Help with Granda to Seville 10-day trip

Old May 8th, 2003, 11:35 AM
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Help with Granda to Seville 10-day trip

Need advice on upcoming trip to southern Spain. We arrive in Granada on June 12th and depart Madrid on Sat afternoon the 21st. Places we really want to stay are Seville and a beach city. We will have a car when we arrive in Granada. Have read many postings for similar itinerary (Maribel - low road) and want to stop at all of them!! But I don't want to change hotels every day if we can avoid it. This is what we've come up with so far:

Day 1 Tue: Granada (arr 11am)rent car
Day 2 Wed: Granada
Day 3 Thur
Day 4 Fri
Day 5 Sat
Day 6 Sun: drive to Seville
Day 7 Seville
Day 8 Seville
Day 9 fly to Madrid (no time-not booked)
Day 10 Madrid/ fly to London @ 6pm

Not sure where to stay in between Granada and Seville. Read other postings that suggest Rhonda, Nerja, with trip to Frigiliana, Mijas. They all sound great. I would like to incorporate Cadiz and maybe Jerez de la Frontera and Marbella. I really want a beach place to stay during this trip if we can. We don't want to change towns every day if we can avoid it. That's why I have us in Seville for 3 nights. Could I extend that for 4 nights and day trip to Jerez? or Stay 1 night in Cadiz and visit Jerez on the way to Seville?
We are really wanting to take it easy and! Not a big history buff but a castle here and there is ok. Looking for beautiful drives, quaint towns, beach, and just hanging out to enjoy the ambience. I don't have us in Madrid but 1 night this trip - prefer small towns. We will have a car when we arrive in Granada through Seville.We are flying into Granada & out of Seville.
I read the "low road' thread from Maribel (and others)and it sounds great! I don't want to spend more than $200/night on hotels -around $150/less would be better. Our splurge is Casa 7 which is avail only 17 June for 3 nights during our visit so we will take that, of course! I've e-mailed the parador in Granada to see if anyone has cancelled for 2 nights 12th and 13th (I know its wishful thinking but I have to try!)?? to stay in Granada?
Also, we can use points for a hotel in Marbella (Le Meridien Los Monteros) and hotel in Granada (Hotel La Bobadilla) to help with costs. Has anyone stayed at either place?

Would appreciate any help!
Thanks!!

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Old May 8th, 2003, 11:44 AM
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oops! I mean Granada to Seville!(sorry!)
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Old May 8th, 2003, 11:57 AM
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Are you sure Hotel la Bobadilla is located in Granada? If it's the same one we stayed at, it's at least an hour from Granada. Although the hotel is lovely, I wouldn't stay there again because it's in the middle of nowhere and was populated only by American tourists. Maybe you can use your points for the Alfonso xiii in Seville? You don't want a car in Granada, consider picking it up on the way out.
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Old May 8th, 2003, 01:31 PM
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Thanks for that info! Will be looking elsewhere for hotel. Glad to know I don't need the car until we leave - thanks!
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Old May 8th, 2003, 01:35 PM
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Sorry I messed up and put this in the General Europe catagory so I've moved it to "Spain".
Sorry - I'm not a wizard at this yet!

Thanks and your help/comments will be appreciated!
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Old May 9th, 2003, 08:25 AM
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Hi BeachGirl,
I tried to post on your other thread but things went haywrire, so here are some thoughts about your itinerary, based on our recent trip:

Granada:
Just take the later flight-no overnight in Madrid.
As a Parador alternative, consider the 4 star Alhambra Palace, also on the Alhambra hill. our favorite, very well run, thoroughly comfortable and highly popular, getting Parador overflow, but request a room facing the city below for best views. If both are booked, I echo Olga re the new, stylish 5 star AC Palacio de Santa Paula downtown-really well priced given the high quality. Also the Capitel Nazari gets nice reviews, but closer to the Albaicin, actually right at the edge of it. (we prefer the Alhambra hill, but younger travelers enjoy downtown more). I would avoid La Bobadilla, as Marija says.

