What to see in the Alhambra. Discover all its treasures


What to see in the Alhambra. Discover all its treasures

What to see in the Alhambra. Discover all its treasures 600 448 Andalucia360

In this post we are going to talk about the main places to see in the Alhambra. We will tell you a bit of history, curiosities and tips about the visit to each place. To learn more about how to visit the Alhambra we recommend check out our main page of the Alhambra where you will find much more content.

NOTE: the content is organised according to the different parts of the Alhambraand other sections.


The Nasrid Palaces are a set of buildings that were part of the residential area of the Nasrid royalty. They are the best-preserved buildings in the Alhambra, although they were not the only palaces in the palatine city. Almost all of the places described below can be visited on the tour of the Nasrid Palaces. They are undoubtedly the main attraction of the Alhambra.



The Mexuar is the first area we find on entering the Nasrid Palaces. This is where justice was administered and ministers met. In the Christian period this room was reformed to function as a chapel to which new decorative elements were added. Don’t miss the details of the plinths, as if you get closer you will discover Christian symbols in the centre of the large tiled wheels.

TIP: This space is overcrowded as it is the only access to the palaces. If you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy this space in peace and quiet, we recommend you to be among the last ones to enter during your entry time.

What to see in the Alhambra Mexuar

It is difficult to find it so lonely as it is usually full of visitors, the Mexuar is an important place to see in the Alhambra.


Annexed to the Mexuar and mounted on the same wall overlooking the Albaicín is a small oratory decorated with plasterwork. You won’t be able to go inside, but you have to peek inside to be amazed by this place and its views.

Oratorio del Mexuar en la Alhambra

A singular oratory in the Alhambra with fantastic views of the Albaicín (© Turismo de Andalucía).


Façade of Comares

From the Mexuar you can access the Façade of Comares. Under this façade the sultan received certain audiences. It is one of the masterpieces of Andalusian art, where golden proportions were applied to its design and advanced carpentry skills were used in the construction of the eaves. This place is the work of Muhammad V, the sultan who ordered more buildings to be built not only in the Alhambra, but also in Granada.

TIP: if you manage to stay alone in this room, let yourself be carried away by the sound of the water of the central fountain.

Visit to the façade of Comares

Bringing symmetry to perfection in the Façade of Comares.

Patio de los Arrayanes

Through a curved corridor (which allows better protection of the access) we reach the courtyard of the Myrtles. In the Andalusian culture the courtyard is the axis of family life. In this case it also had an important representative value, since in the Comares Tower was the Throne Room, the place where the most important visits of the Nasrid court were received. From this large courtyard the different rooms of the Comares Palace were distributed. It is undoubtedly one of the places to see in the Alhambra.

TIP: stop in front of the iwans to contemplate the famous trisquels of the Alhambra and observe the reflections in the great pool.

What to see in the Alhambra, Arrayanes

Another example of architectural symmetry in the Alhambra, the Patio de los Arrayanes, the distributor of the Palacio de Comares.

Sala del Trono (Throne Room)

We now enter the Comares Tower. After passing through the Sala de la Barca we arrive at the Salón del Trono (Throne Room). This large room is surrounded by alhanías with huge lattices. All the Nasrid arts are combined here: tiles, plasterwork, carpentry and poetry. Its walls are full of verses, ejaculatory prayers and praises, vegetal textures (ataurique) and geometry.

TIP: notice the differences between the tiled plinths and let your imagination run wild in the representation of the 7 heavens of the Islamic paradise on the dome.

The seven heavens of the yanna (garden of paradise) of Islam depicted on the ceiling of the Throne Room.

Bath of Comares

The palaces had their own hammam. It was a lavishly decorated space. Today the dim light coming through the skylights conveys a certain mystery. It has been preserved almost intact in terms of its structure, although its present appearance is the result of restoration work. It is one of those places that cannot be seen in the Alhambra due to the narrowness and fragility of the space. One of its rooms can be seen from the ground floor of the qubba of Dos Hermanas.

Interior of the Hammam of Comares

Colourful tiling of the Hammam of the Palace of Comares.


