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ekscrunchy Nov 27th, 2007 12:59 PM

Granada questions
I am doing some advance thinking about another trip to Spain and have a couple of questions.

Parador in Granada: How far in advance can I reserve? Is this, indeed, the best place to stay, or would the Alhambra Palace be better, assuming this would be a splurge? (Parador appears to offer a 30% discount for ancianos in winter. (the oldster is NOT me!!)

Is it, indeed, important, to stay in a hotel with access to the grounds at night and if so, which hotels would allow this?

If one stays in a hotel on the Alhambra grounds, does that mean that the grounds can be visited during the nights, any day of one's stay? Do you have to take a tour or can you just walk around?

We are thinking of a January visit..what nights would the Alhambra be open during that month? (My research seems to indicate only on this true and if so, does that mean Friday and Saturday nights).

Would there be a big advantage to visit during the full Moon?

We are thinking of spending 3 nights in Granada on a one-week trip. Too much? Other places on the (very) tentative) itinerary now are:

Cordoba (1 or 2 nights?)
Ubeda ( 1 or 2 nights; parador???)
Carmona (Parador) OR Malaga (Parador) , depending on which airport we fly into. Any comments on being in either of these places on a Sunday night/Monday morning?

Arrival day would be a Sunday, with departure on a Sunday as well.

Finally, what about the weather? Might there be difficulties driving due to snow in the mountains?

bardo1 Nov 27th, 2007 01:13 PM

A few thoughts:

I would not recommend staying on the Alhambra grounds - certainly not in your situation.

Staying on the Alhambra grounds <i>might</i> make sense for someone only staying one night in Granada if the only thing planned was to see the Alhambra...

Staying on the Alhambra grounds will cut you off from the Granada itself - including the cafes, shops, and all the other stree life. Stay in the nearby Albaicin neighborhood instead - just across the creek. Three nights is a good stay for Granada and will allow you to see most of the attractions in the city. It takes a little more than 1/2 day to see all of the Alhambra complex.

It <i>might</i> make sense for someone only staying one night in Granada if the only thing planned was to see the Alhambra...

One night in Cordoba is plenty.

annhig Nov 27th, 2007 01:33 PM

Hi, ek,

i just checked the site [which seems to have the best info about tickets] and it seems that your are right about the hevening opening hours in Jan - Fri &amp; Sat only. IMO that's an even better reason to book an evening visit, at

I don't know if you can access the grounds at night if you stay at the parador, but in Jan, the main night-time attraction will be the nasrid palaces, which you need a ticket for in any event. they are truly magical all lit up, and completely different from how they appear in the daytime.

as for whether you stay up by the alhambra or in town, it's up to you. there is a steep hill down to the town, [and back up again] but a very frequent bus service runs from the main square up to the ticket office, and back down again. it costs about E1 a journey, and some of the buses go all the way through to the albercin.

there was a recent thread about staying in Granada, and the general concensus was that staying in town was better than at the albercin, which is as out of the way as the hotels up by the alhambra.

for someone with moboility problems, staying up by the alhambra may not be the best idea, but on the other hand, a stay at a parador is always nice.

and there's always the bus.

in Jan, there is always the chance of snow. that's why the shops are full of furs and winter boots. but the main road from malaga does not go through the mountains.

we stayed one night in Malaga and really liked it. try to see the market before you go.

hope this helps,

regards, ann

ekscrunchy Nov 27th, 2007 01:37 PM

Bardo..Many thanks!

If I have 1 night in Cordoba and 3 in Granada, and perhaps 1 in Carmona, where else should I consider spending the remaining nights (total of 7)?

Two in Ubeda sounds like it might be one too many, especially at that time of year..(??)

ekscrunchy Nov 27th, 2007 02:13 PM

Oh, Ann..I did not see your post. Many thanks, yet again.

I will do a bit more research and see what I come up with. We want to stay in at least a couple of paradors...but we could choose Ubeda, Malaga, or Carmona..

