Are you wondering which of the many Alhambra tours is right for you?
On this page, you will find a comprehensive guide to Alhambra tours that include private tours, group tours, night tours, tours from other cities, combo tours and more.
Find the right tour for you and make the most of your visit to Alhambra! This complex is one of Spain’s most famed monuments and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a must-see on any trip to Granada.
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Is it worth taking an Alhambra tour?
There are numerous benefits to a guided tour of Alhambra, and they are as follows:
Easy – Advance tickets mean that all you have to do is show up at the chosen time.
Focused – A guided tour of the Alhambra will ensure that you have a feel of everything there is to experience. The Alhambra is rich in attractions with plenty of sightseeing to do, and a guide will help you spend quality time on what is important.
All your questions answered – The marvels of the Alhambra will leave you intrigued and puzzled at the same time. Who better to answer your questions than the accompanying guide? Yes, one can look up details over the internet. But why waste such precious time when a guide has more details that will be provided interactively?
Let no detail escape you! – When we visit places, we often tend to underestimate the amount of detail behind things that appear obvious. A guide will be able to bring your attention to things you might otherwise not notice and unravel details you could never have imagined.
Alhambra tours – Which one is right for you?
Nobody wants a boring tour experience. But believe us, there is no bad tour. It all depends on your budget and what you wish to experience.
Most of the skip-the-line ticket tours by Alhambra have an English-speaking guide. Here is a list of the potential tour options on your visit to Alhambra:
- Audio-guided tours
- Group tours
- Private tours
- Avoid the crowd: early morning and night tours
- Alhambra Tours with Arab Bath included
- Alhambra Tours with a Flamenco show
- Combo tours including Alhambra
- Day trips and guided tours of the Alhambra from Seville
- Day trips and guided tours of the Alhambra from Malaga
Alhambra audio-guided tours
An audio-guided tour is the cheapest option for visiting Alhambra, costing €6 on top of the cost of the entrance ticket. Check online for the best prices.
The audio guide is available in 12 languages, including Arabic, Japanese and Dutch. It is also available with subtitles, in Spanish sign language and with Spanish audio descriptions for people with visual impairments.
The audio guide also comes with photographs, videos, illustrations, 360-degree views of closed areas and an interactive map.
An audio-guided tour is ideal if you want to explore Alhambra at your own pace. Compared to a printed info guide, an audio guide will provide you with much more detailed information.
We still recommend that you secure the services of a human guide. A guide will be able to provide you with much more information. The fact that the experience will be interactive ensures that no question will go unattended, and you will learn more.
You can pay for an Alhambra audio guide to be included in your pre-booked ticket, or you can still pay for it once you are at the complex.
Alhambra group tours
The group tour is among the most popular tours in Alhambra. These tours have up to 30 people per group, and like the other tours, you can skip the line at the entrance while benefiting from the presence of a knowledgeable guide.
To enhance the tour experience, “whisper” headphones are provided. These headphones are able to refine the speech from the tour guide so that their voice will be impressively audible.
On an Alhambra group tour, you will gain access to the majority of places in the monument, including the Nasrid Palaces, Generalife, the Partal and Alcazaba.
During your tour, your guide will delve into the history of the complex and its myriad influences, from Muslim sultans to Christian Monarchs. You may also learn about the fascinating engineering behind the irrigation system of Alhambra, architectural and artistic details as well as stories and secrets of the complex.
Often, groups tend to select the “small-group tour” billing when, in reality, the group has up to 30 tourists. We, therefore, advise that you check the limit on the number of participants allowed in a group so that you get the best out of the tour experience. If you make a private or semi-private booking, the tour experience will be top-notch.
Alhambra private tours
An Alhambra private tour is quite advantageous. Not only do you get to secure a tour for just yourself and your family or friends, but you also get to skip the line and make decisions on what you want to see.
On a private tour, you have the power to use the time to your convenience since you can slow down or hasten the sightseeing. Also, you can make a choice of the language you want. Better still, you have the privilege of choosing to be picked up from a hotel you might be residing in.
