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Shandirls Mar 6th, 2007 11:02 AM

Andalucia Honeymoon - Itinerary and hotels. Please comment.
 
[reposting in Spain topic, I just had it in the "Europe" area previously]

After much consideration, we're almost ready to finalize our itinerary for our honeymoon in September. We're trying to make sure we have time to stop and enjoy things, not just cram everything in.

We were originally going to spend 2 nights in Vejer de la Fronterra, and only one night in Nerja, but that seemed like it might be too many stops.

Our flights our booked in and out of Madrid, so that part is not negotiable. Would love any feedback on this itinerary, and the hotels that the travel agent is suggesting:

Day 1: Arrive in Madrid. One night at Hotel de Las Letras

Day 2: Train to Seville. Three nights at Las casas del Rey de Baeza.

Day 3: Seville

Day 4: Seville

Day 5: Pick up rental car. Drive to Ronda (stop at Arcos on the way). Two nights at Hotel San Gabriel.

Day 6: Ronda

Day 7: Drive to Nerja. Two nights at the Parador in Nerja.

Day 8: Nerja - maybe the caves?

Day 9: Drive to Granada and drop off car. Three nights at Hotel Palacio de los Navas.

Day 10: Granada

Day 11: Granada

Day 12: Fly back to Madrid. Another night at Hotel de Las Letras.

Day 13: home

Any input is greatly apprciated!!

bniemand Mar 6th, 2007 11:39 AM

Sounds like a wonderful trip! My hubby and I did a similar trip a couple of years ago and loved it. We flew in and out of Madrid, and had a rental car the whole time (no trains, we drove to/from Andalucia). We found the highway system very easy to navigate. (Important: the passenger needs to be the navigator, not the driver!) The little villages are more challenging but with a good map and attention to the "Centro" signs you can usually get where you're going. I found the Lonely Planet guide had very good maps of almost all the little villages. We also had the Michelin road atlas -- the big one with a ring binder. Also use viamichelin.com for a feature very similar to Mapquest's driving directions where you can enter your start and end locations (saved us many times on a recent Italy trip!)

Other comments...good call to spend time in Ronda! We only planned an afternoon there and wished we would have stayed a night or two. We stopped in Nerja just to see the caves (in and out in an hour, if that) but didn't see the city itself. Try to spend an afternoon wandering the old part of Marbella...lovely downtown and the main plaza (Oranjes?) is a fantastic spot for a sangria lunch. Maybe you can stop there on your way from Ronda to Nerja....the mountain road between Ronda and Marbella is stunning!

If you are a fan of perfect ancient villages maybe you can keep the car an extra day when in Granada and visit a village to the north called Ubeda.

I don't remember the travel times between cities, but if it's possible to daytrip from either Sevilla or Granada to Cordoba, it's worth it. We stayed 2 nights in Cordoba and visiting the mosque and surrounding old town was one of the highlights of our trip.

All the cities are very romantic! You'll have a great honeymoon!

gjkayak Mar 6th, 2007 12:46 PM

If you can rearrange slightly, instead of a "stop at Arcos" I would try to spend a night there. The interesting part of Arcos is the old town, at the very top of the town. Wandering the nearly deserted streets after dark and seeing the floodlit
buildings and the spectacular view of the valley are a special treat. Both Hotel Convento abd the Parador are excellent; our preference was the Convento. Both are in the "old town".

Nerja is a great choice, both the town and the beaches, our favorite beach is Carabeillo, a small uncrowded beach a short walk from the Parador. Regarding caves, you might want to look at a post,on this forum titled "Pileta Caves" about 6 months ago comparing Ronda Caves and those at Nerja.


chanke Mar 6th, 2007 01:53 PM

I would drop 1 night in Granada. In my opinion, you only need 2 nights there. Not really much to see other than the Alhambra. I think I would use it to see a little bit of Madrid or try to fit 1 day in Cordoba.

We stayed at Hotel San Gabriel in Ronda this past Oct. It was wonderful! For no extra charge, they gave us the biggest suite in the hotel. It was 4 rooms! I loved Ronda. We stayed there 4 nights and made day trips out to other cities. They had the best breads at breadfast. Homemade corssiants. I can never eat another commerically made corssiant.

jonah Mar 6th, 2007 02:34 PM

Search ComfyShoes for a thread on your topic full of information. I got a lot of useful information from that.

Shandirls Mar 9th, 2007 08:19 AM

Thanks for your input! I'd love to hear about any of the other hotels if anyone has stayed at them. I will check out trip advisor as well.

Also the travel agent is planning to set us up with breaktfast at all the hotels - do you think that's a good idea, or should we plan to do that on our own?

Now to make my list of "must sees" for each place!

annhig Mar 9th, 2007 09:15 AM

Hi, Shandirls-

congrats on your upcoming nuptuals, and also on picking such a great honeymoon destination.

also, on not trying to visit andalucia in july - a sure way to the divorce court, IMO.

that said, I've a few suggestions.

