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A Visit to the Moorish Alhambra in Granada

Rising up on a hill above the modern town of Granada, the massive stone fortification gleams with shades of red, orange, and yellow at sunset. This Moorish fortress-turned-palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important locations in all of Spain. With only a short time to explore the area, we headed for the Alhambra in Granada.

Though we visited in the off season, we opted to book advance tickets online because we’re type A like that, and you never know what can happen. A word of caution – take your passport with you. If they can’t find your reservation, they need to look it up by your name…and you will need your passport to prove your identity.

View of Granada, Spain from above
View from the Alhambra fort

We were a little early for our appointed time at the Alhambra and decided to go to the Alcazaba (fort) first. We allowed just 45 minutes for this, but should have given it at least an hour or 90 minutes.

Then we headed to the Palacios Nazaries. We were first in line at 11:30, so we had many rooms to ourselves. Despite the fact that it was undergoing considerable renovation, the palace is stunning. In particular, the tile work and carvings are intricate and breathtaking. These are the main forms or decorations since Muslim art does not incorporate the human form. After the palace, we did a quick peek into the Carlos V Palace.

Inside the Alhambra
Inside the fort

Beyond the Alhambra, there’s actually lots of things to see in Granada. Later in the day, we walked over to The Albayzin to see the sunset from the San Nicolas Viewpoint. The evening was clear and offered amazing colors against the snowcapped Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Alhambra.

The overlook was filled with hippies, tourists, and locals all gathered to take in the sight of the fortifications across the valley painted with the colors of the sunset. It is absolutely gorgeous and is an experience not to be missed!

Window and Moorish tilework in Spain
The tile work and architectural details are beautiful
Parallel arches inside the Alhambra
Colorful Moorish tile work
The tile work is extremely colorful
Pool and palm trees at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain
Moorish columns in Granada
Moorish detailed carvings
Bell tower at the Alhambra
View through a hedge into a courtyard

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