Andalucia and Alicante, Spain

Old Mar 24th, 2009, 03:06 PM
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Andalucia and Alicante, Spain

My husband and I spent a month in Spain from mid-October through mid-November, 2008. We started in Alicante on the east coast in order to visit our daughter who was attending a semester abroad program there. We continued through the Andalucia region as we had not visited this part of Spain and because we felt we would have decent weather for our mandated late fall visit.

We are in our mid-fifties, enjoy trips which combine hiking with fine dining and wine, and prefer to spend at least 3 nights in any one place.

I will start this report off with a quick itinerary overview and a list of our accommodations so that the basic facts get set down. The time spent in Granada and Sevilla, as well as the route we took were dictated to some extent by the fact that our daughter was meeting up with us for those weekends.

We flew UAL from San Francisco to Heathrow and on to Spain via British Air (recommended) from Gatwick and back again via Ryan Air (not recommended) into Stansted. Ryan Air kept changing, and finally cancelled, our return trip which meant that I had to more than once shift our plans around and cut our stay in Spain short by a few days.

We rented cars 3 separate times, turning them in in both Granada and Sevilla. Thanks to a tip from Jeff at ExploreSeville we saved between 600 and 700 euros by renting through CarJet. It turned out that each rental was from Crown Auriga. Two times we had immaculate Peugeots in excellent condition and our final rental was a Ford Fiesta with body damage. Quite a comedown from the Peugeots, but it was for the shortest amount of time and it got us where we needed to go.

Basic Itinerary:

5 nights - Alicante
3 nights - Granada
3 nights - Las Alpujarras region
2 nights - Ubeda
2 nights - Cordoba
1 night - Osuna
2 nights - Ronda
4 nights - Sevilla
2 nights - Aracena region
3 nights - London

Alicante - Hotel Areca in Elche and Hesperia Lucentum
Granada - Carmen de la Alcubilla del Caracol
Berchules/Las Alpujarras - El Paraje
Ubeda - Las Casas del Consul
Cordoba - Hotel Albucasis (not recommended)
Osuna - Hotel Palacio Marques de la Gomera
Ronda - Hotel Montelirio
Sevilla - Hotel la Casa del Maestro
Alajar/Aracena - Posada Finca la Fronda
London/Stansted - Stansted Hilton
London - ANdAZ

Now that I have the basics down I can take my time meandering through my notes and descriptions. For those of you just researching itinerary advice I would say that we were pleased overall with our choice of routes. I could have done without staying in Osuna and would have preferred Grazalema over Rhonda. We enjoyed the hiking in the Alpujarras and Aracena areas so much that we would add time there if given the choice.

I'll take a quick break now and review how to insert hotlinks into this report.
PJTravels is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2009, 05:30 PM
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We're planning on staying at the "Carmen" in Granada and would like to know what you thought of the hotel. I'll be interested in reading your trip report.
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Old Mar 25th, 2009, 12:54 AM
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I have based in Osuna-Marques de la Gomera to explore too Ecija, Fuentes de Andalucia and Marchena, and it suited me well; but I love the baroque architecture.
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Old Mar 25th, 2009, 09:17 AM
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Trip Report Continued


We began our trip in Alicante on the Mediterranean in order to meet up with our daughter who was attending school there for the fall semester. While not a tourist hot spot we enjoyed our time there. There are nice beaches and a beautiful esplanade. We arrived around midnight on a flight from Gatwick and opted to stay at a hotel near the airport due both to the late hour and the fact that the start of the Volvo Ocean Race that day made bookings in Alicante hard to get. The Hotel Areca had a large comfortable room in clean modern surroundings with a friendly staff. It was quite adequate for what we needed after almost 20 hours of travel. We opted for a cab into Alicante the next morning although there is a convenient bus stop around the corner from the hotel.

We transferred to the Hotel Hesperia Lucentum in Alicante for the next 4 nights of our trip. We quite enjoyed our spacious room with free wifi and this hotel's location across from the central mercado and on the edge of the Ramblas and Barrio areas. It is an easy walk to the main shopping, sites, beaches and we were close to our daughter's host family. The bus to the airport was across the street.