I do agree with the OP who suggested an extra night in Madrd. you wil lgove yourselves a chance to recover from jetlag, and a day in a great city to boot. It's also a good place to recover from jet-lag as it never sleeps. [only a slight exaggeration - see my current trip report].

You could tapas your way round for most of the 24 hours in a day, or go for fine dining, or museum yourselves silly- it's up to you. Or take in the opera and a flamenco show all in the same night, finishing with churros and chocolate in an all-night cafe.

after that, I think you have it about right, though much as i love Granada, you could lose a night from there. Don't forget to book your time slots for entry, and do try to go at night as well- it's a completely different experience and very romantic!

best wishes, ann

bniemand Mar 9th, 2007 09:21 AM

I recall that breakfast was included everywhere we went, not an extra charge. This seems to be pretty common throughout Europe. In Spain it's typically a generous buffet of several kinds of cold meats, cheeses, breads, maybe yogurt and cereal, maybe scrambled eggs for the Americans etc. Hopefully you like jamon (ham) and all it's cousins, salami, etc! (and I don't mean ham like American ham...more like Italian procuitto.) Jamon jamon jamon is everywhere and it's wonderful! We love ham and cheese so we were always happy with the breakfast offering, and it's convenient not to have to trek out to find something before hitting the road or touring. However, that being said, if you want a more authentic local experience the hotel buffet isn't going to get you that.

In Granada we stayed at the Alhambra Palace. Lobby and bar were stunning, but then once you got to the room it was huh? The 70's called and they want their bedspread and hairdryer back. I'll never forget that hairdryer. So not worth the hype, however stopping in to have a drink and enjoy the view from the bar is a good idea. (Disclaimer: this was May 2003 so maybe they've remodeled by now.)

Down the road from Alhambra Palace is an amazing restaurant with an amazing view. I'll dig through my stuff and see if I can find the name.

Hotel in Seville was Casas de las Juderia. Same as Granada, it had gorgeous public areas, a great location, but our room was dated and oddly laid out.

The one hotel on that trip we loved was in Cordoba, which I know doesn't help you since you're not staying there, but I'll give it a plug anyway. Amistad Cordoba, part of the NH Hoteles group. More modern design, great location for walking around the old town.

InMiami Mar 9th, 2007 09:38 AM

Shandirls, Spain is a wonderful place for a honeymoon and September will be perfect. We returned from Spain last September and had a similar trip.

The Alhambra is wonderful but I have to agree there is not much else to do in Granada. Be sure to have reservations to the Alhambra before you arrive to Granada. The line for people seeking tickets in the morning was an incredible 1500 people and I am not kidding. It was 5 people wide and went completely up a very long winding path. Only the first 1 or 2 hundred were actually able to get tickets. You can easily get tickets before hand by internet and pick them up with a 10 minute line. Beware wandering too deeply into the Albaicin area, is can be
unsafe, especially at night.

Ronda is great but I personally would skip Arcos. It is a bit out of your way and it does not measure up to Ronda. I would choose Grazelema, it is on your way and a smaller more quaint town than Ronda or Arcos.

Seville and Madrid were our favorites and I would focus on those two cities. Seville was for us the best part of Andalucia, we stayed at the Amadeus hotel which I recommend very highly. In Granada we stayed at the Morisca Hotel which is not to be missed.

annhig Mar 9th, 2007 09:42 AM

hi, again, shandirls -

just looked at your agent's choice of hotel in granada - looked pretty good, and not of the type described by the OP. the rate is good and it does include breakfast, but not 7% tax. There is of course the parador in granada, which is on the same site as the alhambra - within the grounds almost. you have to walk down the hill to the town but there is a very regular bus service back up.

breakfast is not always included - it varies from hotel to hotel, in my experience. we usually take the hotel breakfast on the first night then see what we feel like after that, especially if it's extra.

regards, ann

bniemand Mar 9th, 2007 10:15 AM

OK, just found the name of the wonderful restaurant in Granada. It is Restaurante Carmen de San Miguel. http://www.carmensanmiguel.com/index.asp# Address is Plaza Torres Bermjas 3. We sat on La Terraza (you can see photos of the view on their website) and arrived in time to watch the sunset.

Another thing to do in Granada is to wander through the maze-like Albaicin neighborhood on the hill opposite the Alhambra. Go up to Mirador San Nicolas for a fantastic view of the Alhambra with the mountains in the background. I don't remember it feeling dangerous like InMiami mentions, but we were there during the day.

In Seville we saw a fantastic flamenco show at Casa de la Memoria. The show was in an intimate garden/courtyard area...just beautiful.

