Planning to arrive in Lisbon for 2 nights, night train to Madrid, to Selille, Arcos, Tarifa, Nerja, Granada, back to Madrid and return home. With a short time, is the stop in Granada worthwhile?
You should read the other discussions on this same subject. Alhambra is the most popular tourist site in Spain and for goood reason. It represents a pivotal point in Spanish history when the Moors were "expelled" from Spain. From a historical standpoint it probably equals Yorktown. If any of that interests you it is a must stop. But if not into history and cultural then it is just another old building. I would visit Granada long before some of your other stops -- but that is just me.
I'm not a great big Granada fan, but it sure as heck beats Arcos, Tarifa, and Nerja. In fact, Granada alone beats the cumulative group of three.
Skip Tarifa, skip Nerja, if necessary shave a day off of Sevilla (2 nights there is adequate if you don't have time for more) but Granada is certainly worthwhile. Do not wait to get your Alhambra tickets - book them as soon as you know what day you will be there (Granada requires a minimum of 1 full day, and two nights)..
Skip Tarifa and Arcos for sure ! Nerja is overflowing with tourists who are there for the resort feel! But the Balcony of Europe is worth a look even if its a couple of hours stop its enough! Granada is a must if you have the time !
Being an engineer and an admirer of Moorish architecture the Alhambra was a must see for me but unless you are really interested in this I'd say skip the trip to Granada entirely. Tarifa and Nerja really have nothing much to offer the visitor so I'd spend extra time in Seville. The night train from/to Lisbon-Madrid is an easy and pleasant way to cover the distance and I found the 4-person compartments quite comfortable.
Another vote for Granada (Alhambra). Hard to imagine someone heading to Andalucia and NOT going to Alhambra. Even if architecture or history are not your thing, its one of the most impressive buildings in the world on par with Taj Mahal, Versailles or the Acropolis. Keep in mind that this place was built when the rest of western Europe was mired in the muck of the Dark Ages. As others have noted, it requires a full day in town and two nights and you must make reservations ahead of time to avoid missing out.
I hope you won't take this as a personal attack, Bill; but for you to even ask if Granada is worthwhile (as compared to Arcos, Nerja, and Tarifa!) suggests an unfamiliarity with history and art. I would therefore urge you to take a guided tour of the Alhambra. Even for people pretty well educated in both fields, as my husband and I are, a guide gave us so much better an understanding of what we were seeing than we would have had on our own. You can find tours through your hotel or online. I can't remember if guides are available at the entrance, as is the case in some places.