Best time to visit (take pictures of) the Alhambra Palace in Granada

Discussion in 'Travel' started by stefanogiordano, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. Dear all, I am going to visit Andalucia very soon (sept 1st) and of course I will visit the Alhambra Palace.

    As it looks like you must book well in advance your visit (there are some restrictions on the maximum number of
    allowed per day) the first question (dilemma) that came to my mind is: what would be the best time to visit the
    palace for taking pictures?

    There are 2 time shifts 830am 130pm and 2pm 8pm obvious answer was "I choose the 2nd shift" but I'd like to
    a confirmation from someone that already visited and photographed the place.

    Thanks in advance! :)

  2. hi, I've been there twice, Once in august then september, big crowds all the time, so if you're looking for a shot without people you're just gonna have to hang around and hope for the best, I satisfied myself concentrating on small details. Tripods aren't allowed.
    But the best chance is first thing in morning or last in evening. Often queues of 100+ at 6.30 am!! Good luck john
  3. Hi Stefano,

    One thing to consider is that once you are in, you're in -- there's no time limit. I went for the 8:30 time slot and left sometime in the mid-afternoon. I will say that it is MUCH less crowded in the early morning than in the evening. That being said, the light is probably better in the late afternoon/early evening. Another thing you might consider is doing a night entrance (I think it starts at 21:30 or 22:00) in addition to your day tour. It's much more limited in terms of people, it's very well lit (in fact, i got better pictures than during the day since the walls and ceilings were actually lit), and has a really nice atmosphere. I did this on one day -- morning start, went home for dinner, came back for the evening... both were worthwhile experiences photographically.
  4. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Did things change recently? I just walked in when I went there, I think it was mid-April three years ago.
  5. Stefano

    I do not know if this will help.

    I visited twice on my Granada trip. Once in the day, it was crowded. I had to stand and wait for the right moment when there was no tourist in the way and then shoot. I would plan to give yourself time to wait for the right moment to shoot your photographs.

    The next visit was the next day but at night. There were only 30 people visiting at night. I stay until closing and I not kidding, I had the whole palace to myself because everyone departed early. It was so peaceful and quiet could hear the water running from the fountains into the pools and could hear my footsteps as I walked around. The palace was completely different from the mad rush of tourists during my day visit before.

    If possible make a night time visit and stay to the very end. It will be magically.

    But my best photos of Alhambra were not at the Alhambra, but on across the way at San Nicolas, with the best view of Alhambra. You want to be there before sundown and a tripod.

  6. Thanks to both of you guys for the (quick and) useful tips:

    @John: I will try to take the tripod but I already know I will be forced to leave it outside :( to avoid queues I will book in advance on an internet site: they charge one euro per person for the service but for me it is better than queuing since early morning!

    @Rachelle: I am seriously considering your advice of booking both an early morning and an evening entrance: even if I won't be allowed to bring my tripod I think that the evening visit experience could be worthwhile.

    Thanks again!

  7. @Jeff: I knew today by chance, that they don't sell more than 2000 tickets per day thus, it would be better to book well in advance to avoid long queues!

    @Bill: yes it helped a lot! because I decided to book for an evening entrance as well! :)



    PS none of you guys has a photo of the Alhambra? :p
  8. Great comments. I was last there about 15 years ago when there were far less people and no advance tickets to worry about. No night schedule at that time. Truly a magical place. I second the recommendation for day time and then night time. Great idea. My wife and I stayed at a great "posada" I think close by. Joe Smith
  9. Thanks for contributing, Joseph I really think Alhambra is a magical place! "1000 and 1 nights" like! :)
  10. Some photos from years ago and my Photosop skills were not so good.
    Enjoy!Bill [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  11. Well the pictures are good indeed ;) the amazing thing is that there's no people in them! :)


  12. early morning and late evening(18:00-20:00)
  13. Thanks again! that's the common opinion so I'll for the morning and evening visits ;)


  14. Ok guys I have reserved the tickets from La Caixa internet site... well I am sorry to say that but, this story really

    If you buy a tickets with a non issued in Spain C/C you can only collect the tickets from the box office at la
    Alhambra: that means that you have to queue anyway! holy gosh! I can't believe it!

    I am from Rome, Italy and I admit that we italian are not the best at organizing things (well amongst other 1000
    things that we could do better!) but the Alhambra staff wins the world cup of customer unfriendliness! I am sure that
    the visit worths it but...

    Anyway thanks in advance to ALL of you for the contributions!


  15. Stefano, Alhambra is well worth while. When were were there were no restrictions on how long we stayed, once we were in.
    Tickets and queues are often exasperating -- just relax and go with the flow! As well as the obvious Lion Court other
    opportunities are details of the intricate Moorish carving and tiles, the Generalife gardens, especially the fountains, and the
    view from the winding road across from the Alhambra, just before sunset. Lenses from 24 to 90 should cover just about
  16. David I have been dreaming about visiting the Alhambra since a a lot of time, and I am prepared to everything but bureaucracy really drives me insane :D

    I will try to carry as many lenses I can from 20mm to 85mm not forgetting the 60mm micro! the only thing I regret is that tripods are not allowed :( but I have a pocket size Manfrotto that I hope I will be allowed to use...

    Thanks for the answer!


    PS I will be there NEXT monday! WOW!
  17. Have a great time Stefano. I was in Grenada nine years ago now. I remember there are some very good (and more economical) restaurants
    just off the main square. I live in New Zealand and love traveling (a long way to go!) Really enjoyed visiting Italy last year. Buon viaggio!
  18. The best place to photo it at night (it's lit) is from the Albaicin and Sacramonte opposite, across the river. There are some caves in Sacramonte that have Flamenco shows, touristy, but fun and cheaper than in Madrid.
  19. Thanks again, I will take this advice as well...even if somebody warned me about Albaicin being a little bit unsafe at night... any clues?