With a private tour of Alhambra, you will benefit from seeing its major attractions and learning about its lengthy history and intricate artistry. You will also benefit from the ability to extend the tour for a longer period than a group tour, enabling you to gain as much information from your guide as possible.
Some private tours will also allow you to expand your tour to other areas of the city, including Albaicin, the oldest section of Granada, giving you a well-rounded view of the city’s past and future.
Check out TourScanner for available rates on private tours.
Avoid the crowds – early morning & night Alhambra tours
Time is always a great factor to consider when planning for anything, especially for Alhambra. With hundreds of visitors each day, you may want to be selective about what time you visit Alhambra. Luckily, Alhambra tours are well designed to accommodate everybody.
For flexibility, there are both early morning and night Alhambra tours. In these tours, you can skip the line and spare quality tour time.
Both the early morning and night tours are the best options if you want to stay away from crowds. You will also be guided by a local expert.
A night tour is a particularly special experience at Alhambra. Explore the gardens and palaces as they are lit up under the stars, and gain a new appreciation for the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Alhambra tours with Arab Bath included
A trip to an Arab bath is a perfect complement to an Alhambra tour. In this package, you will start with pickup from your hotel and skip-the-line access to the Alhambra. Enjoy an expertly led tour of the complex with your guide, and visit its most notable attractions.
In the afternoon, you spend time relaxing in the Arab baths, also known as the Hammam Al Andalus, designed in the tradition of Muslim bathhouses known as hammams. You can visit numerous baths here or even upgrade your experience to include a massage.
Alhambra tours with a Flamenco show
Gain a well-rounded appreciation for Granada’s heritage and culture by combining your Alhambra tour with a Flamenco show. Delve into the history of Alhambra with your guide, and later head into Granada and treat yourself to the spectacle of a traditional Flamenco show.
Flamenco is a combination of dance and music that developed in southern Spain developed by Roma people centuries ago. You can enjoy a unique experience watching a Flamenco show within a cavern of Sacromonte. Enjoy a complimentary drink while admiring the performance.
Alhambra combo tours
We can highly recommend combining a tour of Alhambra with other areas of Granada to get a full view of the city’s heritage. Combination tours of Alhambra and Sacromonte and Alhambra and Albaicin are among the most popular, and you can even do a tour of all three.
Alhambra and Albaicin
Make the most of your time in the city of Granada by visiting its most prominent monument as well as its oldest enclave. Combining a tour of Alhambra and Albaicin will provide you with a full exploration of the history of Granada.
Tour the palaces and gardens of Alhambra with your guide, and then head into the heart of Albaicin, an ancient section of the city. With medieval Moorish architecture, Albaicin forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site alongside the Alhambra.
Albaicin is filled with churches, traditional houses, cisterns and ancient gates. It’s also where you will find the Andalusian Monuments, which include the Baño del Nogal, more commonly known as Bañuelo. This is one of the most well-preserved Arab baths in the region and is well worth a visit.
Among the monuments is the Corral del Carbón, a historic marketplace where people would store and sell their wheat. Other palaces, such as the Golden Furnace House and Dar al-Horra Palace, provide further insight into life during medieval times on the Iberian Peninsula.
Alhambra and Sacromonte
Sacromonte is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in Granada and forms part of Albaicin. It is most well known for its cave houses where Roma people made their homes, and for being at the heart of Flamenco in the city. On a combined tour of Alhambra and Sacromonte, you can get a full appreciation for the cultures that make up Granada.
During a tour of Sacromonte, you will become acquainted with the history of Flamenco, the traditional song and dance that originated in Spain and was formed by the Romani. You can even head into one of the whitewashed caves to see a Flamenco show, and the specific zambra dance that was developed in Granada. Immerse yourself in the neighborhood by treating yourself to a drink and tapas tasting.
If you’re feeling adventurous and running short on time, you can even visit Albaicin and Sacromonte on a Segway or bike after touring Alhambra!
Alhambra day tours from Seville
If you are staying outside of Granada, you can still visit Alhambra and its surroundings on a day tour. You do not have to worry if you happen to reside in a hotel in Seville. Some websites recommend that you consider a day trip originating from Seville with the ticket and a guided visit of the Alhambra included in the price.
