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Japan Itinerary Advice: How to Make the Most Of Your Rising Suns

Visiting Japan for the first time? This Japan Travel Guide & Itinerary will guide you for 7 days, 10 days or 14 days. Covers Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima & more.

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JoyceMarch 30, 2017 - 8:39 am

I was only in Japan for a few days but this has got me itching to go back!

Characters & Carry-ons

[…] Plan your Japan trip with this Itinerary for 7, 10 and 14 days […]

[…] confidently responded to my lack of interest, by completely and utterly blowing my mind. See this detailed itinerary for travel in Japan and you’ll probably understand […]

[…] Planning a trip to Japan? Get fantastic ideas for your Japan itinerary from Sher She Goes. […]

[…] MORE: Here’s another great Japan Itinerary, including more useful tips for an awesome […]

How to Get Smarter Effortlessly: 3 Podcasts I’m Loving

Podcasts are my favorite way to learn while multi-tasking! Here are 3 current favorites and a review of the Google Chromecast Audio (my preferred method to I listen to podcasts).

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SakuraMarch 14, 2017 - 5:43 pm

oh the snow, I have to say though it’s kind of been a nice break! stay warm.

JenMarch 15, 2017 - 2:23 pm

I’m totally going to hear some of this podcast, thanks for sharing! ♥

[…] live for podcasts – you can read about my current favorite podcasts in this post here. I always make sure to download new episodes to my phone so that I can still listen offline when […]

How to Maximize Credit Card Points for Travel with Chase Ultimate Rewards

Thank you Chase Ultimate Rewards® for sponsoring this post. All opinions written are my own. Loved this trip to Jamaica! Are you headed anywhere warm this spring?   How to Maximize Credit Card Points for Travel with Chase Ultimate Rewards   Now that it’s slowly getting warmer, I’m looking forward to spring travel! I’ll be visiting the Middle […]

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JoyceMarch 13, 2017 - 11:28 pm

I looovee my chase sapphire reserve card and can’t wait to book some travel!

the Fashion MattersMarch 14, 2017 - 7:11 am

that’s useful! love your photos

[…] system. I wanted a travel wallet that would be sturdy and compartmentalized enough to hold my travel credit cards, loose change, foreign currency as well as my passport and receipts. Bonus points for something […]

The Last 3 Books I Read and My Latest Travel Hack…

  Life in NYC: February 2017   February was a busy, short month dominated mostly by Fashion Week and preparations for Israel next month. You can read all about my second New York Fashion Week experience here! I also had a number of projects which kept me busy and lots of questions about blogging.. so […]

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JoyceMarch 13, 2017 - 11:39 pm

Ooh the art forager and the jab jab jab books seem super cool! Same with the curated beauty set perfect for travel! I have a podcast recommendation — reply all!

SherMarch 14, 2017 - 8:31 am

ooh thanks, I’ll check out that podcast!

Josie PiperApril 21, 2017 - 5:03 am

Hi Sher!

I’ve been following your Instagram and blog for a while and find you to be so inspirational! The photos are beautiful! I know you must be super busy, but I’d love to know if my project might be helpful to you at all.

I also love travel and work from my laptop; one thing I find is the stress of being new in town and not knowing the inside scoop of where you can go and get a bit of work down with some decent wifi, sufficient plugs etc.

So, I’ve started up a blog/site which I hope to grow into a bit like a Tripadvisor for the digital nomad community/travellers. Essentially the idea is to review good spots to work from and post about them so that other digital nomads, entrepreneurs, freelancers etc can be in the know when they are looking for somewhere to go and work from their laptop for a few hours. Also, I’d love to encourage other people like yourself to recommend spots that they come across whilst travelling – something I’ve dubbed a “fickle office” (because it is temporary).

Do you think you would benefit from a website like that? And, if so, would you be interested in posting a recommending perhaps of a coffee shop (either on your travels or local to you) which you like to work from?