In Madrid, our favorite area for eating and drinking was Plaza Santa Ana.

ekscrunchy Mar 9th, 2007 02:47 PM

I did not stay there, but I did look at the rooms at Las Casas del Rey de Baeza in Sevilla. I thought the hotel was lovely and would stay there next time; but do check the reviews; there are some that are less than stellar.

josele Mar 9th, 2007 11:42 PM

Hello, Shandirls, congrats for your wedding.

Your itinerary really needs no modification in days/stays. Some points:
Driving from Seville to Ronda is a very pleasant road. After passing Puerto Serrano you may opt for a (long)detour to Villamartin-->Bornos-->Arcos de la Frontera or continue to Algodonales and taking the detour to Zahara de la Sierra-->Grazalema-->Ronda. This I recommend, because though beautiful, Arcos is very similar to Ronda in many aspects, and you can skip it and favour Zahara and Grazalema.

Ronda to Nerja: you can take the obvious route to Marbella and then coastal highway all the time till Nerja, 2'30 hrs.(this doesn't mean you wont get traffic jams: you'll probably will); Or you can drive the inner route: Ronda-->Teba-->Campillos-->Antequera-->Casabermeja-->Colmenar-->Velez Malaga-->Nerja. It is longer, picturesque and good roads (no hiway) most of the time. 3hrs. It depends on your likings or time you have.
You can see the above routes at www.guiacampsa.com

In Nerja do not miss: the Balcon de Europa, nearby Maro (where the caves are), Caves: are a must, and a trip to nearby Frigiliana, another must.

Choose Breakfast at the hotels.
When asking for Jamon, have it "Iberico", much tastier.
There is a lot to see in Granada. Agree with Alhambra: get your tickets in advance at www.alhambratickets.com though you may not be able for some time as I've read they are re-working the contract with the bank that issues them; but dont forget to do it). And agree as well with Albaicin at night. Sunset from Mirador de San Nicolas is another must.
Contact ComfyShoes and e-mail him for his detailed itin.

jcnyc Mar 10th, 2007 08:11 AM

You'll have a great time. I do recommend a visit to Cordoba. We took a day trip to Cordoba via the high speed train from Seville (less than an hour each way. The same train goes on to Madrid). Then, it's a short taxi ride from the train station to the Mezquita (historic mosque, now a cathedral). The river, royal palace and gardens, and medieval quarter are near the Mezquita. As others have mentioned, maybe you could drop one night in Granada, in order to add Cordoba.

Shandirls Mar 14th, 2007 06:38 AM

We might do a day trip to Cordoba once we get settled in Seville, since we have 3 nights there.

With Granada, even though we are staying 3 night, we will really only have 2 days to explore the city because we'll be driving in from Nerja the first day (maybe stop at Frigilana), and the last day we are flying back to Madrid. I think this will give us some time to explore the city on a slow pace.

Any other day trips we should consider? I want to avoid adding additional overnights, because that is too much moving around. Thanks so much for this awesome feedback, I'm sad that I have to wait 6 more months to go!


josele Mar 14th, 2007 09:41 AM

If you plan to visit Frigiliana on the way to Granada, you better skip it: Frig. is west of Nerja, and you'll be driving east to Salobreña, and then North. And Frig. requires a lot of walking: There is a parking space as you arrive and you have to walk the sloped and stepped streets, no cars or bikes (very charming). It takes some time.
You better make stops on your drive to Granada through Alpujarras region: for example a detour to Orgiva. These towns are very particular.

STUMBLEBUM Mar 14th, 2007 01:18 PM

Fantastic - you will not regret your itinery. I've not been to Granada town, but I have been to the Alhambra and Sierra Nevada mountains - worth the drive up to Pico Valetta. I am told that the only thing worth seeing in Granada is the Alhambra, but perhaps you should not know it until you have tried it. You won't regret visiting Arcos, Ronda and Nerja. If you do not have a hotel in Nerja yet, go for the Balcon de Europa, but ask for a room on the coast side of the building - fantastic location!

See my bog - look at the Spain labels for details on most of these places - I haven't yet written my Alhambra entry.
http://stumblebumstravels.blogspot.com/


abbydog Mar 14th, 2007 03:06 PM

I know the hotel you have booked in Ronda is fabulous, but if you want something REALLY different, check out Hotel Enfrente Arte (www.enfrentearte.com). It is SO fun -- cool decor; great location; 24 hour open bar for wine, coffee, and soft drinks (you help yourself); fantastic full breakfast; free computer; pool table; hot tub; and wonderful view from the balconies. It is my favorite place in the world -- I wish I could live there!

annhig Mar 15th, 2007 12:47 AM

Hi, shandgirls -

The alhambra is NOT the only thing worth seeing in Granada, IMO. The gipsy district is very interesting, there are great bars, and terrific tapas - don't miss the pulperia [not sure I've got the spelling right] ie the octopus bar just off the main square! you'll have plenty of time to explore and relax in your 2-3 days.

regards, ann


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