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Alhambra Tours

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Feb 7th, 2008, 07:42 AM
  #1
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Alhambra Tours

We will be in Granada for 2 nights in mid Feb mainly to see Alhambra. Planning to go at night (it's open Friday & Saturday nights)and during the day. Should we visit it on our own, hire a private guide (151 Euros) or take a group tour (45 Euros) ? Are there audio tours for a self tour?
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Feb 7th, 2008, 07:53 AM
  #2
yk
 
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Can I piggy back a question here?

For self-guided tours, my understanding is that if my buy a morning ticket, I DON'T have to leave the Alhambra by 2pm, right? Once I'm in, I can stay for as long as I want (ie pass 2pm)?
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Feb 7th, 2008, 08:16 AM
  #3
kja
 
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Hi, Yazlin -

There is an audio tour, which I found very informative. Personally, I prefer audio tours because I can explore at my own pace.

And hi, yk -

I believe your understanding is correct, but trust others will jump in if not.
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Feb 7th, 2008, 08:27 AM
  #4
 
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Hi Yazlin
My sister and I took the self-guided audio tour of the Alhambra last year and it was wonderful. While I'm sure a private guide could give you more details about each room, we felt completely satisfied with the audiotour. It also let us proceed at our own pace, as long as we were in the Nazrid Palace at the assigned time. I don't recall how much extra it was, but I'm thinking 5-10 euros, in that range. It's well-narrated in English and has a gorgeous musical background. The headset is like a phone that you hold up to your ear-it's on a neck cord so when not in use it hangs and you don't have to carry it.
May I recommend one thing that will really enhance your visit? Read Washington Irving's "Tales of the Alhamabra" before you go-or if possible, rent an audiobook of it and listen to it if you're driving around the area. We took the CD version to Spain with us and listened to the entire thing as we were driving around. His stories, the nuggets of which he learned while living for a while in the deserted palace, are fabulous, and they will really bring the place alive to you in a totally different way than the audio tour. His writing evokes the glory days of the palace-you will be able to imagine it filled with flowers and scents, with sultans and maidens, and alive in all its long-gone colors. And then you will actually be able to visit the little suite of rooms where Irving lived when he was writing. I enjoyed the CDs so much that I bought the book and read it when we returned. Oh I'm jealous! I would LOVE to go again!
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Feb 7th, 2008, 11:38 AM
  #5
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Thanks Skoop2 for the tip, I think we'll go the self guided tour route and save a little. What time do you suggest we try to get there by for the day tour? Does it get crazy with the general tours at some point? I'm trying to figure out when to buy the tickets for. Same applies for the night tickets if you have any information. I'll take your advice and get my hand on the Tales of Alhambra!
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Feb 7th, 2008, 11:50 AM
  #6
 
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I have visited the Alhambra on a self tour basis on one trip and I have used the guided tour on another tour (because it was the only option available to gain entry for that particular trip) and mostly thought the guided tour grossly over priced. The guide tried mightily but barely spoke English and really didn't add a whole lot to the tour, in my opinion. If you can book regular tickets for the day(s) you will be in Granada I would strongly suggest going that route.
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Feb 9th, 2008, 10:41 AM
  #7
 
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We spent the morning at the Alhambra a few days ago and highly recommend getting there as early as possible, at least by 9:00. The bus tour groups start showing up around 11:00. The audio tour should be all you'll need if you know anything about the history of the Alhambra. If youíre staying in Granada, the #30 and #32 bus (1 euros each way) will drop you off at the entrance where you can pick up your tickets. And yes, you can spend all day in the Alhambra once you've completed your visit.

One thing you may want to take into account is that too much of the Alhambra is now closed to the public as it undergoes renovation; so spending 151 euros for a private guide is, in my opinion, a waste of money. The same goes for a group tour.
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Feb 9th, 2008, 10:58 AM
  #8
 
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Thanks posters for all the tips, especially scoop for the Irving recommendation. I plan to visit in June and was looking for a good book that would bring the Alhambra to life for me.
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Feb 9th, 2008, 01:34 PM
  #9
 
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Just to echo what Robert has told you.
The Sala de Reyes, the Washington Irving suite and the Baños Arabes of the Nasrid Palaces are now temporarily closed for renovation (at least they were Feb. 5), thus, shortening and significantly limiting your Palace visit.

Due to the huge crowds which are now limited to fewer rooms, it is far more pleasant to go on ones own with the excellent audio guide so as to be able to move in and around the crowds. And yes, once you're in the Palace area, you can stay as long as you like. With a guided tour, you don't have that luxury.

I also highly recommend listening to the CD of Tales of the Alhambra before your visit.

Given my recent experience on Fat Tuesday, I wouldn't have enjoyed being with a large (and expensive) guided tour. We saw these groups and heard the guide's explanations (in heavily accented English) and were very glad we hadn't opted for one.

At 10 a.m. the Palace rooms were already very crowded, and I was glad to have the freedom to go as I pleased and explore at my own pace.

I would strongly urge folks if at all possible to choose the first slot, the 8:30-9:00 am visit for the Nasrid Palace.

We decided since it was winter, we would "sleep in" until 10 am, and we regretted it. By 11 am the line to enter the Palace section was quite long and the limited rooms open uncomfortably packed-surprisingly so for Feb.

Also there were many school groups (the local schools must limit their visits to Nov.-Feb., and they all seemed to appear at the same hour this past Tuesday!)