Our meals out in Alicante were nothing special. We usually took breakfast coffee/juice/pastries at one of the cafes on the patio level of the mercado across the street. The restaurant Sale & Pepe in the barrio had nice salads and pizza and Lizarran on the Ramblas had tasty well-priced tapas.

We enjoyed walking along the esplanade and beaches in Alicante and the weather was balmy enough to swim. There is a tram that goes to beaches farther long the coast that were recommended to us but we did not make time for that.

Day trip to Valencia

We felt that our day trip to Valencia was well worth the time. It took 2 hours by train and you arrive in a gorgeous train station next to the bull ring. From there it is a short walk on beautiful tree lined trees to the main plaza and the cathedral. We went to the top of the Torre del Micalet which gave us a nice perspective on the layout of the city.

We had a quick, delicious lunch at Sagardi Euskal Taberna, at San Vicente Martir, 6 which specializes in Basque tapas called pinxtos. These were all lovely works of art - tasty morsels balanced atop small slices of baguette. I took notes on the train trip back to Alicante so that I could try some of the combinations at home.

We took quite a long bus ride out to the City of Arts and Sciences. This is a spectacular group of buildings and gardens and is worth seeing. It is pricey to get admission tickets (I think they were around 22 euros) for the aquariums and even though we did not have much time before we had to be back to the train station for our return trip to Alicante we are glad that we were able to see the aquariums. Most were immense walk through type "tanks" so that you are surrounded by the fish. The shark tank alone was worth the price of admission for me. The architecture and gardens can be viewed without purchasing tickets and I would recommend this to anyone who doesn't have the time to visit the interior of the center.

Next time, Granada! and thanks for your patience as I eke out this report.
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Old Mar 25th, 2009, 09:30 AM
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A quick response to Kleroux. Staying at the Carmen in Granada was a trip high light. Most of the rooms were lovely. Of the ones we saw, I would avoid Santo Domingo - it looked pretty small, at least from the doorway - and la Glichinia (?)which is one of the larger rooms on the lower level. It was dark as it just had small windows as opposed to french doors onto the terrace. We were quite pleased with our rooms on the level one up from the salons and there was another room that took up the entire level above ours that looks very deluxe. Lovely staff, surroundings and location. More later.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 08:53 AM
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I would like to ask you to check my new website related to Alicante and surrounding area. It is a new and growing site. If you want, you could also post your comments or write a short article. I hope that you has a great time in Alicante and that you will come back soon.

P.S. Granada is marvellous. I went there few days ago. Although it was raining, I enjoyed the city and its palaces a lot.
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Old Apr 17th, 2010, 10:39 PM
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PJ & Igor,
I really need opinions from people who have been there.
We will be on a cruise from that stops in Gibralter, Alicante & Barcelona. We have been to Gibralter and do not wish to visit again. We have not been to Alicante. We were in Granada once in the fall several years ago, and always wanted to be there in the Spring to see the gardens.

Here is what we are thinking about doing:
Arrive in Gibralter. Rent a car and drive to Granada. Visit the gardens, have dinner and spend the night in Granada. The next day, drive on to Alicante to meet up with the ship, and continue the cruise. It seems doable, but is it worth it?

We would then have no time in Alicante. If we didn't do that, would we be better off just visiting Alicante or taking a day trip to Valencia the day we are in Alicante.
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Old Apr 25th, 2010, 09:20 PM
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What is the drive time from Gibralter to Granada? That would drive my decision. It also depends on what you want to do. If the weather is nice you might enjoy a day at the beach in Alicante. The only reason Alicante was on our radar was the fact that our daughter was attending university there. We enjoyed our day, however rushed, in Valencia. It was 2 hours by train from Alicante to Valencia so we didn't have enough time to do justice to the City of Arts and Sciences. I guess what I am saying is that if you will really have the time required, staying in Granada or taking a day trip to Valencia would be my choice over a day in Alicante.
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Old Apr 26th, 2010, 12:43 AM
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Just for the record it is spelled Gibraltar.
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