Exploring southern Spain after bringing in the new year in Barcelona (4 nights). After 3 nights in Seville, planning 2 nights, traveling by train, to Granada, followed by 3 in Madrid (considering a day trip to Toledo) before flying home. Reading reviews we are struggling to find reliably comfortable, quiet, well located, hospitable lodging in Granada. Perhaps we would be more comfortable in Córdoba. I see a train from there to Granada is about 1 1/2 hours. Is the renowned Alhambra worth the time for a stay or a day trip?
Zagfam - it's definitely worth a stay or day trip to Alhambra. It's the most preserved moorish archictecture in Andalusia. You have the option to lodge in Cordoba if you have problems finding a quiet place in the Granada area. There are two smaller cities near Granada that can offer you affordable lodging and are less then an hour away. Ubeda and Jaén Spain are good choices to look into for accommodation.
Here are some boutique Hotels in Granada I can recommend:
Hotel Anacapri -
Address: Calle Joaquín Costa, 7, 18010 Granada, Spain
Phone: +34 958 22 74 77
Timed Alhambra tickets can be hard to get. We spent 3 nights in Granada, but it was a three week trip. Please give the month and year and number of guests. Don’t stay in Cordoba to visit Granada.
Ubeda (especially) and Jaen are very interesting places, but they are absolutely unsuitable as bases for a day-trip to Granada. [Correction: I was only looking at trains; the bus is definitely an option from Jaen, as pointed out by RJean below. By bus Ubeda-Granada takes about twice as long as Jaen-Granada.] The fastest rail connection from Jaen takes 3 hr. 22 min., and it gets much, much worse than that. Ubeda has no rail station, so you'd have to take a bus to either Jaen or Linares-Baeza to transfer to a train, which would take an additional 5 hours if you optend for Linares-Baeza (which is a lot closer to Ubeda than is Jaen).
Cordoba would work better; as you've discovered, there's a morning train that takes 97 minutes. Cordoba is a great destination in itself, but I'd want to spend at least one night in Granada (two would be better) if I was seeing the Alhambra. It's not like the Alhambra is the only thing of interest in Granada.
I am puzzled about your inability to find suitable lodging in Granada, which is not a small city and has hotels to support substantial tourist demand. Is the trip coming up soon, or is it during a peak-demand period? Have you looked at a website like booking.com to see what is available for your dates?
If the issue is that you are traveling very soon, you will probably have difficulty getting tickets to the Alhambra anyway, in which case Cordoba would be a great place to go instead. It's right on the rail line between Seville and Madrid.
"Reading reviews we are struggling to find reliably comfortable, quiet, well located, hospitable lodging in Granada."
I am a bit confused - Booking.com shows hundreds of Granada Spain properties dated 9.0 or better available during the first week of January 2020, which seems to be when you will be there. Given the availability I would definitely stay in Granada. Good luck narrowing your options down.
Columbus's tomb is also in Granada.
In fact he was there in 1492 when the Moors surrendered to Ferdinand and Isabella before their exodus.
Well... actually Columbus is buried in the Cathedral of Sevilla, not Granada. It's the Catholic Monarchs who are buried in the Royal Chapel of Granada. Columbus was also not in Granada during the final surrender of the last Moorish King Boabdil, but rather in Cordoba, waiting to meet the Catholic Monarchs ;-)
Reading reviews we are struggling to find reliably comfortable, quiet, well located, hospitable lodging in Granada.
Aside from the Alhambra unlike in Cordoba or Seville In Granada you get a free Tapas with each of your first two drinks in all the bars
(except Irish or British pubs).
Acraven - There is a bus line that connects Jaén to Granada within an hour. You only suggest by rail which takes longer.
The bus company that operates that route is Alsa Bus.
The fastest bus has a travel time of 1:00h. The longest travel time on the route is 2:05h. One wouldn't do this trek by rail which is alot longer as you mentioned. And Jaén is alot closer to Granada then Córdoba.
Good point; the transit time from Jaen to Granada by bus isn't bad at all.
However, I don't think it should be necessary to commute to Granada. It's not as if there is time on the itinerary to actually see whatever city they stay in and day-trip from.
@Andrew - Hi, I think you may be thinking of the famous romantic-era painting by Francisco Pradilla Ortiz that was made 400 years later after the fall of Granada.
