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How many nights to spend in Granada and Malaga & a few other questions

How many nights to spend in Granada and Malaga & a few other questions

Old Jan 20th, 2017, 05:28 PM
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How many nights to spend in Granada and Malaga & a few other questions

I posted in October regarding my trip to France and Spain this September. My husband is 70 and I am 67. We will first visit our daughter and grandchildren who live in southern France for 2 weeks; then my husband & I will travel to Madrid and Andalucía. Initially we were going to France for the last 2 weeks of September, and planned to be in Spain the first 2 weeks of October. However, because of my daughter's work schedule, the best time for us to visit her and her family are the first 2 weeks in September, which means we will be in Spain during the last 2 weeks of September. I am aware it might still be hot in Andalucía, but we are locked into those dates.

I also made our airline reservations the other day because I found an unbelievable price for our open jaw trip. I don't usually make non-refundable reservations so early, but couldn't pass up the cost of the ticket. It is $662 RT from Boston to Marseille, and then from Seville to Boston. You have to be flexible with the dates to get this price, which we are because we are retired. So this means we are actually staying an extra night in Spain (not a bad thing, of course!). I am a little torn as to where to add the extra night. ( I do not want to add an extra destination.) Right now I have tentatively added an extra night to Granada so we will have 3 nights, instead of two nights, in Granada. Or I could add the extra night to Malaga so we will have 2 nights, instead of one night, in Malaga. I would appreciate people's opinions as to what they think is the best number of nights in those places. I realize everyone has their own opinions, but I sincerely do appreciate hearing other people's opinions and reading about their experiences. I would also like to hear about people's general impressions of these locations, too. In addition to seeing the sights, we also enjoy just walking around cities, exploring different neighborhoods, relaxing at cafes, etc.

Here is our current itinerary:

Madrid - 4 nights
Toledo - 1 night
Cordoba - 2 nights
Granada - 2 or 3 nights
Malaga - 1 or 2 nights (if I add the extra night to Malaga, this means we will have 2 nights in Granada and 2 nights in Malaga. Is this better than 3 nights in Granada and 1 night in Malaga?)
Seville - 4 nights

We will be leaving from Marseille to fly to Madrid on 9/18. I have planned the trip so that we will be in Granada on a Monday night and Tuesday night so we can have a night time tour of the Alhambra (along with a day time tour).

We arrive in Seville on September 29 and fly home from Seville on October 3, so hopefully the weather won't be unbearably hot by then.

We plan on traveling by train to most of the cities, but we will most likely take the ALSA bus from Cordoba to Granada, and from Granada to Malaga.

Does anyone know how far in advance the Alhambra tickets go on sale online?

When do train tickets go on sale? In some places, I've read 90 days before, and in other places I have read 60 days before.

BTW, I have the following guidebooks: Lonely Planet, Michelin Green Guide, and Rick Steeves.

Thanks for any advice and help!
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Old Jan 20th, 2017, 05:56 PM
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Hi KarenWoo, looks like a great trip. We were in Spain from mid-September and it was warm, but not overwhelming.

We spent 3 nights in Granada, but spent the first day just getting there, so really had 2 full days.

We then drove to Malaga and overnighted to catch our flight next day. We were surprised at how beautiful Malaga is, and really wished we had at least another day. We stayed on the top of the hill at the Parador, so the views were very good. But it was a long walk down and we taxied back up.

Even without the new museum it's a lovely town to walk around. The seafront is a place of activity and very clean and wide walkways.

If you arrive in Granada at a decent hour, you might want to do the night-time Alhambra then. Next day, besides your daytime tour, you can visit the town and cathedral and take a bus up to is it San Nicolas square? To watch the sun set on the Alhambra it's gorgeous to see it from that vantage point.
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Old Jan 20th, 2017, 07:13 PM
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I was glad to have 2 full days -- so 3 nights, in my case -- in Granada. And I did things in a different order than sundriedtopepo -- view of the sunset over the Alhambra from San Nicolas square 1st night, evening visit to the Nasrid Palace AFTER my daytime visit to the Alhambra. If you have the option to visit the Generalife during the evening, I'd do that the night before my daytime visit to the Alhambra, reserving the evening visit to the Nasrid Palace until after I've already seen it in the light of day. JMO.

I haven't been to Malaga yet.

One other option, just for your consideration: Shift a night from Seville to Toledo. I was truly glad to have had > 48 hours in Toledo.

If your time is limited, you might want to focus your research on the Michelin Green Guide and Lonely Planet.

