Andalusia April 2024 Itinerary Finalized

Old Feb 2nd, 2024, 11:02 AM
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Andalusia April 2024 Itinerary Finalized

Thank you to everyone who responded on my previous thread which helped me to finalize our April 2024 trip. Flights are booked arriving in Malaga on April 15 and departing Seville on April 29. Our hotels are booked but all are refundable at this point. Because of the short time frame planning this trip and our budget, hotel options were limited but what can you do? For past trips to Europe (Italy and France) we've rented cars but this trip we plan on taking public transportation.
Malaga - ICON Malabar
Granada Room Mate Leo
Cordoba - Hotel Posada de Vallina
Seville - Suites Seville Plaza
We have our Alhambra tickets booked for 9:30 am and guided tour with Margarita Ortiz de Landazuri.
A few more questions.
1. Are nighttime tours of the Alhambra recommended?
2. While in Malaga we would like to take a day trip to Ronda. I see there are organized tours to Ronda some of which also include Setinel de las Bodegas which we'd like to see if possible. Can anyone recommend any of the tour companies or should we plan to travel there on our own (bus or train) foregoing the option of seeing Setinel de Las Bodegas.
3. Should we buy tickets in advance for the Alcazar or Mezquita or any other attractions?
4. Where is the best place to see an authentic flamenco show? I know that Casa de la Memoria is highly recommended, but I wondered if somewhere in Sacramonte would also be a good spot? I admit to being quite fascinated with this area after reading the Lucinda Riley series.
5. Dining options - are reservations required? I've read various trip reports and restaurant recommendations and quite frankly find it a bit overwhelming as there seems to be an abundance of choice. While we enjoy good food, which I know is subjective, we're willing to sacrifice quality for unique locations/views/atmosphere etc. I see there are several rooftop restaurants and bars in Seville which appeal to us.
6. Live music - any venues where we might have a drink and listen to live music - not necessarily a flamenco show.
7. Any recommended special or 'not to miss' attractions that may be off the beaten path.
8. Transportation logistics - I haven't investigated this issue yet so any advice would be most welcome.
Thank you in advance for your help.
PS - Sorry for the long post!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2024, 11:42 AM
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Answers to your questions:
1. I think that the nighttime tour of the Nasrid Palace is a very nice addition to the day experience, if it fits into your schedule. In April, it starts at 10 and goes until 11:30 pm., Tuesday-Saturday.
2. I would just go by bus or train to Ronda alone and spend the day there to see more of the city.
3. Yes, I would buy tickets for the Alcázar in Sevilla a day ahead, just to avoid the long lines in April. And I would purchase them for the first entrance at 9:30 am to have more of the palace to yourselves, before the crowds begin to saturate it at around 11. For the Mezquita I don't think it's necessary. For the Sevilla Cathedral, yes please purchase them a day ahead online to avoid huge queues. Or...go first to the magnificent Iglesia Colegial del Divino Salvador when it opens at 10:15 and purchase a joint ticket ("visita conjunta") there for this wonderful Baroque church, the second largest in Sevilla, the Cathedral and the Giralda. This joint ticket doesn't have to be used on the same day; I believe it's valid for 3 days and you can go in directly to the Cathedral later with your ticket without standing in line.
4. No, Casa de la Memoria will be far, far more authentic than anything you can see in Sacramonte in the "gypsy caves", where the gypsies no longer live.
Roof top bars in Sevilla-the one at the EME Cathedral Hotel (now a Mercer), which has great views of the Cathedral, the one at the Hotel Inglaterra, the one at the Eurostars Sevilla Boutique hotel....there are many.
5. Yes! Reservations are required, especially in April, which will be high season, and Seville will be packed with tourists, even after the Feria de Abril. What rooftop restaurants and bars appeal to you? If you want to dine at María Trifulca in Triana, a "hot spot" at the moment, then reservations are essential.
6. Live music other than flamenco: not a huge thing in Sevilla but you can try Pura Vida Terraza in the Hotel Los Seises in the Barrio de Santa Cruz.
7. Do you have "The Mushrooms" or Las Setas on your list, the largest wooden structure in the world, at the Plaza de la Encarnación with an evening sound and light show?
8. What transportation logistics?

