Visiting the Alhambra; Cruise port Malaga Spain

The Summer Palace at The Alhambra

The Summer Palace at The Alhambra


When I was growing up, I remember hearing of the Alhambra. It was most likely in connection with Washington Irving’s writings, as his house was not far from ours. However, the image stayed in mind of this beautiful castle in Spain. This image was only reenforced as I grew older and read countless travel articles discussing the romance of the Alhambra.


Consequently, when a shore excursion going to the Alhambra appeared on the list of shore excursions offered on a recent cruise, I jumped at the opportunity despite the fact that it was significantly more expensive than the other excursions offered for that port. The warning that the excursion would involve a two hour coach trip each way did not give me pause.


As it turned out, the coach trip was entirely pleasant. It took us through the coastal mountains and then through the verdant valleys of Andalusia. There were snow-capped peaks, olive groves, vineyards, and a number of towns and villages. As it was all motorway, we zipped along without traffic delays. Indeed, there even was a ring road that skirted Granada so that we did not have to go through that city in order to get to its most famous attraction, which is perched on a hill overlooking the city.


When we arrived, it quickly became apparent that we were not going to be the only people viewing the Alhambra that day. In the grounds adjoining the castle, there are parking lots for buses and cars as well as a modern visitor center. Even though it was a weekday afternoon, the area was alive with activity. The coach only stayed a few minutes near the entrance to the visitor center before going off to look for the closest place to park, probably in Madrid.


Those in charge of the Alhambra have apparently given much thought as to how the monument’s popularity could affect the experience of visiting it. The number of visitors allowed each day is limited. In addition, all of the infrastructure for the visitors is placed some distance from the historic buildings so as not to intrude upon the experience.


Still, having other people around is something that you have to deal with. It requires a good deal of patience to get photos that include only a few of your fellow visitors. More importantly, in the courtyards and gardens that were designed for quiet contemplation, you just have to tune out your fellow visitors.


Nonetheless, the Alhambra is a must see. It has impressive architecture, beautiful gardens and spectacular views of the city below and the surrounding mountains. On top of it has centuries of history as well as a haunting romantic aura of times past.


Beyondships’ feature article about visiting the Alhambra, complete with photos, is at


In addition, we have added a profile of Malaga, Spain. It is the cruise port that is the jumping off point for visits to The Alhambra. Indeed, it is Spain’s second busiest cruise port. The profile begins at



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