Generalife Gardens

By Nikita Verma

Alhambra Palace has three parts- Gerneralife, Alcazaba and the Nasrid Palace.

Located on the eastern side of Alhambra Castle, Generalife Gardens used to be the countryside residence of emirs who ruled this part in the 13th and 14th centuries. 

This small place is enriched with fruit gardens and orchards, including Huerta Colora, the only orchards that have remained intact over the centuries, located at the left where the gardens end. 

Its fast-flowing water and gardens are often regarded as the most beautiful area of the Alhambra Palace. 

It includes a series of large gardens and minimalist buildings that blend so seamlessly that one doesn’t realize where the gardens begin and where they end.

In 1984, the Alhambra and Generalife were declared World Heritage Sites due to their significant legacies of Spain’s Moorish architectural and design heritage. 

How to Reach Generalife Alhambra

How to Reach Generalife Alhambra
Image: Alhambra.org

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

Generalife is on the Hill of the Sun (Cerro del Sol’s slopes), outside the walls of Alhambra.

It offers a stunning view of the city and the Genil and Darro rivers.

In Granada city, multiple options are available to reach Generalife Alhambra. 

By Bus 

Two bus lines operate for Alhambra. You can board any of these bus lines:

  • Bus no. C30: It connects Generalife Alhambra to Plaza Isabel La Catolica. 
  • Bus no. C32: Connects Albaicin and Alhambra with a head stop at Plaza Nueva. 

By Car

A short drive of 15 minutes will take to the Generalife Granada.

Plenty of parking options are available, and the parking cost ranges from  €5.45 for 3 hours to €7 for 4 hours.

By Taxi 

Although taxis can be costly, they are a convenient way to reach Generalife Granada.

You can take a taco anywhere in central Granada and have them drop you at the entrance. 

On Foot 

Waling is a less selective choice but a great option with a scenic view.

From Plaza Nueva and following Cuesta de Gomeres, you will pass the city’s numerous beautiful buildings.

The walking will typically take around 25 minutes.

Palace of the Generalife Parking

Generalife and Alhambra share the same parking space with around 500 parking slots.
Parking slots are divided into four zones: the first is for buses and caravans, located immediately upon entry. 
Park in the last zone, as it is closest to the entrance Pavilion, near Generalife’s entrance. 

What Time Does the Generalife Gardens Open?

Generalife Alhambra opens at 8:30 am throughout the year and closes as per the season.

During peak season from 1 April to 14 October, the Generalife closes at 8 pm.

During the lean period from 15 October to 31 March, it closes at 6 pm.

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

What Are Generalife Gardens Night Timings?

The Generalife opening time varies throughout the year and week.

The Generalife Gardens operates from Tuesday to Saturday in April, May, and September till mid-October. 

From 15 October to 14 November, it opens only on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Night visits are not permitted on Sundays and Mondays.

Alhambra Gardens are closed at night from 1st Jun to 31st Aug and from 15th Nov to 31st Mar.

Generalife is locked one hour before closing in all areas.

Lastly, all visitors to Generalife Gardens are asked to leave at the closing time.

The table will help you understand Generalife Gardens’ night timings.

MonthsDaysOpening Hours
1 April to 31 MayTuesday to Saturday 10 pm to 11:30 pm
1 September to 14 OctoberTuesday to Saturday 10 pm to 11:30 pm
15 October to 14 NovemberFriday and Saturday8 pm to 9.30 pm

Best Time To Visit 

The best time to visit Generalife is in the spring and autumn seasons (March to May and September to October).

Visit as soon as it opens at 8:30 am. The crowd is still scarce during this time, and the garden is wrapped in the morning’s fragrant embrace.

During the first days of May, there are magnificent displays of Wisteria, bedding plants, and thousands of iris and other bulbs. 

Any time of the week, specifically weekends, will be pretty crowded because of its popularity. So, if possible, visit during the weekdays. 

What to Expect In Generalife Gardens

Generalife was created as a summer palace for the Nasrid rulers to offer them peace and calm from their busy schedules.

And that’s exactly what all visitors experience when they visit Generalife Gardens.

This medieval garden retreat of the Sultans is the most attractive region of the Alhambra Castle

Here is the list of the must-see attractions at Generalife – 

Palace of Generalife

The Generalife Palace was built in the thirteenth century.

The current Generalife comprises two buildings divided by the Irrigation Ditch Patio.

You get into the Generalife Palace through a tiny door, partially covered by undergrowth, and then a narrow stairway takes you to residences and rooms.

The New Gardens

 The New Gardens connect Generalife to the rest of Alhambra. 

These landscaped gardens provide a nice transition between the Alhambra and the Generalife Palace.

It is also known as Low Gardens or Jardines Nuevos.

Court of Access

Generalife used to have three entrances. 

The Sultan and his entourage used an entrance from the Alhambra back in the day, while another entry was near the Entrance Pavilion, and the third one was through Postigo de the Rams.

Today, people access New Gardens, or what is commonly known as Patio de Acceso.

Patio of The Irrigation Ditch

This exhibit at Generalife is also called Patio de la Acequia (or the Court of the Water Channel). 

It is 12.80 meters (42 feet) wide and 48.70 meters (160 feet) long and is the most compelling part of Generalife Gardens.

A water channel that carries the water from the irrigation ditch of the Alhambra splits the patio lengthways. 

Court of the Sultana

This area is referred to as Patio del Ciprés de la Sultana; here, you can find the Court of the Sultana’s Cypress tree.

Legend has it that the wife of Boabdil met the Abencerrajes knight’s family under this Cypress, and upon learning this, the King ordered the massacre of the whole tribe of the knight.

Water stairway

The water stairway is the oldest staircase in the Gardens, dating back to the Muslim era.

The staircase handrails are channels for flowing water.

These stairs are segmented into three sections, each featuring a fountain. 

Upper Gardens

A stone step will lead you to Generalife’s Upper Gardens, which used to be olive groves back then. 

Today, a big esplanade and modern gardens with jasmine and roses spreading their scent around the garden. 

Oleander Walk

The Oleander Walkway is a long trail along the upper section of the wall.

It divides the gardens, fully covered by an arch of Oleanders.

This romantic access to the Generalife Palace was built in the mid-19th century. 

Patio for Dismounting

The Court of the Dismount or Patio del Descabalgamiento is a small patio considered the original entrance to the Generalife in the Alhambra Complex.

It also had the name of the Courtyard of the Stables. It operated as a stable, and a hay loft was in the upper part. 

This area was believed to be used for mounting and dismounting horses.

This site is a simple walled section with arched niches where guards could have stood when the Sultans used Generalife.

Generalife Gardens Tickets

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Featured Image: Wikimedia.org

Nikita
About the author

Meet Nikita, A Prober by passion and writer by profession. On an expedition unknown to find the purpose of life.