Granada is located approximately 250 kilometers away from Seville, and is easily accessible by car, with the travel time lasting around 2.5 hours one way. We can highly recommend booking a guided tour to Granada from Seville, as this will include transportation and pickup and drop-off at a predetermined point.
With the stress of travel arrangements taken out of your hands, you can fully enjoy the tour to Granada. Admire the exceptional scenery on the drive before embarking on your guided tour of Alhambra with an expert.
Depending on your tour option, you may also visit the neighborhood of Albaicin and take a walking tour of its ancient streets. Since many day tours from Seville and Granada last up to 13 hours, you will break for lunch in the city.
Alhambra day tours from Malaga
Whether you’re staying a few days in Malaga or your cruise ship is docking at the port, a day tour to Alhambra from Malaga will ensure you make the most of your time in Spain.
With this package, you skip the line and will have a local expert guide all the way through.
Granada is located about 130 kilometers from Malaga. By booking a guided tour, your operator will ensure you travel in comfort for the approximately 1.5-hour ride there. You’ll further benefit from meeting your guide at a pickup point and being dropped right back off at the end of your tour.
Let your guide lead you through the monuments and magnificent architecture of Alhambra on your tour. Depending on your tour, you’ll also have free time to explore the city of Granada, visit the cathedral or savor a meal at a tapas bar.
Are there any free Alhambra tours?
You may be on a tight budget and cannot afford to pay for the available tour packages. Unfortunately, none of the Alhambra tours is free. The only cheap tour you can have is the audio-guided tour, where you only part with an extra €6 on top of the ticket price.
However, parts of Alhambra can be accessed without paying a dime. The Palace of Charles V, the Alhambra Museum inside the Palace of Charles V and Baño de la Mezquita. It is also possible to visit the Andalusian Monuments for free on a Sunday. Children under the age of 12 can visit all parts of Alhambra for free, but they will need to be accompanied by an adult if they are under 14 years old.
There is also the option of trying to visit on November 16. This special day has been set aside as the International Day of World Heritage, and the Alhambra will be open for special exhibitions. However, this is by invitation only.
Are any Alhambra tours included in the Granada Card?
Being in possession of a Granada Card gives you the right to access the Alhambra even when the tickets are sold out. However, no guided tours are available for Granada Card holders.
Check the price and availability of the Granada Card:
What will I see?
We can highly advise the value of taking a guided tour of Alhambra. The Alhambra monument complex is a historical fortress and series of palaces crafted out of artistic imagination, architectural prowess and deft engineering. It is found on the west side of the city of Granada, and is strategically situated such that it is possible to have a view of the entire city of Granada.
With a history dating as far back as the 9th century, the Alhambra complex seen today is largely the work of the Nasrid dynasty, who were the last sultans to hold power in the Iberian Peninsula’s nearly 800 years of Islamic rule. The Alhambra has survived explosions in the Peninsular War and earthquakes to be one of the best-preserved examples of an Islamic palatine city today.
Alhambra is an architectural masterpiece, replete with facades, mosaics and vaults that are characteristic of Islamic architecture. Its original Arabic name, Al-Ḥamrā, translates to “the red one” in reference to the color of its walls. The complex has numerous attractions, from majestic gates to palaces and gardens that you will be able to see on a tour. These attractions include:
These palaces were the residential palaces of the Nasrid dynasty and were built between the 13th and 15th centuries. When you visit, you will be taken on a tour of the Comares Palace, the Mexuar, and the Palace of the Lions, where you can see the famous Court of the Lions.
The Mexuar was the meeting place for official business, while the Comares Palace is known for its picturesque pool and courtyard. It’s also where you can see the detailed Comares facade and the Comares Tower, the largest tower in the Alhambra complex.
Within the Comares Tower, which stands 45 meters tall, you can visit the Hall of Ambassadors, also known as the Throne Hall. This is the largest room and one of the most highly decorated areas of all of Alhambra, featuring text that exalts God’s glory inscribed on the walls.
