4.7
(157)

Generalife

Alhambra Palace consists of Generalife, Alcazaba and the Nasrid Palace.

The Generalife was the summer palace and country estate of the Nasrid rulers of the Emirate of Granada in Al-Andalus. 

Muhammad II designed it as a recreational place for Muslim royalty, with residential buildings and land for grazing and cultivation.

This small place has lush fruit gardens and orchards, with Huerta Colora being the only orchard that has remained untouched for centuries. 

The part with its rushing water and gardens is the most beautiful section of the Alhambra Palace.

In 1984, the Alhambra and Generalife were declared World Heritage Sites for their essential contribution to Spain’s Moorish architectural and design heritage.

Snapshot

Day Hours: 8:30 am to 6 pm

Night Hours: 10 pm to 11:30 pm

Last Entry: One hour before the closing time.

Closed: 25 December and 1 January

Time Needed: Three to Five hours

Ticket Price: €16

Best Time to Visit: When it opens at 8:30 am.

Address: C. Real de la Alhambra, s/n, 18009 Granada, Spain

What’s Inside Generalife Gardens

The Generalife was designed as a summer retreat for the Nasrid rulers, providing them with a peaceful retreat from their daily busy lives.

And that’s what all visitors experience at Generalife Gardens.

They stroll through beautiful courtyards with stone fountains, orange trees, myrtle hedges, and water channels.

The Generalife Gardens are a must-visit place when touring the Alhambra Palace. 

It features Islamic architecture, palaces, pavilions, courtyards, and patios surrounded by greenery. 

It’s a great way to end your day in Alhambra.

Palace of Generalife 

The Palace of Generalife Granada was built in the 13th century. 

The Generalife currently comprises two buildings connected by the Irrigation Ditch Patio (Patio de la Acequia). 

It has a small entrance partly covered by plants with a marble design.

The entrance has a special key marking and a tiled lintel. 

Once you go inside, a narrow staircase leads to different rooms and living areas, including the Patio de la Acequia.

This patio has a gallery with five arches and several bedrooms and connects to the Royal Chamber.

Jardines Nuevos

The Lower Gardens, also called the New Gardens or Jardines Nuevos, are a part of the Generalife in the Alhambra Palace. 

The New Gardens were created in 1931 to replace the original gardens that needed repair. 

The garden features plants like cypresses, myrtles, roses, and vines.

It was designed to resemble the Muslim garden, with a crossing ditch, streets, walls of cypress trees, and a pergola.

It also provides a passageway to link Generalife to the rest of Alhambra.

This area is now the main approach to the historic palaces.

The Patio de la Acequia 

The Court of Access leads to a beautiful area called the Patio de la Acequia or Water-Garden Courtyard.

A long pool is framed by flowers, fountains, colonnades, and pavilions surrounding this area. 

The Court of the Main Canal is also around the water channel that brings the irrigation water from the Alhambra.

It connects the lower and upper gardens and has a high pavilion from which you can see the patio and gardens.

This court is a beautiful spot within the Generalife Gardens that you’ll explore along with other areas like the Sultana’s Garden or Courtyard of the Cypress.

You can enter the Court of Access through the New Gardens, also known as Patio de Acceso.

Patio of the Irrigation Ditch

The Patio de la Acequia, also known as Patio de la Acequia, is a beautiful garden area that’s a significant part of the Generalife.

It’s named after the irrigation ditch running through it, which brings water from the Alhambra.

The ditch is 48.70 meters (160 feet) long and 12.80 meters (42 feet) wide. It also has a channel that runs down the middle to carry water and divide the patio.

The patio is an eclectic mix of Spanish and Islamic styles; it has a high pavilion with great views of the gardens. 

You can explore the upper and lower gardens from here, too.

It’s mostly an interior garden, but there’s a small lookout point on the west.

Patio del Cipres de la Sultana

This place is also known as the Court of Sultana, which comprises the court of the Sultana’s Cypress tree.

The Court of the Sultana’s Cypress Tree is an open corridor that leads to an intimate court and garden. 

In the center of the garden, you’ll find a U-shaped pool of water.