I would love more input into how many days in the places other than Granada and Cordoba....

kja Nov 27th, 2007 02:19 PM

Hi, ekscrunchy -

Although its a matter of personal choice, I agree with the others that there would be limitations to staying near the Alhambra. I stayed near the Cathedral, and found that location well suited to visiting other sites in Granada and eating well.

At the Alhambra, you do need tickets, but you do not need a tour if you don't want to. I thought the audio guide was quite informative.

How long to stay in various places obviously depends on your interests. I spent 3 nights - which meant 2.5 very full days - in Grenada, and loved every minute. I also spent 2 nights - which meant a little short of 2 full days - in Cordoba, and loved every minute there, too.

And if it helps, I spent about 4 hours at the Alhambra during the day and close to 2 more hours at night (magical!). I wish I had spent more time during the day - I did not have as much time as I would have preferred at the Generalife.

I would check opening hours - some things will likely be closed on Monday, so knowing that ahead of time should help you plan.

If you still have time, you might consider Cordoba, Ronda, or Sevilla.

Hope that helps!

bardo1 Nov 27th, 2007 02:38 PM

I too would consider Ronda (and it's exquisite Parador)
Get (and pay for) a room with a view!

also and/or Seville...

kelliebellie Nov 27th, 2007 02:38 PM

We were in Spain in April. My trip report is under my name somewhere.

We too found out that staying by the Alhambra (Alhambra Palace) was a silly thing to do. Staying down in the city and gazing up at the Alhambra is the way to go. We ended up taking a taxi each night back to our hotel because the hill was just too big!

We LOVED Seville. The old town is very quaint. It doesn't feel like a big city at all. We stayed at the Dona Maria which is the best location we've ever stayed. Absolutely no need for a car.

Ronda was spectacular. We stayed at the Parador there and our room had the best views I've ever seen. Amazing.

Have fun!

nytraveler Nov 27th, 2007 06:01 PM

We wanted to stay at the Parador but were too late - it was full (7 months in advance) so we stayed at the Alhambra Palace sort of across the street. It's true that it is atop a hill (but IMHO not really long or steep unless you're not used to walking). We preferred being in the immediate area of the Alhambra since the atmosphere was so different than being in the center of the town.

Don;t know you total plan but I would allocate at least 2 days each to Seville and Cordoba. We stopped in Ubeda for the day and it was cute - but nothing like any of the major 3 towns.

danon Nov 27th, 2007 06:17 PM

We stayed in Granada 3 nights about 2 1/2 (almost 3 days ) only six weeks ago.
I found Alhambra a bit underwhelming and would not stay near the grounds.

We saw Alhambra at night and during the day, visited the Cathedral , The Chapel, walked all over Albicin and still had too much time on our hands.

amsdon Nov 27th, 2007 06:34 PM

We'll let's see Scrunchita...
what exactly are your special interests? Music? Hand woven baskets made by the Canasteros?
A flamenco class taught by one of the handsome young Gitano superstars of today with the long long hair?

or could it be possibly...<b> FOOD!</b> :-d

(Sorry I couln't resist)

Are you talking this coming January? I am so jelous!

I know TA has a few reviews specifically commenting on the pros &amp; cons of staying at the parador.
Is the construction there done????

ekscrunchy Nov 28th, 2007 05:25 AM

Thanks, everyone! I did not include Sevilla because we spent almost a week there, loving it, a few years ago.

Ana: You know me too well! Of course the primary interest! I was thinking of NEXT january, and thinking so far in advance because I thought about trying to book the Granada Parador. If we are not staying there, however, we might be able to go in early October (I imagine that parador is already booked for then) But I think it will be very hot (and crowded with tourists) in Andalucia you think this is true?

kenderina Nov 28th, 2007 06:35 AM

Very hot in October ? No, not at all. Granada is not Sevilla LOL
Seriously, its hilly position makes it a lot cooler than Sevilla and October it's a very nice time to visit, specially if you plan to visit Alhambra in the night. In winter it can be very cold after the sun goes down.