Really hope to hear from you soon,

Josie

:)

READ THIS Before You Buy Alhambra Palace Tickets on Ticketmaster

Essential Tips for Booking Alhambra Palace Tickets Information updated April 2017 The Alhambra is the essential sight in Southern Spain. You know, the one on every guidebook cover, the one all your friends rave about, the one Rick Steve recommends… well you get the point. What you might not realize is that the attraction is so popular that […]

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ThuyJune 30, 2016 - 11:02 am

Place looks beautiful and this post looks informative. I’m saving this for later!

http://www.dressupchowdown.com

MR ESSENTIALISTJune 30, 2016 - 2:04 pm

Never visited – but definitely on my bucket list!
Alexander @ Mr Essentialist

LISAJuly 4, 2016 - 8:19 am

This is gorgeous! You took great pics too! Glad you got to visit. I will definitely keep it in mind if I visit.

JessicaJuly 4, 2016 - 11:03 am

Fantastic guide to Alhambra Granada. The number of visitors is just impressive and how long you need to make a booking before your target visit. Well, it looks worth it with these captures. :)

TaraJuly 4, 2016 - 11:19 am

I had no idea this was Spain’s most popular attraction. Honestly, when getting tickets become a hassle, I would normally cross it off my list, but your photos are so stunning, I think serious advance planning would be worth it!

PaulJuly 4, 2016 - 1:32 pm

I feel completely ignorant here but I’ve actually never heard of this place! Let alone it being Spain’s most popular attraction. I think it’s because I’ve never really been interested in visiting Spain as I’ve only associated it with English summer holidays! I know there is plenty more to Spain than beach resorts and I need to get that out of my head and see for myself!

melody pittmanJuly 4, 2016 - 3:36 pm

Good information to know. I agree, 6600 tickets is an odd number. I haven’t visited this region in Spain but it looks gorgeous. I also did not know it was the most visited site in Spain. Learned a lot. ;)

Alex DatsevJuly 4, 2016 - 4:59 pm

Great information and stunning pics. I have always wanted to visit this port of Spain and it really seems like one should get their Alhambra tickets before confirming hotels and transportation.

SierraJuly 4, 2016 - 5:38 pm

I love seeing top tourist sites – and planning ahead is so very important for that so I really appreciate your thorough suggestions!

ClaireJuly 4, 2016 - 5:53 pm

What a beautiful place! I’ve never heard of Alhambra before but now it’s on my list for sure!

christine legerJuly 5, 2016 - 3:29 pm

my parents are doing spain next spring. I may leave the kids with the hubby and join them if its going to be anything like this.

CharlieJuly 8, 2016 - 11:55 am

Thank you for all the details, it’s very useful! I’m visiting Alhambra in august. Do you know if we can print our tickets in advance at the Grenada Tourism Office?

SherJuly 8, 2016 - 12:24 pm

Hey Charlie – glad it was helpful! I’m not quite sure what you mean – you need to buy the tickets online on Ticketmaster before you go. Since its already early July, I’d recommend doing this today / ASAP to get a preferred time slot. Then once you’re in Granada, you can head to the tourism office when you’re in town to print out the ticket. Ticketmaster doesn’t give you an option to print it at home, I think because the tickets need to be scan-able at the Alhambra.

SherJuly 8, 2016 - 12:25 pm

If you’re already in Granada, you can definitely print them out before the actual date of your visit. Let me know if that clarifies your question

MaryJuly 9, 2016 - 9:07 am

Great tips! I lived in Granada for a while, and never got tired of the Alhambra-it’s absolutely stunning. Also great pictures! How did you get them without hoards of people in them???

SherJuly 9, 2016 - 4:16 pm

Thanks Mary! Ah its just timing and good cropping :)

Jessica {The Bohemian Diaries}July 11, 2016 - 11:29 am

Fabulous photos, Sher! You should really throw a watermark on them to prevent others from taking them for personal or commercial use without giving you credit (they are that beautiful!) Definitely would love to make it there one day!

SherJuly 11, 2016 - 1:54 pm

Jessica, wow thank you for your kind words! So flattering, maybe I will think about adding one someday :)

CharlieJuly 11, 2016 - 3:03 pm

@Sher : Yes, I already bought my tickets on Ticketmaster :). What I wanted to know was if I can head to the tourism office when I will be in Granada to print my tickets the day before my visit to the Alhambra. So, you answered my question :) Thank you again!

