The Alhambra Palace, Granada
You might have seen pictures of the Alhambra Palace on social media – it’s certainly very Instagrammable!
I got the chance to visit this beautiful place when my friend was studying abroad in Granada and I went to stay with her.
In this post, find out more about this wonderful piece of architecture and how you can visit.
Where is the Alhambra Palace?
The Alhambra Palace is in Granada, a city in Spain’s southernmost region, Andalusia. Unlike some other famous castles and palaces, the Alhambra is actually in the city itself and can be reached on foot from the town centre. It is located on the edge of the city atop a hill and backing onto the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, providing breath-taking views in all directions.
Why is the Alhambra famous?
The Alhambra is famous both for its architectural and its historical significance. Not only is it a beautiful example of Moorish architecture dating back around 700 years, but its walls also tell the story of Southern Spain and the different groups who have ruled it over the centuries.
Islamic archway leading to a courtyard within the Alhambra
When was it built and who by?
Originally, the Alhambra palace was built between 1238 and 1358 by the Moorish ruler Ibn al-Aḥmar and his successors. As a result, the dominant architectural style is Islamic, adorned with Arabic inscriptions, geometric mosaics and Islamic archways.
However, there are traces of other architectural styles to, due to modifications made as the palace changed hands throughout the centuries. For example, there are portions of the palace built in the Renaissance style as ordered by Charles V.
What is the Alhambra like?
The Alhambra is a really beautiful and interesting place to visit. The palace itself is pretty large and is made up of lots of little sections, rooms, courtyards and corridors that you can weave your way through – and all have stunning decoration.
You can hire an audio guide to listen to as you walk round if you’re interested in learning more about the history of the palace.
The Alhambra is also surrounded by gorgeous gardens where you can soak up the Andalusian sun.
The Alhambra has stunning views in all directions
How do I buy tickets to the Alhambra Palace?
While you can buy tickets at the Alhambra on the day, it’s best to book in advance as it’s a very popular tourist spot. With your ticket you will also have a one-hour allocated spot for viewing the palace and on the website it’s recommended to arrive early, as you may have to queue to get in. You can find out more on the official website.
What else is there to do in Granada other than visit the Alhambra?
The city of Granada is every bit worth exploring as the Alhambra. The Moorish influence can be seen in the Medieval Albaicín district, which was built at the same time as the Alhambra and has UNESCO world heritage status along with the palace. It is characterised by its old white buildings and narrow, winding streets.
As a foodie, another thing I loved about Granada was the tapas culture. Unlike other places in Spain, in Granada it is typical that when you order a drink they bring you some tapas to go with it – for free! So you can while away many hours bar hopping and filling up on food and drink, and without breaking the bank.
All in all I would definitely recommend a trip to Granada and the Alhambra. Though it might not have a beach, it has the culture, architecture, food, drink and southern Spanish climate – it’s probably my favourite place in Spain.
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Rachel is a freelance writer and German translator who has lived in Hamburg and Stuttgart. She loves both travel and writing about it. Her favourite destinations are places that have a mixture beautiful scenery, interesting things to see and do and great food!