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Alhambra--granada

We will be taking the train from Sevilla to Granada to see the alhambrachecking the schedules it looks like the train leaves at 7 am arrives at 10 (approx) we were thinking of doing the Alhambra at noon but the two sessions are 8:30 to 2 and 2 to 8pm if we arrive at 10 what will we do for FOUR hours before the afternoon session? will we be so tired from walking about Granada that we won't enjoy the Alhambraany suggestions ideas? can we see parts of alhambra before our sessions starts?

Posted by
22152 posts

You did not indicate time of year of your visit. Alhambra is the most visited site in Spain both by locals and tourists. Entry is time to help control the crowds. Think Disneyworld. I personal would not recommend a day trip from anywhere. The Alhambra is massive and can easily suck up most of a day. However, you would have no problem with spending four hours in Granada. The cathedral is more than worth the visit. It is the tomb of the first king and queen of Spain. Granada was the last Moorish city to fall during the reconquest of Spain. The history is rich. And no you cannot get in ahead of your time. You need tickets well in advance of your arrival.

Posted by
410 posts

Granada is much more than the Alhambra. It is a very accessible city and you could easily fill in the 4 hours (probably more like 3 by the time you allow for getting from the train station to the centre and then to the Alhambra for 2pm) with seeing other things in the city, having a coffee, an early lunch etc - none of which would be in the least exhausting. I assume you will be booking the Alhambra in advance - as it is advisable.

Posted by
31 posts

we are visiting the last of June I've gone online and tickets are still availableso will purchase today I just didn't know if you were able to go into the gardens/ generalife before your ticketed session It would be nice to spend more timebut unfortunately all we have is a day we will be in Sevilla before and afterso thought a day trip would workrather than miss out on seeing the Alhambra all together

Posted by
13511 posts

The "sessions" are from 8:30 to 2 and 2 to 8 pm, as you know. If you have a ticket for a "general day visit" which includes the Nasrid palaces, you will have a specifi time for the Palace entry which you must be prompt for (you get a 30-minute window). This is the only "timed" entry. You can visit the Alcazar and Generalife at any time during your session. So, for example, if you can book a ticket for the morning session with a Palace entry at 12:00, you can go straight to the entrance gate, pick up your tickets (very easy from the machines), and go to the Alcazar first. You should have an hour to visit that before you go to the nearby entrance area for the Nasrid palace. With a 12:00 ticket, you must be there to enter before 12:30 or you will be denied entry. After spending time in the palaces, you can walk up and enter the Generalife for the last part of your visit. As long as you enter the Generalife before 2:00 your ticket is good. I hope that explains it.

Posted by
31 posts

ok--so just to make it clear-- the palace has a timed entrance-- so if we get the afternoon session they will give us a time that we have to be at the palace (30 minute leeway)
so we go to pick up our PRE PURCHASED ticket at 14 hr for the afternoon session and we are told which 1/2 hour in that 4 hour block we can enter the palace--- right? in an ideal traveling world we would spend at least 2 days here--alas, we live in the time-clock world and only have 1 day-- i guess we will get a taste--and start planning our return trip on our train ride back to Sevilla!! thanks for all your input and suggestions

Posted by
13511 posts

"so we go to pick up our PRE PURCHASED ticket at 14 hr for the afternoon session and we are told which 1/2 hour in that 4 hour block we can enter the palace- right?" Not exactly. You will choose the time for your entry to the Nasrid palace when you book your tickets. If it is 2:00 pm (14:00) or later, that will determine that you are in the afternoon session. If it is before 2:00, you will be in the morning session. You can pick up your tickets from the ServiCaixa machines anytime before your time for entry to the Palace, but it should be at least 30 minutes ahead, as it takes 15 minutes or more to walk from the entrance with the ticket machines to the palace entry point.

Posted by
4535 posts

Another thing to keep in mind - you should pre-book your train tickets. Trains between Grenada and Sevilla are very limited and fill up. If you show up at the station that day you may well not be on the train. There are about hourly buses which take about the same time but would give you far more flexibility. Also, none of the train or bus stations in either city are close to the centers (or Alhambra). Plan for lots of buses or taxis. Grenada is a nice city and there is plenty to do to fill up a day. There are a couple of restaurants at La Alhambra so you can eat lunch there if you need too. If it were me doing this, I'd book an afternoon session with the palace as early after 2:00 as possible. That gives you all morning to get to Grenada and maybe see some sights there and have lunch. Then spend the afternoon at La Alhambra and return to Sevilla that evening and grab dinner at 10:00 like the Spanish do. The only downside is that it will be very hot in the afternoon if you are there in summer.