TeodoraJuly 11, 2016 - 6:04 pm

Amazing photos! Been to Spain several times but I should definitely go back and visit this majestic place! Will save this for future reference!

SherJuly 11, 2016 - 6:05 pm

Hi Charlie, ok great! Glad I was able to answer. I also heard from friends that ANY la caixa branch should be equipped to print out tickets – a friend was able to print hers in Madrid as she was anxious to get the physical tickets in hand. i wasn’t able to verify that myself but thought I’d pass it along! :)

christine legerJuly 12, 2016 - 2:55 pm

wow. I didn’t know any of that. Thanks for the heads up. My parents are going in march

TomJuly 13, 2016 - 4:02 pm

I would never have thought Spain’s most popular attraction was in Granada! Wow! I’ll have to visit there when I return to Bracelona!

[…] up in the hills. There are numerous sidewalk cafes and restaurants within walking distance and the Alhambra is an easy 15 min walk up the […]

Marge GavanJuly 16, 2016 - 9:51 pm

Only 6,600 visitors per day? I wonder how they come up with such a number. I understand why the ticket sells so fast, I mean just look at it, so gorgeous. I would love to go there myself someday.

[…] Read more: Essential Tips for Visiting the Alhambra in Granada, Spain […]

NaomiAugust 9, 2016 - 3:45 pm

Thanks for the great tips and links. I never would have thought it would be that difficult or as least challenging. I’ll go in November. Just to clarify, why do you recommend the hike for the 8 am time slot? does the bus not run that early.. or…?

SherAugust 12, 2016 - 12:17 pm

Hi Naomi! I recommend the 8am time slot because it’s the first time slot of the day. That way you can see the Nasrid Palace with the least amount of crowds. You can pick any time slot you want though, there are slots every 30 minutes throughout the day. I recommend that you try to see the Nasrid Palace first out of everything in the Alhambra, because there’s often a huge queue and you don’t want to be at the gardens for example, which are about a 15 min walk away and then have to rush back to queue for the Palaces.

Regarding the bus vs. walk, there are two entrances to the Alhambra complex: the Main Entrance and the Justice Gate. The bus takes you to the Main Entrance (closer to the gardens) or you can walk to the Justice Gate entrance (in front of the Nasrid Palaces). You can of course choose whichever mode of transport but if you DO plan to see the Nasrid Palaces first, it makes more sense to walk to the Justice Gate – that way you will arrive right at the sight. If you take the bus, you are dropped off closer to the gardens and have to walk 15 minutes to get to the palaces anyway, so its a bit of a extended loop. Also just to clarify – it’s a steep climb but I wouldn’t go so far as to say you are actually “hiking” if you choose to walk. Its steep but doable! :) Hope that was helpful!

LonnieOctober 7, 2016 - 5:57 am

Thank you so much for the information! We will be driving from Ronda in the morning, right at the end of August and so want to allow plenty of time for traffic. If I book the afternoon slot, and choose say 3:00pm for the Nasrid Palace, does that mean we should have an hour to walk through the other areas, or will we need to jump in the line much earlier to make the 3:00pm slot? Also, will parking be a nightmare at that time of day?

[…] You can’t miss the palace of Granada – the Alhambra. It overlooks the city from the top of the palace grounds (which make for a nice nature walk for those on tight a budget). The fortress was originally built by the Romans but further developed by the Moors, the palace offers guided tours for an additional charge and exhibitions change frequently – typical things to do in the Alhambra, Granada.  A visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the #1 thing to do in Granada on Trip Advisor. Check out this tips on purcashing Alahambra tickets. […]

[…] you know when you’ll be in Granada, buy your tickets online at least one week in advance. Ticketmaster in Granada is one of the best ways to get your ticket. Admission into Palacios Nazaries are valid for a 30 […]

[…] Know Before You Buy: Alhambra Tickets for Granada, Spain […]

Robin WickesFebruary 9, 2017 - 5:23 am

Hi Sher. Thanks for your very useful blog. You say the visiting-day is split into Morning and Afternoon, with the Morning ending at 2pm as the Afternoon begins. I see that Ticketmaster offers tickets for General entry starting every half hour during the day. If your ticket is for entry at 1pm, does that mean you have only 1 hour to see everything because everyone has to leave at 2pm so that the Afternoon visits can start? Many thanks again.

