The Palace of Charles V is a beautiful one-of-a-kind Rennaisance building, part of the Alhambra complex in Granada, Spain. Built between 1527 and 1637 as the residence of Charles V, and left without a solid roof until 1967.
Today the palace is open to the public without any entrance fee and is home to two museums – the Alhambra Museum and the Fine Arts Museum of Granada on its upper floor.
Despite visiting Alhambra two times already, I never got a chance to get into the Palace of Charles V as it was closed. On my last visit in October, I finally managed to take a peak inside and share a few photos below.
Let’s dive in!
The Palace of Charles V: Location & Access
The palace is accessible from the main courtyard between the Alcazaba and Alhambra.
It’s clearly marked on the map that you get for Alhambra, and also with the signs as soon as you arrive in the complex.
The outside of the building is quite misleading as you would expect a traditional Andalusian-style palace with a central courtyard. It looks nothing like it as it was built in the Roman style as the emperor requested.
The access is free, you can walk in and enjoy the surroundings.
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Short History of the Palace of Charles V
The Rennaisance building is the work of architect Pedro Machuca, who was charged with designing a new palace for the emperor Charles V and his family next to the Alhambra.
Alhambra was used as a summer residence for royalty and the palace was supposed to serve as a residential complex, and provide more space to live.
The work began in 1527 and continued after the death of the original architect and was taken on by his son Luis who developed the circular courtyard. The construction stopped for 15 years because of the rebellion of the Moors in Granada in 1568, and the palace was left without a roof – an option to move in – until 1967.
From the bird’s eye view, it looks almost like a colosseum. Inside, you will find a large circular centre, a unique architectural feature of its kind, surrounded by 32 Doric columns.
The building was controversial not just for its architectural approach, but also due to the fact that it represented a triumph of Christianity over Islam, which was the primary influence for the whole Alhambra complex.
The main façade of the palace measures 63 meters wide and 17 meters high, with only the southern and western decorated because the rest of them are attached to the Alhambra complex.
Here is a short visual tour, with visitor information at the end of the article.
Due to lack of time, I did not make it to either of the museums located in the palace, something I will rectify on my next visit and report here.
If you’re planning a trip to the Palace while you’re in Alhambra, here are the basic things you need to know.
Visiting The Palace of Charles V in Granada
Location: C. Real de la Alhambra, s/n, 18009 Granada
Opening hours: 15 OCTOBER – 31 MARCH Monday to Sunday 8.30 to 18.00,
APRIL 1 – OCTOBER 14 Monday to Sunday, 8.30 to 20.00
How much time to spend: If you’re only visiting the complex and not the museums, you can see everything in around 30 minutes.
Entrance fees: free
Granada Monuments Tickets & Tours
Here are a few guided trip options for visiting the main sights in Alhambra. To check availability and prices please click on the link below.
- Alhambra & Nasrid Palaces Fast-Track Ticket – enjoy a fast-track access to all the sights within the grounds of Alhambra, including the Generalife Gardens. Does not include a guide.
- Alhambra, Nasrid Palaces, and Generalife Tour – fast track entry to the Alhambra complex with a private or shared tour guide.
- Nasrid Palaces & Generalife Ticket with Audioguide – the same tickets to Alhambra this time including an audio guide in the language of your choice.
- Sacromonte: Flamenco Show at Cuevas Los Tarantos Tickets – entry tickets to the popular flamenco performance in the Sacromonte district of Granada
Explore More in Granada
Visiting the Monastery of San Jerónimo, Granada
Huerto del Loro: The Best Views of Albaicin, Granada
LimeHome Appartments Calle St. Ana, Granada: My Review
How to Spend One Day in Granada, Spain: The Highlights Itinerary
13 Beautiful Photography Locations in Granada: Tips from a Local Expat
Visiting Alhambra in Granada: The Complete Guide
PIN for Later
Southern Spain Travel Planning Guide
Is it safe to drive in Spain?
YES! The roads in Southern Spain are generally in very good condition, with modern highways connecting the biggest cities. To rent a car, I highly recommend Discover Cars, which will get you the best deals on your car rental for your trip.
WHAT IF I DON’T WANT TO DRIVE?
PUBLIC TRANSPORT — Southern Spain has a well-established and modern network of trains and buses. To get the cheapest bus or train tickets, take a look at Omio to find the timetables and prices.
DAY TRIPS — If you don’t like the hassle of using public transport, local travel companies offer many day trip options from almost all the destinations in Southern Spain. You can check them out here.
WHERE SHOULD I BOOK MY ACCOMMODATION?
BOOKING.COM — I have been using booking.com for all my trips in Spain and abroad, and have never had any negative experiences. Their reviews are very accurate and you get the best deals even on apartments, not just hotels.
ARE THERE LUGGAGE STORE OPTIONS IN THE CITIES?
YES — If you would like to leave your luggage behind to explore the city on your last day, before heading to the airport, you can use Radical Storage service, which lets you book luggage storage options in almost all the destinations in Southern Spain.
DO I NEED TO BUY A LOCAL SIM CARD FOR THIS TRIP?
YES – You can, of course, use your own card if you have roaming data available. If you want to avoid surprising extra charges from your operator, you can use a service like Airalo, where you can buy digital packs for e-sim cards, avoiding the hassle of sourcing local physical sim cards and extra roaming charges anywhere you go.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links – if you decide to book using one of the links, I will earn a small commission that helps me run this site. This is at no extra cost to you.