This is the best known palace in the Alhambra. Considered the pinnacle of Nasrid art, it is notable for its famous Fountain of the Lions, its muqarnas domes and its stylised marble columns. It was also built by the great Muhammad V in the mid-14th century. Let’s take a look at its most important parts.

Patio de los Leones (Lions’ Courtyard)

This is the centre of the Lions’ Palace. It is surrounded by columns and has two gazebos that stand on the straightness of the courtyard. Despite not having a pool, water and its symbolism are very present in this space. Water flows from the four sides of the courtyard from fountains located at ground level. The water flows through channels, emitting a gentle murmur as it flows through the different rooms. The famous fountain is formed by twelve lions holding a huge marble cup carved with a poem that, among metaphors, describes the functioning of the fountain. Here you can learn more about how the water reached the Alhambra.

Visit to the Patio de los Leones

No, the fountain does not rest on the butts of the lions, a powerful pillar supports the famous cup in the Patio de los Leones.

Hall of the Abencerrajes

Let us now enter one of the side rooms. The lower part of the Abencerrajes’ room has been greatly transformed, but it preserves the original muqarnas dome in the shape of an eight-pointed star. The Abencerrajes were a family linked to the Nasrid court. The Sala de los Abencerrajes is so named because of a popular legend that tells that part of the family had their throats slit in this room due to political disputes. Although it is most likely that this did not happen, palace intrigues over the succession to the thronewere common. Brothers would lock each other up, poison each other or conspire to gain power.

TIP: the legends are very nice, but the history goes much deeper. If you want a guided tour to get to know the Alhambra in depth, consult us, we are specialists in it.

Sala de los Abencerrajes en la Alhambra

Maybe we are a bit heavy handed, but we love to represent symmetry in our photos. How about this one of the Sala de los Abencerrajes?.

Sala de los Reyes (Kings’ Hall)

The east gallery of the courtyard contains a series of rooms covered with muqarnas. One of the treasures of the Alhambra awaits us in the alcoves of this gallery. This is a series of vaults decorated with paintings. Because of their Gothic style and Muslim influences, they are thought to have been executed by Italian artists. They depict different secular scenes such as a hunt, a game of chess, a joust or a meeting of illustrious figures.

Paintings of the Hall of the Kings

In the Hall of the Kings you will find a combination of painting, ceramics and plaster that is unique in the world.

Room of Two Sisters

The Hall or Qubba of Two Sisters is the second residential space of this palace. A qubba is a square-shaped architectural design covered by a vault of some kind. It is an essential place to see in the Alhambra because it preserves its decoration fantastically. The dome is really impressive, but we recommend that you take a look at the tiling at the corners of the openings. It is one of the few places in the Alhambra where tiling has been preserved on the floor.

TIP: don’t go in a hurry, if there are many people in the adjoining room of the Daraxa viewpoint wait to enter, it is very worthwhile.

Dome of the Dos Hermanas Hall

From a corner of the Dos Hermanas Hall, the best place to enjoy the muqarnas dome.

Viewpoint of the Lindaraja or Daraxa

If we talk about beautiful places in the Alhambra, we must talk about the viewpoint of Daraxa. It is a small viewpoint where Nasrid art reaches very high levels. Arabic epigraphy has a special prominence. Originally it overlooked the Albaicin, but in the Christian period new buildings were built. It was covered with a wooden structure in the form of a lattice with different coloured glass. This was a unique solution in the Alhambra and the whole of al-Andalus. It is also one of the few places in the Alhambra where inlaid tiles are preserved in situ.

Mirador de Lindaraja general view with stained glass

In the Mirador de Lindaraja ceramic and plaster combine with glass and wood in a unique solution in al-Andalus.

Patio de la Reja

The path leads us through a corridor to a fabulous viewpoint overlooking the Albaicín, the Patio de la Reja. From this courtyard starts the gallery that crosses the Comares Tower underneath and which had defensive and security functions in the palaces.

Patio de la Reja in the Alhambra

The Patio de la Reja has spectacular views of the Albaicín, but we wanted to show you the beauty of this courtyard.

