Please sign in to post.

Spain- guided tours of Alhambra and transportation from Seville to Granada

Two queries.
I am interested in visiting the Alhambra in Granada and would appreciate tips on guided tours of the Alhambra. There are many guided tours offered but the reviews are quite mixed. Does anyone have experience with guided tours offered in English that they recommend? Also, some of the reviews indicate that the tours end at the starting point. I suspect they plan a loop so the guide doesn't waste their time. However, I'm wondering if, once the tour has ended, can I continue on my own within the grounds to view the gardens or some of the other areas? Somewhere I read that once you have entered the premises during your selected ticket time you can stay as long as you like. I could really use some help understanding how best to enjoy my visit.
Secondly, I booked transportation on trainline.com from Seville to Granada and then from Granada to Malaga. My reservations appear to be for bus trips, not trains. Silly question, but are there any trains that travel Seville -Granada and Granada-Malaga?

Many thanks in advance for any suggestions or clarification .

Posted by
996 posts

Yes there is a way to travel from Seville to Granada by train. The train stops in Cordoba. You would have to check whether you would have to change trains in Cordoba. I took the bus because the given approximate time for the bus was 3 hours and cheaper than the train versus 2 hr 47 min and more expensive for the train. The bus did the job ok. Yes there is a train from Granada to Malaga. The given trip duration for the train is 1 hr 36 min versus 1 hr 24 min for the bus. The train may go at a higher speed but the path of the train tracks is longer and more convoluted than the road route the ALSA buses take. The trains (irrationally) feel like they should be higher class but they cost more. I would just take the bus. I didn't make time for Malaga. For my other trips in Spain I took the trains. I bought my tickets on renfe.com. With some minor effort I figured out the Spanish train website even though I am an English speaker. Trainline.com is a ticket reseller. It is not the train companies website. You get better prices and lists of available seats if you can buy from the bus or train companies website.

Before my trip I bought a ticket to the Alhambra and made my reservation for the Nasrid palace, on the official website. I didn't do a guided tour. From my previous experience with guided tours in other countries, I knew that on guided tours I tended to look too much at the tour guide and/or strain to hear the guide over background sounds, instead of being observant of my sourroundings and paying good attention to what I had meant to see. A good amount of background reading before your trip might take away your feeling that you won't experience the Alhambra properly without a guide.

Posted by
27434 posts

Yes, there are both trains and buses on those routes. Unlike some situations, the trains aren't massively faster than the buses, and the trains are less frequent, so having bus tickets isn't a mistake if you're happy with the timing.

The Alhambra is a large complex. The time shown on your ticket will be for entry to the Nasrid Palaces (the most spectacular section), which are one of several parts of the Alhambra that can only be entered one time on each ticket. That rules applies to the Charles V Palace as well, and I think also to the Generalife. That's a disadvantage of taking a tour: If you feel you didn't have enough time in one of the controlled-entry areas, you cannot return there at the end of the tour. Your only option is to remain in the area as the tour moves on. For the non-controlled areas you are free to wander at will either before or after your timed entry to the Nasrid Palaces.

A second disadvantage of a tour applies to people who like to take a lot of photos: The Nasrid Palaces are normally rather crowded. There is some ebb and flow of visitors, but if you're on a tour, you'll want to keep up with the guide, so if won't be convenient to hold back in order to take photos not full of the backs of people's head.

The Alhambra has an audio guide you can rent for a modest cost. For some people that may be a better option than a public tour. Obviously, a private tour is a different matter.