Andalucia fine-tuning

Old Apr 30th, 2002, 10:54 AM
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Andalucia fine-tuning


In the process of firming up my plans for a trip to Andalucia in September. Would appreciate any input on my itinerary.

You will notice Cordoba and Sevilla are missing because I've already been there (and loved both places)!

Day 1: arrival at Malaga airport early PM, pick up car & drive to Baeza, night at the parador.

Day 2: Explore Baeza & Ubeda, drive to Granada, night at the Melia (have Melia points to burn)

Day 3: Early tour of the Alhambra (prebooked) and explore the rest of Granada. Night at the Melia

Day 4: Drive towards the pueblos blancos - night in Antequera? Which hotel?

Day 5: Leisurely drive onwards to Arcos. Night at the Parador

Day 6: Leisurely drive to Ronda. Night at the Parador.

Days 7 - 11: Drive down to Marbella, R&R at a nice hotel (Marbella Club, Las Dunas???)

Day 12: Fly back from Malaga.

Thanks in advance for the feedback!

Old Apr 30th, 2002, 11:50 AM
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Old Apr 30th, 2002, 12:47 PM
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When exploring Granada take care in the
Albaicin area. We were robbed at knife point in broad daylight just recently. This not a troll.
Old Apr 30th, 2002, 12:56 PM
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Is it the Parador in Ubeda where you're spending the night rather than in Baeza?

From Granada to the pueblos blancos it appears you're taking the "high road" to Arcos de la Frontera. I've never spent the night in Antequera, because we've done the interior route Arcos-Granada in one day. The distance from Granada to Antequera is short, about 95 km., so you'll get there in no time. Antequera has a modern Parador with pool, (, but if you're a nature lover and would enjoy exploring the El Torcal Park, there's the Posada del Torcal, in Villanueva de la Concepcion which appears in many of my "Spain hotels of charm" that might be an interesting option. Never stayed there but have it on my list.
See it at

In Marbella I'd definitely choose the Marbella Club or sister hotel, the Puente Romano. A Fodor friend spent her honeymoon recently at P.R. and loved it, and the Marbella Club's been "the place to stay" in Marbella for years.
If you prefer less developed Estepona, the Las Dunas would be my choice for a coastal stay. All three have the coveted 4 red gables designation in my 2002 Michelin guide for particular charm and style.
Sounds like a slow, relaxing sojourn through Andalucia-hope you have a great trip!

P.S. On our last visit to Granada we spent our first night at a small hotel in the heart of the Albaicin before switching to another hotel on the Alhambra hill the very next day. So, yes, as xxx says, when walking in the Albaicin, particularly if you walk up at sunset to the Mirador de San Nicolas for the famous Alhambra views, please guard your belongings, or better still, leave everything of value at the Melia in your room safe.
Old Apr 30th, 2002, 02:01 PM
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Thanks for the replies!

Maribel: those are great tips!

Yes, I did mean the parador in Ubeda - oops!

Is Granada that spooky? I was under the impression that it was a great town to explore... perhaps 1 night is enough - Alhambra in the morning then on to Antequera. Also, would you recommend staying up by the Alhambra? This seems to be a contentious issue on the forum.

What exactly is the "high road" to Arcos? We were planning to take the A382 with detours to Setenil & Zaharra de la Sierra. Could we do this at a leisurely pace in one day if leaving from Granada around 10AM?

Is Estepona close enough to the action in Marbella for us to pop over for shopping and/or dinner there?

Looking forward to this trip...

Old Apr 30th, 2002, 03:06 PM
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Andre -- Granada is a GREAT town to explore! Don't cut a day from your itinerary there. We thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the night life and tapas bars.

That being said, you should take caution in the Albacin. It is easy to see how you can get mugged there -- the homes are right up on the road and the roads twist and turn. Essentially, you can't see around the next corner. I wouldn't wander there at night and I wouldn't take any valuables with you.

