The Alhambra and Generalife in Focus guide. It is old (2000), but it has ground plans and a good history. The mistake was reading it beforehand and leaving the book at home to reduce luggage weight. Even though I used the on site audio guide, I would have liked to go back and read aspects of it to reinforce what I had read and seen. I think I got my copy from Abe Books or Better World Books - used book repositories.
Some private guides want you to buy your own tickets, and you must set your calendar to start looking in early January for tickets. Even though they go 'on sale' 90 days before, they lump the whole month together. Tickets sell out weeks in advance.
If you have the luxury of several days in Granada, there is a ticket Dobla d'oro'. It is a 3 day ticket for the other sites in the city covered by the Patronato. You need to go to the main office in town to activate it, but it gives you entry to these 6 or 7 sites, a timed entrance to the Nazrid Palace and access to the grounds and Generalife on a specified date. The '3 days' can be prior or after the Alhambra date. I bought a Night Dobla d'oro and then an extra general admission for the day access to the Nazrid Palace.