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Best way to explore Ronda,Granada, car,bus

Best way to explore Ronda,Granada, car,bus

Sep 17th, 2003, 11:00 AM
  #1  
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Best way to explore Ronda,Granada, car,bus

We are arrining in Malaga to stay are Marbella for 4 nights to explore Granada,Ronda, Gibraltar(Tangiers). Should we rent a car, take tour buses or combo. We arev then heading to Seville for 2 nights and a one last night before flying out of Madrid. Should we spend last day and night in Madrid or better suggestion? Our plane leaves Madrid at 1100.
Thanks in advance.
amrdia is offline  
Sep 17th, 2003, 04:05 PM
  #2  
 
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amrdia,
Since your plane departs Barajas at 11 (transatlantic flight?), you'll want to be at the airport by 8:30-8:45 at the latest, as lines at the Madrid airport can be extremely long, unless you're flying first or business or are a preferred member of your carrier's ff program and can check in at the first class counter. We always allow 2 1/2-3 hrs., and we are US Air preferred, so our check in is fairly speedy.
So you should definitely spend the night before in Madrid.

From Marbella you can travel to Ronda by car, bus or tour bus.
If you travel by car, you could make a spectacular day of it, by heading up to Ronda in the a.m. on the very serpentine but safe main road, the A 376, (takes about an hr. from Marbella), then return down to the coast through the stunning secondary highway, the A 368/A 377, passing through some lovely perched Moorish white towns, like Benalauría, Gaucín and Casares. We made this loop in the spring, and our day's drive through these mountains was one of the highlights of our trip.

From Marbella to Granada, it might simply be easier to let a tour company take care of the details, Alhambra tickets and guide, and the driving for you. It will be a long, full and tiring day from Marbella and probably more restful by tour bus than trying to find your way around on your own and getting around the Málaga city traffic. Plus, downtown Granada is an absolute maze with impossibly congested traffic which can fray the nerves of even the most patient, skilled and well versed in the mores of Andalusian city driving.

I was quite disappointed in Gibraltar and didn't enjoy Tangiers at all (once by boat from Algeciras, one by Royal Air Maroc from Málaga), so I can't give you a personal recommendation other than to suggest that you spend that time instead exploring the wonderful hill towns above the Costa del Sol.
Maribel is offline  
Sep 17th, 2003, 06:20 PM
  #3  
 
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Drive!!! As long as you ask which you should do, I assume that driving is not a problem for you. In which case, do drive so that you are on your own, on your own schedule, doing your own thing. Check out my Spain report and photos for information and pictures of the area you will be. Should help with your anticipation (I hope.) http://www.janeandken.com/Spain2003/Sevilla.html There is a link to the Costa del Sol at the end of the Seville section. Toledo proceeds that section if you want to work backwards.
janelp is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 04:17 AM
  #4  
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Thank you for your advice both Maribel and Jane/Ken.
One last question. Best way to get from seville to Madrid. And best way to get from Marbella to Seville? It sounds like driving to and around Seville is a nightmare.
Thanks in advance.
amrdia is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 04:28 AM
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amrdia,
Best way from Seville to Madrid is the quick, comfortable, easy bullet train, the AVE, which takes 2 1/2 hrs.

Yes, Seville is a nightmare to negotiate by car, extremely maze like Old Quarter with tiny, very narrow, one way streets, like Granada. If you drive from Marbella to Seville, just drop your rental car off at the Santa Justa train station before entering the downtown area, taking the ring road around to the east to reach Santa Justa or you could even drop it off at the airport. Then taxi in to your hotel!
There's also a bus that runs from Marbella to Seville.
I would certainly drive around the white villages, the "pueblos blancos" area, as the scenery is truly magnificent.
Maribel is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 06:03 AM
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Amrdia,

Thanks for asking this question! I am thinking about a January/February trip to southern Spain, and the details in peoples' answers here are helping me plan too. I am in very early stages and don't have any flights or anything yet, but this gives me ideas.

janelp - thanks for the link! You are definitely psyching me up for my first trip to Spain!

Karen
kaudrey is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 06:40 AM
  #7  
car
 
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Amrdia, Maribel
There is very little to add to maribel, janelp advice. I fully agree with their comments and suggestions. Superb.
Car best choice except for Granada and miss the Gib, marroco trip. Marrocco is a beatiful place but the border Gibraltar(zone) cities will give you a bad impression of the country, you need at least 3 to 4 days to go to Xouen, Fez or Meknes, to really enjoy.
Gibraltar(rock) looks great from far, the closer you get the worst, driving by the coast and a stop in Tarifa, will give you the best of the area.
Regarding ,check in, in Barajas(Madrid) there is a relatively new possibility which is to do the check in town, The Nuevos ministerios lounge, with direct connection, 15 minute metro to the
airport. It needs two hours minimum prior to flight time. I find it particularly useful for afternoon or late flights as you check your luggage any time during the day, you get your boarding card, avoiding check in lines, and have until your boarding time your homework done.
For some unknown reason this check in lounge is ignore by must of the travelers.

car is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 07:26 AM
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Maribel and CAr,

This thread is very useful for first timers. A couple of questions, please.

