Alhambra at Night in Granada, Spain – Night Visit to the Nasrid Palace
Going to Granada, Spain?
Well if so, then I’m sure you are planning a day to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site – The Alhambra.
It’s the most popular tourist destination in all of Europe, and it’s definitely worth the trip.
We didn’t get tickets ahead of time because we are really good at procrastinating, but we ended up figuring out a way to get tickets the night before at midnight. (If you want to know more about how to get last minute tickets to the Alhambra, check out my post here.)
What to Visit?
There are four sections of the Alhambra to visit– Gardens, Generalife, Alcazaba, Nasrid Palace. We bought daytime tickets for the Gardens, Generalife, and the Alcazaba, and we bought nighttime tickets at 10 PM to see the Nasrid Palace.
At first we were a little disappointed that we had to see the Nasrid Palace in the evening instead of during the day. The daytime tickets were sold out. We ended up loving seeing it later in the evening and would recommend going at night to everyone! I can’t fairly say that one is better than the other since we only saw it at night, but seeing it at night was so gorgeous and was a great experience. 10 PM was a little late for our little family with a toddler, but Jimmy ended up doing really well and behaved himself surprisingly well. Thank goodness!
After spending the entire day at the Alhambra seeing the Gardens, Generalife, and the Alcazaba, we left to take a break around 7 PM and go get dinner. We spent some time tapa hopping, exploring the town, and stopping by our hotel to get into some warmer clothes for the evening. Around 9:30, we caught a taxi back up to the Alhambra.
The Alhambra is located up on a mountain, so to get there you have to climb up a pretty steep hill. It’s about a 15 minute walk up to the top, depending on how fast you are going. I would recommend getting a taxi every time you head up if walking is hard for you. If you like walking, then the walk is fun too, but maybe not up and down twice in one day. That's a little much. It just depends on your physical abilities and how much time you have.
Get There Early
We got out of the taxi and headed to get in line for our evening Nasrid Palace visit. I would recommend getting in line at least 15 minutes before they open. We got there around 9:40 PM and there was already a big line. Once 10 PM hit, the line moved slowly. They only let a small amount of people in at a time to keep it from getting too crowded all at once. Getting there early allows you to be one of the first people in the palace before it gets too busy. Make sure you have your tickets out and ready to show them at the front of the line. All backpacks must be worn on the front of your body while touring the palace. Expect to spend about two hours touring the Nasrid Palace.
Spanish and Moorish Influence
Walk around slowly, take lots of pictures, take your time enjoying yourself and where you are at. This palace built in 1238 is incredibly beautiful. So much history. So much to take in all at once. The thing that makes it so unique is that it is so well preserved and so well taken care of. There are many other tourist sites that are similar to the Alhambra but they aren’t as well kept up. I love seeing the mix of Spanish and Islamic Moorish styles in the Nasrid Palace. It is located in Spain but being so close to Morocco, you see the Moorish styles very strongly in the design. Both influences are easily found and blended together nicely throughout the palace.
Court of the Lions
My favorite part of the whole experience was the outside court area called the, “Court of the Lions,” with the 124 massive white marble columns that surround the perimeter. I love the big fountain in the middle that is a circle of lions made of marble. The carvings in this area are incredible, so much detail everywhere you look. This courtyard is an architect’s dreamland! We spent the majority of our time that night in this courtyard.
Fountain of the Lions
The fountain, called the, “Fountain of the Lions,” is beautiful and fascinating. Its roots trace back to early Islamic gardening. The twelve lions represent the 12 tribes of Israel. Two of the lions have a triangle on their forehead representing the two surviving tribes, Judá and Leví. The water hydraulic system is interesting. There are four little canals that exit out from the lion fountain, all going in different directions, making the shape of a cross. They all lead to a little circular water space that are located in different parts of the palace. The lions have water spraying out of their mouths. Each small staircase leading into the courtyard has water running down the steps and accumulating into the lion fountain. It amazes me what you can do with water and how much beauty it adds to this area. I enjoyed watching the water trickle down on each section. Saying it is gorgeous is an understatement.
I love the close-up pictures because they show the walls in full detail. Every part of the walls are carved in some way with either a design or writing of some sort. Most of the carvings symbolize something. A lot of the carvings have Arabic writing on them. When I think about people carving each little section of the wall by hand and how long that would of taken them, it fascinates me. So much time went into the design of this building to make it absolutely perfect.
Court of the Myrtles
Another great area of the Nasrid Palace is the outside pond area called the, "Court of the Myrtles." I love the grand archways on both sides of the water. The pond is a reflective pool and is as still and clear as glass with a green hew to it. I love how you can see the reflection of the archways in the water, making an optical illusion of each arch being a continuous oval.
The view from the outside of the Alhambra looking onto the city of Granada was incredible. The view during the day was great but the view at night was even better. Seeing all the lights of the city was beautiful. Everything was so still and peaceful.
We left the Alhambra that night wishing that we had more time there. We stayed until the very last minute possible, until the security guard told us that it was time to leave the building. All of the Alhambra was incredible but the highlight was visiting the Nasrid Palace. It goes on the list of my favorite things that I’ve ever done while traveling. If we had more time in Granada, I would of loved to see it during the day as well as at night.
I hope you enjoy the Alhambra and the Nasrid Palace as much as we did. If you have any questions or comments, please comment below!