Rental car:
Yes, please pick it up upon LEAVING Granada and opt for the SMALLEST car that can accomodate you and luggage. (Our Renault Megane even with side mirrors pulled in just barely fit through the narrow streets of Gaucin! Anything larger would have been impossible), and turn it in upon ARRIVAL in Seville, at the train station (take the ring road, SE 30, E5 east around the city and then the Avda. Kansas City exit to Estacion Santa Justa), then taxi to the Casa 7.

Days btwn Granada-Sevilla:
Spend June 12/13 (Thurs/Fri?) in Granada, as 2 nights are plenty, then move down to the coast for 14/15 since you want a beach, and take the "low road" along the Med. Can choose btwn Nerja and Marbella area (where you could use pts at Los Monteros).
If you decide on Nerja,
on the drive down from Granada, take the N 323 through the Puerto Suspiro del Moro and maybe detour at Lanjaron on the A 348 through the Lecrin Valley to Orgiva and environs to see a bit of the Alpujarras, maybe driving up as far as Pampaneira, at the wall of the Poqueria Gorge (the Alpujarras experts here should advise about this).
In Nerja I'd book the Parador (if available) or next door at Paraiso del Mar. I'd visit the caves, spend time on Playa Burriana (right below Parador) and drive up to Frigiliana and even on to Competa, higher up in the Axarquia, more unspoilt, less discovered.

But if you prefer Marbella over Nerja (both will be very busy), I wouldn't attempt an Alpujarras detour, but would spend that time with a stopover in Nerja for views at Balcon de Europa or a paella lunch at one of the Playa Burriana merenderos and just a take a short detour up to Frigiliana (omitting Competa) then straight on to Marbella.
But please take the superhighway above Malaga and the concrete jungles of Torre-Fuen.-Ben, to the A-7 Autopista del Sol toll road to Marbella, a crowded city that will be packed to the gills! You'll want to avoid the old, highly congested coastal road, N 340. Aargh!

If you visit downtown Marbella, prepare for horrendous traffic to get down to the beach and find a place to stash your car (much better to bus or taxi from Los Monteros). We were there during Holy Week, and because of traffic and construction (cranes everywhere in sight from Marbella to beyond Estepona), it took forever to find our way to the Hotel El Fuerte! The underground garages save the day, as there are never spaces on the street.

While in Marbella, if you want a break from sunbathing, you might enjoy a drive up to Ojen, another starkly white Moorish hill town- a short trip and less heavily touristy, Disney-esque than Mijas with its souvenir shops, bus tours, burro taxis. There's a pretty hunting lodge 8 km. north of the town (watch for the green sign on the left side of the Coin highway), the Refugio de Juanar, run by the Andalusian gov't, which makes a nice lunch spot (terrace dining and regional cuisine, game is specialty), and there's a 2 km. walk to exercise off lunch down to a Mirador with superb views of the Med. and Marbella below (staff can direct you to the entrance to this walk). We've stayed and dined here several times. DeGaulle finished his memoires in 1970 from rm 3.
Monda and Coin, further north, are also worthy of a look, time permitting. Also yummy food at the Dutch run Hotel Santa Fe, 3 km before Coin.


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Old May 9th, 2003, 08:37 AM
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(cont.-I think I'm writing my trip report!)

For your June16 lodging:
I'd make my way to Ronda! The drive up from San Pedro is simply stunning (just did this-takes 40 min.). Try to see a few of the picturesque perched Moorish white towns around Ronda (Zahara and Grazalema), the atmospheric old Arab quarter of Ronda itself, filled with noble homes, and the pretty Plaza de Toros (great gift shop-went overboard there with posters/books- and small Museo Taurino-5 euros). This time we stayed at the modern and rather sterile Parador for the balcony (higher rate) with view of gorge and extra large, super comfy room, but next time we'll return to the less costly, sweet, family run San Gabriel or try the new country house hotel Casona de la Ciudad (the friendly lady manager gave us a tour-stylish decor, tranquil garden with small pool, handy garage, copious, communal breakfast with homebaked goodies), both located in La Ciudad, the the atmospheric, charming Arab quarter. The Parador area, complete with McDonalds, has sadly become highly tourist saturated.