What actually happened:
"After continually lobbying at the Spanish court and two years of negotiations, he finally had success in January 1492. Ferdinand and Isabella had just conquered Granada, the last Muslim stronghold on the Iberian Peninsula, and they received Columbus in Córdoba, in the Alcázar castle. Isabella turned him down on the advice of her confessor. Columbus was leaving town by mule in despair when Ferdinand intervened. Isabella then sent a royal guard to fetch him, and Ferdinand later claimed credit for being the principal cause why those islands were discovered" - The worlds of Christopher Columbus (1992)
Get another place to stay, and spend at least 1 night in Granada! A dinner overlooking the floodlit Alhambra is magical.
And, for a taste of what bathing in the lavish Alhambra baths must’ve been like, go for a soak (a massage is optional, but highly recommended, too) at one of the modern hammam Arab baths.
Grateful for your contributions of guidance, insight and enrichment. Special thanks to RJean. We secured lodging in Granada where we are most confident there will not be thin walls that invite fellow lodgers’ noises, clean restrooms with walls are not crumbling, fresh towels intact, upholstery that is not frayed, along with professional, considerate and hospitable staff. This 16th century structure, a five minute stroll to the Alhambra, welcomes guests with the ambiance of an authentic Andalusian layered courtyard. Adios, amigos
To explain our difficulty in finding lodging, it was not a lack of options. We always begin with recommendations in Rick Steves guidebooks. A few appeared to match our wishes, but as we dug into reviews, scrolling down to the lowest scores, we learned of drawbacks that turned us away. We realize anyone can write a review, unfortunately including less than reliable comments by competitors. But what if those miserable experiences are legitimate? This trip is a once in our lifetime. Time and comfort are precious commodities. We appreciate everyone taking time to contribute to our research, and as a result, we persevered in Granada and are very confident in the quality of our findings. Thank you again.
I agree with Cyn, one of the highlights of my visit to Andalusia was having dinner at one of the “carmens” overlooking the Alhambra. It wasn’t so much the dinner itself, although excellent, but the view of the Alhambra in the distance, as the light changed from early evening sunshine, to sunset, to the electric illumination of the Alhambra. I don’t know if you can experience that as well in January, but maybe you can try. Also, your selected hotel sounds wonderful, can you share the name?
We appreciate your rich description of sunset above the Alhambra. We will most certainly make that experience a priority.
With the list of choices offered by one of the posts on this forum topic, we found the Shine group of lodgings and selected the superior room, refundable, at the Albayzin, Granada.
As a thank you gift, we recommend the sunset where the golden glow slowly sinks into the ocean behind a mammoth rock outcropping as you enjoy fresh caught seafood, seated on the outdoor restaurant, simply set on a square wood plank over the little beach at Marina Grande, Sorrento, Italy. Seat yourself facing the sunset. Seat your love so that the sun’s glow portrays their “mythical god likeness.”
Isn’t travel marvelous, a wonder filled way to follow the sun.
We welcome local, culturally authentic recommendations for eateries and libations, Flamenco dance-voices-guitar, strolls and sights with tips for best times to access and experience. Arriving in Granada from Seville by train, we should have that afternoon and evening, a full day and then the morning before training to Madrid. Now it’s time to enjoy diving into Rick Steves guide while we await your replies. We travelers come to realize, the anticipation ignites the dreams, builds toward the crescendo, the adventure!
Confession time. Our initial source of motivation for going to Granada is the music, specifically the composition by that name. The spirit emblazoned in that music, so enticing. Truth be told, I began taking accordion lessons at the age of 7, and by the time I was 15, in 1965, I played back up in a rock band (I am not kidding). But my favorite, the piece I loved most, enticing my soul, was Granada. As we began anticipating the fulfillment of our dream to experience this mysterious storied place on earth, it struck me; how glorious would it be to relive the joy of playing it again! A friend had gifted me his father’s accordion, brought to the US from Italy more than 50 years ago. I found a teacher, an aficionado excited to bring the music of Spain back into my life. But alas, after one delightful lesson that lasted 2 hours past my anticipated half hour, I realized my fingers and my mind would never get there again, at least not in the timespan of life left to me at 69 years of age. So, we will go led by the “musica” of Spain.