Andalusia - Costa del Sol

Jul 1st, 1999, 09:32 PM
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Andalusia - Costa del Sol

I am going to Southern Spain for my honeymoon in early September. We plan to spend about 2 weeks in Spain. We are flying into Madrid and immediately taking the train to Cordoba to stay the night - then on to Granada for two nights. Two nights in Nerja will be followed by two in Marbella and then on to the mountains. One night in Ronda and one in Arcos de la Frontera. We are finishing up with three nights in Sevilla before heading back to Madrid.

Considering that I will be on my honeymoon (and our destination is a surprise!!), what would you recommend in these locations? I am looking for things not to miss in Granada and the Alhambra to nice quiet beaches on the Costa del Sol to "go to Morocco at all costs" to be sure to try the Sherry in Jerez to .....Sevilla. What would you do??
Jul 1st, 1999, 10:50 PM
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I would avoid the Costa del Sol entirely. If you do a search on this forum you'll find the reasons why. Costa del Sol does not have the "nice quiet beaches" you're looking for.

Instead, why not spend those four days in Barcelona? Your time will be much better sent. You can take the night train from Sevilla to Barcelona, and then go from Barcelona to finish up your trip in Madrid.

Do you have a guidebook yet? If you're surprising your bride, may I suggest that you give the guidebook as a wedding gift? The Eyewitness series of books are very beautiful - I received one as a gift once and having been giving them to people ever since.

Good luck and congratulations.
Jul 2nd, 1999, 12:00 AM
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After all the cities you want to see I can easily understand that you are looking for a nice beach to relax. So I would not recommend to spend 4 more days in Barcelona. It is indeed a beautiful city but very hectic at that time of the year. There are some less known costa's in Spain where it is relatively calm and where there are fairly nice beaches (realize that you're not in the Carribean!). For instance the Costa de Almeria, situated between Motril (southern Spain) and Cartagena (southeast).
Jul 2nd, 1999, 05:37 AM
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Michael, you picked a wonderful time to go to Spain. The weather in September will be warm and hopefully no rain.

My first tip would be to not waste your time going to Morocco if all you plan on seeing is Tangier. The tours groups follow each other around, all going to the same few sites, none of which I found the least bit appealing.

Definitely keep Ronda in the itinerary. Walk down into the gorge and look up at the bridge from below-a wonderful view! Read Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" before you go.

Seville-be sure to see the Alcazar, cathedral and Plaza de Espana. We were in Seville last year in early September and there was a Flamenco festival in progress but the tickets were sold out. It may be an annual event; you might want to see how to get tickets in advance from a Spain tourism page.

Madrid-the Prado is wonderful if you're an art lover, the Palacio Real was nice and there is a lovely park, Retiro, that was fun on the weekends.

If you or your wife like porcelain, you may want to purchase a Lladro as they are much cheaper there than they are in the US. Be sure to apply for the VAT tax refund and if you purchase more than one, you may be able to get a discount.

We stayed in Torremolinos on the Costa del Sol, definitely not nice quite beaches but you might have better luck in Marbella as it seemed to be the expensive section of the Costa del Sol.

Have a great trip-any other questions feel free to email directly.
Jul 2nd, 1999, 06:00 AM
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Count me as another vote against the Costa del Sol: crowded, filled with tourists, too much traffic, etc...think about a quiet town slightly inland like Mijas or more toward Sevilla do not miss the Casa de Pilatos or La Basilica de La Macarena...Cordoba has a great bullfighting Museum (Museo Taurino) and, of course, La Mezquita (The Mosque). In Sevilla be sure and stay at a hotel in Santa Cruz neighborhood, flamenco at Los Gallos is great. Also, don't forget to check out the parador system of Spain for incredible lodging and dining all over the country. Write me directly if you need more info, etc...Maria
Jul 4th, 1999, 10:46 AM
Cheryl Z.
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Forget the Costa del Sol for nice quiet beaches but just to see for yourself, you could do a day tour in that direction and see if there's something that interests you. If you do get near Estepona, visit the little village of Casares up in the hills.
Jul 4th, 1999, 12:38 PM
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Hallo Michael,
I did nearly the same tour two years ago. I would rent a car in Sevilla and make a trip to the Alpujarras. That are very small villages near the Sierra Nevada. Very quiet and a lot of great views. Skip the Costa del Sol, horrible! The most beautiful beaches you´ll find at the Costa de la Luz, south of Jerez de la Frontera. It´s the Spanish Atlantic coast, very white sand, but the water is pretty cold.There´s Tarifa, a very popular surf spot and many little romantic towns on the way from Tarifa in the South to Jerez.
Enjoy your Honeymoon!
Jul 6th, 1999, 01:19 PM
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You're are really depressing me with all the negative stuff about Costa...
I'm planning to be there in August for 4 nights to combine sightseeing (Ronda, Grenada, Gibraltar, etc..) and relax on the beach/fun. Are the beaches really that bad??? Is Torremolinos really much worse than Marbella? My only experience with european beaches waS French and Italian riviera...How does the spanish riviera compare?
Jul 6th, 1999, 05:34 PM
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Jul 7th, 1999, 07:14 PM
Bill Mannle
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Hi Michael. I spent my honeymoon in Spain two years ago, and we loved it. Here is our Itinerary. We landed in Madrdid, and flew directly to Seville. We spent two nights in the Barrio Santa Cruz at the Hotel Dona Maria. The view from our balcony of the plaza and the cathedral was spectacular. Next we wandered down to the sleepy town of Benoajan(it's in Malaga province) and stayed at the Molino del Santo. (They have a Web site) I can't say enough about this gem of a hotel. A pure oasis, and only 15 minutes by car from Rhonda, which you will love. It was hard to leave the Molino. But we worked our way east, and spent just one night on the coast in the town Salonbrena. Then a few nights in the Alpujarras Mountains. Breathtaking! Then it was on to Granada, and a cozy stay at the Hotel America. This hotel sits inside the walls of the Alhambra! After the turists leave, and the night grows quiet, you think your it a magical place. From Granda we flew to Madrid then back home. The Spanish are incredibly friendly and generous people. Good luck! Bill
Jul 8th, 1999, 09:00 AM
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Aug 5th, 1999, 08:29 AM
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I went to all the cities you mentioned except Granada last December/January. I would definitely suggest Nerja and don't stay anywhere else except Paraiso Del Mar (I'm not sure of the spelling). My husband and I ended up skipping Granada and spending 4 days at this gorgeous, charming hotel (only 12 rooms, all suites at least 800 square feet large, only $90 U.S.) We had a huge private balcony overlooking the Mediterranean, very quiet beach, incredible. I can't say enough. If you'd like more specific information, e-mail me.
Aug 5th, 1999, 08:56 AM
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Michael, Kristi's advice is, in my opinion, really, really good advice!