Car, am I understanding you correctly in that one can check into the Nuevos Ministerias Lounge early in the day, checking bags and obtaining boarding passes? Our flight to Boston through Paris is about 2:30 PM and this sounds like a wonderful answer as to whatt to do after check-out. Where exactly is this facility?

Maribel, after 3 nights in Seville, we are spending 2 nights in Arcos and one in Ronda before heading to Granada. We had thought that we might spend one day driving south, ending in Gibraltar and one day in the White towns before heading to Ronda on the third day. What do you think of Jerez and have you taken the trip to the Parc Dodonna, west of Jerez? Do you have any other suggestions. We've planned 3 nights in Granada, and thought we might even drive towards the mountains given time. After Granada, we are making our way to Malaga, to see the coast and to catch the train to Madrid, probably stopping at the caves near Nerja.

I've planned the trip on my own and appreciate all the feedback I can get. Thanks,

Margret
justretired is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 08:02 AM
  #9  
car
 
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justretired
Yes, you check in your luggage and get your boarding pass with regular airlines, If you are flying charter, it will be better to check with the airline.
The lounge is in the town business distric. AZCA. If you have a metro map of madrid look for a train-metro station called Nuevos ministerios.
car is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 08:06 AM
  #10  
car
 
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justretaired
Opps.. and the lounge opens at 6:30 am
car is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 10:12 AM
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justretired and all,
One very important note about luggage checking at the Nuevos Ministerios facility (and I hope I'm right on this-I did check)
The baggage/boarding pass check in system at Nuevos Ministerios metro station (line 8 direct to Barajas airport) is at the present time only for the Spanish carriers, Iberia, Air Europa and Spanair and perhaps the Portuguese ones, like Portugalia, (I'm not sure about the Portuguese airlines). American-bound travelers can't avail themselves of the service if they're flying an American carrier. I don't know if British Air or Lufthansa have a bag check counter at Nuevos Ministerios either, since this is a relatively new service.
If you're flying an AMERICAN carrier, such as American, US Air, Delta, Continental, they don't have check in counters at Nuevos Ministerios yet (or didn't the last time I checked)! If I'm wrong, someone please correct this.


Yes, I like Jerez as a destination or stop along the route from Seville to Arcos. We try to stop in Jerez for the Thursday noon equestrian ballet at the Royal School of Equestrian Art, and afterwards a tour of a sherry bodega.
And the Parque Donana, Europe's largest wetlands park, is also an interesting destination, but as lweber has said, it depends on the time of year and migratory patterns. You can take a 4 hr. boat trip to Donana from the Bajo de Guia riverfront promenade in Sanlucar de Barrameda right across the Gualdalquivir river from Donana. You travel on the Real Fernando, and you have the opportunity to walk a bit in the park with a guide. Tickets can be purchased at the Fabrica de Hielo information office right at the Bajo de Guia. This would be the closest entry for you to Donana from Jerez or Arcos.
Maribel is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 10:24 AM
  #12  
 
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Just a confirmation for all those Madrid airport bound-
On the www.aena.es site they've published the list of all airlines having baggage check facilities at the Nuevos Ministerios metro station. They are:
Portugalia
Iberia
Spanair
Air Europa
Air Nostrum
Alitalia
(and 2 others I've never heard of)
Maribel is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 11:44 AM
  #13  
car
 
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Maribel ,justretired
Nuevos ministerios lounge
Well this explains then why the place is so empty.
Last time i was there I was flying KLM Madrid-Amsterdam-Vancouver, but the flight was Jv with Spanair. So I got the wrong idea that must of the airlines
had check in facilities there.
Companies with are in the Star alliance and similar airlines groups are worth checking.
car is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 01:11 PM
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justretired,
I'm just not a fan of Gibraltar-found it very disappointing, but the white hill towns, well, that's a different story! I love them for their picturesque nature and for the stunning countryside surrounding them.
More details about Parque Doñana for anyone interested:
The Real Fernando is a large boat with snack bar, restrooms, binocular hire, and a video is shown on board. The price includes 2 guided tours around the park (have to go with a guide), one lasting 1 hr. and another 30 min. Heat is intense in summer, and there's no shade and one needs mosquito repellent. From March to May there are departures at 10 and 4. In Sept. at 10 and 5, in Oct. at 10 and 4, but in Nov. and Feb. at 10 only. Cost: around 14 euros. NO sailings MON

There's also a service by Viajes Doñana, a 3 1/2 hr. guided tour into the park from Sanlúcar's Bajo de Guía at 8:30 a.m. and 4:30, from May to mid-Sept. (rest of yr. at 8:30 and 2:30) on TUES and FRI. After the river crossing, you're taken around by jeep.

Hope this helps.
Maribel is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 07:42 PM
  #15  
 
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justretired,
Correction about the Real Fernando boat trip to Parque Doñana-seems there are sailings every day now.
Current info and booking can be found here-
www.visitasdonana.com/english/reservas.asp
Maribel is offline  

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