One of Europe’s most popular attractions, Spain’s Alhambra attracts up to 6000 visitors a day and more than two million per year. Historically, travel agencies were granted more passes than the general public, but that’s all changed with the introduction of a new ticketing system.
As of 1 March, Spanish expat paper the Olive Press reports, 70% of the available tickets to the fortified Moorish palace complex are now being reserved for public use, and so far, the new system has been a smashing success, selling 12,590 tickets in the first eight hours alone at an average rate of 1200 per hour.
Though it hit a few snags on its first day that kept users from logging on, Alhambra board member and Generalife guide Rocio Diaz insists things are on the right track. “All the necessary measures will continue to be implemented to improve the purchase process through the website,” Diaz told the Olive Press.
Previously, 49% of tickets were allocated to travel agencies and just 29% to the general public – and agencies would often reserve tickets without paying or confirming until the last minute, so they’d go unused or be sold to scalpers at a heavily-inflated rate. Now, tickets are up for purchase three months in advance on the official website or two hours before the allotted entry to Palacios Nazaríes at the on-site kiosk.
Each guest can buy up to ten tickets at a time, but identification must be presented to enter, a fraud-control measure introduced by the Alhambra council. Six types of tickets are up for grabs, including several offering night-time access to the landmark, but only the daytime general admission gets you in to everything, including the 14th-century Nasrid Palaces, the Generalife gardens, and the Alcazaba, the site's original 13th-century citadel.
Entrance fees are €14 for a day-ticket, plus an online commission of €0.85 for reserving online. For more information on the available categories and to purchase tickets, visit tickets.alhambra-patronato.es.