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Granada to Tarifa

Doing some preliminary planning for 2021 (May). Looking to get from Granada to Tarifa. In the reading I have done, it doesn't appear that a train can get me all the way to Tarifa. It looks like I could take a train to Algeciras and then bus from Algeciras to Tarifa. OR, I could take a bus all the way from Granada to Tarifa (which may be more convenient). However, when I go on alsa.com it doesn't appear to have any schedules (even if I look into July/August). I am thinking this might be currently because the schedules are disrupted due to COVID-19. Would that be correct? If not, do you know of the best way to get from Granada to Tarifa?

Posted by
16860 posts

The bus company schedules are often not online very far ahead in the best of times. But your understanding of the options is correct. Tarifa is not on a train line. Buses between Algeciras and Tarifa are frequent and those from Granada less so, but bus all the way can still be faster or more convenient.

Posted by
3213 posts

Your situation is why I almost always get a rental car. If you decide to get one, the drive between the two cities is an easy one. I do understand if you’re uncomfortable with driving over there, or, if a rental car wouldn’t fit into the rest of your plans.

Posted by
166 posts

Thanks Laura and Jaimeelsabio.
I am not opposed to renting a car and wonder if that might make more sense for other travel as well. After Tarifa (and Tangiers), we'll head to Seville and then was originally thinking taking bus over to Lagos, Portugal...where I was planning to rent a car to drive up to Lisbon. I don't know if it makes sense or is possible to rent a car in Granada and take one way to Portugal. I'm thinking that might not be possible to take a car from Spain to Portugal. Your thoughts?

Posted by
18892 posts

You can take a car from Spain to Portugal but you'll almost certainly be charged an extremely high international drop fee--hundreds of euros.

Unfortunately, ground-transportation links between Spain and Portugal are really weak. Many people end up flying, though you can take a bus across the border, perhaps from Seville to Faro.

Not many of us recommend a trip to Tangier. Have you explored the possibility of flying from one of the major cities in Spain to Fes or Marrakech for a few days, then flying to your next Spanish or Portuguese destination?

Posted by
3213 posts

You wouldn’t want to leave a car in Tarifa while you went to Tangier, and you don’t need a car in Sevilla. acraven already explained the problem with inter country rentals. In your case, a rental doesn’t make much sense.

Posted by
166 posts

Thanks Acraven. I sort of thought that with the car drop off fees. Okay...well, there is (from what I have read) a direct bus from Seville to Lagos. I'll do some more research. Regarding Tangiers, yes, I have read that many do not recommend going. I'm not sure we'll have the time/expense for Fez or Marrakesh, but I will take another look and give more consideration. Thank you.

Posted by
18892 posts

Before devoting the extra time to Tangier (which includes the getting-to-and-from-Tarifa time), which is not for most people a top-flight destination, be sure you've got plenty of time for your planned destinations in Spain and Portugal. To me it's a real shame to spend (I'd guess) about 1-1/2 days to have a few hours in Tangier when you could instead add a full day (or a bit longer) to the time you spend in Granada or Seville (or Lisbon, etc.).

Because there are flights from many cities in Europe to Fes and (especially) Marrakech, a trip to Spain is by no means your only opportunity to see Morocco. It can be included in a vacation primarily focused on France, Germany, England, etc. The Wikipedia pages for the Marrakech airport and the Fes airport list the cities from which one can fly direct.

Posted by
166 posts

acraven -- thanks for that insight! New planning to think about!

Posted by
919 posts

About 10 years ago we took the bus from Tarifa to Algeciras and it was easy. I remember waiting longer for the train in Algeciras than the bus ride took.

Posted by
21200 posts

You need to keep in mind that the train system in Spain is not as well develop as many of the other European countries. To compensate, Spain has developed an excellent (and cheap) bus system through out all of Spain. Far better most other countries and certainly a hundred time better than anything in the US. Coming from Oregon you have no bases for comparison so don't be apprehensive about taking the bus. We have been on a dozen or more buses in Spain. All were convenient, pleasant and the same can be said for the passengers.

Posted by
1009 posts

I would look at how much time you have in Spain. As others have pointed out Tangiers is much like Tijuana, Mexico, a poor representation of Mexico as a whole.

While Spain has some great buses and I'd splurge and ride the Alsa Suprema bus, I'd disagree with Spain's train service not being well-developed. While the AVE might not go to smaller cities, the trains themselves are probably my favorite system in Europe.