This was a special place, so I have decided to devote this whole post to it. We had been forewarned that tickets should be prepurchased – even so, when I looked at availability, the earliest entry time for the Nasrid Palace was 2.30pm. At least we had tickets, we heard of people who expected it to be busy but not booked out and so, missed on their opportunity to visit the best part of the Alhambra. (NB: Click here for a very useful site with lots of information about Granada, The Alhambra and Spain in general, Molly’s blog has guided some of my travel and eating out decisions.)

Alhambra
Manicured Pathways

We wandered up from our hotel towards the Alhambra, knowing we would need time to climb the stairs to the entrance, and get coffee and a packed lunch on our way. Just at the bottom of the stairs, we discovered an aptly named cafe – “I need coffee“, where we got an excellent coffee and freshly made bocadillos (filled rolls) to take with us. It was so good we returned on the downhill run later in the afternoon and again the following day.

Walkways
Glimpses of what lies beyond

The stairs up to the entranceway were not as bad as our Cinque Terre experience, and arriving mid-morning meant that we could take our time, enjoy the day and rest as needed. It was another scorching hot day, but there were places to get out of the sun, places to sit and, although it was busy, it didn’t feel overcrowded.

We were able to visit almost all of the Alhambra grounds and outer building and towers, climbing to see Granada below, wandering through the Generalife gardens, stopping for drinks and lunch before lining up, in the heat of the day, for our entry into the most amazing Nasrid Palace.

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Beautiful courtyards
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mirror ponds
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…and more

The interior of the Nasrid Palace was absolutely stunning – to think about the hundred and hundreds of hours of craftsmanship, hand carving each decorative doorway, not to mention the ceilings, and the windows, and …

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Beautifully crafted windows
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Doors – so many different patterns
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Door frames and tiling. All by hand!
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Crafted ceilings and walls

The ceiling panels and decorations caught one’s eye too. Everywhere you looked there was more evidence of simple but stunning detail.

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External courtyard ceiling panels
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Hidden stained glass windows
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Simple but so effective

And then delightful outdoor oases – places to contemplate, reflect, or escape the heat of the sun.

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Water, a common theme
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Peaceful courtyards
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Shaded avenues

This has been more about the pictures than the words, and I think it’s best that way. If you ever get to Spain and to Granada, this must be a “must-see”, it truly is a treasure and a testament to the skill of generations of craftsmen and women.

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