It was originally the site of the now disappeared Palace Bath and is named after imaginary love legends. 

Water jets can be found all over the site, which refreshes the environment. 

To access the site’s upper part, you must go through 

the door at the center of the court, in front of the gallery

However, reaching the upper part requires climbing some stairs.

Escalera del Agua

The Water Stairway, aka Escalera del Agua, is a staircase protected by a canopy of laurel trees. 

It is considered one of the oldest staircases in Generalife Gardens, dating back to the Muslim period.

Medieval sultans used it to ascend the highest part of the Generalife. 

Its handrails consist of three flights, each with a fountain and water channels for railings.

Water used to flow through pipes in the walls into three circular basins.

However, now water flows down the stairway parapets from the Royal Canal through inverted pan tiles.

Upper Gardens

The High Gardens are part of the Generalife Palace and offer a beautiful view of the entire site. 

You can reach them by taking the Stairway of the Lions, which has two ceramic figures on top. 

The gardens have tiny fountains, magnolia trees, and other plants, and they protect against cold winds. 

You can also find a small botanical garden there. 

The gardens contrast Medieval and Renaissance styles and are a must-see when visiting the Alhambra.

Paseo de las Adelfas

The Walk of the Oleanders, also known as the Paseo de las Adelfas, is a beautiful pathway in the gardens of the Generalife.

This path runs above the orchard and is separated by a wall, entirely covered by a lush canopy of oleanders. 

It was built in the mid-19th century as a romantic accessway to the Generalife Palace. 

One end of the Walk of the Oleanders goes to the Upper Gardens (Jardines Altos).

The other end connects to the Paseo de los Cipreses, which overlooks the Lower Gardens (Jardines Bajos).

Walking along this path, you’ll see one of the oldest Moorish myrtle trees, a botanical garden wonder. 

The Walk of the Oleanders connects to the Promenade of the Cypress Trees, providing a scenic view.

Patio for Dismounting

The Patio del Descabalgamiento, or the Court of the Dismount, is a small courtyard in the Garden. 

It is believed to have been the original entrance to the Generalife Gardens.

This courtyard, also known as the Courtyard of the Stables, was a stable with a hay loft in the upper part.

In front of the next gate, there are horse-drinking troughs. 

To access the second courtyard, the Courtyard of the Guard, you must cross the door with a brick arch, with the hand and key symbols of the Nasrid dynasty.

Inside the door, there are two benches for the guard. The entire courtyard was restored in 1922.

Generalife Theatre

The Granada Music and Dance Festival was inaugurated in 1952, and they wanted a theater to host it. 

So, in 1954, an open-air theater was built in the Gardens, based on the Nasrid Riyadh layout. 

The theater has undergone many renovations to accommodate complex shows and was fully restored in July 2005. 

The theater blends with the gardens, with cypress screens as the performance backdrop. 

It is a unique and beautiful setting for contemporary performances.

Best Alhambra Generalife Tickets

With so many ticket options, standing below the Alhambra in the bright afternoon sun can be overwhelming. 

There are many choices, including tickets, tours, and night visits. 

A single ticket to Generalife provides access to other significant sites: Nasrid Palace, Alcazaba, and the Palace of Charles V.

However, don’t worry; this section will help you find the best Generalife tickets to plan your perfect day.

Alhambra and Generalife Entry Tickets

This is the cheapest and most popular ticket among tourists.

On average, more than 8 thousand people visit Alhambra and Generalife daily.

This ticket also gives you access to other parts of Alcazaba, the Palace of Charles V, Partal, and Alhambra Museum.

No need to take printouts; show your smartphone ticket at the time of entrance. 

Ticket Price

Adult (12 + years): €16 ($17)
EU citizens with youth card: €9 ($10)
Child (3 to 11 years): Free Entry

Granada Alhambra & Generalife Ticket with Audio Guide 

Unlike entry tickets, audio guides let you explore the site at your own pace. It’s the best option for relaxed travelers.

While exploring a site individually, one may not obtain factual details; instead, the audio guide reveals hidden stories in every archway.

The audio tour is available in five languages – English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German.