SherFebruary 9, 2017 - 10:26 am

Hi Robin – so glad you found it useful! Thanks for commenting – I just went on the Ticketmaster Alhambra website and realized that they’ve changed some things around so I updated the post.

There are 2 general visiting sessions per day, morning and afternoon. When buying a ticket, the 30 min time slot refers only to the period when you enter the Palace. Because the palace is enclosed, they restrict entry to a set number of people and usher in new people every 30 minutes so in the purchasing process, you are committing to seeing the palace in that time span. However, you can see the entire complex (the gardens, the old fort, etc) anytime during the session hours. So for example, you book a 1pm ticket. That means you can enter the Alhambra complex anytime from 8:30am – 2pm and see the gardens, the old forts, the smaller exhibits, etc. You can only enter the palace however, from 1-1:30pm (and typically there is a line to enter so you would want to start queueing around say 12pm to make sure you are at the entrance gate at 1pm). Hope that helps! Let me know if any other questions.

SherFebruary 9, 2017 - 10:45 am

Hi Lonnie – sorry I think I missed seeing your comment. It sounds like you’ll be visiting in August 2017 so I hope that I am in time to answer. I would line up 30 min in advance to see the palace. If you jump in line AT 3pm I think that is probably cutting it slightly close since people are usually queueing in a wrap around section.

Regarding parking – I didn’t drive in Spain so im not sure! I don’t remember that there is parking lot at the complex, since its built on a hill right in the old town. I would probably park at your hotel (if they have parking) and then just walking over or taking the local bus.

[…] famous towns in Southern Spain and a must stop on any Andalusian itinerary, if only to visit the Alhambra palace. We did a loop through Southern Spain from west to east and saved Granada for last. Logistically, […]

RobinFebruary 9, 2017 - 12:56 pm

Magic! Thanks Sher.

KellyFebruary 22, 2017 - 3:29 pm

This was so so helpful—thank you for writing and updating it! I was having the hardest time finding how to buy tickets on the Alhambra website and ticketmaster, especially with half the pages showing up in Spanish. I just bought my tickets following your process and links and will be visiting at the end of March. I look forward to reading your recommendations for Granada and Seville!

SherFebruary 22, 2017 - 5:22 pm

So glad you found it helpful Kelly!

Scott LindenbergMarch 11, 2017 - 9:16 am

Sher-Loved your article on the Alhambra, but there are still two things which are unclear to me. Let’s say I have a 1:30 p.m. entry time for the Nasrid Palace. If I get there before 1:30 and the line prevents entry before 2:00, will I still be able to enter after 2:00? Second, assuming I get into the Nasrid Palace and exit after 2:00 p.m., will I still be able to get into the Generalife Gardens, even though my ticket time was 1:30? That is to say, is the Gardens entry time-sensitive, as well? I’m just not clear on the significance of the morning versus afternoon ticket.

SherMarch 11, 2017 - 9:25 am

Hi Scott – if you purchase a 1:30pm entry time you will need to enter the Nasrid Palace between 1:30 – 2pm. There is a guard scanning tickets by the turnstile and the scan will only work in that 30 min window. If you wait too long to join the line and don’t reach the front turnstile until after your 30 min window, aka after 2pm, yes you are out of luck.

There are 2 “sessions” per day – a morning and afternoon. Only the Nasrid palace is a specific timed excercise. All the other attractions like the gardens, old fort, museum etc can be experienced anytime in your session. Since youre buying a 1:30pm nasrid palace ticket, i would queue up for that around 12:45/1pm and afterwards see the rest of the Alhambra as you have until 6pm for everything else.

PattyMarch 15, 2017 - 2:09 pm

Sher – thank you for your article and the beautiful photos. I am trying to purchase tickets online with a US credit card and it keeps telling me that my card is not working. I have tried several cards and none of them will work. I read that other people had this same problem. I’m wondering if you were able to purchase your tickets from the US using a US credit card.
Thank you.