From Ronda to Sevilla (June 17):
I'd get a very early start (8 a.m.) and spend an hr. or so exploring Arcos (challenging drive up to the Plaza del Cabildo through the twisting, extremely narrow streets), then a stop in Jerez for a Sandeman sherry bodega tour and/or horse ballet at the Royal School of Equestrian Art (only if itys Tues.).
You can do both by attending the beautiful horse ballet (like the Spanish Riding School of Vienna) at NOON (but need to reserve tickets ASAP at www.realescuela.org-cost 21 euros for great "preferencia" seats, but all seats have unobstructed view-parking available behind the compound next to Sandeman-look for the tour busses) and immediately afterwards at 1:30, walk around the long block to Sandeman for their 2:15 tour (4,5 euros, including a very generous tasting of 4 sherries-takes an hr-afterwards grab lunch at the pretty Hotel Palmera Plaza next door). If you want to forgo the sherry tour or horse ballet, there's also a double decker blue sightseeing bus, Tour Jerez, that can show you the city much easier than trying to naviagate its maze by car, and it leaves from the Royal School (Real Escuela) after the show or see schedule for other departure pts at
www.cadizmarketing.com/showdetail.asp?id=18



About Seville,
Since Casa 7 can only take you for 3 nights, you might add a 4th night at the end at the Alfonso XIII, as Marija says (with your pts.?), cancelling the 20th in Madrid, since you seem ambivalent about the Madrid overnight and don't to fly back until 6 p.m. the 21st. With another day in Sevilla, you could do a day trip to Cadiz (1 hr. 45 min.) via train (see www.renfe.es) or Comes bus (see schedule at http://matematicas.uca.es/cadiz/autobus.html). Via train you could do Jerez on the way to Cadiz (the famed Gonzalez Byass sherry bodega has English tours at 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:00-the 2 p.m. included tapas-no res. required), but it would make for a very long day to do both cities justice.

Hope this helps you in your planning!
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Old May 12th, 2003, 10:01 AM
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Hi Beach Girl,
Sorry to reply here again again, but things still go haywire on your other thread.

About Ronda,
For a first visit, you might be better off at the Parador-it's easy. It has its own underground garage (9 euros per day), large, stylish rms with balcony have sitting areas (sofa, 2 chairs, coffee table) and huge baths with double sinks, lots of toiletries, power showers, huge towels, the usual Parador stuff. You'll pay a supplement for the "best" rooms, #119-130 and #213-219 facing out to the valley from the gorge. (#218 is great) And there's that terrific Parador brk. buffet (extra). There's even a Parador store to help you spend more money (note at this Parador they now charge for a city map). But the area around the Parador has become "tourist central". That's why we prefer the quiet, the charm, romance and the beauty of La Ciudad, the white Arab Quarter and the cute, very well-priced San Gabriel. No view from room but the Mirador is just a short walk away. It's like spending a night in one of the perched Moorish white towns. There's parking there-you just unload in front and the staff will tell you where to park nearby.

We found recently there's no such thing as a quiet coastal village on the Med. side. Traffic is bumper to bumper all the time in season, and every single space of hill has been taken up with new (albeit tasteful) condo villages, from Marbella to beyond Estepona.
Cadiz is a large and lively city not a quiet coastal village, and villages such as Tarifa below don't fit well in your itinerary.
With your current itinerary, I don't think you have time to move over to the Atlantic side to the Costa de la Luz, so to me it makes more sense to choose somewhere btw Nerja and Estepona for beach. If you don't want Los Monteros, I've heard nice things about Albero Lodge. It was just featured in Habitania (a gloosy interior decor mag) in their "hotels with soul" supplement.. It's a Mediterrean villa decorated with flair (but hope you like bright colors!), each of the 9 rms. given the name of a city and with its own private terrace. It's in Estepona's prestigious "Golden Mile", but secluded beach is 3 km. away. It's run like a private home, even with butlers. The owner's mother runs the nearby restaurant, El Relicario.
www.alberolodge.com
In Estepona there's definitely a riding center and even a horse ballet with Carthusian horses, similar to Jerez's Royal School.

