We will be doing a night visit to the Alhambra this October. The next day (Sunday) we are planning to purchase ALHAMBRA GENERAL ticket. At that time of year are there recommendations for time of day to plan to visit? Advantages of morning vs later etc. Any suggestions will be helpful.
We spent the entire day at the Alhambra and wished we could stay longer. We rushed through Generallife and rushed through the Alcazaba. 10am to close. We were there in November. If you'd like to get a great evening view of the Alhambra, go to San Nicolas square in Albayzin from about dusk until sunset. We also took a morning walk along camino del sacromonte and got stunning views of the Alhambra.
Time of day to visit is a personal preference. We chose the first afternoon slot because most tour groups visit during the morning. As you know, you can walk the grounds without a ticket and it’s pretty quiet walking around the complex at night. The ticket gets you into the Nasrid palace and Generalife gardens. The Alcazaba and gardens close when it gets dark.
I already bought my tickets to the Alhambra. My trip to Spain is in October. I picked 2:00 pm as the time to see the Nagrid palaces. That might mean I have from when they open or when I get in, until 1:30pm to give myself a self guided tour of other parts of the Alhambra, sit on a bench or some out of the way spot, eat some of whatever I carry with me, and so on. Nobody will be willing to tell you what time would be good to pick for the Nazarine palaces. We have to put up with just making best guesses about what times to buy tickets. I won't be seeing the Alhambra at night. I can't understand why I would want to try finding my way to the Alhambra in the dark, even if there are streetlights - I wouldn't know whether there are enough street lights, and I would think everything would look better illuminated with sunlight. It probably won't matter what time you pick as long as your time slot is at least an hour before they close.
I will add that we got there at 10am and we choose noon as our time for the palace. It's counter intuitive, but try to be the very last person in your group to go into the palace. There is a gap of at least 15 minutes, it could have been 30 minutes, before they let more people in. If you are at the back, you can linger and be the only one or just a few in a room
Things may have changed because of the pandemic, but prior to it (when we visited in late 2019) you needed to purchase your tickets online in advance for timed entries. At that time, the crowds were huge so you had to get the tickets far in advance.
Having said that, large portions of the Alhambra are accessible without tickets, only certain locations needed a ticket.
When you search for tickets to the Alhambra there are dozens of hits ... most sell guide services or tours, and many obfuscate how best to obtain tickets, and some try to disguise that they're not the official website.
The officilal site is https://tickets.alhambra-patronato.es/en/tickets-alhambra-general-2-2/. Its explanations are pretty straightforward. (Rick Steves guides explain well too)
We didn't do the night tour. Even though it was October were when we were there it was very warm (hot for us from the PNW rain country) so we emphasized the morning, but were there all day. We got tickets for the Nasrid Palace timed about 11:30 AM. This allowed us to do lots of exploration at the Alacazaba end and at some of the gardens prior to getting in line for our timed entry to the Nasrid Palace, then throughout the afternoon toured through the rest of the Alhambra plus the Generalife Gardens.
We were staying in the Albacyn quarter of Granada and walked up the hill in the morning, then after a long day used the back path that's between the Alhambra and the Generalife Gardens, back to the Darro River and dowtown. It was a long day. Even though we're in our 70's we enjoyed (and wouldn't have wanted to miss) the walks up the hill and back down, but we've always walked and hiked a lot. If time or stamina are problems, you may want to use buses to get between the town and the Alhambra
Our trip report and photos for the Alhambra portion of our trip as at https://leebruch.blogspot.com/2020/05/part-3b-granada-alhambra.html
Mike L - the time on the ticket is for entry to the Nasrid palace. What one does until that time is up to them, but don’t miss your time slot. What one does after leaving the palace is up to them too. If I remember correctly, there are lights on the path to the complex from the city. There is also a bus that runs up to it regularly.
As someone stated, if you want a night tour of the Nasrid palace it requires a ticket. Just walking around the complex is free.
Sunday will have locals (and tours) wandering the Generlife Gardens. I am tall and patient, so it didn't take long for them to move along, but if gardens are your thing, I might suggest starting there early on Sunday and doing the timed access to the Nasrid Palace a little later. As the numbers are controlled, it won't matter whether early or late times for that event. I started with the Nasrid Palace, so ended up in the gardens later in the morning. If I had known, I would have flipped them. I also found taking the night visit first, was lovely. Enjoy your time.
Thanks everyone for your insights
Around 10 am is good to spend all day and then leave and eat a nice late lunch
in town. I would try to take some nuts and snacks to eat so you re not starving by the time
I'd allow time at the beginning of the visit to stop at the visitor center and find out the schedule of building openings for that day. Several buildings are not open every day or are open for only part of the day. You can easily miss something you'd enjoy if you just wander around aimlessly, focused only on your entry time for the Nasrid Palaces (where I think some folks will want more than an hour, by the way). Especially note the opening times for the Palace of Carlos V, which is actually a museum. It has some of the key decorative elements from the Alhambra, I guess because they needed to be in a more-protected setting. It would be a shame to miss that due to failure to plan.
The audio guide (extra cost) is quite good. As of 2019, when I did the nighttime visit prior to the daytime visit, you could keep your receipt from the initial audio guide rental and get a discount for the second visit--or maybe it was free. The audio-guide rentals were handled from a little cart on the plaza near where the line forms for the visit to the Nasrid Palaces. There may be another pick-up point elsewhere.