Last edited by Maribel; Feb 2nd, 2024 at 11:51 AM.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2024, 09:14 AM
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Thanks so much Maribel!
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Old Feb 20th, 2024, 04:39 AM
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How far in advance should tickets for Casa de la Memoria, Seville Alcazar, Cordoba Mezquita and train/bus be purchased?
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Old Feb 20th, 2024, 05:02 AM
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For Casa de la Memoria maybe a week ahead, but I’ll check. The 7:30 show sometimes sells out.
For the Alcázar alone, maybe a few days ahead but if you want to include the Cuarto Real, the Royal Chambers by timed ticket and guided tour (10-13 participants per tour with audio guide), these do sell out although they have now extended the visits for 2 more hours. As soon as they’re available for the latter (Alcázar/Cuarto Real) I would book.
For the Mezquita you can actually just walk up to the ticket booth.
Which bus/train?

Last edited by Maribel; Feb 20th, 2024 at 05:06 AM.
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Old Feb 20th, 2024, 06:55 AM
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Thanks Maribel. From reading various trip reports here it sounds like buses are the way to travel between the points in our itinerary - Malaga, Granada, Cordoba and Seville. How far in advance should they be booked?
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Old Feb 20th, 2024, 07:32 AM
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Between your cities both trains and buses work but between Córdoba and Sevilla the AVANT train is much, much better and far faster. Usually these much less expensive AVANT trains are only loaded on to Renfe’s website a couple of weeks in advance. As soon as they are loaded I would book the Córdoba -Sevilla train, if that is your route, as these do sell out. As far as the buses go, there’s no rush at all, just a couple of days in advance, or sooner if you’d feel more comfortable with that. For buses book on alsa.es. Alsa accepts Pay Pal.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2024, 06:31 AM
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Thanks again Maribel.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2024, 06:36 AM
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You're welcome.
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Old Mar 7th, 2024, 11:51 AM
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Having booked our various modes of transportation, Alhambra both day (guided tour) and nighttime tickets and Granada tapas tour, I'm now planning our days in Cordoba. We arrive on a Sunday and stay for 3 nights. We will probably visit the Mezquita first thing Monday and the Soul of Cordoba on Tuesday evening. It appears that the Alcazar is closed on Mondays so we're considering visiting it on Sunday; however, Rick Steves describes it as 'Cordoba's overrated fortress'. Agree or disagree? I'd be interested whether people found it worthwhile or could suggest a better way to spend our arrival day in Cordoba. As always, your input is much appreciated.
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Old Mar 8th, 2024, 12:33 AM
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About the Alcazar in Córdoba, we loved the gardens, definitely worth a visit if you like gardens
https://slowtravelitalyspain.blogspo...day-3.html?m=1
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Old Mar 8th, 2024, 02:15 AM
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Kiddo,
Since the April dates for the Soul of Córdoba are now online, I would book those evening tickets ASAP, as the visits are capacity controlled (up to 80 visitors per session, with 2 evening sessions), and they do sell out.

Like just_tina, I feel that the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos gardens are indeed worth the visit. And the last time I was there, last March, Sunday was a popular day to visit them and there was a line to enter. (It was a bit disorganized)
There was also a line to purchase Sunday tickets at the "Totem" ticket booth across the street in the square, the Campo de los Mártires, and there one can only pay by credit card, I believe, for the Alcázar and a few other museums.

The Alcázar is only open until 2:45 pm on SUNDAYS with the last access to the gardens at 2:15 pm. First entrance is at 8:15 am if you're a very early riser!
You can purchase online tickets here for the gardens (plus 3 other monuments/museums, but for those advanced tickets are not necessary at all)
Or there's an automatic ticket booth at the entrance. Tickets by c.c. only.