Room of the Secrets

Following our tour of the places to see in the Alhambra we move on to the Patio de Lindaraja. It is a space shaped in the 16th century by the north façade of the Palace of the Lions and the rooms of the Emperor or Washington Irving. However, we would like to focus on the lower part of the qubba of Dos Hermanas, known as the Sala de los Secretos (Room of Secrets). It is accessed from the courtyard itself to a vaulted construction on thick walls. At the entrance there is a small opening from which the Bath of Comares can be seen.

TIP: speaking softly and against the wall the sound is communicated through the vault, it’s a fun game to play if you visit the Alhambra with children.

We dusted off this old photo that brings back fond memories of the Hall of Secrets.


We leave the area known as the “Nasrid Palaces” to continue our tour of the Alhambra. However, we are going to continue visiting real places, remember that the Alhambra is a real palace city. In fact we will now pass through the Partal, the Palace of Yusuf III and the calahurras (palace towers) of the Paseo de las Torres.


According to researchers, it is the oldest palace in the Alhambra still standing. It is attributed to Muhammad III (third sultan of the Nasrid dynasty). The building is built on the Alhambra wall itself with fantastic views over the city. Among the places to see in the Alhambra, this is one of our favourites. There are some benches next to the large pool, an ideal place to take a break during your visit.

TIP: This is a great place to get some great photos with the reflections in the pool.

The ruins of the old palaces have been converted since the middle of the 19th century into the beautiful gardens of the Alhambra. In the background the Partal and the Torre de las Damas.


Next to the Partal is a group of small houses from the Moorish period. They are usually closed to the public. It is one of those spaces of small dimensions and high historical value, since inside one of them some very interesting paintings are preserved. They are usually open for a few months of the year, as they form part of the “Space of the Month”.

When leaving the majestic palaces of the Alhambra these “Casas del Partal” hide an interesting surprise.


One of the largest towers in the Alhambra and yet one of the least known by tourists. It is a little off the beaten track and many people tend to pass it by without seeing it. It is also a “Space of the Month”, so it is usually closed. However, for us it is an important place to visit in the Alhambra. This tower protected the gate through which the Nasrid aristocracy crossed the cuesta de los Chinos and went up to the Generalife. It was the site of numerous palace intrigues.

TIP: it is a very quiet place that deserves a stop to let yourself be carried away by the sound of a nearby pillar and the smell of the orchards.

Yes, in Granada it snows every 4 or 5 years. So we leave you a picture of the Torre de los Picos and the northern canvas well snowed.


The rauda or rawda was the royal cemetery-garden of the Alhambra. The Nasrid royalty were buried here from the time of Muhammad II (the second sultan of the Kingdom of Granada). The tombstones from this cemetery are in the Museum of the Alhambra. Incidentally, one of these tombstones appeared in Betanzos (a town in Galicia), where it was placed in a church. It continued its journey through Galicia and among its uses was that of a butcher’s stone.

At the moment we do not have a photo 🤷‍♀️


Only its ruins remain, but what ruins! A huge pool gives us the scale of what must have been his palace. To the north it was enclosed by a large hall/tower, probably a qubba, which today is a great place to take some photos of the Partal. This palace also had its own hammam, also in ruins.

Palace of Yusuf III in the Alhambra

We took this image from what must have been the north hall of the Palace of Yusuf III in the Alhambra.


The Towers walkway runs along the entire northeast wall of the Alhambra. Today it is a leafy promenade surrounded by gardens and large towers under which the coastal path passes. The Torre de la Cautiva and the Torre de las Infantas stand out for their exquisite interior decoration. Both towers are miniature palaces, their walls are covered with plasterwork and their plinths are tiled. The floors are white marble and there is even a small flat fountain on the floor. The wonder of these towers inspired legends of princesses and princes that made the Alhambra world famous through the writer Washington Irving.

TIP: both towers are “Space of the Month”, to visit them it is important to check beforehand on the official website if they are open.

Camino de Ronda in the Alhambra

The Camino de Ronda crossing the Torre de las Infantas of the Alhambra. On the wall the adarve to defend it.