Should be a delightful journey!
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Old Jan 20th, 2017, 08:06 PM
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I really like your plan. Since you recognize that it still might be quite hot, 2 nights in Granada gives you the opportunity to see the interiors of the Alhambra at night, when 90 percent of the crowds are gone and it's more pleasant, and then enjoy the exterior gardens the following morning before the temperatures rise. It is not hard to take a daytrip to Toledo from Madrid, but if you keep with your plan to spend a night there, you can have a much more relaxed and atmospheric visit, and do some of your touring in the morning when you wake up. I've never been to Malaga, and Sevilla didn't interest me as much as it interests other people, but part of my problem with Sevilla was that it was hot durng the time I was there (late April), so if you react poorly to heat, maybe the seabreezes of Malaga are the safer bet.
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Old Jan 20th, 2017, 08:18 PM
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Oops my iPad battery died before I could complete my post.
Wanted to add that I think you can see everything in Granada in 2 nights, that is 1 1/2 days, and then enjoy Malaga for 2 nights. It doesn't take long to travel from one to the other.

We didn't find a good restaurant in Malaga but kimhe has given lots of suggestions.
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Old Jan 21st, 2017, 05:39 AM
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions and insights. My current plan has us arriving in Granada on a Monday, when the Alhambra is closed at night. We will also be there on Tuesday night, when it is open at night. So we would not be able to tour the Alhambra our first night. I think kja's plan works best for us. We will view the sunset over the Alhambra from San Nicolas Square on our first night; then on Tuesday we will visit the Alhambra during the day (hopefully in the morning), and then visit the Alhambra on Tuesday night.

Do the buses and trains keep the same schedule all year? There is currently a bus that leaves Cordoba at 11AM and arrives in Granada at 1:45PM, which is what I want if the same schedule is in effect when we are there. So we would have late afternoon and evening on Monday in Granada, and then all day Tuesday and Tuesday night.

So I am leaning towards 2 nights in Granada and 2 nights in Malaga. One night might be too hectic, and I don't want too many one-nighters. Sundriedtopepo, I like your description and impressions of Malaga; I think it will be relaxing with cooler temps so spending 2 nights there will be better.

Does anyone know how far in advance the Alhambra tickets go on sale online?

Do train tickets go on sale 90 days before or 60 days before? I've read different things in various guidebooks and on the forum.

Thank you!
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Old Jan 21st, 2017, 06:42 AM
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I think 3000 year old Málaga deserves the two nights. Málaga is my favourite city in the region after much travelling here the past 15 years. My interests are primarily history, culture, theaters, concerts, great food and drink, all in abundance in laid-back and genuine Andalucian atmosphere Málaga.

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". https://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/andalucia/malaga

A fine video intro to "Spain's best kept secret": http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/de...pt-secret.html

Many fabulous museums, the largest Fine Arts and archeology museum in Andalucía (recently opened), the Picasso museum, Carmen Thyssen, Pompidou, the Russian museum, Contemporary Art Center, Arts and Popular customs etc etc.: http://www.andalucia.com/cities/malaga/museums.htm

Here's the Roman theater with the 8-11th century Moorish Alcazaba palace fortress behind, right in the heart of town: http://www.malagaturismo.com/en/tour...tro-romano/413

And the Atarazanas Food market - also right in the heart of the city - is my favourite food market in all of Spain. Highly recommend a lunch in one of the great tapas bars in here: https://eastofmalaga.net/2014/07/25/...ry-perception/
Cafe-Bar Mercado Atarazanas: http://azahar-spain.com/azahartapas/...do-atarazanas/
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Old Jan 21st, 2017, 07:51 AM
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kimhe, thank you so much for sending me these links. I have looked at them and Malaga sounds wonderful. We will definitely spend 2 nights here. The Atarazanas market looks fabulous! A great place for breakfast and lunch! My husband especially loves markets, and always includes a market on our itinerary, even if we have to give up something else.
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Old Jan 21st, 2017, 08:10 AM
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Good to hear, you won't regret it. Breakfast or lunch at the Atarazanas market is a good idea any day of the week (closed Sunday), but Saturday lunch here is something very special.

Here about the newly opened Museo de Málaga, can't wait to see this: http://www.surinenglish.com/20161209...612091857.html

And the luxcury Gran Hotel Miramar from 1926 reopens very soon. Saw it nearly finished a couple of months ago, will be one of the finest hotels in the country. 25% opening discounts, and I think it's valid also for September: http://www.granhotelmiramarmalaga.com/en/
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