As one of the greatest palaces in Europe, steeped in history and artwork, the Alhambra Palace was naturally on my ‘to-do’ list when I visited the Andalucia region last month. It is a vast complex of buildings and gardens each giving light to different ways of living and the history of the area throughout the ages. Within the complex are many different palaces and in many the Islamic impact is highly evident with many geometric patterns, intricate walls and arches, and delicate flowing fountains throughout. However the Palace of Charles V steps away from the Islamic influence, instead resembling a more roman origin with its grand pillars making it resemble a building more like the colosseum.
The Alhambra was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1984 and therefore the Ministry of Culture must balance protection of the site along with public access. Fortunately when I visited everywhere was open and with a small fee, paid in advance on their website, you can purchase tickets to roam through the buildings and the gardens that surround the area. I would recommend purchasing tickets for the morning as although you will have to probably endure an early start, there are often fewer people and it is less hot…always a bonus. I would advise taking plenty of water and a few snacks as there are only a few places to purchase these and like with many top attractions they are not the cheapest places to buy food or drink.
The tour of the palaces was amazing, everything is flawless, intricate carvings and imprints show the fantastic architecture from 9th century Islamic architects and artists. It was unlike anything I have ever seen in Europe and reminded me more of my travels to Morocco and Turkey. The gardens too, although the plants have probably changed, still looked fantastic. The vibrant colours are arranged to emanate the patterns and shapes found inside the palaces. It was a fantastic visit and a must-see to anyone travelling near Granada. Just go and explore, but don’t forget your camera!