This path runs the length of the Alhambra along the inner face of the wall. It allowed rapid access to any part of the Alhambra, as it was wide enough to be travelled on horseback. Its great depth and width also allowed it to serve as a moat. The best place to see it is on the Paseo de las Torres, where it passes under the Torre de las Infantas and the Torre de la Cautiva. It can also be seen when crossing the Puerta de los Carros, one of the Christian entrances to the red fortress.


You still don’t know what to see in the Alhambra, let’s continue our tour of the monumental complex. Now let’s find out what places you can visit in the Generalife. The Garden of the Architect (“Yannat al-‘Arif” or Generalife) is an “almunia”. This Arabic word designates an estate for recreation and cultivation, generally linked to the court or the Andalusian aristocracy. There were more almunias in Granada: the Alcazar Genil, Alixares, the Cuarto Real de Santo Domingo and Dar a Benaz, among others. The almunia of the Generalife was the summer palace of the Nasrids, but it was also the kitchen garden of the Alhambra.

The environment of the Generalife is very changeable. This photo was taken during the summer, when the vegetation almost envelops the Nasrid pleasure estate.


On the way to the palace you will pass by the orchards. Two of the four that once stood on this site have been preserved: the two smallest and the one closest to the Generalife. They have been cultivated uninterruptedly since medieval times. From the Paseo de las Torres you can see the enormous walls that divided the land into paratas (terraces).

From this perspective you can see up to three large paratas or levels of the orchards of the Generalife.


After passing through the Patio del Descabalgamiento, which you can imagine what was done there, you enter the Patio de la Acequia. It is a long space that distributes the rooms of the almunia. The courtyard is crossed by a water channel, which is none other than the Acequia Real which supplies water to the whole Alhambra. The water jets are an invention that attracts a lot of attention from visitors, but they were installed in the 19th century. Behind the north gallery is the Royal Hall, where the rooms of the royal family were located.

TIP: during your visit to this palace you will enjoy fascinating views of the Alhambra and the Albaicin, so keep your camera handy.

The famous jets of the patio of the Acequia, a nineteenth-century invention that travellers like very much.


The Generalife had its own hammam, but in the 16th century the palace was extended on top of it. An arched gallery with two floors and a courtyard where water is the protagonist was built. Its name derives from an old cypress tree trunk which, according to legend, was witness to the love affairs of Boabdil’s wife with a knight of his court. It is a beautiful Renaissance courtyard full of magic.

Patio del Cipres en la Alhambra

The huge legendary cypress tree on the left side of the image.


In the area called “Jardines Altos” (High Gardens) is the Escalera del Agua (Water Staircase), which ascends to a Romantic-era viewpoint. Water runs down the staircase’s handrail and vegetation envelops the path. The ascent is so beautiful that we are going to leave you a poem by Juan Ramón Jiménez about this place:

The water enveloped me with rumours.
of colour and cool sumo, near and far,
from all streams,
all the streams and all the springs …
And that music of the water I could hear it.
and more each time and less at the same time;
less, because it was no longer eternal, but intimate;
the water was my blood, my life,
and I heard the music of my lifeand my blood in the flowing water.

Imagine those medieval people ascending the water stairs as they purified themselves before prayer.



On our tour of the Alhambra we come to the Alcazaba, one of the main areas to see in the Alhambra. Its origins predate the palatine city, as the Zirids of the 11th century had already built a small fortress here. However, most of what you will see during your visit dates back to the Nasrid period, when it was used as a military zone.


This neighbourhood was the site of a permanent military detachment. It is made up of small houses huddled together and occupying almost all the space inside the walls. The hole covered with a grille nearby is the entrance to the dungeon. If you look out you can see the bottom.

TIP: to get a good view of the layout of the streets and houses it is best to climb a tower or the parapet of the wall.

Alcazaba of the Alhambra from the Torre de la Vela

In this general view of the Alcazaba you can see perfectly the military quarter inside the wall, the photo is taken from the Torre de la Vela.


The Nasrid troops at the Alcazaba had their own hammam. It was discovered in the early 20th century under a thick layer of rubble. Surprisingly, only the vaults are missing; the rubble must have allowed the elevation of the walls to be preserved. When viewed at height, it is as if you have a large plan of the bath in front of you.

