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Malaga and Granada - enough for a week

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Clariman
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Malaga and Granada - enough for a week

#172342

Postby Clariman » October 8th, 2018, 8:00 pm

We've had a couple of great holidays (Feb) to Cordoba and Seville in recent years. We're thinking of picking up a cheap flight to Malaga at the end of the month and spending a week split between Malaga and Granada (using the bus). Is there enough food, culture, things to see in these 2 places to last a week? Should we spend most of it in Malaga and do day trips by train or bus to places like Ronda?

Any thoughts appreciated. I could hire a car but not sure i can be bothered to :)

Thanks

swill453
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Re: Malaga and Granada - enough for a week

#172350

Postby swill453 » October 8th, 2018, 8:22 pm

Clariman wrote:We've had a couple of great holidays (Feb) to Cordoba and Seville in recent years. We're thinking of picking up a cheap flight to Malaga at the end of the month and spending a week split between Malaga and Granada (using the bus). Is there enough food, culture, things to see in these 2 places to last a week?

Enough food to last you a lot longer than a week, in either place, as you'd expect.

For culture Malaga has more than you might expect, but still probably only 2 or 3 days to cover it. Granada - of course you need at least a whole day to do the Alhambra, and probably worth another day or two.

Yes Ronda would fill your week nicely. Personally I'd get a car from http://malagacar.com , but I guess buses would be possible.

Scott.

Mike88
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Re: Malaga and Granada - enough for a week

#172351

Postby Mike88 » October 8th, 2018, 8:27 pm

Just ensure you get tickets for the Alhambra early as slots are regularly full.

Clariman
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Re: Malaga and Granada - enough for a week

#172355

Postby Clariman » October 8th, 2018, 8:41 pm

swill453 wrote:Yes Ronda would fill your week nicely. Personally I'd get a car from http://malagacar.com , but I guess buses would be possible.

Scott.

Is the drive from Malaga to Granada and to Ronda non-adventurous? i.e. decent roads that aren't cliff-edge ;)

swill453
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Re: Malaga and Granada - enough for a week

#172360

Postby swill453 » October 8th, 2018, 8:55 pm

Clariman wrote:Is the drive from Malaga to Granada and to Ronda non-adventurous? i.e. decent roads that aren't cliff-edge ;)

Yes definitely. And comfortably less than 2 hours each.

Scott.

PinkDalek
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Re: Malaga and Granada - enough for a week

#172391

Postby PinkDalek » October 8th, 2018, 10:16 pm

If of interest, there’s plenty of tips on the Alhambra in your Jan 2017 Topic:

viewtopic.php?p=21026#p21026

It includes a reply from casapinos, a near local, who invited further questions by PM.

I also mentioned the Sierra Nevada mountain range on there. Some 25 peaks over 3,000 metres. 20 kilometres or so further up the mountain from the Alhambra or 30 kms from Granada. Might be worth a coach or bus trip up to the mountains another day (which one in particular, I don't know) to enjoy the views, before the snow sets in, assuming such services run off season and you enjoy such things. The roads we drove up weren't perilous.

Clariman
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Re: Malaga and Granada - enough for a week

#172408

Postby Clariman » October 8th, 2018, 11:07 pm

PinkDalek wrote:If of interest, there’s plenty of tips on the Alhambra in your Jan 2017 Topic:

viewtopic.php?p=21026#p21026

It includes a reply from casapinos, a near local, who invited further questions by PM..


Many thanks PD. I read that thread again before posting. We'd settled on Grenada and Malaga this time do was looking for feedback if that was enough for a week.

Having sausage that, I've just discovered that the Alhambra daytime and evening tickets are fully booked. However some tour companies have guided tour tickets available. Has anyone been on a guided tour there? Are they worth paying 49 euros for?

May decide to postpone Grenada to another time and pass this time.

Thanks
C

dspp
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Re: Malaga and Granada - enough for a week

#172414

Postby dspp » October 8th, 2018, 11:22 pm

Clariman wrote:Having sausage that, I've just discovered that the Alhambra daytime and evening tickets are fully booked. However some tour companies have guided tour tickets available. Has anyone been on a guided tour there? Are they worth paying 49 euros for?


The Alhambra is worth EUR 49. I have no opinion on the tour guide. Seriously, go. One day I will go back again.

regards, dspp

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Re: Malaga and Granada - enough for a week

#172420

Postby Clitheroekid » October 9th, 2018, 12:07 am

I can't really comment about Malaga, having only ever passed through there, but I've just returned from a trip to Spain and Portugal that included a couple of days in Granada, and I absolutely loved it.

I suppose I was lucky, in that the weather was perfect - sunny with mid to high 20's - but I would have happily stayed for longer had time permitted.

My main reason for going was to visit the Alhambra. It had been on my bucket list for decades, and was something that I thought I could casually do when in Spain on holiday generally. However, I decided that I'd never get round to it on a casual basis, hence the specific decision to go there.

