Gut-wrenching. That’s how you’re probably feeling if you’ve just found out that Alhambra tickets are sold out. I’ve been to the Alhambra twice and both times had close calls with getting tickets. But before I chatter about me, let’s talk about you and how to get you out of your predicament.
If you’re currently in Granada, getting Alhambra tickets is even more time-sensitive. Therefore, I’ll start by showing you how to get last-minute Alhambra tickets on the day of your visit. Then, I’ll talk about how to scoop up Alhambra tickets before the day of your visit, if you’re not yet in Granada.
Wheelchair Accessibility Note: If you’re a wheelchair user, make sure to visit our post on wheelchair accessibility in Granada, which includes details on accessibility at the Alhambra.
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Alhambra tickets on the day of your visit
Is today the day you intended to visit the Alhambra? If so and Alhambra tickets are sold out, this section is for you.
The good news
If you’re reading this before the Alhambra opens, you stand a chance of securing tickets.
The semi-bad news
If the Alhambra is already open, chances are high that you won’t be able to purchase Alhambra tickets today. However, you can apply what we cover in this post to try to secure tickets tomorrow if you’ll still be in Granada.
Purchasing *SEEMINGLY* sold out Alhambra tickets the day of your visit
People who were “in the know” purchased their Alhambra tickets online in advance or checked online before the day of their visit to find that they were already sold out.
However, there’s a caveat that few people know about; unsold tickets held by tour operators are released online the day those entrance tickets were valid for.
In other words, if the day of your Alhambra visit is August 2nd, tickets likely showed that they were entirely sold out if you checked the website on August 1st up until 11:59pm.
However, try logging back on at 12:01am on August 2nd and you just may find a handful of tickets remaining. In some cases, there could be many more tickets than just a handful!
That being said, there’s debate about whether or not the 12:01am is perfect science. So, since you’re likely reading this after the 12:01am mark, all hope isn’t lost.
Travel Tip: Information you find online that hasn’t been updated since March 1, 2020 is out-of-date. Online Alhambra tickets can be purchased one year in advance and there are more tickets available than in the past. Therefore, you have a higher chance of securing Alhambra tickets the day of your visit compared to before early 2020.
Purchasing Alhambra tickets in person at the ticket office
Are you standing at the entrance to the Alhambra reading this article? If so, make a beeline to the Pabellón de Acceso (Access Pavilion) which is where the ticket office is located.
You’ll instantly know whether or not Alhambra tickets are sold out since there are screens indicating the number of tickets left, if any.
If there are tickets left and the line isn’t long, your quickest option is to purchase your tickets in person.
If the queue is long, line up anyway. While you’re waiting, go online to see if you can purchase the tickets from the Alhambra’s website.
Travel Tip: There are ticket machines in the Access Pavilion that oftentimes have shorter lines than the regular ticket office.
Extra tickets at the Alhambra ticket office
Contrary to the process before March 1, 2020, there are NO extra last-minute Alhambra tickets held for visitors each day.
In the past, people without Alhambra tickets would begin forming a line at the ticket office in the middle of the night. This is how I secured my Alhambra ticket the first time I visited and it was an incredibly uncomfortable experience. On top of that, tickets sold out so quickly that most people in line didn’t even get to visit the Alhambra.
As of March 1, 2020, all extra Alhambra tickets are posted online. Therefore, the only benefit of purchasing your ticket at the ticket office is if you are physically at the entrance of the Alhambra without a ticket (assuming there are tickets left).
Purchasing Alhambra tickets online vs. in person
You’re likely more concerned about finding Alhambra tickets that aren’t sold out rather than the price of the tickets themselves. However, for the sake of covering all bases, the price of the Alhambra tickets is the same if you purchase them online or in person.
Alhambra tickets sold out before the day of your visit
If Alhambra tickets are sold out before the day of your visit, breathe a partial sigh of relief; there’s a fairly good chance you can secure seemingly sold out Alhambra tickets in advance using one of these three hacks below.
1. Purchase a Granada Card
The Granada Card offers access to the Alhambra and a number of other paid sites of interest in Granada.
At around 40 Euros per person, the Granada Card is significantly more expensive than a regular Alhambra entrance ticket, but given your circumstances, you’ll likely find it worth it. It’s especially a great option if you’ll be spending a couple of days in Granada.
There are seven different kinds of Granada Cards, six of which offer some version of a visit to the Alhambra. If you have the luxury of having multiple card options to choose from, the section at the end of this post will help you make sense of the different types of Alhambra tickets.
A set number of Granada Cards are offered each day and you can purchase them online in advance.
2. Guided Tour
Tour agencies are allotted a set number of Alhambra tickets each day. Therefore, even when Alhambra tickets are sold out on the regular website, it’s possible that you may find a tour operator with tickets still available.
Alhambra tours vary in price and style, but you can get a feel for some tour options below.
