Nothing blew me away in my Andalucía road trip like Alhambra palace. My family and I took a day trip to Granada to visit the beautiful palace of Alhambra. The Alhambra started to be built in the year 1238 for the Muslim Emirs and the court of the Nasrid dynasty. It continued to expand throughout the Islamic rule which ended in 1492 with the reconquest by Isabella and Ferdinand, the Catholic rulers. After 1492, portions of the buildings were used by Christian rulers and in 1572, Charles V built the Palace of Charles V. I loved seeing the different combination of the Islamic 14thcentury and Cathloic 16th century architecture as well as the beautiful gardens and fountains.
I warn you in advance, I visited here in 2013 where my mobile phone camera wasn’t the best (neither were my photography skills) and doesn’t do the place justice – so please mind the quality of these pictures. I just had to include them to give you a sneak peak of what you would see.
To guarantee your visit to Alhambra will go ahead – you need to book in advance. I cant stress this enough as we saw so many people continually getting turned away as it was full. You can book tickets online on Spain’s Ticketmaster website. If you just want a standard daytime visit to every part of the Alhambra, select ‘Alhambra General’. The time you select when you go into the Nasrid Palaces (the best and busiest part of the complex). You’re free to walk in and out of the other areas at any time within the session your set time falls into: am (8am-2pm) or pm (2pm to 8pm). However, even though my family and I selected the afternoon slow, we arrived early at 11am and we were able to start exploring straight away.
There are various areas in the palace that you shouldn’t miss – it should take a full day to see the entire complex of the Alhambra.
We went to the Generalife gardens first as its right next to the ticket office. The Generalife was a summer palace for the Nasrid Emir Kings and built in the 14th century. The path leads to and along an elevated edge which gives you the most beautiful panorama across to the city. It just such a dramatic scene of an Arabic castle on a forested hill – its like you’re in a fairy-tale.
It had stunning colourful flowerbeds, palm trees, water pool and fountains. Be sure to check out the Court of the Water Channel.
We then walked over to the Nasrid Palaces. The rooms in this section are probably the most recognised of the Alhambra. My family just walked from room to room in a perpetual state of awe – admiring the intricate details, carvings, elegant pillars, tiles and patterns. The windows here also offers spectacular views over the city to the hills.
There is also the Court of the Lions which is an impressive space with more intricate details and the fountain of the lions in the middle. There are numerous theories as to its symbolism and meaning.
You can’t mis the Court of the Myrtles which has a large reflecting pool and impressive architectural details.
Palace of Carlos V
We then ventured into the Palace of Carlos V which was built in a European Renaissance style with a circular patio and surrounded by pillars. This palace also houses the Museum of Fine Arts, which we didn’t bother going inside as the whole place was enough of an attraction itself.
This was our last stop and is essentially a large military fortress. It had the highest viewpoints in the entire Alhambra complex.
Do you have any questions about travelling to Alhambra that I didn’t answer? Be sure to leave them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible 🙂
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