Additionally, it allows you to walk past the long lines and access the Palace directly. 

Ticket Price

Adult (12 to + years): €40 ($43)
Child (3 to 11 years): €20 ($21)
Infant (Up to 2 years): Free Entry

Skip the line Alhambra and Generalife Entry Ticket

If you’re short on time, fast-track entry to the Alhambra can help you avoid long ticket lines quickly.

Besides Generalife, a local guide also takes you through the Nasrid Palaces and Alcazaba (the defense fortress) during this tour.

This tour offers private and small group options in five languages: Spanish, English, Italian, French, and German.

Ticket Price

Adult (12 to + years): €60 ($65)
Child (3 to 11 years): €30 ($32)
Infant (Up to 2 years): Free Entry

Alhambra and Generalife Guided Tour Tickets

If you are visiting for the first time, guided tours are the best option for you.

It allows you to learn more about the site’s history and culture with access to exclusive areas.

This tour will save you time and energy with skip-the-line entry, allowing you to fully explore the beautiful gardens and palace without waiting in line.

This tour offers a private tour option and is available in French, Italian, German, English, and Spanish.

Tour Prices

Tour for 30 PeopleTour for 20 People
Adult (12 to + years): €46 ($49)Adult (12 to + years): €55 ($60)
Child (3 to 11 years): €29 ($31)Child (3 to 11 years): €32 ($35)
Infant (Up to 2 years): Free EntryInfant (Up to 2 years): Free Entry
Tour for 10 PeoplePrivate Tour
Adult (12 to + years): €65 ($71)2 Participants: €150 ($163)
Child (3 to 11 years): €35 ($38)
Infant (Up to 2 years): Free Entry

Private Tour Tickets 

Private tours are expensive but allow you to personalize your itinerary.

Get skip-the-line entry with your guide and explore Alhambra Palace, Nasrid Palaces Generalife Gardens and the Alcazaba.

An expert guide will assist you throughout the tour to answer any questions, even those that are obscure. 

This three-hour private guided tour is available in Spanish, English, French and Arabic.

You can set the pace of the tour, take your time exploring, and enjoy the tranquility and intimacy of the palace without feeling rushed or crowded. 

Tour Cost

Adult (13 to + years): €320 ($347)
Child (Up to 12 years): €50 ($54)

What Time Does Generalife Alhambra Open?

The Generalife Gardens open at 8:30 am and close at different times depending on the season. 

During the summer months from 1 April to 14 October, Generalife Gardens opens at 8.30 am and closes at 8 pm.

In winter months, from 15 October to 31 Marc, Generalife continues to open at 8.30 am but closes early at 6 pm.

The Generalife Gardens remains closed on 25 December and 1 January.

Generalife Gardens starts taking entries for night visits from 10 pm to 11:30 pm.

Night visits to the Generalife Alhambra are not allowed on Sundays and Mondays. 

From Tuesday to Saturday, the Generalife Gardens follow these timings:

MonthsGardens HoursTicket Office
1 April to 31 May10 pm to 11.30 pm9 pm – 10.45 pm
1 September to 14 October10 pm to 11.30 pm9 pm – 10.45 pm
15 October to 14 November8 pm to 9.30 pm7 pm – 8.45 pm

Gardens of Alhambra are not open for night visits from 1 June to 31 August and from 15 November to 31 March.

How to Reach Generalife Alhambra

The Granada’s city center is 2.5 km (1.5 miles) away from the Palace of Alhambra. 

Generalife, situated on the slopes of the Hill of the Sun (Cerro del Sol), can be found outside the walls of Alhambra. 

It provides a breathtaking view of the Genil and Darro rivers and the city. 

There are various ways to reach Generalife Alhambra from within Granada.

Generalife Granada By Bus Generalife Granada On Foot 
There are two bus lines available for Generalife Alhambra. You can board either 
of these bus lines:
Walking is a great option for a stroll with a beautiful view. 
 Bus no. C30: This line connects Generalife Alhambra to Plaza Isabel La Catolica. 