SherMarch 15, 2017 - 2:20 pm

Hi Patty – Hm, no I didn’t have any issues and used a US credit card for the spanish version of ticketmaster. Perhaps one of the tours might be an easier option? It’s more straightforward and includes transportation and the tickets, and given that they raised alhambra ticket prices significantly via ticketmaster, the tours I linked are a good deal. It might also be your bank putting a hold on your card bc they think its suspicious – try calling your bank?

KriahnaMarch 22, 2017 - 8:35 am

Really informative post… And amazing pictures. May I ask What camera and lens combination did you use?

Also do you Happen to know what time the tourist office closes and if the automatic machines are available after the office closes?

SherMarch 24, 2017 - 5:32 am

No the machines are within the office so i would assume they are not available after close. Not sure of specific hours!

Thanks for your nice comments. I use either my iphone or canon camera! Exact models and lenses are all listed on my FAQ page :)

RobinMarch 26, 2017 - 11:10 am

Hi Sher. I visited the Alhambra (which is truly fantastic) last week and I’d make a couple of points which might be of value.

1. The Corral del Carbon service is great except that the folks there are not empowered to give you your ticket if you’re paying a discounted rate. One of the members of my party was entitled to a discount because he’s 65 and he was told his only option was to go up to the ticket office at the main entrance to the Alhambra. That’s the only place where you can prove your entitlement to a concessionary rate – eg with a passport. Unbelievably, the staff at Corral del Carbon are not authorised to verify your date of birth against your passport.

2. The audioguides were already sold out at 10:30am when we arrived. Fortunately we had a guidebook which gave us plenty of detail so we weren’t too disadvantaged. We used the Lonely Planet but we saw folks with the Rough Guide and lots of other guides. So a trip to your local library before leaving for Spain might be worthwhile.

We had a brilliant day – our 7-hour visit whizzed by!

SherMarch 26, 2017 - 12:38 pm

Hi Robin, thanks for letting me know! I hope you enjoyed your trip and i’ll be sure to update the post!

HeatherApril 23, 2017 - 8:49 pm

First of all thanks for posting this – its super helpful!

I’m still a bit confused about which slot to choose. There is no mention of the morning/afternoon sessions on the ticketmaster site – is that still a thing? I am trying to purchase tickets for early June and all of the slots up until 1pm are sold out. Would you recommend choosing a 3pm slot and arriving at 2pm to get in? Or choosing the 1pm slot, arriving at 8am to the complex and doing the palace last? In general, I was confused about what time we are supposed to arrive at the Alhambra site regardless of our time slot for the Nasrid Palace.

Thanks!

SherApril 23, 2017 - 9:39 pm

Hi Heather, glad you liked the post! Yes, there is a morning and afternoon session. They took away the extra step on the ticket purchase pages (before you clicked morning or afternoon) but if you navigate to the ticketmaster page (direct link in the post) you’ll see it says under opening hours:

8am – 2pm
2pm – closing (depends on season)

So i believe the distinction is still in effect, to help with crowd control. (They seem to have redone the Ticketmaster site in Jan or so and I agree its a bit confusing now)

In regards to your second question, its up to you! If you choose the 1pm, you can enter the Alhambra (meaning the site) anytime from 8am – 2pm so in that case you would visit the gardens, old fortress etc first and then start queuing for the nasrid palaces at noon. They recommend to queue 1 hour before the entrance printed on your ticket. Since you’re going in peak summer… maybe consider scoping out how bad the line is at 11:30am to give yourself room.

If you choose the 3pm, yes you should arrive to queue for the nasrid at 2pm and then see the other sites after. Hope that helps!