I would stay in the city centre. Being at the Alhambra grounds leaves you with a partial view of the place, like only Alhambra exists there and that's not true. Granada is a lively city full of students and has some other interesting things to see :)

annhig Nov 28th, 2007 07:23 AM

Hi, again, ek,

i agree that it's inlikely to be very hot in October. WE went at the beginning of November - we had some rain, but when the sun shone, it was perfect for walking around in a t-shirt. Added to some snow on the tops of the sierra navada mountains - perfect.

regards, ann

ekscrunchy Nov 28th, 2007 08:07 AM

Good news about the weather in October! Now I just have to figure out if there is time between baseball playoffs and the World Series so that the travel partner will consent to the trip! (the usual fall issue in this house)

What do you all think about the start..Carmona parador vs Malaga parador for the first night?

Skoop2 Nov 28th, 2007 09:47 AM

My sister and I visited Granada last summer and we stayed only 2 days-we wished we had planned more time. It's a fabulous city, so full of life, great food, and amazing sights. The Alhambra is magical-you'll never forget it. If you really want to enhance your experience, buy &quot;Tales of the Alhambra&quot; by Washington Irving on audio book and listen to it as you're driving through Andalucia-he went by donkey from Seville to Granada and while you are driving, you can almost follow his descriptions to the tee. Plus, his descriptions of the rooms in the palace and the stories that take palce there are amazing as well. You'll be saying &quot;OH, I remember this room! It was in the story!!!&quot;
We stayed at a fabulous small inn, Casa Morisca, in a quiet section of the Albayzin. It's just across the little river from the enormous cliffside perch of the Alhambra-you can see it glowing like a jewel at night. Casa Morisca is a 14th century Moorish house, built around a courtyard with a quiet small pool. It's lovely and the proprietress speaks very good English, if your Spanish is rusty. I hope you give it a try, and that you enjoy Granada as much as we did!!!!

Dukey Nov 28th, 2007 11:11 AM

Paradors can usually be booked about a year in advance. The one at the Alhambra is THE most popular one in Spain.

I would agree that if you are only going to see the Alhambra as we did the Parador is an excellent place to stay and the view of the gardens at night from the parador terrace, especially if you choose to have dinner there, is wonderful.

However, you are up that long hill from town and the area around the parador is essentially totally quiet at night except for the couple of restaurants nearby and the other two hotels.

danon Nov 28th, 2007 11:31 AM

We also stayed at Casa Morisca and loved it ! No parking though.
Our visit was in mid. Oct and the weather was perfect. The only mistake we made was being there on the long weekend of Oct 12 ; the city was really crowded with the domestic tourists.

ekscrunchy Nov 28th, 2007 11:43 AM

Thanks for all the help so far. I just had assumed that the parador was the best place to stay, given its popularity and the long-in-advance booking that is necessary. We tend to like staying in paradors so I did not even consider staying elsewhere in the city. Until now. But I like the idea of being close to the action at night so we can wander around and sample tapas, etc.

I have been to the Alhambra but my visit was many years ago..during my first trip to Europe, in fact. (Hitchiked to Granada on the back of a truck carrying a load of carrots, if you can imagine that) I am very much looking forward to going back. In order to enjoy the atmosphere, we could plan to have dinner at the parador one evening. I am assuming that if we book in advance they will take outside guests..unless there is an exception at this particular parador due to its popularity.

If we do manage to go in October, I would love to hear of options to stay outside the cities that I have mentioned..are there any great hotels in the general area, with great food nearby, that would make a good overnight? I did look into Bobadilla but not sure if that is worth the (huge) expense. I would be curious to hear from anyone who has stayed there, though. What about a small inn in the Sierra?

It looks like we would still have an extra night or two to play with..I am not so keen on Ronda; I have been there in the distant past so might like to discover a new spot. Is Nerja of interest?

And Ubeda? Two nights too much?
One night in Carmona?

Muchas gracias!

amsdon Nov 28th, 2007 12:05 PM

Scrunchy I am on a short lunch break so excuse the hasty reply. If you search there is a thread Maribel &amp; someone else posted as to the favourite paradors if you want to consider one in another area of Andalucia too. You may have already seen it.

Gotta run,,,( hitchhiked on a carrot truck??? Ave Maria Purisima!)

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