Alhambra choices

Apr 7th, 2017, 02:15 PM
  #1  
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Alhambra choices

We have 2 choices to visit the Alhambra in early October: Sunday at 2pm or Monday at 2pm (I checked...they are open then). Husband doesn't want to do 8:30am and requested the 2pm slot.

1. Advice on whether a Monday visit will be significantly less crazy-crowded over a Sunday time-slot?
2. How far in advance can I purchase tickets? (e.g., now?)
3. We are considering either a small group tour or a private one. Recommendations for a company that provides thoughtful guides? Do we need to separately purchase our tickets?
4. Lastly, the ticket is timed for 2pm, yes? Does that mean we should come hours earlier to see the other stuff and enter with the timed ticket at 2pm?

Thanks so much.

bean
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Apr 7th, 2017, 05:42 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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The 2 p.m. ticket means that you can enter the Alhambra grounds at 2 p.m. and stay until the end of the afternoon session. You should also be able to select a time during that afternoon for admission to the Nasrid Palace; it will be a half-hour time slot, and you MUST enter during your half-hour or forfeit the chance to enter. Once inside the Nasrid Palace, you may stay as long as you want up until the end of the session (in this case, the end of the afternoon visiting hours).

BTW, an 8:30 a.m. ticket doesn't mean you must go in at 8:30 -- it means that you CAN go in then. Again, the key issue would be the time for your entrance to the Nasrid Palace. And FWIW, if you do go in during the morning, I believe you can stay until the end of the afternoon session, unless you leave the grounds. If you do that, you can't go back in once the morning session ends.

I'm not sure of the difference between the Sunday and Monday times, but I would say that if you are also going in the evening -- which I strongly recommend -- then you might want to select your tickets so that your evening visit FOLLOWS your day-time visit.

I didn't feel the need for a guide, and so can't answer your questions about them or about whether you would need to buy your tickets separately. But if you do need to buy your own tickets, I would urge you to do so as soon as you can.

Hope that helps!
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Apr 7th, 2017, 06:30 PM
  #3  
 
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This is my recent experience. We found that you can enter the grounds at the Puerta de la Justicia at any time. In fact, no one even checks your ticket. You cannot, however, enter any of several ticketed areas until your session (morning or afternoon) and, as kja indicated, your entry to the Nasrid Palaces is timed. If you have a morning entry, you have to have entered all ticketed areas by 2. So, for instance, if you visit the Generalife last, you have to present yourself by 2, but after that, you can stay as long as you want.

We went on a Monday two weeks ago. It was busy; I think it's always busy! We had tickets to the Palaces at 10:30, but arrived at the complex by 9:30 or so. It took a bit to get our bearings, get an audio guide and use the restroom. After the Palaces, we visited the Alcazaba (a ticketed area), ate a quick lunch that we brought with us, and then the Generalife and gardens (both ticketed areas). I think we left around 3. I was exhausted. It's a lot to take in.

The Palaces of Charles V and museums housed therein are not open on Monday. We went back on Tuesday to see them. No ticket, and at least one of the two museums is free. I do wonder if you might find fewer school groups on a Sunday. Kids and teens can be a bit maddening there in large numbers. So many selfies.

I personally wish we had had a private guide, but I cannot recommend one by name and certainly it's not necessary. There are audio guides. They just weren't our thing.
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Apr 7th, 2017, 06:31 PM
  #4  
 
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Oh, and I think tickets go on sale 3 months in advance.
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Apr 8th, 2017, 07:56 AM
  #5  
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thanks. helpful. i'm confused about the timed part of the ticket. when i purchase it - do i pick the timing of the timed entry? i like the idea of 10:30 timed entry - give us time to get there, etc. but how much time do we actually need for anything before the timed entry?
so many moving parts!
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Apr 8th, 2017, 08:13 AM
  #6  
 
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Yes, you pick the timed entry part. How much time you need to see anything before the timed entry is up to you. We saw nothing, but the Alcazaba is the most logical choice. It doesn't take too long. Maybe 30-45 minutes.

For the timed entry, I'd suggest getting in line about 10-15 minutes in advance.

The other complexity to the tickets is that you have to pick them up once you're in Granada. The confirmation you get from Ticketmaster will have more info about itge various options to do this. We picked them up the day before at the Caixa Bank ATM location off of Gran Via You have to have the credit card you used to buy them no matter which option you choose. It was all pretty easy, but make sure you have a plan on how and when you're going to get them. I wish I understood why the Alhambra does it this way.
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Apr 8th, 2017, 08:33 AM
  #7  
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ok...another question just to clarify: from the time we actually get there - how much (time-wise/parts of the puzzle to see and experience) is there to do before we enter the first timed entry? e.g. if we get 10:30am timed tickets for the first entry should we get there at 8:30 to see lots before?
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Apr 8th, 2017, 09:40 AM
  #8  
 
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That's up to you. We wanted a somewhat relaxed morning, so I don't think we got there until 9:30/9:45 and didn't see anything before the Palaces--mostly because it took us a bit to figure out where to get the audio guides (from a stand just outside the Palaces). If we'd gotten there at 9, we could have visited the Alcazaba and easily made it for our 10:30 entry for the Palaces. We just didn't want to get up that early. I'd also mentioned that we walked to the Alhambra from our hotel. It's a climb.