Speaking of horses, if you want to hit an equestrian show and sherry tour at the same time without delving into the maze that is downtown Jerez, you can just hit the Bodegas Williams & Humbert on the highway, N IV, km. 641,75, actually the largest bodega in Europe, so they say. They have a mini riding exhibit at NOON, Wed. and Fri. included in the 3,91 euro visit, along with the tour and sampling of 3 sherries.
www.williams-humbert.com

Hope this helps more.




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Old May 19th, 2003, 01:40 PM
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I have a question about Arcos de la Frontera and Ronda area.(will have a car)

We have two nights available in this area. Would you stay one night in Arcos and the next in Ronda or both in Ronda with day trips to Zahara or Grazalema and such. We don't mind driving around but want to be able to relax and enjoy the atmosphere, too! So many places to go!
Here is what we have so far:

Thur: Arr Madrid & explore (Hotel Villa Real)
Fri: Toledo day-trip;return 6pm Madrid
Sat-Mon: Seville (3nts Casas..Juderia)
Tue: Dep am Seville for Arcos or Ronda
Wed: overnight ?? Ronda
Thu: dep Ronda for Granada via Frigiliana and Nerja, arr Granada afternoon/eve
Fri: Alhambra and other sights
Sat: dep Granada @2:15 for Madrid to London

If you've made this drive, what are your thoughts?? Also, in mid June, how long does the sun stay up in the Ronda and Granada areas? (weather.com says 7:15 to 9:20- seems late)

Sunday in Seville: do most shops, sights etc. close early/all day??

Is Nerja worth a stop to put our feet in the water? or should we skip? I figure if we want to see Frigiliana then we might as well. Maribel, you say there is a great place for lunch - had paella I believe? Thinking of passing thru from Ronda to Granada.

Appreciate any help!
(p.s. Don't know if this matters, we are in our 40's and speak limited spanish - but learning more daily!)
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Old May 19th, 2003, 02:31 PM
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Hi BeachGirl,
I'd stay 2 nights in Ronda and day trip to any white towns from there.
We recently did the following white towns-Grazalema, Zahara, Benoajan, Ubrique, Cortes de la Frontera, Benalauria, Gaucin, Casares from our 2 nights in Ronda. And Arcos from Ronda to Jerez.

The "low road" drive from Ronda to Granada along the coast to Nerja then up the Suspiro del Moro pass with multiple stops could take all day. But you'll have light until 9:20. Yes, it's true. It's exactly 40 min. from Ronda down to the coast at San Pedro de Alcantara (just did this). Then I'd be sure to get on the toll road, the Autopista del Sol, which will speed you above the terrible congestion from Marbella to Malaga (please, please don't get stuck on the old N340-yuck!!!), then
continue on the superhighway E 15 to Nerja.

If you want to see Frigiliana, then by all means make a stop in Nerja for the views from the Balcon de Europa. The paella lunch could be taken on Burriana beach, below the Parador, to the east of town, at one of the many beachside huts, called "merenderos". The most famous is Ayo, where you'll see the *gigantic* paella. My husband, a paella purist (snob?) said that paella should be served immediately, not left sitting out, so we ate at La Barca but took pictures of Ayo's. But it's great fun.

I don't know the current status of the N 325 up to Granada from Salobrena. The last time we drove it, they were widening it to make a superhighway. Part of it now is 4 lane. It's mountainous, sinuous and used by trucks so slow moving, but a very scenic drive.

Sevilla sites on Sun.:
Shops will be closed other than souvenir stores (right, Olga?), but monuments like the Alcazar, Casa de Pilatos, Cathedral (free on Sun.) and Museo de Bellas Artes (Sun closes at 2) will be open.

