Alhambra Tips

In Alhambra, some of its most precious gems are unavailable to tourists. Patio de Leones is still closed for restoration which began several years ago and has recently been extended for an undetermined period – likely (judging from the slow progress they have made so far) to be least 2 more years. The lions themselves have moved to a temporary exhibition hall, but taking pictures there is strictly prohibited (which is – what a craziness! – fiercely enforced by the guards!). Because the patio is closed, access to Sala del Rey and Sala de Abencerrajes is also impossible so the visitor is deprived of some of the most stunning views inside Palacio Narazies. Be warned.

Although Alhambra is open from early in the morning into the evening, the two museums it houses are not – Museo archeologico and Museo des bellas artes only work until noon. If you have tickets for the afternoon visit, forget about the museums. As if this was not odd enough, the two museums open at the same time, but close at different times; one works until 14, but the other – until 14:30. Spaniards, no less!

It is possible to take a walk inside Alhambra for free: because of the hotel inside it, the gate at Torre de la Justicia is open 24×7 and no tickets are checked there. This gives free access to the main square (with excellent view to Albaycin), to the palace of Philip V (excluding museums), to the baths and to the passage of towers.

In Alhambra there are very nice themed guided tours each day, available in either English or Spanish. Groups are small (no more than 15 people) and visitors are allowed access to otherwise closed areas. Each day of the week the theme of the tour is different (architecture; women; water in Alhambra etc.) The tour takes about 4 hours. Tickets are available at the web site and at the main tourist office – ask explicitly as there is virtually no information about these tours.

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