We stayed at Las Dunas in Sept. 2000 and I can wholeheartedly recommend it. It is a beautiful resort, with a beautiful pool area (and cabana service), a full-service spa, two great restaurants (one is a piano bar). Our room was large and beautiful -- the bathroom was luxurious! We had a balcony overlooking the mediterranean and it seems that most of the pictures from my honeymoon are of us having breakfast on that balcony. The service at the hotel was gracious.

Enjoy Andalucia!
Old Apr 30th, 2002, 03:15 PM
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Hi Andre,
I didn't mean to imply that Granada was "spooky", just that the Albaicin can be a little "iffy", especially at night. It's kind of laid back-hippy, somewhat scruffy, and to us it seemed not quite ready for "prime time" in terms of the quality of its lodging. A friend travellling with us (a Spain newbie) wasn't at all comfortable staying deep in the Albaicin, we weren't impressed by our too-exp.-for-the-quality rms at the Carmen de Santa Ines or the "take it or leave it" welcome (we had decided to try something new and different), so we moved the next morning to where we love to be-the Alhambra hill. We thought the Plaza Nueva area, at the end of the Alhambra hill, was pretty scruffy as well; but younger folks and seem to like it. Some enjoy the "energy" of downtown; we enjoy the tranquility and romance of the Alhambra hill, but the second night we do usually hop in a taxi and go down to the Campo de Principe area for tapas and a downtown stroll. I find downtown Granada more pleasant at night than in the daytime. But you'll be fine at the Melia-not to worry-but if you could snag a room at the Alhambra Palace, I'd be tempted to switch. It's a great hotel, restful, with nice folks, good service and beautiful views from the terrace, and if you stay up there, you can avoid entirely driving in the hideous traffic of the maze-like streets of downtown. I would think the Parador would be fully booked by now; it's the hardest to book in the entire Parador system.

You'll get a variety of opinions on how many nights for Granada. I think 2 are much better only because it's hard to do a "quick" day tour of the city with the hordes of tourists you'll find at the Alhambra, the heat (yes, even in Sept.) and the fact that it takes 4-5 hrs. to do the Alhambra-Generalife gardens justice, then the Cathedral and Royal Chapel downtown close for siesta so you need to wait until 3:30-4 to tour them, so touring does take a while. And by spending another night, you can also take an evening tour of the Alhambra as an added bonus. My vote is almost always for 2 nights if you have the time.

By the "high road" I meant that you travel through the interior to reach the white towns. We just do it a little differently. From Granada, we go down the mountain pass to Salobrena, then take the coastal drive west through Nerja, Malaga, Marbella, San Pedro de Alcantara, then head up north to Ronda. We do Ronda before Arcos because we enjoy the stops in Nerja and Frigiliana and sometimes spend the night in the Marbella area before heading up to Ronda when we do our Madrid-Andalucia circle clockwise. But I do like your itinerary.
It's only 230 km. from Granada to Arcos, so your plan is doable in a day.
Estepona to Marbella will take about 1/2 hrs. Las Dunas is a self-contained resort, so you might get so comfortable and pampered there, you'll never want to leave! But if you long for nightlife, you might prefer to be closer to Marbella's Old Quarter and even better, the jet set yacht harbor of Puerto Banus where the crowds are thick until 3 a.m.! Bars, restaurants, clubs and lots of interesting characters make for great people watching. And the Marbella Club has a new chef who's getting high marks, there's the terrific La Meridiana for drinks or dinner, up in the hills beyond the Mosque on the "Golden Mile" between Marbella and Puerto Banus, and Puente Romano has its own quite fashionable night club, if that's of interest.

Whatever you decide, hope your trip is wonderful.
Depends on what you like.

Old Apr 30th, 2002, 03:34 PM
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Andre: We stayed at the Melia and for the type of exploring we like to do we thought it was a great location.Granada is a great city but just take precautions when exploring such as staying on streets where there are lots of people and not having any valuables on you.
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