RobinApril 24, 2017 - 12:34 pm

Hi Heather and Sher. There must be a way of checking whether the “morning” and “afternoon” sessions actually mean that the whole Alahambra is cleared of the morning visitors at 2pm and then the afternoon visitors are allowed in. None of the guide books suggest this is the case but I agree that the Ticketmaster page is worrying. I visited last month and was advised that you need a whole day to see everything – certainly more than a morning or afternoon. We arrived (via the easy walk up to the Justice Gate) at 10:00. We walked along to the Generalife (wonderful!) where we spent 2 hours. Then after a quick lunch in the cafe outside the main entrance, we went back in and visited the Alcazaba (marvellous!) and then had a look in the museums (fascinating!). We joined the queue for the Palace (fantastic!) at about 2:30 because we had tickets for 3:30. That’s a good time to visit because a lot of the bus-tours have left by then. We left the Palace at 4:30 and had an hour’s stroll around the Partal and Medina before wending our weary way back down to Granada via a bar or two. A brilliant day! And may I say that Sher’s guidance was extremely valuable.

SherApril 24, 2017 - 12:56 pm

Hi Robin,

I visited the Alhambra last year (2016)and they scan your ticket at each site entry (the nasrid, the old fortress, etc). At that time in 2016, your ticket would stop scanning outside of your designated period (so for example if you chose a morning ticket, the man scanning would deny you entry at 3pm) and the morning/afternoon designation was something to keep in mind. Rick Steves also mentioned this in his guidebook but I believe I used his 2015 version for my visit.

They don’t physically clear you out – you can linger in the gardens for example where there are no guards scanning tickets – but you wouldn’t be able to enter the sites before or after your period and effectively, that makes people stick to the session times. I did a 8am – 2pm visit personally and felt like it was enough time but I agree that if you stop for lunch and like to take things at a slower pace, then a full day is great. I am more go, go go especially once crowds come ha :)

Because they changed the ticketmaster website and no longer have that in-between page where you pick “morning” or “afternoon”, I am unsure if that is still 100% the case but it seems that way given the way they list their opening hours in the same 2 sections. If anyone is visiting this year in 2017 and has the latest info I would love to get any feedback and am happy to update the article!

SherApril 25, 2017 - 1:44 pm

Hi Robin and Heather – I checked the official granada alhambra site and their site does seem to confirm the morning afternoon designation. Hope this helps!

“You must access the Monument visiting areas within the established schedule for the type of ticket purchased (morning, afternoon or evening).”
source: https://www.alhambradegranada.org/en/info/ticketsale.asp

[…] Headed to Andalusia? Check out this 3-day Granada Itinerary and Alhambra Visitor’s Guide […]

[…] Headed to Andalusia? Check out this 3-day Granada Itinerary and Alhambra Visitor’s Guide […]

[…] so you’ll need to book this in advance. You can read about everything you need to know regarding Alhambra tickets in this post here or skip the mess entirely and take a guided tour that bypasses the queue […]

[…] | Appreciating the exquisite architecture of Granada’s Alhambra and Cordoba’s […]

ApoorvMay 23, 2017 - 11:31 am

Thanks for the help…especially on the direct link to the website in english….thnaks a bunch again

AanchalJune 6, 2017 - 10:39 am

Hi,
On the ticketmaster site, everytime I try my credit card for booking the tickets, its making the middle name mandatory (which I don’t have).
Is I put my last name as my middle name, the site validation goes through but the Credit card validation fails.

ANy idea? or if anyone has experienced the same?

Thanks,
Aanchal

SherJune 6, 2017 - 11:29 am

Hi Aanchal – hm sounds odd. Try buying in an incognito browser or clearing your cookies? You definitely dont need a middle name to booi

AanchalJune 6, 2017 - 2:19 pm

Nopes. I tried 2-3 different computers, different credit cards, nothing works.
I guess the only option left is to call them.
Thanks for you help !
Thanks,
Aanchal

SherJune 6, 2017 - 2:43 pm

Hm sorry! You can also look into a tour if ticketmaster isnt working. Just curious are you using a US credit card and the direct link from my post?

JessicaJune 18, 2017 - 10:08 pm

Im also having issues buying tickets with my credit card. I also believe that it has to do with the middle name and card verification. Ive tried every possible combination and credit card.

SherJune 19, 2017 - 3:20 am

Sorry to hear that :/ they must have changed the check out process.

I would probably just buy the tour in that case – its not much more expensive, they pick you up, you get to skip the line and have the benefit of a guided visit