Undoubtably the most famous tourist attraction in Spain, the Alhambra in Granada is the reason why many people go to Andalusia in the first place. Unfortunately, tickets can be hard to come by and that is why it would have been helpful to know a few things beforehand:
- The Alhambra is a large complex on top of the hill with several parts that can be visited
- The courtyards and two small museums are free to enter
- Admiring the several hundred cats strolling around the courtyard or begging tourists for Ibérico slices is also free – or it might cost a bocadillo
- Then there is the paid part: Nasrid Palaces, Alcazaba and Generalife. The Nasrid Palaces are the most difficult to get tickets for and sell out online months in advance. If you can get your hands on tickets, you should plan your visit around that. The other two tickets are easier to get.
- It is possible to get tickets for only parts of the complex and there are day and night tickets. You have to visit at the time that is specified on the ticket.
- If you do not have tickets, it is not possible to get to the hilltops of Sacromonte (for the view of the Alhambra) directly from inside the courtyards, you have to retrace your steps and go around the Alhambra to walk to Sacromonte.
As this trip is somewhat spontaneous and we did not manage to get our hands onto tickets (sold out everywhere, even the tours that charge a ridiculous €43 and up for a single ticket), it left us only with the free courtyard and museum visit and the still spectacular view from the hill Sacromonte. Lots of people sit on the terrace, vendors have set up camp and even music is provided by guitar players sitting under a tree.
Of course, Granada also has a beautiful cathedral to admire. This one features a light-blue dome with gold stairs all over it. Absolutely stunning. The neighboring Royal Chapel is also worth a visit!
As compensation for not visiting the Alhambra, a few treats from Santa Fe (near Granada, not in the US) called Pionono sweeten our day. They are named after Pope Pius IX, nicknamed Pio Nono. It is basically a pastry with fermented sirup and cream, with a soft and sticky texture.
December 29th 2017