3. Pernocta Card
The Pernocta Card is a good option when regular Alhambra tickets are sold out, but there’s a big catch- you have to prove that you’ll be spending a minimum of two nights in Granada.
As with the other options mentioned here, there are a set number of Alhambra tickets each day allotted to the Pernocta Card. Unlike the other options, you can’t purchase it online.
Therefore, you’ll need to speak with your hotel in advance to see if they offer the Pernocta Card AND if the card still has availability for the Alhambra on the day you’d like to visit.
I’ve tried the 3 options above and they don’t have availability
If none of these three options are available, then you’ll need to refer to the first section of this post with trying to secure last-minute Alhambra tickets online early in the morning the day of your visit.
Still without an Alhambra entrance ticket after doing that?
If you won’t be staying in Granada longer to try to repeat the process, your only option will be to visit the free areas of the Alhambra. These areas are beautiful, too, and I’ll talk about them shortly.
Breaking down the components of the Alhambra ticket
Hallelujah and mazel tov!
If you’ve arrived at this section, hopefully it means that you’ve found some Alhambra tickets that aren’t sold out and you’re now at a blissful loss of which kind of ticket to choose.
There are a number of different kinds of Alhambra tickets that allow visitors access to specific areas of the Alhambra. Let’s take a look at the most popular options.
If you see that there are Alhambra General tickets available, stop reading this article and buy them now.
The Alhambra General is the most popular kind of ticket since it allows you to visit all areas of the Alhambra and its gardens all day long. What are these areas, you ask?
- Nasrid Palaces*
*The Nasrid Palaces has set entrance times. With the Alhambra General ticket, you’ll be allowed to enter and stay at the Alhambra whenever you’d like, for as long as you’d like, within the Alhambra’s hours of operation. However, you can only enter the Nasrid Palaces at the time indicated on your ticket.
Gardens, Generalife, & Alcazaba Ticket
Your next best option when Alhambra General tickets are sold out is to purchase the ticket that will allow you to enter the Gardens, Generalife and Alcazaba.
The biggest loss with this ticket is not being able to enter the Nasrid Palaces. Nonetheless, you’ll still get to enjoy the rest of the Alhambra with this ticket, which is very much worth it.
It’s important to note that the gardens are listed here, although a portion of them are free to the public anyway. Therefore, the Generalife and Alcazaba are the places that you’ll have the best advantage of visiting with this particular entrance ticket.
There are two kinds of night tickets- one that offers entry to the Nasrid Palaces and the other that allows entry to the Generalife and Gardens.
These two night tickets cannot be purchased on the same day since the times overlap, so if you’ll only be in Granada for one evening, choose which one is most important to you (…or available).
The Alhambra night tickets are almost always the last ticket type to sell out, so this can be a good option for dates where daytime tickets are already sold out.
What to do if Alhambra tickets are sold out for all methods described here
My sincerest hope is that this post has already helped you obtain Alhambra tickets.
That being said, while the methods described here will surely increase your chances of securing Alhambra tickets, there’s no way to sugarcoat the truth- sometimes Alhambra tickets are sold out across the board.
If Alhambra tickets are truly sold out the day of your visit, there are certain parts of the Alhambra that you can visit for free.
I recommend starting your explorations at the Gate of the Pomegranates. This will lead you on pedestrian paths weaving through the Alhambra Forest. Here, you can get close up views of the Alhambra’s wall, see fountains, and enjoy nature sitting on a bench.
You can also pass through some of the gates to get into free areas inside the Alhambra. These areas include:
- Carlos V Palace
- Alhambra Museum
- Fine Arts Museum
- Arab Baths
- Church of Santa María de la Alhambra
You can enter the Alhambra to see these free sites via the gates Puerta de la Justicia and Puerta del Vino.
Also, make sure to visit the Mirador de San Nicolás in Granada for stunning panoramic views of the Alhambra. You can either hike up the hill or drive, depending on your fitness level. Another fantastic, lesser-known Alhambra viewing option is by wandering around the Sacromonte district.
Finding out that Alhambra tickets are sold out doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to visit the Alhambra. I hope that this post has helped you secure Alhambra tickets. I’d love to hear about your experience (and I know our other readers here would, too!).
Did you end up securing Alhambra tickets? What method did you use and what was your experience like? Please be sure to include the date of your Alhambra visit so that other Alhambra hopefuls here have more context when comparing the likelihood of them securing tickets.
P.S.- Don’t miss our guide on 12 amazing Alhambra Tips to help you maximize your visit.
Laura has been wandering the globe for over a decade. She’s an early bird and backpacker at heart and can often be spotted with a dog or ten that she’s befriended along the way. Much of the content Laura writes on A Piece of Travel includes details on wheelchair accessibility, with the support of her brother-in-law and sister. You can learn about their accessibility endeavors here.