TIP: you can play at identifying elements such as the basins, the chimneys in the walls, the woodshed, the warm room, the hot room,…

Hammam de la Alcazaba de la Alhambra

Nestled at the foot of the Torre de la Vela is the hammam of the Alcazaba (Jaime Pérez. Flickr. CC BY-NC 2.0).


Let’s go up to one of the emblems of the Alhambra. But as we do so, notice how the construction becomes lighter as we go up. The lower part of this great tower is much more massive than the upper floors. It is a sturdy construction that rivals the Comares Tower. From the top, the entire city and the roads to the south, north and west were visually controlled.

Torre de la Vela y puerta de las Armas

Torre de la Vela and Puerta de las Armas with the path that had to be followed by those who entered the Alhambra in medieval times (Juan Sáez. Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0).


This was probably the most used gate of the Alhambra because it connected directly with the city. It is the most strongly protected access to the entire enclosure. The rest of the gates of the Alhambra were intended for royal use, institutional representation, military or similar. It is open only as a space of the month, but the tower of the same name can be climbed from the parapet of the wall. The views of Granada from this spot at the foot of the Torre de la Vela are some of the best in Granada.

Interior of the Puerta de las Armas

Interior of the Puerta de las Armas, again another access in a bend (PhotoLanda. Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).


They are part of the free access area of the Alhambra.


When the Alhambra became a Royal House, many renovation projects were undertaken, but it was with the coronation of Charles V that the construction of the most beautiful Renaissance palace in Granada, and perhaps in the whole of Andalusia, began. In plan, the Palace of Charles V is a circle within a square. It maintains perfect symmetry in all its elements. The emperor himself requested that it be built according to the new classicist precepts that were spreading from Rome. We tell the whole story of this palace and its builder in our guided visits to the Alhambra.

TIP: ethis building houses two museums, the Alhambra Museum and the Fine Arts Museum, if you go with time we recommend you to visit. Here everything about the museums of Granada.

In the Palace of Charles V it is easy to take a good picture, proportion and symmetry do much of the work.


This enormous gate of the Alhambra was intended for the reception of important visitors, which is why it was always preceded by a large “Explanada” (as it is also known). Many things stand out in this gateway, but we would like to point out two that we find very interesting. First, the unique sebka motif tiles, which were designed specifically for this purpose. Secondly, the buharda, a hollow space above the gate that was used to defend it by throwing stones or boiling oil. This gate is included in another article on places to visit around the Alhambra, as it is a space that can be visited free of charge.

TIP: look at the symbolic elements on this door: some are Islamic, such as the key and the hand of Fatima, and others are Christian, such as the altar dthe interior.

We do not know whether the Gate of Justice is more imposing from above or below. It is undoubtedly the most impressive monumental gate of Granada and maybe of Andalusia.


Between the Alcazaba and the medina of the Alhambra there was a kind of moat from which one entered the medina through the Wine Gate. Here began the Calle Real (Royal Street), the main road of the Alhambra under which the Acequia Real was circulated. It is one of the oldest buildings in the Alhambra, although most of its decoration is later.

TIP: take a closer look at its decoration. We love the tiles on the east façade, designed using the cuerda seca technique. Although the west one, with carved stone elements, is not bad either.

Wine Gate in the Alhambra

Although the Wine Gate is isolated today, it was originally connected to a stretch of wall.


The Calle Real runs through the entire Alhambra. It runs through the whole Secano until it reaches the Puerta del Vino.


The Church of Santa Maria was built on top of the Alhambra’s aljama mosque. It has recently been restored and one of the most lauded processions in Granada starts from here. It passes through the Wine Gate, the Gate of Justice and descends through the Alhambra forest until it reaches the Cathedral of Granada. The church was completed in the early 17th century and is notable for its fantastic baroque altarpiece.

Interior of Santa María de la Alhambra

Interior of Santa María de la Alhambra with the visit of a group of school children.


Down Calle Real and next to the church you will find the bath of the disappeared aljama mosque. It has lost almost all of its decoration because over the centuries the building has been reused. In fact, there was a famous tavern here where intellectuals gathered from the mid-19th century onwards. The Polinaio tavern, as it was called, belonged to the guitarist Antonio Barrios, father of the composer Ángel Barrios. It can be visited free of charge.

