Overlooking the verdant foothills of Granada, Spain are the remnants of one of the most majestic Muslim palace cities in Europe. A stunning example of Islamic architecture and philosophy, the Alhambra has seen dynasties and empires rise and crumble since its construction over a thousand years ago. Today, millions of visitors travel to Andalusia each year for a glimpse of The Alhambra and the Albaicín, the old Moorish quarter. What they find is a sprawling paradise in the mountains worthy of the Sultans of Granada. Make the most of your trip to this UNESCO World Heritage Site with a few pro tips.
Like most ancient tourist attractions, only a certain number of visitors per day are allowed access into the Alhambra. That means that during the busy summer season, it's a good idea to reserve your tickets online weeks to months in advance. Tickets are rarely available at the entrance, and you may have to book with an expensive tour if you're hoping to get in last-minute. If you're in town for a couple of days, head for the Corral de Carbon, a 14th-century monument in the city. Automated machines here sell a few reserved passes for the coming week and will print them on the spot. As a last resort, arrive at the Alhambra's entrance at 6 a.m. for one of few tickets available to first-come-first-serve patrons. There are usually two separate lines for payment methods; the cash line is notoriously long, so make sure you bring plastic.