The Court of the Lions is arguably one of the most famous sections of Alhambra. An iconic fountain supported by 12 marble lions lies at its center. Surrounding the central court are 124 white columns and intricate arches that have been recognized for their architectural precision.
The Generalife Palace is where the sultans used to spend their leisure time and is characterized by typical Islamic architecture. The surrounding land was also where much agricultural activity took place.
Today, the sprawling gardens are an idyllic amalgamation of influences, from the Nasrid period to more modern eras, and feature fountains, patios and feats of hydraulic engineering.
On a tour, you can discover how the Nasrid’s diverted water from the nearby river to Generalife and Alhambra, enabling fountains to flow and gardens and orchards to sprout.
The Partal is a section of Alhambra that features the oldest palatial structure in the complex, the Partal Palace. This includes a portico overlooking a tranquil pool, creating a picturesque scene.
You can stroll among the homes, visit the Tower of the Ladies for incredible views across Alhambra and Granada, or stop by the oratory where the sultan used to pray.
Palace of Charles V
The Palace of Charles V is a 16th-century palace built in the style of the Renaissance. It was constructed by Charles V, a Catholic Monarch, after the fall of the Nasrid Dynasty in the 15th century.
While the palace was never completed for its intended use, it’s an example of the confluence of styles and eras that impacted Alhambra. Today, the Palace of Charles V is home to the Alhambra Museum, where you can view artifacts that have been excavated from the complex and examples of Islamic art.
The Museo de Bellas Artes de Granada is also located within the Palace of Charles V, and exhibits art from famed Granada artists as well as pieces that feature the city itself.
The Alcazaba is the oldest section of the Alhambra, situated upon a hill as a strategic defense against invaders. This area used to be the military fortifications that protected the city and its rulers and was where soldiers lived with their families.
While not a part of the Alhambra complex, the Andalusian Monuments are still an integral part of the historic city of Granada. On some tickets and tours, you can combine a visit to Alhambra with a visit to the Andalusian Monuments. These can be found in Albaicin, the oldest part of Granada, and include one of the best-preserved examples of an Arab bath on the Iberian Peninsula.
Tour options have been designed to cater to the diverse kind of people who wish to visit the Alhambra, and can be divided into two main groups:
- Self-guided tours where you will visit the attractions with an audio guide
- Guided tours where a guide will accompany you
So, just how much value do you get by booking a tour of the Alhambra? Due to the huge demand for Alhambra tickets, as well as the limited number of persons who can visit per day, we recommend that you book a tour at least a month before your visit.
Hot tip: Don’t miss our complete guide about Alhambra tickets price.
Book your tour in advance
As the foremost attraction in Granada, tickets and tours to Alhambra can sell out quickly! We advise you to book your tour as far in advance as possible, as this ensures you will be able to visit on your desired date and see the attractions you want.
If tickets are sold out on the official Alhambra website booking a guided tour is a good way of securing your visit at the last minute if you’re in a bind.
Booking in advance will also guarantee to fast access to Alhambra, and allow you to be more selective of what time you visit the Nasrid Palaces.
Read more about how to book last minute Alhambra tickets.
Time your visit carefully
An important factor to note for visiting Alhambra is that your ticket will include a timed visit to the Nasrid Palaces. Only 300 visitors are allowed into the Nasrid Palaces section every half hour, and you are only allowed to visit in your allocated time slot.
Make sure you choose your time slot carefully, and be conscious of it during your visit. If you are late for your time slot you will be turned away, meaning you’ll miss out on one of the most phenomenal sections of Alhambra!
The Alhambra complex spans approximately 26 acres, meaning you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes for your tour. While traversing the gardens you’ll be exposed to the sun and the elements, so be sure to wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, and pack along a jacket for added protection should the weather turn.
Bring your ID
It’s crucial that you bring your ID with you on your tour of Alhambra. This will serve to confirm your identity and your ticket at the entrance. You will also be expected to carry your ticket in either paper or digital form while you explore the Alhambra, as the security may ask to check it on the grounds.
We hope we have answered all the questions you may have regarding Alhambra tours. We wish you a great visit to Granada and hope you enjoy your tour of Alhambra. Have fun!
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