Next to the hammam a house from the Nasrid period is preserved in very good condition, but it is only open for one or two months a year as a space of the month.

At the time of writing this article the hammam of the Alhambra Mosque was closed, so we leave you a picture of the outside.


On the other side of the Calle Real are the ruins of another ancient palace of the Alhambra. The Abencerrajes or Banu Sarraŷ were a family from Granada of Berber origin who remained very close to Nasrid power. They are present in many of Alhambra’s legends, such as that of the Hall of the Abencerrajes (above). Today their palace is a very interesting archaeological site.

TIP: it cannot be visited in its entirety, but there are several points from where it can be seen from a certain height. In the map at the end of the post we indicate the places.

In the foreground are the remains of the hammam of the Palace of the Abencerrajes in the Alhambra.


In the dry land was the medina, a small town that served the Nasrid court. Let’s see what are the places to visit in the Secano.


The medina was home to the servants of the Nasrid court. In addition to dwellings, there were silos for storing foodstuffs, potteries, tanneries, probably a mint (the place where coins were minted) and other artisan workshops.

It is only partially known from archaeological excavations. Today it is a large extension of the Alhambra that was almost completely razed to the ground after the flight of the French troops from the Alhambra. Some defensive elements such as the Gate of the Seven Floors (below) were blown up before their departure.

TIP: most people usually pass through here without stopping long, but if you have time we recommend at least visiting the Puerta de los Siete Suelos and the Parador de San Francisco.

Almond trees in bloom in the Secano in the Alhambra, so they can say that winter is ugly.


This was the place through which the Royal irrigation channel entered the Alhambra. Access was via an aqueduct, which protected this tower. Remember that water is not only present in pools and hammams, it is essential for life, so it was necessary to protect the water supply.

Water Tower and at its feet, the place where the water used to enter the Alhambra, nowadays with an aqueduct from Modern times.


This imposing gate is one of the ancient entrances to the Alhambra. It is one of the great unknowns, as it is a “space of the month” and is not always open. It was blown up in 1812 by French troops, but was reconstructed in the 20th century using old engravings. Its original name was Bab al-Gudur or Gate of the Wells, probably in reference to the nearby silos. The name “the seven floors” comes from one of the legends written by Washington Irving in his Tales of the Alhambra.

Gate of 7 Floors in the Alhambra

The two forward towers of the Gate of Seven Floors protected the access through it.


This convent has been converted into a Parador de Turismo and was built on the ruins of a Nasrid palace. The ruins of the Palace of Muhammad III (early 14th century) are preserved inside. You can visit the “Sala Árabe”, a small qubba under which the Catholic Monarchs were buried, and the ruins of the hammam of this palace.

TIP: nothing indicates it, but if you feel like it you can enter through the cafeteria door or the main entrance to see the medieval remains.

The first image is of the courtyard of the convent with the irrigation channel of the old palace, The second is a view of the bell tower from the Secano. And the third is the access to the qubba, the best preserved part.

What to see in the surroundings of the ALHAMBRA

If you are going to spend several days in Granada, which is highly recommended, a good option is to get to know the surroundings of the Alhambra. We have written an article about everything you can see around the Alhambra. We have organised everything in different areas and we have mapped out some routes to make it easier for you to find your way around.


So far we have told you what to see in the Alhambra, but you probably want to know how to organise your visit. Well, we have prepared an article where we tell you everything you need to know to visit the Alhambra. We hope you find it useful.

Guided Tour in Andalusia


With this map you will be able to locate all the places to see in the Alhambra. Or it will be useful to organise your visit to the Nasrid palace city, once there the routes are well defined, but you can also use it from your mobile device.


The best is always to visit the Alhambra, but if it is not possible here we leave you several books that you will love:


To write these articles we always rely on the knowledge of good professionals, in this case we want to thank Sabina, Silvia and Eva, great connoisseurs of the Alhambra who have cleared up some doubts.What to see in the Alhambra. Discover all its treasures

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