I knew from speaking to friends that had been there that you had to book tickets ahead, but I was shocked to discover that they were sold out for several weeks ahead. You can check the current availability here - https://compratickets.alhambra-patronat ... lg=en&ca=1

As I was booking just a few days before I wanted to visit this threatened to scupper my plans entirely. However, a bit of digging around revealed that if you're prepared to pay for a guided tour you can usually get in at fairly short notice. I booked with this lot, and I would recommend them very highly - https://uk.viator.com/tours/Granada/Ski ... 554-3443G1

I found Granada itself to be a delightful city. I was based centrally, just a few hundred yards from the Cathedral, and although the road I was staying on, the Gran Vía de Colón, was quite a smart city street with upmarket shops, within a hundred yards walk you were in the old town, with winding streets, lots of tiny restaurants (including quite a few Middle Eastern ones) and bazaar style shops, brilliant for just exploring and people-watching.

And although it's typical of most of southern Europe in the summer it was wonderful to be able to sit down outside a restaurant at 11pm and order a meal without the slightest problem - try doing that on a weekday in the average English town! Many of the bars and restaurants were open till well after midnight, which as a night owl suited me perfectly.

As someone said, it’s a fair climb to the top of the town, particularly in hot weather, so being something of a lazy git I caught a bus up to the Mirador de San Cristobal. There are excellent views from there, and I then followed a slightly convoluted but hugely enjoyable route back to the Cathedral that wandered through the Albaicin, the old Moorish quarter, and now a World Heritage Site.

It was a very easy walk, being downhill, but was one of the most enjoyable for a long time. It went through lots of narrow streets and there were plenty of bars / cafes to stop and soak up the atmosphere but without it feeling at all tourist-infested. In fact there seemed to be relatively few obvious tourists at all, certainly compared to other Spanish cities I've visited recently.

I'd booked a 4pm ticket for the Alhambra, which worked out well, as we were able to stay till closing time at 7:30. I was in a group of about 8 or 9, and our guide was brilliant. He spoke excellent English, and was an absolute fount of knowledge, but he didn’t just sound like he was reading a script as so many guides do. Even if I'd been able to buy a normal entrance ticket the guided tour was definitely worth the extra, as it's a large site, and I wouldn’t have got half as much out of it if I'd been left to my own devices.

One thing you must ensure is that the tour includes entrance to the Nazrid Palaces. Your entry to these is timed, but they are the most exquisite part of the Alhambra, and it would be a dreadful mistake to miss them.

The Alhambra itself and the Generalife gardens were absolutely stunning. In fact, I'd say it was possibly the most beautiful man made object I've ever seen. I love Islamic architecture and design anyway, and the Alhambra encompassed some of the best examples of it that I've ever seen. It was one of the very few `must see' items that surpassed not just my expectations but my hopes. I took this as we were leaving:

Image

I am definitely going back there when’ve more time, and I can assure you there is more than "enough food, culture, things to see" to last far more than a week!

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Re: Malaga and Granada - enough for a week

#172481

Postby WorldCupWilly » October 9th, 2018, 10:03 am

Clariman wrote:Is the drive from Malaga to Granada and to Ronda non-adventurous? i.e. decent roads that aren't cliff-edge ;)


Malaga itself is worth spending some time seeing - besides the Cathedral and the Alcazaba, it has a lovely city park and a much improved waterside - there is also a great place to sample the wine at Bodega Antigua Casa de Guardia :D

The drive to Granada is clear motorway. IIRC the drive to Ronda does include some hairpin bends and a fair number of "pushy" lorries but It's well worth a visit and besides the famous gorge (and Puente Nuevo bridge which houses a prison from which a number of people were thrown during the civil war) it has a good bullfighting museum.

A couple of other suggestions would be El Camimito Del Rey path http://www.caminitodelrey.info/en/#3 and I'd stop in Nerja too (if you've not been there before). It's quite a pretty old town (largely pedestrianised in the centre), has the Balcón de Europa which is worth seeing and some interesting caves just outside near Maro.

Enjoy the trip.

WCW

stockton
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Re: Malaga and Granada - enough for a week

#172877

Postby stockton » October 10th, 2018, 8:14 pm

Clariman wrote:Is the drive from Malaga to Granada and to Ronda non-adventurous? i.e. decent roads that aren't cliff-edge ;)

The problem with a car is not between towns, but within town, particularly Granada which is very short of parking and has strange rules about vehicle access. You need to study such matters before booking a hotel there if you have a car.
Either way there are two(plus) routes between Malaga and Granada. The standard bus goes inland from Malaga and then east, but you can also go east along the coast and then inland which only requires a change of bus at Nerja or Almunecar. The latter route takes very little longer and is probably more scenic.
If you arrive in Granada by bus you need to take a local bus into the town centre; if you arrive by car from Malaga via the inland route you need to look very carefully for the turnoff to Granada

Clariman
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Re: Malaga and Granada - enough for a week

#177993

Postby Clariman » November 3rd, 2018, 10:07 pm

We've just returned from Malaga and Granada and can confirm that there is easily enough for a week. In fact, Granada could take a week on its own without a problem, but I guess it depends what people want from a holiday. Good friends of ours said that 2 or 3 days in Granada was plenty.

