The Alhambra at Granada is a vast UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases14th century Moorish architecture, stunning gardens with elaborate water features flowing throughout, and the Palace of Charles V built at the site in the 16th century. As you can imagine there is no shortage of beautiful things to see–and a lot of ground to cover during your visit. These tips should help you plan ahead to get the most from your visit to the site, especially those of you who will visit the Alhambra with young children.
If you will be visiting in high season, be sure to purchase your tickets well in advance. While you can purchase tickets online (click here), you may need to call and purchase by phone in order to get tickets for children (phone numbers and more information about ticket sales here). While kids under 12 years visit the Alhambra for free, they are still required to have a ticket and reservation time for the Nasrid Palaces (more on Nasrid Palaces below).
If you are flexible with timing your visit, check the weather forecast at Granada (http://www.weather.com) before choosing the date of your visit and purchasing tickets.
Buy your tickets in advance at the yellow Caixa bank machines that include events ticketing (found in cities throughout Spain). Look for the bright yellow tab to click for events, and as odd as it seems, you’ll need to insert your bank card before selecting the language. The transaction should be straightforward from there, and the tickets and receipt will print when finished.
Choose a later ticket time for your visit to the Nasrid Palaces, and plan to begin your visit to the oveall Alhambra site earlier in the day. The Nasrid Palaces portion of the Alhambra is a good, long walk from most of the parking areas even without young children. The line forms well before each new time slot begins, and if you are more than 30 minutes late, you will miss your chance to see one of the most beautiful parts of the Alhambra. What’s more, you will be glad to have the entire hour you are alotted to explore it.
With antsy toddlers, couples may actually want to choose different times for their visits to the Nasrid Palaces, allowing each to explore at their own pace while the other chases in circles around the reflection pools, hedge rows, or picnics under a persimmon tree.
Finding the Alhambra from the freeway (or autovia) is quite easy. Just follow the red-framed Alhambra signs from your exit (or any number of large tour buses) all the way there.
The weather at Granada can be dramatically different from the Costa del Sol, sometimes much colder, sometimes completely socked in with fog even as families romp in their skivvies at the shore. If you are driving in from a different climate zone, be sure your family will be dressed appropriately and bring jackets as you’ll be spending most of your time outdoors. Again, check the weather forecast at Granada if possible (it can also be quite hot!).
Backpacks / daypacks are allowed throughout the Alahmbra with two exceptions. In the Nazrid Palaces, backpacks must be worn on your front during the tour as it gets quite crowded, their could be pickpockets, and no one wants to see unecessary damage to the ornate walls. During an art exhibit, backpacks are also not permitted within the exhibition area in the Palace of Charles V.
Baby backpacks and child carriers that must be worn on the back are allowed throughout the Alhambra, though one that can be worn on the back while trekking from the parking lot and on the front in crowded quarters (like my Ergo) are ideal.
Strollers / pushchairs are permitted at the Alahmbra except within the Nazrid Palaces, where there are also many stairs and steps throughout.
Lockers are available and centrally located within the Alhambra, so you can ditch your diaper bag or stow your picnic for later if you like.
Diaper changing tables can be found in the larger restrooms.
Audio guides are available and are a great option for parents who want to tour at their own pace rather than keep up with a guided group. Parents with a toddler in tow, may want to simply rent one and take turns listening while the other moves on to the next area with the child.
Snacks and sandwiches are easy to come by in gift shops and stands around the grounds.
Photographers: No flash photography here. For your best shots be at the front of the line for your Nasrid Palace tour and as mentioned twice already… try to plan ahead to visit in fair weather. It’s just not as much fun taking photos from beneath your umbrella!
Related posts and pages:
Spain – Exploring the Nerja Caves
Spain – Nightfall at Nerja
Spain – Thanksgiving in Andalucia
Spain – Photo Fave: Reflection pool at the Alhambra
Europe / General – Best stroller for travel to Europe with a toddler?
Europe / General – Which twin stroller is best for travel to Europe?
All content of this blog (c) Shelly Rivoli