I dropped the ball and couldn't get individual tickets to the Alhambra or even a space on one of the highly-rated tours. I figured this would be good enough. Big mistake. Our guide was a very nice person, but it was not a good experience. As others have noted, English-only tour was actually at least 60% Spanish, and my Spanish is decent enough to figure out that there was marginally more info being conveyed in Spanish than English. In any event, translation meant that 2-hour tour was at most 1 hours worth of info. So, no background, history or context. Just general description of the compound, recitation of various legends and comments about modern life in Granada. Tour explicitly excludes important palace but guide also skipped Arab baths near the former mosque. We went in ourselves and they were lovely and interesting.
It was a well laid out tour. The guides were late and there was confusion with the number of tickets available versus the people signed up. However they sorted it out eventually. We were able to get through the entrance wihtout a wait. Our guide was very knowledgeable and spoke very good English. I highly recommend this tour to all those last minute travellers who are unable to secure tickets to the Nasrid Palace. You get to see the rest of Allhambra/Generalife.
When it was impossible for me to book entrance to and a tour of Alhambra for October of 2017, I was finally able to do so through Viator.
It wasn't cheap, but I did have a choice between my two available dates.
I thought I had an English only tour but it turned out to be a combined Spanish and English tour. I felt that more than half the time was in Spanish although people in the Spanish speaking group were also unhappy and quite outspoken about it.
The guide showed up after 9am which was the official start time for the tour. He should have showed up early to collect and explain things to his group. Two women showed up at least 20 to 30 minutes late and the guide felt compelled to hold about 40 people waiting while he tried see if they were there and include them. They finally appeared on the scene. I felt that the rules should be such that after a reasonable period of time .. eg. 10 minutes, the guide should have the authority to start the tour without the seriously late missing people. FYI..the starting area for tours is a 'zoo' around 9am with lots of people and lots of confusion.
These tours are run to a strict time-table. Since we started late and then proceeded slowly due to the requirement for explanations in two languages, I understand we missed seeing two sections of the Alhambra.
While the guide was knowledgeable about the history of the Alhambra e.g., names and dates, he was NOT an engaging tour leader.
The Alhambra was an interesting place to visit so I don't regret going there.
By contrast, our free walking tour of Granada the next day, was very interesting with an engaging guide.
Our tour was slow to begin as we waited an extra 15 minutes for 4 people who then didn't show up. We had booked an English speaking tour, and our guide's accent was difficult to understand and we had to concentrate very hard to follow what he was saying. However he was extremely knowledgeable, engaging and friendly.