Welcome to the oldest part of Alhambra, an old fortress that protected sultans and the grounds of Nasrid Palace. It is thought to date back to the 9th century before the first muslims arrived in Granada.
The Alcazaba is often overlooked and overshadowed by the beauty of the intricately decorated palace with lush gardens, but for me it was one of the highlights of the Alhambra visit.
It is true, that the building is pretty simple and not much of the original courtyard was preserved – but wait till you see the views!
It’s also much more pleasant place to visit with kids and it doesn’t feel as claustrophobic as visiting the palace rooms and small courtyards with hundreds of other tourists.
I have visited just after the borders in Andalusia have been reopened following covid closures, and got myself first available tickets of the day at 8.30am. From what I’ve read, it is extremely popular and tickets tend to sell out really fast online, so make sure you check availability before you book your trip.
Right by the entrance to the Alcazaba is a small coffee shop where you can enjoy a coffee or drink, while admiring the beautiful views. Other than that, there was no restaurant or other refreshment available, only empty vending machines at the toilets (located directly opposite the small coffee booth).
The towers of the fortress are open for climbing and exploring – the most beautiful views were from the Watch Tower (Torre de la Vela) – you will spot it right away as it has huge bells & flags. As you look down from there towards the courtyard, you will see remains of what used to be houses of the servants and employees who worked in the palace and on the grounds.
If you want to make the most out of your visit, I recommended getting the first tickets available and exploring the Nasrid Palace and gardens first, they tend to get crowded later in the day.
The palace is also the only place where you would have a dedicated time slot, the Alcazaba and Generalife Gardens can be explored at your own leisure. The fortress is especially beautiful just before sunset time, so you can simply come back there later the same day to enjoy it in different light.
Enjoy a little virtual tour via photos below!