How to Buy Tickets for the Alhambra – And What to Do if They’re Sold Out! (2024)

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Article written by: Rebecca
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Want to know how to buy tickets for the Alhambra in Granada? In this guide, I’ll take you through the options – and what to do if they’re sold out!

As one of Spain’s crown jewels, more than 2.7 million people visit the Alhambra each year. People travel to Granada in southern Spain just to visit the Alhambra.

And that’s why you need to plan well ahead to secure tickets for the Alhambra – two to three months ahead sometimes!

On our recent Southern Spain road trip, I planned our entire trip around the Alhambra to make sure that we didn’t miss this stunning monument. But, despite trying to plan ahead, I was left in a panic when I discovered all the Alhambra tickets online were sold out for the days we’d be in Granada. Every. Single. Day. I was devastated.

Luckily, after doing a lot of anxious research, I figured out how to buy Alhambra tickets, even if they’re sold out online. If you’re planning a trip to the Alhambra, here are my tips for buying tickets for the Alhambra – as well as what to do if you discover all the Alhambra tickets sold out.

The Alhambra’s robust stone fortress bathed in golden sunlight, with a fluttering Spanish flag atop a tower, and a foreground of dark green cypress trees framing the historic site.

This blog post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

What is the Alhambra?

If I were to describe the Alhambra with the help of Wikipedia, I’d say that the Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada in southern Spain.

If I describe the Alhambra in my own words, it’s a mind-blowing piece of architecture that left me speechless and wide-eyed at times. It’s full of lush, manicured, green gardens that offer respite from the heat, arches covered in plaster ornaments studded with beautiful detailed Arabic script, and ancient towers that offer stunning views of Granada and the surrounding mountains.

Originally constructed in AD889, it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Alhambra has been in the hands of many, including the Nasrid Dynasty and the Christians following the Reconquista. You can clearly see the influence of each of these rulers in the various additions made over the centuries.

The Alhambra has three distinct parts:

The Nasrid Palaces

The Nasrid Palaces are the main attraction of the Alhambra and a must visit.

This was the residence of the many rulers who made their home here over the past centuries. Here you can wander through many of the palaces and courtyards full of fountains, arches and stunning ceiling ornaments.

The Patio of the Lions in the Alhambra, showcasing a white marble fountain supported by statues of lions, surrounded by detailed Islamic architecture. The Nasrid Palaces are a must-see when you visit the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.


The oldest part of the Alhambra, the Alcazaba was once a fortified military enclosure. In the ruins you can see where the soldiers used to live, and there are great views of Granada from the various towers that you can climb.

There are quite a few stairs to scale to get to the top, useful to know if you’re travelling with children or people with mobility issues.

The expansive ruins of the Alhambra's fortifications, featuring large open courtyards with tourists walking around and lush trees dotting the landscape. The Alcazaba is the oldest part of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. The former forts are still in good condition.
A panoramic view of Granada from the Alhambra, with a man - the author's husband - standing on the edge looking out over the city, mountains in the distance under a partly cloudy sky. There are great views of Granada from the towers in the Alcazaba, the oldest part of the Alhambra in Spain.


These gardens were once used by the Sultans of Granada as their summer residence. The gardens are extensive and a wonderful place to take a break as you wander around the Alhambra.

The Generalife's tranquil garden pathway flanked by vibrant flower beds, hedgerows, and a long central water channel, leading to an ornate pavilion. The Generalife in the Alhambra, Spain, is filled with gorgeous gardens.

How to buy tickets for the Alhambra

Each day, between 6,500 and 8,500 Alhambra tickets are sold each day. That may sound like a lot, but as one of Spain’s most popular attractions, those tickets get snapped up quickly!

Alhambra tickets are only sold online via the Alhambra tickets official website. Some blogs on the web still contain outdated information about buying tickets for the Alhambra via the Ticketmaster website. This is no longer possible.

If you prefer to order by phone, call +34 858 889 002 (operators speak English and Spanish).

You can buy tickets between two hours and three months in advance.

If your ticket includes access to the Nasrid Palaces, your ticket will be timed to restrict the number of people inside at any one time (300 people every half hour). While you can arrive at any time to see the rest of the Alhambra grounds, you can only enter Nasrid Palaces at your allotted time.

This can be confusing. But the main point to remember is that if your ticket states 9am, that means you need to be entering the Nasrid Palaces at 9am – not the Alhambra complex itself. The allotted time slot refers to the specific time you need to enter the Nasrid Palaces.

Pay close attention to this time shown on your ticket. You must enter within 30 minutes of the stated time, as they don’t allow in latecomers – and they’re quite strict with this.