There are lots of threads here and on Trip Advisor detailing peoples' various approaches to the Alhambra. I'd do some searches, as no one way to tackle it works for everyone. I honestly thought we would have spent more time in the Palaces than we did, but it was crowded, my audio guide malfunctioned and, quite honestly, we enjoyed the Alcazar in Seville a bit more and felt a little weary/frustrated. Don't get me wrong; it was amazing, but I think I would have gotten more out of it with a private guide.

Also consider a night visit. We had originally planned to do one, but the Alhambra changed their schedule a bit this year after we had already booked our hotels and we ended being there on nights they don't offer nights visits.
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Apr 8th, 2017, 09:55 AM
  #9  
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thanks indyhiker - so much. my approach is also your - a relaxed entry - so am thinking 10:30 or even 11am.

ok - forum: recs for a private guide?
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Apr 8th, 2017, 10:09 AM
  #10  
kja
 
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t really depends on your interests. I spent from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Alhambra, and would have been happy to have more time, but when I was there, that was the end of the day's session. And then I spent the full evening session there, too.
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Apr 8th, 2017, 11:18 AM
  #11  
 
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The rules have recently changed, and with any ticket, apart from the specific slot for Nasrid Palaces, you can visit the other two ticketed areas - Alcazaba and Generalife, at any time when they are open (but once only). The 2 pm cut-off for morning and afternoon ticket is gone.
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Apr 8th, 2017, 11:22 AM
  #12  
 
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See https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTo...Andalucia.html
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Apr 8th, 2017, 11:32 AM
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kja, I wish I had your stamina! No matter what we did on this trip, my brain and lower back fizzled by about 2 or 3 each day. It wasn't for lack of interest, just fatigue. We walked a ton but didn't always sleep very well.

So, I agree that it depends on your interests, but I also think sheer traveling stamina and style plays a part. While we ate a picnic lunch at the Alhambra, but more days than not, we enjoyed a leisurely lunch after sightseeing all morning, followed by a bit of rest. A lot of people might see that as wasted time, but we enjoyed and, frankly, needed that downtime. By late afternoon, I was ready to sightsee some more. Luckily, a lot of places had longer opening hours than we've encountered in other countries.
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Apr 8th, 2017, 11:44 AM
  #14  
kja
 
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@ indyhiker: I intended a very broad definition of "interests," including what to see, what to experience, HOW to experience it, at what pace to experience it, how to balance various interests, etc. We all must find a way to travel that works for us, and fortunately, there are lots of different ways to enjoy oneself. Viva la difference!
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Apr 8th, 2017, 11:46 AM
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Thanks, Alec! I wish I'd known that. We would have taken the time for a proper lunch that day if I had. Oh, well....
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Apr 8th, 2017, 12:00 PM
  #16  
 
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I agree, kja, and thanks for clarifying. I still wish I had your stamina!!

But back to the OP, the info that Alec shared will make your visit easier in that you now only have to worry about your entry into the Nasrid Palace. Not having to enter all ticketed areas by 2 on a morning ticket really allows for a more flexible experience.
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Apr 8th, 2017, 04:41 PM
  #17  
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thanks all. i marked my calendar for 90 days ahead. we're intending to take some sandwiches with us for fuel (and a power-bar or two!).
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Apr 9th, 2017, 04:29 AM
  #18  
 
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Indyhiker we travel like you do. Sightseeing is broken up into one visit in the morning, a long lunch, a rest then wandering and another site, or just wandering around. While we may miss somethings it is more important for us to remember we are on holidays. I know someone who had a spreadsheet with allotted times for every hour of sightseeing, and when I saw their plan I was wiped out.

Thanks for this post from the OP and all others as I was trying to get my head around the same issues.
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Apr 9th, 2017, 08:08 AM
  #19  
 
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> Not having to enter all ticketed areas by 2 on a morning ticket really allows for a more flexible experience.

That has always been the case. There may have been a rule change but the official ticket site still describes morning and afternoon tickets.

It used to be: if you had a morning ticket and see the palaces before 2:00 PM, then you could enter the Generalife and stay until closing, provided you enter before 2:00 PM. But you will not be able to enter the Generalife after 2:00 PM with a morning ticket.

Unless the rules have recently changed.
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Apr 9th, 2017, 10:27 AM
  #20  
 
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Nelson, the link Alec provided suggests that the rule has changed recently and includes an email directly from the Alhambra supporting that. The only reference to timing on the official website is to one's timed entry to the Nasrid Palace.
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