During my recent trip to Southern Spain I went on a day trip to Granada from Seville. Granada is a beautiful city that could be an entire holiday destination in itself, for this trip I was planning to focus on La Alhambra. This popular tourist attraction is set on a hill with lovely gardens and stunning scenic views of the surrounding city. Alhambra is an Arabic word meaning 'The Red Fortress'. The palace dates back to the Nasrid Dynasty and was built for an Arab royal family. So a great place to visit for anyone who loves historical research.
Whilst in Seville I stayed at Sevilla Centre Hotel. It is best to pre-book entrance tickets online a day before visiting La Alhambra these can then be printed the next day at the actual venue. There are a limited amount of tickets left for purchasing on the day on site but often there are long queues for these. Having a look at the time options on the website for Alhambra bookings I decided on the 14:00-20:00 entry which cost €14.30. I chose this time to work around the train timetable and it worked out quite conveniently. The information for Spain's train services can be found on the Renfe website. Tickets can be purchased at the station, the return trip cost €25.35.*
The train departure was at 11:50 from Seville Santa Justa Station and was due to arrive at Granada station at 14:52. The total train journey including return amounted to 6 hours, it went quickly and was most certainly worth it. Of course credit must go to Spain's Renfe train services; the air conditioning, spacious toilet facilities, plenty of room for luggage and vending machines on each carriage made the journey quite enjoyable.
From Granada train station I took a taxi to La Alhambra which only took 15 minutes. Although due to some language barrier confusion the driver initially took me to the Alhambra Palace Hotel and he was confused as to why I did not have any luggage with me. In hindsight taking a leaflet and showing it to the driver would have been helpful.** Luckily I was not charged extra which meant that the taxi journey to the La Alhambra cost a fairly reasonable €12.
On arrival to La Alhambra you will have the option of being dropped off at the taxi rank next to the ticket stations. This is very handy as the ticket station is all the way up a hill and the walk can be quite exhausting. At the ticket station it is possible to collect tickets from the automated ticketing machines, these have several language options and are very efficient and user friendly. However, there is an information desk where staff members are able to answer any further queries. Free maps of the site are also available at the information desks.***
Before setting off to explore for the day it might be a good idea to take advantage of the vending machines and toilet facilities located next to the ticket stations. One of the souvenir shops are also located nearby should you wish to purchase any gifts. You will find that there are a number of souvenir shops dotted around the park. The Generalife Gardens was my first stop, here you can expect to find a variety of water features and beautiful plants. This is a photo of Patio of the Cypresses.
The Nasrid Palaces are a big part of La Alhambra visit and the leisurely view can take about an hour to complete, this includes a sit down in the peaceful garden located towards the end of the palace visit.**** The Patio of the Lions can be found inside the palace where there are marble fountains connecting to each other from room to room. This is a photo of the centre fountain which is supported by the figure of 12 lions made from white marble.
A great idea is to tick off the listed recommended attractions on the map whilst you work around the venue exploring. My favourite part of the visit was to the Alcazaba which was originally built to be a military construction. The scenic views of the city from the high towers and the sounds of the cathedral bells in the distance provided a truly mesmerising experience. This photo partially captures the moment.
If you find yourself on holiday in Seville seize the opportunity to visit Granada. Due to train time constraints I was unable to visit every part listed on the map but it was still a great day. I definitely would like to go back some time in the near future. If you are staying in Granada it may be an idea to go to Alhambra twice.
Alhambra ticket and train ticket correct at time of purchase
**The taxi drivers speak very little English, Spanish phrase books are very handy in Granada
***These are very helpful when planning your day
****An allocated time slot needs to be chosen for the Nasrid Palaces when booking online as the building is fragile there is a limit to the number of people that can enter