A picturesque view from the Alhambra, through an ornate window arch, overlooking the white buildings of Granada amidst green foliage and hills. There are so many lovely views from the walls and windows of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.

Types of Alhambra tickets available

  • General (€19.09) – Alhambra general tickets include access to the entire Alhambra grounds, including the Alzacaba, Nasrid Palaces and Generalife
  • Night visit (€7.42-10.61) – access to the Alhambra at night, which I think would be a beautiful way to see the Alhambra! These tickets are split into night visit to the Nasrid Palaces and a separate night ticket to the Generalife and gardens
  • Generalife and Alcazaba (€10.61) – cheaper than the general Alhambra ticket, but doesn’t allow access to the stunning Nasrid Palaces
  • Alhambra Experiences ticket (€19.09) – this ticket includes a daytime visit to the Generalife and Alcazaba, and separate nighttime entrance to the Nasrid Palaces
  • Special tickets like the Dobla de Oro (€20.93-27.30) – a cultural tourism route that links the Alhambra and the Albaicín, Granada’s old quarter. This ticket has both a daytime and nighttime option

When purchasing general tickets for the Alhambra, follow the steps online.

  • Step 1: Select the number of tickets required and the date you’d like to visit
  • Step 2: Select your preferred time to visit the Nasrid Palaces. The website will show only those time slots still available
  • Step 3: Enter your contact details and payment method and voilà, you’re heading to the Alhambra!

You can bring your tickets printed to show the staff at the entrance gate, or show them on a mobile phone. You must also bring your ID.

Close-up of traditional Islamic star-shaped tile work with intricate patterns in blue, white, and yellow, from the Alhambra’s walls. You'll take hundreds of photos on a visit to the Alhambra in Granada, Spain - the details are incredible.

All the tickets for the Alhambra are sold out! What do I do?

Given the popularity of the Alhambra, it’s common for online tickets to sell out weeks or months in advance, particularly during high season. Arrgghh!

That’s exactly what happened to us! It was devastating for someone who is normally so well organised and who plans well ahead.

But never fear! If Alhambra tickets are sold out on the date you wish to visit, here are five alternative options.

A woman in a floral dress - the author of this article - standing in front of a manicured hedge and a long rectangular reflecting pool in the Generalife gardens, with flowers and trees in the background. Plan to spend at least three hours at the Alhambra. Make sure to take a break in the gorgeous gardens of the Generalife.

1. Check online again

You can buy tickets for the Alhambra online up to two hours in advance so you never know if new tickets have been made available or someone has returned tickets.

Tickets that weren’t sold or were returned will appear back on the official Alhambra website at midnight.

So try your luck, you never know if you’ll score some last-minute Alhambra tickets!

2. Purchase another type of ticket

As outlined before, there are tickets for day and night visits. Check to see if any of those are available. I imagine seeing an Alhambra night tour would be stunning.

You can also buy Alhambra tickets that don’t include the Nasrid Palaces. Personally, I wouldn’t bother doing this. In my opinion, the Nasrid Palaces are the most fascinating and beautiful part of the Alhambra. It really can’t be missed.

3. Line up early at the gate to get tickets

You can try the ticket office on the day or the automatic machines that are at the Alhambra. BUT it’s unlikely you’ll get tickets for that day – I’ve only ever heard of this happening in a few lucky cases.

4. Alhambra guided tour

If Alhambra tickets are sold out, try a guided tour instead. Tour companies will generally reserve a whole lot of tickets in advance.

Although two to three times (sometimes even more!) the price of a regular Alhambra ticket, a guided tour of the Alhambra comes with the benefit of a knowledgeable guide who can share the history of the Alhambra and point out things you wouldn’t see by yourself.

This Alhambra tour comes highly recommended and means you can skip the line, while this small-group tour includes a guide who can give you insights into the history of this amazing complex.

5. Purchase a Granada Card

This is what we ended up doing when I left the purchase of our tickets to Alhambra to only a few weeks before we visited.

The Granada Card often has tickets for the Alhambra available even if the Alhambra site is sold out, although there aren’t as many options for times to enter the Nasrid Palaces.

The Granada Card is more expensive than a general Alhambra ticket (cards start at €46), but it also grants access to many other sights in Granada including the Cathedral, the Royal Chapel, the Sacromonte Abbey and many other points of interest in Granada, as well as tickets to ride on the tourist train and local bus. If you’re planning to spend a few days in Granada, it could likely end up being great value.

Cards are sold in 24 hour, 48 hour and 72 hour packages. The 24-hour card only includes the night-time visit to the Nasrid Palaces.

Simply visit the website, check if there are Alhambra tickets available for your desired date and follow the easy steps to purchase your tickets.

Important! Check that Alhambra tickets are still available before you make your purchase!