Bus no. C32: This line connects Albaicin and Alhambra with a stop at Plaza Nueva.
Starting from Plaza Nueva and following Cuesta de Gomeres, you can enjoy the sight of many beautiful buildings in the city. 
The walk usually takes around 25 minutes.
Generalife Granada By CarGeneralife Granada By Taxi 
A 15-minute drive will take you to Generalife Granada. Although taxis are convenient, they can be expensive to reach Alhambra Generalife. 
Multiple parking options range from €5.45 for 3 hours to €7 for 4 hours.You can hail a cab anywhere in central Granada and have them drop you at the entrance.

Parking for Generalife Alhambra Gardens

Alhambra and Generalife Gardens share the same parking area with around 500 parking spaces.

The parking spaces have four zones. 

The first zone is for buses and caravans immediately upon entry. 

We’d recommend parking your vehicle in the last zone, as it is the closest to the entrance of the Pavilion near Generalife’s entrance.

How much time is needed to explore Generalife Gardens?

It typically takes around one to two hours to explore the Generalife gardens thoroughly. 

However, the time required to explore the Generalife gardens depends on various factors such as your pace of exploration, interest in the garden’s details, and the crowd level. 

The gardens are spread over a large area and offer a variety of features, including fountains, pools, pathways, and flowers.

So, it’s recommended to plan accordingly and allocate enough time to enjoy the beauty of the gardens.

If your scheduled entrance time for the Nasrid Palace is at the last pass, which is one hour before closing time, then you will need to visit the Generalife and Alcazaba beforehand. This is because exploring these areas takes at least half an hour.

Frequently Asked Questions on Generalife

When was the palace of the Generalife built?

Generalife history goes back to the early 13th century, during the reign of Muhammad III.

It was further developed by Ismail I, Sultan of Granada.

Therefore, Alhambra Generalife dates back to being older than Comares Palace of the Nasrids.

What is Generalife Granada Spain?

The Generalife Gardens Granada belonged to the Nasrid royals as their summer palace.

They retreated into this rustic abode away from the official affairs of the state for relaxation and peace.

This area includes gardens, orchards, agricultural farms, and ponds that symbolize life and rejuvenation.

Where are the Generalife gardens located?

Generalife Garden is located on the Northeastern corner of the Alhambra complex and occupies the slopes of the Hill of the Sun.

Independent from the main complex, it features beautiful gardens, patios, and water features, exemplifying Moorish garden architecture.

The palace offers a beautiful view of the Darro and Genil river valleys and Granada city, occupying the slopes of the Cerro del Sol (Hill of the Sun).

How is the Nasrid summer palace decorated?

The Nasrid summer palace is decorated with detailed stucco, ornate tile mosaics, and carved wooden ceilings.

Its decor includes Arabic inscriptions and geometric patterns, showcasing Moorish craftsmanship.

The palace also features beautiful gardens with courtyards, water elements, and lush plants, creating a tranquil atmosphere.

Is there wheelchair-accessible entry to the Generalife Gardens Granada?

The Alhambra and Generalife offer a wheelchair-friendly route, with ramps and a lift in the Charles V Palace for easy access.

Wheelchairs are free to use but cannot be booked in advance.

If needed, you can rent mobility equipment.

There are accessible toilets at the main entrance, Generalife gardens, and near the Palaces.

Parking for visitors with limited mobility is also available near the entrance.

What do you see inside the Generalife Alhambra Gardens?

The Generalife Alhambra Gardens are peaceful gardens next to the Alhambra palace, showing off beautiful flowers, plants, and water features like fountains.

It includes special spots like the Patio de la Acequia, with its water channel and flowers, and the Escalera del Agua, where water flows down the sides.

These gardens offer a quiet escape with lovely views, showcasing how gardens were designed to be like paradise in the past.

When do the Alhambra Generalife gardens open?

The Generalife is open from 8:30 am to 8 pm between 01 April to 14 October.

From 15 October to 31 March, it remains open from 8:30 am to 6 pm.

You can also schedule a visit at night, but only between 15 March to 14 November. 

The night visit is not available between 15 November and 31 March.

Featured Image: Alhambra-Patronato.es

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!