  20. Unsafe, LOL. My former Spanish (from La Alberca, Salamanca; get there if you can) girlfriend would not go into Sacramonte (Albaicin OK) in the middle of the DAY. There were rumours of thieving, knife wielding Gypsies. I had to literally drag her along. In the end she went. We met and chatted with some locals, took some pictures and returned that night for a Flamenco show and gave some copies to the ones we photographed. All were delighted.

    I have a couple of photos in my computer for this thread, but don't know how to show them.
  21. Sorry, missed on Sacromonte caves -- we heard bad things and that put us off. Sounded potentially unsafe and a rip-off.
    But good to hear Mohir's positive experience. Lots of Gypsies on the way up to the Alhambra (a steepish climb and it can
    be very hot), but quite friendly and they didn't hassle us too much. Walking on the narrow streets was fine.
  22. @Mohir: I didn't ask if it was generally unsafe but, you know, at night I would not put my D200/17-35mm/manfrotto
    tripod even in the neighbourhood of MY PLACE! :D

    Generally speaking if I do a trip or a reportage I'd like to be invisible, no jewels or rolex or things that could potentially
    appeal thiefs! that was my only concern :) (I am not the usual italian tourist going around with Prada bags, D&G
    sunglasses and so on ;) )

    If you want to attach a picture you can upload it after you saved the message.

    Maybe the only "problem" could be, as David stated, that the caves thing is a tourist trap or a rip-off.

    THANKS again guys!
  23. Stefano,

    You seem to be apologizing for Italy in multiple posts. Don't.

    Though bureaucracy and corruption do mar our views on Italy a bit (not to mention your Prime Minister),.... The food you guys have given the world would make me endure 5 Berlusconi's.

    So stop apologizing and enjoy your stay in Spain ;)

    BTW: I am from the Netherlands, also known as lapdog of USA in regards to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and apart from superior cheese and 'hagelslag' 'we have nothing to offer to the world in regards of culinary skills. But you don't hear me dissing my beloved country,... ;)
  24. @Roeland: I apologize because I travelled a lot (not to mention 4 times to your wonderful country) and I worked outside Italy for a couple of years.

    I don't want to go OT (neither to be banned) but, it is true that guys like our prime minister (unfortunately) represent well our current average mentality: apparence, fashion, corruption...

    There's no Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, Machiavelli, Dante Alighieri, Enrico Fermi, Meucci, Federico Fellini or Rossini anymore!

    Sciences, culture and research are poorer and poorer, we only care about pope, soccer, ferrari and pasta...

    People earn less than the average european citizen but the cost of life is the same as Paris or Amsterdam, we have problems with energy and rubbish (not only in Naples).

    A lot of valid young people are going to work abroad because they can not afford to settle a family... the average salary for a young graduate is around 1100€ while an apartment rent is about 1200€

    Yes Italy is a wonderful country indeed but just for vacation!


  25. Wow just got back and I need to say, first of all, thanks for all your suggestions as the trip was really exciting and Granada, Cordoba and Sevilla are absoultely F A N T A S T I C ! ! !

    I can confirm what Mohir wrote about Albaicin and Sacromonte, there are fantastic views and places for eating and drinking outside, but they are safer than the average streets of the major cities around Europe! The view of the Alhambra from San Nicholas Miradero and Sacromonte hill are top notch and are not to be missed!

    Cordoba also is very nice and offers a lot of nice views in La Juderia and all around La Mezquita.

    I am now downloading the 1200 pics to my hard drive but I promise to post something soon.


  26. Hi Stefano,
    I know it's almost a year ago, but did you have to queue for a long time to get in? I too have purchased a ticket online from the uk, and didn't realise that I will have to wait in line for entry! Thanks,
  27. Simon, I have been there in september when there are few tourists compared to august, anyway, if you took the same tickets I did (at the Caixa) you should get there the day before to print your ticket from the automatic cash machine.
    With that ticket you can enter and visit all the palace except the Royal Palace that you shoyld visit at the exact time it is stamped on your ticket.
    You should get at the Alhambra in the morning because the complex is huge, or trying to enter the Alhambra at least one hour before the time stamped on your ticket.
    Big queues are just at the cashes if you decide to buy a ticket for the same day and enter, but, if you reserve in advance I don't see any major issues.
    Ah if I'd be you I'd consider to take an evening visit also, the place is really MAGIC!
  28. I just finished my second day visit and first nite visit, so I thought that I would weigh in on the Alhambra.
    1. First, I want to thank all of you for your input. It was very helpful to me in arranging my trip.
    2. The nite visit was a big disappointment. First, it is quite a bit shorter than the day visit so you get to see only the interiors and one reflecting pond. Otherwise the gardens within the palace (not to be confused with the Generalife which is not open at nite) are not open. Most importantly, the day visit lighting hardly differs from the nite visit lighting except for the presence of sunshine. A few floodlights are mounted on rooftops but they do little to add to the experience. Most importantly as far as I was concerned, the reflecting pool was not flood lit, and without the use of a tripod. was impossible to shoot at night. The interiors, so far as I could tell, were lit with the same lights as during the daytime, except of course for the lack of sunlight. The Palacio was open, and even though barely lit did provide a few places where I could use a handheld 1.4 to take pictures.
    3. Mirador St. Nicolas is a great location for shooting sunsets. I visited on Saturday, when the entire mirador area, really a square, is full of musicians, vendors, etc. and lots of people sitting and standing at the edge overhang to look at the sunset. Sunday might be similar. The sun setting can be seen from the far left of the plaza; its light on the Alhambra, which was my choice, is best shot from the right side, which pretty much prevents you from shooting sunsets (at least in early November).
    Hope this is helpful.

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