We will be in Spain in September and have a very busy schedule. We will be in Seville for 4 nights and have planned a day trip to Cordoba and another day with car rental to see the White Villages of Andalucia. I wonder if a night in Grenada rather than a day trip to Cordoba and the tour of the Villages is a better idea.
My ranking would be Seville, then Grenada, then Toledo, with Seville three or four days including travel, Grenada and Toledo; two days including travel.
While Cordoba is worth a day trip it is not a substitute for Grenada. Grenada and the Alhambra is very special. It is the number one tourist attraction in Spain - think 1000 year old Disneyworld. It is not be to missed since it is a significant part of Spanish history and culture especially for southern Spain.
I love Cordoba, but given your time contraints, I would vote for Grenada. The white villages are just that - white villages. Granada is so much more, with the Alhambra and the Albayzin to explore. You will want to purchase Alhambra tickets ahead of time.
Granada has the Alhambra, which is a top world-class sight and breathtaking. this cannot be denied. But as a city to wander and enjoy, I vastly preferred Cordoba. I may be in the minority with this opinion, I understand... and I actually found the Mezquita nearly as interesting as the Alhambra and the streets around it far more quaint and interesting to wander than Granada's (I frankly must be the only person who wasn't all that impressed by the Albaicin area). I also found Cordoba's food much better though I guess that's not a big factor if you're talking just a daytrip. Cordoba also has a couple of interesting Jewish sights. I would also caution against short-shrifting your time in Seville. If you have 4 nights, you can easily spend the whole time in Seville, which has endless interesting things to see and do. Bottom line is, what are you looking for in your experiences? What about each city initially makes you want to go there? Is there something about one or the other that personally draws you in? At the end of the day they are both wonderful so you really can't go wrong, it's just what you prefer and what works best in your trip if you can't fit them both (which it sounds like you can't).
Like Debra, I enjoyed Cordoba more than Granada and the Mezquita is a wow. But there is nothing like the Alhambra. Look at the train schedules for Seville/Granada at renfe.com and see if it works for you. I took a quick glance and saw the trains are not at great times for sightseers. The station in Granada seemed to me to be some way from the old town center.
Granada and Alhambra........WOW!
Thanks to all who replied to be query. We are in the process of adjusting our schedule to visit Grenada. Cheers
Granada is one of my favorite cities because of the amazing Alhambra! I've been there twice and would love to go again, and again. The palace is amazing and only surpassed by the magnificent and extensive gardens! If you like beautiful places, you will be mesmerized by the Alhambra. I also LOVE the exotic Albaycin area of the historic city. It's loaded with ambience! I also went to Cordoba and it did not excite me; but the Mezquite (sp?) was very interesting. I have not yet been to Seville. I did find Toledo very, very interesting, but in a very quiet way.
I did the evening tour and the general daytime visit of the Alhambra. It's very different at night than in daylight. Do buy tickets in advance, as they sell out. The tickets sound complicated as there are several options. If you want to spend up to a full day there, choose a general ticket for the morning with a Nasrid Palaces entrance of 11.30 a.m. or later. You will be able to enter the other ticketed areas (one entrance each) any time during the day. You must enter the Nasrid Palaces at your scheduled time, but once inside you may stay as long as you wish. If you are in Granada with a car, do not attempt to drive to the Alhambra. Take the bus or a taxi. The road goes through the Albaicin and even if you don't get lost, the roads are both very steep and very narrow, with sharp corners and places where cars cannot pass each other. I was in Cordoba in low season, so I can't predict what it will be like in September, but while there were a lot of groups and individuals in the Mezquita in the morning, at lunch time, it was almost empty.