Posted by
5 posts

I highly recomend taking the bus. They are cheap frequent and clean and very convienent. When you get to Granada buy your return ticket first then take the #33 or #3 bus into the city center. It takes about 30 minutes. You can go to the Caxia terminals at the Alhambra about an hour before your palace entry time. Yes you can enter the Fortress and the San Carlos palace befor your Alhambra entry time. Don't skip the fortress the views alone are impressive. See the palace and take your time you won't be allowed back in. When you exit take a slow stroll over to the Gereralife gardens. Lots of views, shade and beautiful flowers. The fountains are wonderful. Take your time. When you decide to leave and you are not to exhausted you can decide to take the trail down the opposite side of the hill you came up. This leads you towards the river and the moorish quarter. Along the river there are plenty of cafes with shade. Have a late lunch or even a pitcher of sangria. Take the time to see the Catherdal. Leave yourself an hour the catch the same bus you took into town to go back to the bus station and catch your bus back to Seville. It will be late. I would just go back to my hotel and crash. Plan on 4-6 hours up on the hill. It will one ofthe most glorious places you will ever see.

Posted by
31 posts

thanks for all your help-- just got our tickets for the Alhambra--afternoon session--entry 2 pm Trying to get our train tickets --but the Renfe site says "maintenance, sorry for the inconvenience" (in spanish, which I had to google) when i try to purchase--will check back in a few hours--Last night it was working--but of course I didn't have our passport numbers with me!!
We thought about take the bus instead, but since they don't have "facilities" and I have a stupid stomach I opted for the train!!

Posted by
13511 posts

Excellent. Keep trying on the Renfe tickets; it will work eventually. Given that this will be late June and hot, I suggest you take a taxi from the train station to the Alhambra entrance, instead of waiting for the bus. We rode one of those minibuses briefly as part of our walking tour of the Alhambra in early May. It was incredibly hot! We also took the taxi from the train to Hotel America, which is inside the Alhambra, and it cost around 12 euros but to the entrance will be less. We found the Alhambra hill to be much cooler and more pleasant than downtown Granada. You can pick up your tickets, and then sceope out the "free" parts of the Alhambra, and have lunch before your palace entry time. Hotel America has a nice internal patio where they serve a nice lunch at reasonable prices; it is covered with an arbor and vines so shady and nice. Not many people know about this place so hopefully it will not be hard to get a table. There is also the terrace at the Parador, which serves tapas and light items, and has a great view to the Generalife but costs more. In our 3 days there we did have lunch in town once, on the square by the river. It was shaded and pleasant, but the restaurants cater to one-time visitors and the food and service were indifferent. We enjoyed lunch in the Hotel America patio much more.

Posted by
31 posts

Help...trying to get train tickets on line using www.renfe.com I get all the way through the processpassport numbers/credit card numbers/ seat assignment and then it goes through a number of screens saying it's connecting and then comes up Error -G001 what do i do now the virtual help is only in spanish should I just wait until we get there? and how can i get train tickets when we get to Spain? trying to arrange our trip from Sevilla to Granada we will be in Barcelona has anyone used a travel agent like Rick steves' mentions in the El Corte Ingles department stores? any suggestions
we won't be using trains until this portion of the trip, so we won't have access to that option. sooo frustrated...help

Posted by
13511 posts

Ah, the dreaded Renfe error message. buying on Renfe is not easy with a US credit card, but it can be done. For me, the key was to register my card ahead of time with "Verified by Visa". There is a Mastercard equivalent if that is what you are using. AmEx will not work, and not all Visa cards will work. (Some people have had their BofA credit card rejeted but could use their B of A debit card.) There are detailed instructions for buying Renfe tickets on the Tripadvisor Spain forum. But basically, the key is the Verified by Visa thing.. Try that and see if it works for you. If not, you can try the Spanish travel agent Rumbo.es. The website for purchasing train tickets is only in Spanish. I bought some of our tickets there before I could get Renfe to work. Or try RailEurope. I just checked prices and they sell that ticket for $33, which is the same as the price in euros from Renfe (23,55 euros). They do charge a handling fee, so the total would be more. The Corte Igles travel agency would work too. I do not know how likely it is that the train would sell out ahead of time, but since you definitely want that train, and there is just the one that will get you there in time, it would be nice to have the tickets in hand. And there is the bus as a backup if the train fills up.

Posted by
4535 posts

Try some of Lola's tips. But I highly recommend pre-purchasing the tickets because that route fills up even in off-season.

Posted by
13511 posts

I neglected to mention that you also should call your bank ahead of time to advise young making a purchase on the Internet from Spain so they don't reject the charge.