In addition to the Alcázar gardens, on arrival day, SUNDAY, you might want to visit one of the monuments closed on Mondays.
If you can't visit on Tuesday, the Palacio de Viana, with its 12 patios. It's now open on both Sundays and Mondays in April but only from 10 am to 3 pm.
Here's the yearly opening hours, which vary, but in Spanish.
If you arrive on Sunday afternoon, you may want to visit on Monday, remembering that it closes in April on Mondays at 3.
Otherwise you can try to fit it in on Tuesday (open 10-7)

Others open on Sunday but CLOSED on Monday:
Synagogue
Museo Taurino
Arab Baths
Julio Romero de Torres Museum (if you have any interest in portraiture. Romero de Torres was a fabulous portrait artist and native son of Córdoba. The museum is small and takes under an hour to see. Some of his paintings here. Open on Sundays until 2:45 only.

Last edited by Maribel; Mar 8th, 2024 at 02:31 AM.
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Old Mar 8th, 2024, 12:26 PM
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Thanks so much Tina and Maribel. I've booked the Soul of Cordoba tickets for the Monday night. With the early closure of the Alcazar on Sunday we'd be a bit rushed for time so may plan to visit the Mezquita mid-afternoon on the Sunday instead. I confess to finding the planning of this trip a bit daunting (possibly has to do with aging lol). Also perhaps because there is so much to see at each destination, I'm really trying to maximize our time. Thanks again!
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Old Mar 14th, 2024, 06:32 AM
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Another question, hopefully not many more . Is it necessary to pre-puchase tickets to the Setas evening sound and light show?
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Old Mar 14th, 2024, 07:57 AM
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No just get them on the day you decide to go.
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Old Mar 14th, 2024, 08:40 AM
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Thanks again Maribel.
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Old Mar 28th, 2024, 01:51 PM
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Friends are meeting us in Seville for a couple of days and joining us for the flamenco show at Casa de la Memoria. Any suggestions regarding restaurants in the area? Eslava is fully booked (I know it's not in close proximity to the flamenco show). We thought we'd meet for tapas before the 7:30 show. Thanks again. Appreciate all the input.
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Old Mar 29th, 2024, 04:10 AM
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I’ve just spent 5 nights in the apartments above Eslava (no longer recommended as 10 day ago they were sold) and Eslava these days is an absolute madhouse, simply not worth the longish walk when there are many restaurants just as fine these days. It changed hands.

Something very handy to Casa de la Memoria is Baco Cuna 2.
It’s just steps away on the same street.
baco.es
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 09:45 AM
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Thanks so much Maribel for the heads up on Eslava. Baco Cuna 2 looks great! However it says it's temporarily closed so hopefully it's just over the Easter holiday.
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 10:36 AM
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I think it’s just because of the holiday. It’s always closed on Sunday nights.

An alternative, a short walk from Casa de la Memoria:
Restaurante Barra Baja at Javier Lasso de la Vega.

My friend, owner of Azahar Sevilla tapas tours took us there for my husband’s belated birthday lunch, and we absolutely loved this food!
Much better now than Eslava, ime.

She reserved 3 seats for us (there are only 8) at the counter right in front of the open kitchen so that we could watch the hugely talented husband and wife team prepare our dishes. It was so much fun! This couple were the former chefs at the 5-star Hotel Mercer who left to open their own little bistro.

We ordered 2 types of Brittany oysters, 1 with dill and cucumber vinaigrette, 1 grilled with sherry butter, lettuce hearts grilled and topped with Payoyo goat cheese, steak tartare of retinto beef served in bone marrow and a fabulous caramelized torrija (pain perdu or French toast) with orange ice cream for dessert.

Other stand out dishes: the “lazy” white prawn omelet, the duck rice and the abanico, a super tender loin of pork served with a potato purée.

Barra Baja is now one of my top 5 places to dine informally in Sevilla. It’s unpretentiously decorated (focus is entirely on the food) and small, so reserve well in advance and request the seats directly in front of the open kitchen.

It’s a 4-minute walk from Casa de la Memoria. Should have mentioned it earlier but we just discovered it this week. Highly recommended.

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