From what's been said I would only add advice regarding renting a car. It would allow you more the flexibility and freedom you need on this such special ocassion. Also, are you leaving some time to explore Cordova? A fellow fodorite, Graziella, visited recently and posted a glowing review of the city (do a SEARCH). Granada's Cathedral is a must (Queen Isabella and Ferdinand are buried there; great museum). Marbella has great dining choices. It may be a bit crowded. Your idea of visiting the Pueblos Blancos is a good one. If by Morocco, you mean Tangier, I STRONGLY advice you to do a search ON THIS FORUM by that topic and read carefully what's been posted on that subject. Then decide whether Tangier is OK on this ocassion and/or how she might feel about it.

Anticipated congrats to you and your bride and have the best time!
Aug 5th, 1999, 09:00 AM
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Well Michael, Bill's honeymoon sounded divine!! I'll say THAT'S A PLAN!!
Aug 5th, 1999, 01:42 PM
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CONGRATS MICHAEL, On both the itinerary
and the nuptials. Your trip is almost
perfect, but I agree with several of the
comments. Maximize Nerja and Ronda, and
forget Tangiers and Costa del Sol. But,
you can stay at Mijas not far from the coast but in the hills above. The Hotel
Mijas is great--you can book thru the
Best Western system. Are you using any
Paradors---Ronda would be a good choice.
You will have a great time.
Aug 12th, 1999, 01:30 PM
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The posts advising you to stay away from the Costa del Sol are true...unless you go to Nerja. It is nothing like the cities to the west. We spent two weeks there last October before visiting the major cities of Spain and loved it so much that we are returning in November. I would suggest you skip Marbella and add those two days to your stay in Nerja. You could stop in Marbella for a short visit on your way to Ronda. Congratulations and happy travels.
Aug 12th, 1999, 02:09 PM
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We were in that area in March of '98, with a very similar itinerary. I'll add another vote to those recommending avoiding the Costa del Sol - we couldn't get out of Marbella and on to Ronda fast enough. Otherwise I think your itinerary looks great - the drive from Ronda to Arcos de la Frontera through the white villages and cork oak plantations was spectacularly beautiful and peaceful. If you're dropping a car at the train station in Madrid leave a little extra time - it's not quite as routine as dropping at an airport (no signs). We ended up in an unattended long-term parking lot and almost missed our train. The rental car drop is on the left side of the station as you face it from the street. If you can fit it into your schedule (say, by eliminating those two nights in Marbella) I would really recommend adding Toledo as a day trip from Madrid, and maybe El Escorial also.
Aug 20th, 1999, 02:22 AM
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Don't be put off by the remarks about the Costa del SOl - I know a number of people who visit Nerja every year and love it.

I visited Andalucia last September and we spent four days in Zahara de los Atunes, a very quiet sleepy coastal village on the Costa de la Luz, and I agree that the coastline there is beautiful.. However, the weather was terrible, and that part of the coastline is well known for being windy. THe resort Tarifa near the tip of the continent is Europe's windsurfing capital, so be warned.

By far the most atmospheric parts of our stay were 2 days in Jerez, where we visited the sherry bodegas and the flamenco museum, and were lucky enough to catch a rehearsal of a flamenco dance

By far the best guidebook to the entire area is the ROugh Guide to Andalucia, which you will spot in the hands of every other traveller you see there. Sorry Fodors.

Be wary of the gypsys in the major citys - they will attempt to direct you to park your car and expect payment. We saw two travellers pay a man the equivalent of £5 in Arcos de la Frontera, at a time of day when parking was free

As a final point, try to visit a bull fight if you can in Seville or Ronda. Yes, it is barbaric, but it is also a true spectacle and one which will give you a real insight into Spanish traditions

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