Posted by
31 posts

Ok I have spent the last 3 hours trying every suggestion to purchase Renfe tickets for Sevilla to Granada I have followed all 97 steps on Tripadvisors REnfe site and still I keep getting errors-- I have called my credit cards-- I have verified visa and mastercard-- I have done everything but offer my first born--and still I get that dreaded error message!! So i have thrown in the towel on doing it myself and I'm now looking for an travel agency-- has another had any experience good or bad with Rumbo--but it's in Spanish and I don't speak or read it well enough-- I've heard of Petrabox any comments? --any other sites that are reliable? this has been one very frustrating day-- On top of Renfe hassles-- I just found out Visa-Bank of America doesn't issue Pin numbers except thru the mail--which take 5-7 days--
so I am now wondering--will i be able to pick up my Alhambra tickets with that credit card when I don't have the PIN? arghhhhhhh we leave in less than a week!

Posted by
13511 posts

I did fine buying tickets through Rumbo.es, but I do speak enough Spanish to navigate the website. The printable tickets come from Renfe as an attachment, and appeared right away. Petrabax is recommended some places but they don't let you book on the webiste; you have to call. Since you are just trying to get tickets, not Web fares (which are not offered on the MD trains between Sevilla and Granada) , this might work fine, but check on how they provide the tickets and whether you will get them fast enough. I found RailEurope would be OK pricewise for these tickets as well, but you will have to pay the shipping fee. They send them FedEx so you get them quickly. Don't worry about your Alhambra tickets. I was able to pick ours up from the machines just by putting in my credit card; no PIN required. Make SURE you take the same credit card that you used to purchase!!! There is a bank of ServiCaixa machines just past the bookstore/gift shop at the main entrance.

Posted by
13511 posts

Karen, I suggest you fill out the request form on the Petrabax website http://petrabax.com/renfe/ while you explore your two other options. I just checked on rumbo.es and the price for 2 RT tickets (assuming same day return) is 98,80 euros including their fees (which amount to about 9 euros per RT ticket). I'll bet you can figure out the website by comparing to the English-language version of Renfe. The one page that is different is where they try to sell you trip insurance; just reject that. ("rechazar seguros"). You should also decline the 13,8 euro legal defense fees below that.) Basically don't accept any additional charges on that page. The next page will show the total price of 98,80 (that is for 2 RT tickets, which I assumed is what you want.. At the bottom, click "Pago con Tarjeta" and it will open an area to enter your credit card details. You don't need a "factura" (invoice) but it doesn't cost anything to request one. RailEurope wants $148 for two RT tickets, which is comparable, but then they add the $18 shipping charge. They send by UPS (I mis-spoke when I said FedEx.) They say it takes 2 to 3 days so you're still OK. But I would see what Petrabax will do for you, so fill in that form and send it. You don't enter credit card so there is no commitment. They will either call or email you back.

Posted by
31 posts

Okjust when I had given up I tried a different debit cardand it went through WE HAVE RENFE TICKETSto Granada..... but now can't get return ticketsbut at least we can get there!! looking on the bright sideand now I know which card to keep trying only problem when I was putting in informationforgot to get seat assignmentscan i do that later somehow, somewhere? I really didn't think this debit card would work either, so I was going through the process rather fast and forgot to check the box
It's been 5 hours now...maybe I better try again tomorrow..before i have us going all over Spain....

Posted by
13511 posts

Hurray! Look for an email with your printable tickets. The car and seat numbers will be on those (you don't get to choose). NOw that you have made one purchase witih that card, you should be able to get your return tickets easily, with the same card. Wait until tomorrow and try when it is daytime in Spain; sometimes the website works better then. It is around 2 am there now.

Posted by
31 posts

Lolai was actually able to print the tickets from the Renfe site and yeswhen I translated the spanishthey had assigned seatsso I can stop worrying about that I also received an emailso everything looks good for that leg of the journey I will try again in the morning and hopefully we can get our return tickets tooeven though having to stay in Granada would probably be great!! thanks for all the help and encouragement
so funny that our debit card from our small local credit union was the card that finally workedafter trying all our major cards!!

Posted by
31 posts

OK I DID IT!! I was able to get Renfe tickets to AND from Granada So to all that are out there...trying...it does work you just have to find the right credit/debit cardverify itcross your fingers and try up to 4 times morning, noon and night
at least that's what worked for me!! I also purchased our Barcelona Articket onlinenow I just have to figure out how to pick it up I'm hoping at the TI boothright? THanks for all the helpand supportit made all the difference!