Granada is the Alhambra. The Alhambra has five distinct areas. The Nasrid Palaces of which there are 3; the Alcazaba which is the old fort and military area of the Alhambra; the Partal which also includes the archaeological remains of the Yusuf III Palace; Generalife and the Carlos V Palace which now serves as the Alhambra Museum and a Fine Arts Museum.
About getting tickets to the Alhambra - a word to the wise. A tour of the Alhambra will require you to chose a time - morning or afternoon - to visit the Nasrid Palace. Tickets can be obtained online or on a same day basis. If you have the time to buy your tickets online you can reserve the day and time you want to visit. Otherwise you will have to attempt to buy tickets on the same day you plan to visit with no guarantee of getting a ticket. We were told by the information person that same day tickets go on sale at 8:00 AM but you have to be in line no later than 6:30 AM if you want to get in. That is what we did and we were able to get in because we were one of the first in line at 6:00 AM. By the way, that day they only had 325 tickets for sale. The online tickets were sold out 5 days in advance although it was not high season.
We toured the Alhambra with the use of an audio guide, which included commentary as if it was the perspective of Washington Irving, who authored Tales of the Alhambra
The Alhambra overlooks Granada and offers spectacular views of the city and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We started our tour at the Nasrid Palaces since our time scheduled time to view the Palace was at 8:30 AM. We hope you will enjoy the pictures we took, however they cannot capture the detail, intricacy and artistry of the arches, ceiling and doorways. You really do have to see it with your own eyes. One aspect of our visit was that we could not see the full splendor of the Court of the Lions since it was in the process of being restored.
After the Nasrid Palaces we visited the Alcazaba which to me offers the best views of the city from the top of the Vela Tower. We briefly visited the Carlos 5th Palace. There we went to the Alhambra museum that gives and wonderful overview of the architecture and history of the Alhambra. While there we also walked through the Museum of Fine Arts. And we were pleasantly surprised to see a temporary exhibit called Infinite Universes by artist M. C. Escher. His work was greatly influenced by the geaometric patterns of the architecture and tile work he saw at the Alhambra.
We also visited The Partal with its nice gardens. After the Partal we walked to the Generalife. Our first views of the Generalife are of the lower gardens with the many fountains and Rose bushes. When you enter the Palace itself you come the courtyard at one end and you see a long reflecting pool in front of you with greenery planted all along the pool. There are chairs situated so that you can sit and just enjoy the peace and tranquility that the Palace evokes. Once you have enjoyed the tranquility you walk to through the beautiful upper gardens and the end of our visit.
The Alhambra was supposed to be what heaven on earth would be for a Muslim at the time it was built; this is especially true of the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife. The Alhambra abounds in fountains, gardens and reflection pools consistent with the best of Muslim architecture.
If you want to know more about the Alhambra, check this excellent site
, which will give you a vast amount of information.
By the way, we arrived at the Alhambra the evening before our visit. We parked in their Autocaravan parking lot, which was not cheap but made it easier to get up early and into the queque for tickets. It cost almost 27 Euros for a 24 hour period. Since we were there the night before, we walked over to a hotel near the Alhambra, took advantage of their free WiFi and ate in their restaurant. There we had a decent buffet dinner with a nice selection of salads and entrees, fresh and well prepared. It was a change of pace for us since this was a hotel used by some of the tour groups. So we got a taste of another form of travel in Europe. Fortunately we arrived early enough that we didn't have to compete with the tour groups at the buffet table, but in time to catch a few Mexican songs sung by Mariachi musicians for the tour groups visiting Spain.