Collect your tickets at the tourist office in the city centre when you arrive in Granada. It’s a super easy process.

Visit the Alhambra FAQs

How much time do I need to visit the Alhambra?

You will need a minimum of three hours to see the entire complex, so plan your day accordingly. Having said that, you could easily spend a whole day here!

What time of day is best to see the Alhambra?

Morning is the best time to visit the Alhambra to avoid the crowds and enjoy your visit in cooler temperatures. The first tickets are available at 8.30am.

If you book Alhambra tickets in advance, you’re more like to get an early morning ticket to the Nasrid Palaces. This means you’ll have ample time to explore the palaces so you’re free to spend the remainder of your time exploring the rest of the grounds.

You may also be lucky enough to have the palaces to yourself for a bit before the tour groups arrive at around 10am.

How do I get to the Alhambra?

To get to the Alhambra, you can take the C30 bus up to the Alhambra and get off at the Puerta de la Justícia.

Alternatively, you can walk up to the Alhambra through the forest. Start at Plaza Nueva and follow the street signs. It’s a fairly steep walk.

Taxis also regularly go up and back to the Alhambra.

Are audio guides available for hire? Can I get a map of the Alhambra?

Audio guides are available to hire for an additional fee if you’d like more detail about each area you’re visiting. There’s barely any signage at the Alhambra, so this is a good option. There’s also an app you can download from the official website.

Maps aren’t handed out at the entrance, but if you ask, the security guards will direct you to a small office (not clearly signed) where you can pick one up.

How far in advance should I line up to visit the Nasrid Palaces?

Get in line 15 to 20 minutes before the designated window to visit the Nasrid Palaces, as the lines can be long. That means that if you’re ticket allows entry at 2pm, you need to be waiting in line around 1.30-1.45pm (earlier if you’re in Granada during high season).

Are food and drinks sold at the Alhambra?

There are a couple of cafés and shops to buy snacks and drinks. You can also bring your own food and drinks and have a picnic in the grounds.

What to do in Granada (besides the Alhambra)

While the Alhambra is the main drawcard for visitors to Granada, Spain, there’s plenty more to keep you occupied. I’ve written a whole post about how to spend 2 days in Granada, so make sure to check it out and plan your Granada itinerary.

Where to stay near the Alhambra

If you want to stay really close to the Alhambra, the closest you can get is actually inside the grounds! There are two hotels inside the Alhambra complex:

  • Parador de Granada – This former 15th century convent now hosts guests from all over the world who want to stay right in the heart of the Alhambra. Compare rates online now at and Expedia.
  • Hotel América Granada – Full of Spanish charm, this hotel has all the modern amenities necessary to make your stay comfortable. And it’s only a 10-minute walk to the Generalife. Book your stay online on Expedia or

Other hotels near the Alhambra include:

  • Alhambra Palace – While it’s not inside the Alhambra grounds, this 5-star hotel is very close. It’s also the oldest 5-star hotel in Spain, but don’t worry, all the rooms have been renovated and are very modern and spacious. Compare rates on and Expedia.
  • Hotel Casa 1800 – This lovely boutique hotel (with a gorgeous internal courtyard) gets great reviews for its location, staff and great food. Check the latest rates online at

Final thoughts: Visiting the Alhambra

The Alhambra is one of the most spectacular sights in Spain and can’t be missed if you’re visiting Andalucia. Plan ahead to get tickets – especially during peak travel periods.

But if you’re unlucky and can’t get tickets on the official site, I’ve provided you several alternatives to track town a ticket!

Did you find this article helpful? Consider buying me a coffee as a way to say thanks!

Have you visited the Alhambra in Granada, Spain? Do you have any tips for visiting or buying tickets for the Alhambra? Let me know if you have questions in the comments below.

Related posts

Before you go… you might like these other Spain travel articles:


  • Book flights to and around Spain online with Skyscanner. I like this site because it shows me which dates are cheaper.
  • Find a great hotel in Spain. Check prices on and Expedia online.
  • For train travel, Omio should be your starting point for checking routes and booking tickets.
  • Check out the huge range of day tours throughout Spain on GetYourGuide or Viator. There’s something for everyone.
  • A copy of the Lonely Planet guide to Spain will be handy.
  • One thing I always purchase is travel insurance! Travel Insurance Master allows you to compare across multiple policy providers, while SafetyWing is great for long-term travellers and digital nomads.


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This post was published in July 2018, and was updated in September 2019 and February 2024.


I'm a travel junkie who started dreaming about seeing the world from a very young age. I've visited more than 40 countries and have a Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management. A former expat, I've lived in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Argentina and the United States. I share travel resources, tips and stories based on my personal experiences, and my goal is to make travel planning just that bit easier.

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