While the Alhambra is not the only jewel in Granada's crown, it is one of the brightest.
First I feel obligated to give these tips to anyone planning a visit. If we had known all of these helpful hints, I think that our visit would have been less stressful at times:
- Book your Alhambra tickets at least two weeks in advance.
- Book the tickets for a morning visit and make a day of it.
- Wear Sunscreen
- If you start in the center of town leave at least half an hour to get up to the Alhambra, the hill is quite steep and it is a pretty walk.
- Leave the Generalife for last, not first (like we did)
- Get in line for the Nazarí at the time of your ticket, if you get in line before they will send you back to the end of the line.
- Keep your tickets with you at all times, they are checked constantly
- I personally would not go during summer if at all possible.
We had booked our tickets way in advance (3 weeks) unknowing of the fact that it was a holiday weekend (All Saints Day was on Friday). Our tickets were for entering the grounds at 2pm, entering the Nazarí (the most photographed part of the Alhambra) at 3pm, and leaving the grounds at 6pm when they closed for the afternoon.
We decided to see the gardens of the Generalife first. They were beautiful, but we had to cut our visit short and run to the other side (the grounds make a "U" shape around a river) to get in line to see the Nazarí. There are plenty of things and gardens to see on the way to the Nazarí palace so next time we will book a morning ticket and go to the palace first. Then we will have plenty of time to explore the gardens of the Generalife.
Here was one of our first views of Granada from the hill on which the Alhambra sits. It is a view of the Albayzin, a glorious medieval neighborhood where you can get lost on the narrow windings streets and see a decent view of the Alhambra itself, but more on that in my next post.
Like I said the Generalife gardens are on the opposite arm of a "U" to the Nazarí palace, and affords a good view.
Even on the 2nd of November the gardens were still blooming.
The garden are planted in the romantic style I know and love, so I enjoyed them very much.
Just look at the artistic way that sidewalk is paved (click to enlarge).
There is smaller palace located in the Generalife which gave us the first glimpses of how beautiful this place is. The whole Alhambra is a mix of relaxing views/gardens and the beautiful, awe-inspiring complexity of the decorations inside.
These next photos are the views that the above tourists were photographing.
Click to enlarge this next photo. There is layer upon layer of fine little details expertly carved into the gypsum. I love the 3D effect at the top of those columns. You will see that same effect mirrored in huge domed roofs. There is so many designs and textures that there is little hope that you could see every detail, yet the whole combination is breath-taking. Just look at those window screens!
Really it is a place that needs to be visited and marveled at.
A place that photos can only capture the smallest essence of it. Hopefully the photos will wet your appetite to go and see it. I will let them speak for themselves.
The famous fountain of the lions.
High and intricately carved domes. Like the bases of the columns, it was a dome made out of a lot of little domes.
Frankly, after seeing all of that intensely textured beauty the gardens were a rest for the eyes.
There were, of course, much photographed Pomegranate trees with the fruits spilling out.
It is hard to put together a post about a place such as this. This is the post with the most photos in my 2.5 years of blogging, but it was hard to narrow it down to 29.
I hope you enjoyed the highlights of my visit. Have you ever been to the Alhambra? What was your favorite part?