Granada - The Alhambra's Generalife Gardens

Views of the Alhambra and the city of Granada from the Generalife Gardens.
A trip to Granada, Spain isn't complete without a visit to the city's most famous attraction, the Alhambra.  A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alhambra complex is made up of three main sections; The Nasrid Palaces, The Generalife Gardens, and the Alcazaba Fortress. Each portion has its own unique draw. From the stunningly detailed architecture of The Nasrid Palaces, the lovely gardens and water features of Generalife, to the breathtaking views from Alcazaba. Tickets can be purchased for the sections individually, but if you're in Granada why miss out on the total package?

The Court of the Main Canal, a focal feature of the Generalife Gardens at the Alhambra.
Moorish carvings and architecture in the palace of the Generalife at the Alhambra.

Procuring tickets to visit the Alhambra isn't difficult, but it does require some planning. I bought my tickets about a month before my visit, via the official Alhambra website and Ticketmaster, and I highly recommend you do the same. A limited number of tickets are sold to the Nasrid Palaces per day, so if you wait until the last minute you will likely be disappointed. As I was standing in line to pick up my ticket, around 9 am, the ticket office announced that spots to visit the Nasrid Palaces were full for the day. A couple I met in Sevilla told a similar story, they had not pre-booked tickets and were out of luck by the time they reached the ticket center. My ticket was €14,30 which worked out to around $20, more than worth it for a day full of beauty and history.

The palace of the Generalife meets the court of the main canal at the Alhambra's stunning Generalife Gardens.
Flowers line the lower gardens of the Alhambra's Generalife in Granada, Spain.

Plan your tour for early morning or late afternoon to avoid the hot midday sun, as well as the heavy foot traffic. I toured the gardens in the morning, ahead of my 12:30 ticket to the Nasrid Palaces. Even then there were quite a few people about, still I found plenty of private nooks and pockets of calm. The Alhambra's hillside location makes for gorgeous views of Granada. Every detail of the architecture seems designed to take advantage of the setting. It's easy to see why the site was chosen as a royal retreat.

A view of Spain's Sierra Nevada mountains surrounding the city Granada.
A water feature in the lower Generalife Gardens at Granada's Alhambra Palace.

Originally completed in 1309, Generalife was most recently updated in the early 20th century. Despite their age and the volume of tourists, the gardens are beautifully maintained, full of blooming flowers and stunning water features. Even if you're unable to procure a ticket to The Nasrid Palace portion of the Alhambra, the Generalife Gardens are absolutely worth a visit.

A peaceful spot in the lower Generalife gardens of the Alhambra complex in Granada, Spain.
The arched walkway over the Generalife Palace offers breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada mountains and the city of Granada.
A view of the Nasrid Palace and Alcazaba Fortress from the Alhambra's Generalife Gardens.
Flowers along the edge of the lower Generalife Gardens, with the Nasrid Palace in the background.


  1. This place look absolutely gorgeous. The 3rd picture looks like it could have been taken in Morocco.

    1. Oh to visit Morocco! It's not so far, distance wise, from Spain. But it still seems a bit out of reach for me as a solo traveller. Someday! Still, there is so much Moorish influence in beautiful Southern Spain to explore.


  2. Are the tickets to Generalife and Alcazaba also limited like Nasrid palace? Or can be easily bought same day? We have unfortunately had not considered this and traveling to Granada tomorrow. Wondering what could be least possible options in case we don't end up getting Nasrid ticket.

    1. Hi Maria - the tickets to Generalife and Alcazaba are not limited so you should definite be able to see those sections of the Alhambra. You do have to pick between morning (8:30 am to 2 pm) and afternoon (2 pm to 6pm) slots. The box office opens at 8 am, so if you get there then you might have a shot at tickets to the Nasrid Palace, but its definitely not guaranteed. Still, touring the gardens early in the morning is a great way to beat the crowds. Good luck and have a lovely visit!

    2. Thanks for the quick reply Aubrey! Looking forward to the trip and hoping to get lucky.

  3. I am writing about the "best places to go in August with kids" and I love the Alhambra. This post really describes how serene, wonderful and beautiful it is. Your pictures are amazing. Thank you for the inspiration.

    Please let me know if I can link to this post and perhaps reference one of your photos to show the beauty of it? I understand if you prefer not to.


    Rene xo

    1. Hi Rene - Thanks for the lovely comment. Granada is such a family friendly city, I actually have many more photos and hope to post more about other parts of the Alhambra soon (where did the summer go?) I've taken a look at your blog as well and it is full of beautiful photography and great information, especially for folks with children. You can absolutely link to this post and use any of the photos. Please credit to Aubrey Dunnuck with a link back to eatrepeat.blogspot.com. Thank you!


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