Hope this helps.
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Old May 19th, 2003, 05:34 PM
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Thanks Maribel!
Staying in Ronda two nights is what we will do and day-trip from there. Sounds a little slower-paced also! Should we visit any of those along the way (Arcos, Zahara, Grazalema) to Ronda or drive straight to Ronda?

I'm not sure what is a "don't miss" town along the way from Ronda to Granada. Frigiliana sounded quaint. Shopping in Toremolinos. Not looking for anything in particular except a fun village that may have special charm. (I'm sure that includes many!!) Thought it would be fun to see a village or two along the way to Granada.

Michelin site says 2hrs 38min from Ronda to Granada non-stop. Is this accurate? We are trying to plan departures and "play time" inbetween Ronda and Granada. This will be on a Thursday.

Need good driving map - have AAA Spain/Portugal. Is there one that is better for 1st time drivers in Spain?

Parador in Ronda was $182/night, San Gabriel $91/night. Is it worth the difference?

In Granada, Parador and Hotel Americana(sp?) are not available. The Palace is for, I think, $240/night. Last 2 nights in Spain - is it worth the difference of AC Palacio Santa Paula or Hotel Casa Capitel Nazari (both under $200?

Those are my last reservations to make.

Car rental: diesel or gas?

This is getting exciting - so close to our trip!!

Thanks for any imput!
Sheila


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Old May 19th, 2003, 06:35 PM
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Hi Sheila,
Answers to questions:

On way to Ronda from Sevilla, visit Arcos first, then Zahara de la Sierra. Do Grazalema from Ronda.

Parador not worth the price difference. Stay at San Gabriel. Inquire if room 9 (suite) is available.

Skip Torremolinos entirely! Do your small gift shopping either in Sevilla (look for Calle Tetuan and Calle Sierpes or at big El Corte Ingles dept store on Plaza Duque 10, plus "Agua de Sevilla" store on San Fernando across from Hotel Alfonso XIII) or in Frigiliana (honey, watercolors, naif ceramics)

Go back to www.viamichelin.com and do your route planning Ronda-Granada through Velez-Malaga, Nerja, Salobrena, to see how much time they estimate for the lower, coastal route. The inland route through Coin to Malaga is much shorter.

Purchase the Michelin #446 map-invaluable!!! Look for it at Borders, B&N, Amazon or order through Franklin Maps which has all the Michelin Europe maps (phone: 800 356-8676) Or see
www.franklinmaps.com/Storepic.html

Re Granada:
Ouch! The Hotel Alhambra Palace's rates have really crept up (that surely must be for a suite, no?) !! (How much is Madrid's Villa Real in June?)
Stay at the AC Palacio de Santa Paula-plenty of pampering from this hip and with-it chain. Will be the equivalent of the Villa Real in Madrid. You'll be pleased. Second choice: the Casa Capitel Nazari. Both have received nice reports here.

Go for the diesel. We saved about 40% in fuel costs.

And of course, have a great trip!
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Old May 19th, 2003, 07:43 PM
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Thanks for the reply!

I will look for the Michelin map tomorrow.

As for the Hotel Villa Real in Madrid - we are using Amex points for it. Not sure what the rate would be but has an excellent location - expecially for the Prado.

Re: the San Gabriel in Granada - will see if Suite 9 is available (hotel sounds so quaint!)

If you had to choose one: Toledo or Cordoba?? (Toledo as day-trip from Madrid or Cordoba as day-trip from Seville)

Thanks again.
Your imput has helped us so much!

Sheila

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Old May 20th, 2003, 07:35 AM
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Hi Sheila,
That's a tough choice but...
Having just revisited both Toledo and Cordoba, if I had to choose just 1, I'd choose Toledo for its great wealth of art, its rich cultural heritage, Christian, Moorish and Jewish, the majestic Gothic cathedral and the amazing treasures therein, its stunning setting.
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