If you book at
www.alhambra-tickets. es, you simply take the same credit card you used to purchase your tickets and go to a separate little building to the right of the entry pavillion where the ticket booths are located and where you pick up your audio guide, and there you'll find the Servicaixa machines. Just swipe your credit card, and out come your tickets. You get your tickets from these machines at any time before your visit. If you're staying at a hotel on the Alhambra hill, you can do this the evening before.

It's now a very simple process and avoids all lines.
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Feb 27th, 2008, 03:59 AM
  #10
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Just came back from a week in Andalusia. Visited the Alhambra on Friday then went back in the evening for the night. It was an amazing place during the day and I was expecting it to be even more during the night, but we were very disappointed. Only a few rooms were lit and minimally at that. You had to be very careful stepping from one room to the other since it was dark. Only the Nasirid Palace is open at night in the winter. I would not go again at night, but during the day it's amazing. We did the self guided tour with the audio it was perfect, letting us go at our own pace, the words of Washington Irving on the audio made the place come alive. We had tickets for the 11:30-12 slot and were there at 10:30 by the time we finished visiting the whole complex, it was almost 6 pm. So my advice is to go early and not just before your alloted time, there is so much to see, the time slot is only for the Nasirid Palace and the Generalife, you can visit everything else anytime during the day.
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Feb 28th, 2008, 05:58 AM
  #11
 
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I, too, plan a one-day visit to the Alhambra, between March 13 and 20.
Can anyone help me with how to procure tickets? I will not be staying in Granada, but in the village of Orgiva, a bit southeast of Granada. Can I get tickets on line, or from a tourist office in advance, or is it best to arrive early one morning and get tickets
at the site?
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Feb 28th, 2008, 06:56 AM
  #12
yk
 
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cmwarthen-

It's best to purchase your ticket in advance. The website to purchase tickets is already listed in the post above by Maribel. For more info you can check out the following link
http://www.alhambradegranada.org/gui...ntradas_en.asp
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Mar 8th, 2008, 06:01 AM
  #13
 
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Sorry to belabor this point but I can't seem to find the answer to this specific question and was hoping Fodorites can help.

I just tried to purchase tickets on the servicaixa.com site and they assigned a time for the Nasrid Palace that I don't love. I understand from all of your helpful posts that you must enter at the assigned times. Is there anyway to pick your entry time when buying online? Or do I just take what I can get (6:30 to 7:00 p.m.) and work our schedule around it?
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Mar 8th, 2008, 12:38 PM
  #14
 
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All you have to do is start your ticket search over. The entry times will for the Nasrid Palace will change with each ticket purchase attempt. It took me about 5 tries to get the entry time that I wanted.
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Mar 8th, 2008, 02:11 PM
  #15
 
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Thanks Caniac! I'll just keep trying.
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Mar 8th, 2008, 02:30 PM
  #16
 
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hi,

when you have your tickets for the alhambra, the time slot is for your entry to the nasrid palaces, not your entry to the whole site. you need to allow a good 30 minutes to get comfortably from the entrance to the nasrid palaces - you have to walk through the gardens and past a few minor sights of interest, before you get to the palaces and the other mahoe sights.

and if you have an afternoon ticket, you can't enter til 2 pm, whereas if you have a mornnig ticket, you can stay all day. for the same price. when we went, the timed ticket did NOT apply to the generalife, but Yazlin's evidence may be more up to date.

In contrast to the other poster, we really enjoyed the palace at night; even though the area you get to see is so restricted it is very beautiful and there were fewer people than during the day.

regards, ann
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Mar 8th, 2008, 05:38 PM
  #17
 
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The half hour timed slot is only for the entrance to the Nasrid Palaces. It doesn't apply to the Generalife.
Maribel is online now  
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Mar 8th, 2008, 08:08 PM
  #18
 
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I agree with ann that the evening visit should not be missed. I found the palace magical as the light dimmed, and it was much quieter with many fewer people - and NO GROUPS!
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Mar 22nd, 2008, 09:06 PM
  #19
 
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I think I may be missing something... if we get day (morning or afternoon) tickets, we can see all there is to see, right?

I'm confused because I see recommendations to go in the day and then again at night, but that means 2 separate tickets, right?

We only have 2 days in Granada. We're going at the end of May, so with the busy influx of visitors, would morning be better?

Wonderful suggestion about Tales of Alhambra.. thanks!
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Mar 23rd, 2008, 02:49 PM
  #20
yk
 
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chezcati - The regular "day" ticket lets you in to all 3 "ticketed" places: Nasrid Palace, Alcazaba, and the Generalife. You either get a morning ticket or an afternoon ticket.

The NIGHT ticket is for evening entrance and you only get to see the Nasrid Palace.

Some people said the night time tour is wonderful; though I've also read reviews where people complained it being dimly lit and couldn't see much.

You definitely should get a regular DAY ticket. Whether you want to spend the extra $ for a night visit is up to you.

BTW, the Alhambra has a daily quota for tourists, so it doesn't matter whether you buy a morning or an afternoon ticket. When you buy your ticket, you need to be sure you can be there during your assigned time for the entrance to the Nasrid Palace. For example, let's say you want to go in the morning. You are assigned a 10am entrance to the Nasrid Palace. This means that you'll need to be there at least by 9:30am in order to collect your ticket, walk to the Nasrid Palace entrance, stand in line etc.
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