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Help with Andalusia Itinerary Please

Hello, what do you think of this plan? Flights and days in Granada are set (had to purchase the Granada Card to get entrance to the Alhambra); everything else is flexible.

Dec 24 Arrive Malaga (me from US, son from Germany), stock up on food for next day, lol
Dec 25 Malaga - attend Christmas service? explore, rest, most things closed
Dec 26 Take morning train to Granada
Dec 27 Granada and Alhambra
Dec 28 Return to Malaga airport -- Hubs arrives from US, get rental car, drive to Cordoba
Dec 29 Cordoba
Dec 30 Drive to Seville early, see Real Alcázar de Sevilla, try to squeeze another site
Dec 31 Seville, reservations for dinner somewhere, stash food for NYD
Jan 1 Seville explore by walking, most things are closed?
Jan 2 leave Seville, drive to Ronda then on to stay on the coast, Tarifa?
Jan 3 Day trip to Tangiers (should we just stay another day in Seville and skip this?)
Jan 4 Day trip to Gibraltar, return to Malaga, return car
Jan 5 Son returns to Germany
Jan 6 (Epiphany--another holiday!!!!) We fly to US

Posted by
4874 posts

Your itinerary is great until Jan 3. Tangiers is not worth going to visit.
There are some great cities to see in Morocco, such as Marrakesh, Rabat and Fes. Tangiers is not one of them.

I would do another day in Seville. Gibraltar is probably worth a trip, we have never been there.

Did three days at Costa Del Sol once, I was not impressed. The Beach is not that great.

Posted by
6841 posts

I was in Seville on New years day 2019. There were a lot of tourist there so the restaurants were open. We went to Cadiz that day the it was 70 degrees; the beach is not that great there but we got a nice sunset over the Atlantic. That is on the Costa de la Luz

Posted by
33 posts

Last post was right on, Tarifa was nasty, and Costa del Sol was not nice, very disappointing.

Posted by
7 posts

We will also be spending New Years' week in Seville. Flamenco shows seem like a good option for the holiday, as there are shows for both NYE and day. Would love to hear where you went for dinner on NYE in 2019 Jazz+Travels?

Posted by
3789 posts

Heh, I say if you want to go to Tangiers, Gibraltar or Tarifa, go for it. I assume you have read enough to make your own decision.

If this is the pace you like, then go for it. Just plan to rest up when you get home.

Posted by
18897 posts

I'm another who would absolutely skip Tarifa and Tangier for another day in Seville. Or another day in Cordoba. Or a trip to Cadiz.

Yes, I suppose Tangier is more interesting than staying home in my apartment (it's certainly nowhere near as interesting as my hometown), but travel always involves trade-offs, so the question isn't really whether there is something of interest in Tangier. It's whether going there is the best use of the travel time required. That's a decision for each traveler to make. For me, when the destination is time-consuming to get to and mediocre at best (in most people's opinion) and there are multiple alternative uses of the time that are both more convenient and more interesting, the decision seems clear. That's from a sightseeing standpoint.

If the traveler heavily values being able to see a tiny bit of Africa, perhaps that tips the scales in the other direction. In the immortal words of my late mother, after I said (1996ish) Albania might not be a comfortable place to visit because the tourist infrastructure was under-developed, "I guess I don't necessarily want to go to Albania; I want to have been."

Posted by
582 posts

I haven't been to Tangiers, Tarifa or Gibraltar but based on my first-hand experience, I recommend adding another night to Seville. It's a gorgeous city with lots of important historical sights and I think you need at least 3 full days there. Right now you have about 2.5 days in Seville, and that really depends on what time you arrive.

We loved Malaga! It's a wonderful city with lots to do and a beautiful city center. We enjoyed the coastal ambience of the Mediterranean . . . Malaga is an underrated city, IMO.

Posted by
26 posts

Thanks for the information and ideas. We will discuss dropping Tangiers and adding a day in Seville. Obviously not the ideal time (so many holidays) for visiting the area but we go when everyone can. Trip planning from 2 continents is cumbersome and slow.
I may have more questions for you!

