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January Visit to Granada - Is Malaga or Granada a good base?

January Visit to Granada - Is Malaga or Granada a good base?

Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 12:19 PM
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January Visit to Granada - Is Malaga or Granada a good base?

Hi Everyone,

Just joined Fodors - we're planning a January visit to Granada and was hoping to get some advice:

Given the winter time visit, is it wiser to base ourselves in Malaga (better weather?) and do day trips to Granada and Cordoba from there, or is it better to stay in the city (colder weather, snow possibly)?

We will be coming from Madrid by train, and we're considering either:
3 nights in Malaga with day trips to Granada and Cordoba
Or
1 night in Cordoba and 2 nights in Granada

Unfortunately this is a very tight and short visit and we're trying to make the best of it...Thanks for any input in advance!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 12:38 PM
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Some Spain 'experts' might say that 2 nights in Malaga would be plenty. I haven't been to Cordoba so can't speak to it, Granada and Alhambra would be cold. I would choose a warmer base-relatively speaking for January. It seemed to me that getting in and outnof Malaga was easier and more central than Granada. Experts, what do you think?
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Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 12:52 PM
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IMHO Granada and Cordoba have the sights you want to see and that's where you should stay. Why go to Malaga (where it still isn't beach weather) to turn around and back track for these day trips?
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Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 12:58 PM
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I agree with nytraveler. If your focus is to visit Cordoba and Granada then you'll be spending most of your time their anyways. If you only have 3 days then I'd do the 1 night Cordoba and
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Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 01:01 PM
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geez....hands too fast. Continued:

If you only have 3 days then I'd do the 1 night Cordoba and 2 nights Granada. This is tight but will work.

Is this a part of a larger trip? If so, you're coming in by train from Madrid. Is this after a transatlantic flight or will you be in Madrid for some time? Where is your destination after these locations? It's a little difficult to give advice without knowing the entire picture.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 01:13 PM
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Thanks for your replies...

I'm really torn on which will be more comfortable for us, especially traveling with an 8 year old. The sunrise is 8:30am and sunset is 6pm - so the warmer parts of the day are really condensed to the middle of the day.

If we're based in Malaga, I'm thinking we can at least walk around the plazas in the evenings, maybe do some shopping (not sure how late shops stay open?), and enjoy dinner out - however we'd have to deal with trains/buses to get back to our base and we won't have a base during the day to rest.

If we're based in Granada/Cordoba it would be easier to go back to hotel to rest through the day and there would be no commute to the attractions, however I'm thinking that once it hits nighttime, it'll be freezing temps in the 20's and 30's F, and we won't really be able to go out...

We live in southern California, so anything below 45 F we consider freezing lol
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Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 01:28 PM
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Thanks for all the good feedback so far - here's the whole picture:

We'll be flying direct from Dubai to Madrid (8 hour flight), then connecting immediately by train to Cordoba or Malaga (per above info). After 3 nights in the south, we'll be heading back to Madrid for 1 night before flying back to California. In Madrid, we plan to tour the stadium, and possibly do a general half day walking tour of the city (we're not interested in the museums).

Any additional feedback? We also considered doing 2 nights in Seville (with a day trip to Cordoba), and 1 night in Granada. Not sure if that might be a better option than 1 night Cordoba, and 2 nights Granada?

I know we're not doing justice to any of the cities we're visiting, but hoping this first visit will just be a taste of future visits...
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Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 01:32 PM
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I live in Southern California and I'd suck it up and stay in Cordoba and Granada. The average low in January for Cordoba is in the high 30's with the average high in the high 50's. Granada will be a little chillier. But even I could handle this with some layers and a coat (and I'm very cold adverse)!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 01:45 PM
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umnumy - welcome to fodors!

regarding your dilemma, we did not find it very easy to get in and out of Malaga [trying to find the Granada road from the airport in our hire car we ended up in an an industrial estate and had to ask directions from some locals who turned out to be irish]. also at that time of year, you are going to get very fed up using so many daylight years driving around so much, especially with a smallish child in tow.

Granada is a lovely place with the mountains of the Sierra Nevada in the background, and there are lots of nice bars and cafes in the centre. if you think that your son or daughter would need to go to bed early[ish] you could do worse than stay in the hotel we used which is dead opposite the Alhambra - http://www.hotelguadalupe.es/ - they have a nice restaurant so you could eat whilst your son/daughter was in bed. and you get a discount for the massive alhambra car park which is dead opposite. there is a bus down into the town [and better still back up again] so you don't need to move the car until you leave.

there are other interesting things to see in Granada like the Cathedral, and the Albercin - you are sure to have a nice time.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 01:45 PM
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Just noticed the details on your itinerary.

I hate to say it but you may want to just stick with ONE city for the 3 nights you have. You're traveling with an 8 year old and will have an 8 hour flight then a train ride to start off your 4 nights total in Spain. If you only stay one night in Cordoba you'll see very little as you'll probably be tired and then heading to Granada the next day.

I'd consider spending all 3 nights in Granada and visiting Cordoba as a daytrip between Granada and Madrid (you can store your luggage in Cordoba). You'd forego time in Madrid but you can't do it all in 3 days especially when the first day is not a complete day.

Alternatively spend all 3 nights in Malaga and visit Granada as a daytrip. Spend another day exploring Malaga. Don't trek back and forth to Cordoba from Malaga but instead visit Cordoba en route from Malaga to Madrid. Again, it would forego time in Madrid.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 06:41 PM
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Thank you everyone for your invaluable feedback!!
I'm convinced to stay in town when visiting Granada. As for Cordoba, I'll think about the option of visiting it on the way to Madrid.
I'll be sure to report back after the trip. Thanks again!
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Old Dec 4th, 2012, 03:22 AM
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Good decision. I split a week-long trip last year between Madrid and Granada, spending 4 nights in Madrid and then taking the trainn south for 3 nights in Granada. We had lovely, warm weather--light jacket and often just shirtsleeves during the day, with a sweater added at night.

Malaga would be lovely any time of the year..we returned a few weeks ago from a visit to that city, combined with stays in Sevilla and Madrid. There is plenty to see in Malaga apart from the beaches.

I'll be happy to share tips on any of those places with you. I've not yet written a report about this last trip, but here is the one from the Madrid-Granada visit in 2011.


http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...k-in-spain.cfm
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Old Dec 4th, 2012, 09:09 AM
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Just so you know, Madrid is on a high plateau in the center of the country - and also is often cold in winter. At the moment i's in the 40's there - and it's only the beginning of Dec.
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Old Dec 4th, 2012, 01:25 PM
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We actually had very mild weather in Madrid in January 2011. Never needed a heavy winter jacket. You never know.
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Old Dec 4th, 2012, 06:56 PM
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I was hoping that Madrid would be the only place I might encounter below 45 weather, but when I was researching I realized that Granada is in a mountainous region and gets snow occassionally as well!

Thank you ekscrunchy, your trip report was very entertaining to read and of course filled with extremely helpful info! I'm hoping for the same luck you had with the weather, in all cases we will make the best of it...

I have other questions which I will post separately.
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