The old part of Malaga was charming and the Alcazabar and the Cathedral were well worth a visit. The seafront has a modern promenade which leads round to the cruise ship port with typical 'cruise' shops the nearer you get to it. It it a pleasant stroll but not as interesting as the old town. The queues for the Picasso museum were busy so we contended ourselves with visiting a music museum, drinking wine, eating tapas and taking in the architecture - mixture of Islamic (Alcazabar), Renaissance and Baroque (some public buildings) and 19th century boulevards. It is a big city so is surrounded by apartment blocks (and some near our hotel which was 20 mins walk from the old town). It felt very safe in the centre. We would happily return for a long weekend if we found cheap flights. One highlight was coming across a procession from the Cathedral where a statue Mary was held aloft on one of those enormous floats that are normally held up by a team of men - but was entirely supported by women - must have been 40 to 50 of them. They were led out by trumpeters and the town band followed on behind. Quite a spectacle - and very different from UK religious culture.

Granada was even better. A lot has been written about the Alhambra, but Granada is worthy of a good visit even without the Alhambra. One highlight was a 'free' 2.5 hour walking tour of the Albaicin area - which is the oldest part of the city - predating even the 11th to 14th century Alhambra. It is a Unesco world heritage site in its own right. We learned so much about the city's history, about Islam, about its influence on Spanish art and culture etc. The tour was led by a student who was a native of Granada who was doing his Masters in Islamic/Spanish art. There were also 2 young Arabic speaking Moroccan men on the tour with us, who added to the Islamic and Arabic knowledge to the tour. Interestingly, out of a tour group of about 18 people we were the only 2 from the UK - the rest were French, Brazilian, Australian, American, Moroccan etc. I suppose all the other Brits were in the costas.

Perhaps the biggest surprise to me about Granada was the significant number of both Renaissance and Baroque buildings in the city - the Royal Chancellery is a stunning Renaissance building in my opinion https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Cha ... of_Granada . It is still used as one of the top law courts in Spain which means it is not open to the public. However, a glimpse through the doors when in session revealed that the interior was just as great.

The cathedral and Royal Chapel were both impressive but we found the audio guide a bit irritating because it did not allow time to take things in before it moved you on to the next. Also the Catholic splendour and imagery was somewhat overwhelming for our Northern European eyes and ears. Me being a heathen and Mrs C being Presbyterian found it a bit too much, yet wonderful at the same time.

Another delight was coming across a small convent (Santa Catalina de Zafra) which had its chapel and sacristy open to the public for a 1 euro donation. Wow! What splendour hidden behind the door of the chapel, yet the sacristy had a simple wash-hand basin, bar of soap and mirror that showed it was a living and working building. And it has been there fulfilling its role since 1540!

So the Alhambra. Well you can read loads about it elsewhere, so I won't bore anyone about it. However, I would say that I personally found the Alcazar in Seville more stunning, but the Alhambra is beautiful too and wins in terms of sheer scale and, of course, its magnificent elevated position which lends itself well to photos - especially when the Sierra Nevada mountains behind are snow-capped as they were by the end of our trip.

Getting to Granada from Malaga was very easy with the ASLA bus service. We opted for the direct Supra Economy bus which was very comfortable with leather seats, WiFi, toilet (important for a man of a certain age) etc. The bus on the way to Granada broke down but a replacement arrived within 30 minutes which was pretty impressive given that we were more than an hour from Malaga and about half an hour from Granada. The journey back was without hitch.

In the last 18 months we have also visited Seville and Cordoba twice, so seeing Malaga and Granada has helped build a more comprehensive picture of the major cities and historical sites We have loved every one of them.

Thanks for your suggestions
Clariman

Mike88
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Re: Malaga and Granada - enough for a week

#178075

Postby Mike88 » November 4th, 2018, 3:55 pm

Clariman wrote:
PinkDalek wrote:If of interest, there’s plenty of tips on the Alhambra in your Jan 2017 Topic:

viewtopic.php?p=21026#p21026

It includes a reply from casapinos, a near local, who invited further questions by PM..



Having sausage that, I've just discovered that the Alhambra daytime and evening tickets are fully booked. However some tour companies have guided tour tickets available. Has anyone been on a guided tour there? Are they worth paying 49 euros for?


Thanks
C


Tickets for the Alhambra are nearly always difficult for ordinary tourists to obtain as suggested in my earlier post. The only way to guarantee a ticket is to go on a guided tour and I would suggest the 49 euro charge is better than the alternative of not going at all.

Clariman
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Re: Malaga and Granada - enough for a week

#178080

Postby Clariman » November 4th, 2018, 4:13 pm

Mike88 wrote:Tickets for the Alhambra are nearly always difficult for ordinary tourists to obtain as suggested in my earlier post. The only way to guarantee a ticket is to go on a guided tour and I would suggest the 49 euro charge is better than the alternative of not going at all.


There is another way. We bought a Granada Card for 40 Euros which gives access to Alhambra (unguided), the Cathedral, many other city tourist attractions and local transport http://en.granadatur.com/page/5-what-do ... d-include/

C


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