Tourist cards are a world of their own. During these last years, almost every city with a tourist relevance -or even without it- has implemented their own city card or city pass.
The potential buyer will always have the following question: is buying the city pass really worth it? The answer is simple: it will depend on the pass itself and your plan of visit. However, there is a card that leaves no room for doubts. If you are planning to visit Granada, Spain, and you will stay between 2 to 5 days in the city, the Granada Card is one of the best options for discovering the must-sees in this Andalusian town.
It’s not only because my office is in charge of promoting the card: I’ve used the Granada Card and I firmly recommend it to all my friends and relatives whenever they come to visit Granada.
If you want to know why, don’t worry, I’ll explain it from A to Z.
1. You save money when visiting the monuments
Granada Card is basically a «flat rate» for the whole city. Essentially, it is a ticket for the Alhambra, plus the most important monuments and museums in the city also including public transportation within the city. The prices of the cards are €33.50 (Granada Card Basic) and €37.50 (Granada Card Plus). If you decided to visit the included monuments independently it would cost you €40.50. If on top of that we add the price of bus tickets included you would be spending between €46.50 to €50.80. So with the Granada Card you are saving yourself €13 per person!
If you just want to visit the Alhambra and not to explore anything else in the city, then, this card is not worth it. But if you really want to explore and get the best of Granada, then Granada Card is the best option in order to discover the huge cultural heritage of this city.
2. You’ll have enough time to visit everything that is included
In this world of tourist passes, there are cities that are tempted to add and add monuments to their cards in order to make a more appealing product. One could say that this is an advantage. However, we, as clients, shouldn’t get fascinated by cards that include an infinite list of museums and monuments to visit as it is very likely that our trip becomes a marathon so that our money spent is worth it.
The Granada Card includes just a good amount of monuments so that we can visit them in two or three days. If we have more time, even better, but with just a short stay we’ll leave Granada with the feeling that we have made the best of our trip, both with time and money.
3. It’s easier to use than other cards
The Granada Card is not a discount pass, once you pay, you don’t have to pay for anything else. Also, you don’t need to exchange your tickets for the different monuments included. The Granada Card is itself the ticket for all the monuments. It is also the transportation card. That is, once you print out your card at any of the official pick up points in the city, you won’t need to do anything else. Just go to the monuments or take the bus. As simple as that.
4. You’ll save yourself problems with the car
For the tourists that visit Granada, one of the biggest sources of problems is a car. Our city has a very special urban outline. Due to its Northwest-Southwest parallel avenues and a unique old town located on the side of the city instead of the center, it is very easy to drive into one of the traffic restricted areas and thus get fined. For this reason, the best thing to do is to use the public transportation while not walking.
The Granada Card Basic includes 5 bus tickets and the Granada Card Plus, 9 bus tickets. This would be enough in order to not need the car during your stay in the city. Furthermore, the Granada Card Plus includes one ride on the City Tourist Train.
5. You’re guaranteed to visit the Alhambra and Generalife…
If the general tickets for the Alhambra are sold out, does the Granada Card ensure that I can visit the monument? Yes, it does. One can see the the Granada Card as «a ticket for the Alhambra with other additional services». You will never be sold a Granada Card without an entrance to the Alhambra. How can that be possible? The general tickets that can be bought through Ticketmaster and the Granada Card are different sales channels of the Alhambra. For instance, while Ticketmaster might have 1000 tickets for April the 1st, the Granada Card has 200. Ticketmaster might have sold their tickets, but the Granada Cards might still be available.
During the process of purchasing a Granada Card you’ll first choose a starting date for the card, and second the day you want to visit the Alhambra and an exact time for the Nasrid Palaces. This way, once you finish your online reservation of the Granada Card, you will already have your visit to the Alhambra secured.
For further information on this issue please read: things you need to know before visiting the Alhambra of Granada.
6. … and you’ll avoid the scary line!
No lines. This is one of the main advantages of the Granada Card as a matter of convenience. Once you pick up your cards you won’t need to queue the line at the ticket office. That terrible line that everybody is scared of is formed by those who don’t have a ticket booked: Ticketmaster, travel agency or Granada Card. You won’t be any of those! You don’t have to go to the ticket office to get your ticket as the actual card is your gateway for the Alhambra. Just go to the access points of the Nasrid Palaces, the Alcazaba and the Generalife. But be careful and don’t miss your entrance time!
7. Get to know the main monuments of the city
Besides the Alhambra, with the Granada Card you can visit the othe major monuments in the city. The Cathedral and the Royal Chapel, both located in the city center, are witnesses of the kings that united the different realms of Spain that wished to give Granada a Christian spirit after its conquest. In fact, the so-called Catholic Monarchs are buried under the second of these temples. Thus, with your Granada Card, you’ll have paid your visit to those who the Spanish traditional History-writing points to as founders of the country.
Also, the card includes the visit to the two most important monasteries in the city: the Monastery of San Jerónimo (or Saint Jerome) and the Monastery of la Cartuja (also known in English as the Granada Charterhouse). Both are -in this order- references in Andalusia and Spain of the Renaissance and Baroque architectural styles.
And if you get tired of the 15th and 16th centuries, you can switch to the Science Park Museum and the Museum Caja Granada, which I’ll describe below.
8. You’ll have a good plan if you come with kids
The Science Park Museum and the Museum Caja Granada are two treasures of the Contemporary Art in Granada. But they are also two interactive museums included in the Granada Card that are specially aimed at children… and grown ups. There are different halls to discover science, animals and the history of our region by the means of games and gadgets; the main assets of these facilities. A whole day running from one side to another in the museums and they’ll sleep like angels.
Furthermore, the Granada Card has a discount for children aged between 3 to 11 years and costs only €10.50 (both Plus and Basic kinds). Children under 3 don’t need Granada Cards as they have free access to all the monuments and services included.
9. You’ll be attended by very nice people!
What can I say about my fellow co-workers? They are just great people! If you decide to pick up your Granada Cards to the City Tourist Information Office, both people in charge as well as interns will give you the best of services while informing you on how your Granada Card works.
Any more doubts?
If you’re still interested in purchasing a Granada Card but you still have questions or things that are unclear about how it works, don’t hesitate and ask in the comments! I’ll be glad to answer any doubts you may have!
See you in Granada!
Photos: Turismo Ciudad de Granada
Thanks to Mar, for allowing me to use her cutie smile for illustrating our office!
Translation: Layne Ivy