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akkar003 Jan 2nd, 2017 03:45 PM

Granada and Malaga - how long to stay?
Dear Travelers -

My husband and I will be arriving in Granada on a Monday around noon and flying out of Malaga on Friday also around noon. We had originally just included Malaga in our trip as there weren't any flights out of Granada, however the more we read about the city, it sounds like it may be worth a visit.

We are now trying to decide if we should spend 3 nights in Granada and 1 night in Malaga, or 2 nights in each city?

Any recommendations or suggestions for the two cities would be very appreciated! I've heard mixed reviews about Malaga, so any info or opinoins would be helpful!


michelhuebeli Jan 2nd, 2017 03:48 PM

I'd say two and two. Malaga gets an undeservedly bad rap from many p[eople, but it has quite a lot to offer if you look beyond the beach scene.
Granada has the Alhambra of course, give that enough hours to do it justice, and be on time for the visit of the Palace inside the overall grounds. The palace is timed, the grounds are not.

Read up in detail on both cities so you know why you make a decision, don't just base it on our opinions here.

RonZ Jan 2nd, 2017 04:50 PM

kja Jan 2nd, 2017 05:06 PM

For my interests, I was glad to have 3 nights in Granada, but it really depends on what you want to see and do. I strongly recommend both a day and evening visit to the Alhambra; if you have the option for an evening option to either the Nasrid Palace or Generalife, I'd opt for the Nasrid Palace -- or better yet, the Generalife the evening before your daytime visit and the Nasrid Palace the evening after your daytime visit.

I haven't been to Malaga yet.

BTW, note that many things in Spain are closed on Monday, and often for all or part of Sundays too; and many things in Spain will also be closed daily for a very long mid-day break. You might want to consider that when planning.

Robert2016 Jan 2nd, 2017 05:51 PM

Too bad you don't have a few extra days to enjoy Málaga. It's become quite the place the last few years; great museums, restaurants and excellent hotels!

danon Jan 2nd, 2017 07:29 PM

We liked Malaga very much , stayed 3 nights.
Try for two and two.
We stayed in Granada for 3 nights, but 2 would have worked.

kimhe Jan 3rd, 2017 08:32 AM

I'd also suggest two and two, and 3000 year old Málaga is my favourite city in the region after some 15-20 Andalucía trips the past 15 years.

Málaga is now Andalucía's "city of culture with its so-called 'mile of art' being compared to Madrid, and its dynamism and fine dining to Barcelona".

A very rich culture, theater and show scene in Málaga, here's a couple of always updated links to theater and concert events etc:

Málaga is a city of museums, and the recently opened art and archeological Museo de Málaga is the largest in Andalucía. From before you have have the Picasso and Thyssen museums, the Pompidou centre and the San Petersburg museum in the old tobacco factory, the Contemporary art museum by the river etc. etc:

And you have of course the Roman theater, the Moorish Alcazaba Palace/fortress and the huge 16th century cathedral within a few hundred meters right in the city center:

kimhe Jan 3rd, 2017 09:07 AM

And here is a perfectly fine outline for a couple of hectic days in Málaga city, perhaps you'll get some ideas here (I prefer to take it in much more slowly, and the malagueños are also commonly known as the most easy-going in the region).

And if you say what you're especially looking for when it comes to food, hotels, sights, experiences etc., I could give you some tips.

Genuine, laid-back and adventurous Málaga city is a world apart from the very touristy Málaga coast to the west of the city. That often causes a bit of confusion and some "mixed reviews" of two completely different things.

Here's a fine video intro to the city:

sundriedtopepo Jan 3rd, 2017 09:19 AM

We found the Generalife Gardens disappointing at night. It was the only option because we didn't book ahead for the night tour of Nazrid.

I think you can see everything in Granada in 2 nights, which means you will still have 2 nights, one full day to explore Malaga. Any less would be not enough time to really get an impression of Malaga.

We loved both cities.

Pegontheroad Jan 3rd, 2017 10:31 AM

Be sure to make your reservation for the Alhambra as far ahead as you can. I think I made a rez a month ahead of time, but was still not able to get a time during the day.

I was able to get a time/reservation for 5:00 p.m., which turned out to be okay after all.

I've been to Málaga a couple of times. I was there was the Semana Santa procession, which were just fabulous, so I didn't venture out too much, but I liked what I saw.

akkar003 Jan 3rd, 2017 06:50 PM

Thanks for all the great information! Even though we aren't very interested in many of the museums in Malaga, there seems to more than enough to keep us busy for 2 nights, between the Alcazaba, Gibralfaro, market, cathedral and all the great parks, food, shopping.

I think we are leaning towards 2 nights in each city.

Thanks again!

MinnBeef Jan 7th, 2017 07:37 PM

Like kja, I had 3 nights in Granada. It was a 3 hour train ride from Sevilla, so I took an early train and still arrived in the morning. I'm glad I had close to 3 full days. The Alhambra is breathtaking, breathtaking, breathtaking. My photos of it convinced two dear friends of mine to do their own trip to Spain the following year. I'll confess though, while the daytime tour was fantastic, I was disappointed in the nighttime tour of the palace. Poorly lit, much more crowded than I expected, and I just felt rushed overall. I would only recommend it if you can't get into a daytime slot. (And if you plan properly, you should be able to get into a day time slot. Buy your tix online ahead of time...can't recall how early they go on sale. You can check.) I also enjoyed the Capilla Real. Isabella and Ferdinand are buried here. You can see their coffins in a trip down to the crypt. I had read a biography on Isabella prior to my trip and she was an incredible woman. The view of the Alhambra from the San Mirador (I think I recall that name correctly) viewpoint across the lodge is unforgettable, especially at twilight. And Granada is where I developed my new found love for fino sherry (which I happen to be drinking as I type this...)

I did not get to Malaga so can't really comment. But there is a lot of incredible history and things to see in Granada. I would give it 3 nights, which gives you 2+ full days and enough to do it justice.

kja Jan 7th, 2017 08:16 PM

I think the place MinnBeef means for the view of the Alhambra is the Mirador de San Nicolas.

I'm so sad that MinnBeef was disappointed with the evening visit to the Nasrid Palace! When I was there, I was only of only about two or three dozen people, all of whom spoke only in hushed voices. We spread out immediately, so it felt very private. The were times that I had entire rooms, or courtyards, to myself! The lighting was on the dim side (so it isn't a replacement for a daytime visit, IMO), but so very evocative! Even thought the water in the pool seemed perfectly still, I could hear the soothing sound of water in motion. And ooh, the delicate scent of night-blooming flowers! Truly, it was among the most magical of my travel experiences.

@ MinnBeef: I'm glad that you enjoyed your other experiences in Granada!

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