Posted by
90 posts

Ellen, we will be there at a similar time and so will share a few thoughts so far about that week between Christmas and New Year's:
1. It looks like Las Setas (the mushrooms) will be open on New Year's day - not sure where i got that information but it's in my notebook :)
2. Last year on New Year's Day in Rome we found that a lot of churches were open. I don't think that will be the case for the Seville cathedral but maybe for other churches such as Basilica de la Macarena - so in your walking around plans for new year's day consider the option of looking into some beautiful churches.
3. Your arrival in Seville on Monday is the day that is noted as having 'free' hours at the cathedral in the evening (I think 4-5pm) and also the Alcazar; I've heard it's better to avoid at that time so perhaps you can go to the Alcazar when you arrive, and go to the cathedral on Tuesday.
4. December 29th - Sunday in Cordoba, the hours for the Mezquita are different that day. I would suggest looking at that closely with your travel schedule to see how you will make it work. We rearranged our trip to do Cordoba at the other end once we realized that it's closed part of Sunday.
Please continue to post your thoughts and findings and I'll do the same - sounds like there are several of us that will be there around the same time!

Posted by
18897 posts

I don't travel over the holidays but have missed out on or had to return to several sightseeing targets because they were closed for religious ceremonies I hadn't known about. During Holy Week I ran into unannounced early closings at a variety of sights (not necessarily for religious activities at the sight). My advice is to try not to plan visits to key sights late during your time in a city, because that gives you little if any recovery time if something goes wrong.

Ticket lines can be long for the Alcazar and Cathedral in Seville and probably also for the Mezquita in Cordoba--though for some reason I don't remember the line at the latter. Rick's guide book explains the work around for the Seville Cathedral.

Posted by
26 posts

Thanks, everyone for the help! I appreciate it.
Based on your information, I have adjusted our itinerary as below by adding a day each to Granada and Seville. Tangiers is still on there as I haven't heard son's preference yet. denisek, I am going to look at flipping our itinerary as well. At first glance that put Gibraltar (Hub's one request) on Sunday when most is closed--more work to do.

Dec 24 Arrive Malaga (me from US, son from Germany), stock up on food for next day, lol
Dec 25 Malaga - explore, take late afternoon bus to Granada, Christmas dinner in Granada (ideas?)
Dec 26 Granada
Dec 27 Granada and Alhambra
Dec 28 Granada to Malaga airport -- get Hubs & rental car, drive to Cordoba
Dec 29 Cordoba - Mezquita early or late afternoon (we can make this work)
Dec 30 Drive Cordoba to Seville early, see Real Alcázar de Sevilla, try to squeeze another site
Dec 31 Seville - Cathedral, reservations for dinner somewhere, stash food for NYD
Jan 1 Seville explore by walking, Las Setas, churches, most things are closed?
Jan 2 Seville to Ronda, stay in Ronda
Jan 3 Ronda to Gibraltar, stay nearby
Jan 4 Day trip to Tangiers OR return to Malaga
Jan 5 return son and car to Malaga, stay in Malaga
Jan 6 (Epiphany--another holiday!!!!) We fly to US

Posted by
1250 posts

Is there a reason for hiring the car at Malaga? If the plan is Malaga-Cordoba-Sevilla, it would be worth considering using the railway and hiring when you leave Sevilla. Even with the need to get from the airport to Malaga centre, it might be quicker to use the train to Cordoba. And driving in Sevilla is best avoided. However, I accept, hiring a car might be less dear.

3/1 and 4/1 would be very busy days as you need to cover a lot of ground. if I were you, I'd sketch out the itinerary in detail and then decide if it's worth it or even practical to you (or your son) just to briefly set foot on Africa. You can, at least, see Africa from Gibraltar. Gib, by the way is wonderful and you'd easily fill a long day there. Given the drive to Malaga, it might be worth considering an overnight along Costa del Sol (e.g. Estepano) if you skip Africa.

Sevilla is a good choice for New Year's Eve. Don't forget to bring grapes to eat during the countdown.

Posted by
26 posts

Thanks, Nick, for your ideas. I like not getting the car until later even if the train is more expensive . . . saves on the arguments over the driving between the men! I am leaning toward dropping Tangiers based on most's comments, and will look into staying in Estepano.

Posted by
18897 posts

I think there's a typo there. Try Estepona rather than Estepano.