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Seville to Granada drive?

We are doing 9 nights in Spain, flying into Madrid for 3 nights then Seville 3 nights and then were thinking of driving to Granada for 2 nights and then flying back to Madrid for the last night and flying out of Madrid. We had originally planned on doing a 16 night trip that included Barcelona and Marbella but had to change it due to my husbands new job. I really still want to see the beautiful coast of Marbella and the other coastal towns so was thinking if we could drive from Seville to Granada we may be able to fit this in. Looking at a map it seems that the drive would be around 5 hrs from Seville through Ronda, then Marbella, Malaga, Nerja. We love seeing new places, even if it is just a quick walk through the town and taking some pictures. We would leave early in the morning so would have the whole day. Does this sound doable? How bad are the roads? I get a little nervous with those steep mountainous drives. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

Posted by
328 posts

Last March we drove from Ronda to Sevilla and the roads are great. Good signage, easy drive. I'm sorry that I can't comment on the rest of your trip as we backtracked from Sevilla to Granada by inland bus. BTW, we loved Granada!

Posted by
11 posts

Besides the day spent at the Alhambra is it worth spending another entire day there or spend it road tripping to Ronda and along the coast ??

Posted by
162 posts

The roads in Spain are wonderful. It is a windy drive up the hill to Granada, but not bad. They also drive on the right side of the road so for us Americans, it is easy. Nerja is an hour drive north of Malaga. Don't know if you have time enough to do all this, but....if you do, the town of Nerja is charming, and the Balcon de Europa is absolutely breathtaking! (that is in the center of town, right on the coast)

I usually take trains and buses for all of that, but then, I have more time. Ronda in itself is worth a half a day. It is really beautiful, but you can't really "drive" through it. You have to park and walk to see the town. Very old, and very beautiful. Malaga is just another big city. While it is pretty, and the center of it has some nice buildings, if you are going to be in Seville and Madrid, those are awesome! Marbella is pretty, but the town is nothing specular. I am going there in a week and will be staying at Marriott's Marbella Beach club for a week, first week of February. I will have to rent a car to get there, so this will be only the second time I have rented a car in Spain. I spend months there at a time! I love Spain!!! Lived in Nerja last year for a month and half.

If you think driving from Seville to Ronda, Marbella, Malaga and Nerja can be done in 5 hours I think you are dreaming! That is a lot of driving, a long distance, and a whole lot to see. Narrow it down, you won't be doing any of those cities justice to just "fly" through. Part of the trip is just naturally how you drive to get from Granada to the coast. You automatically drive through Marbella coming down the hill from Granada. That was about an hour and half drive alone. To get from Marbella to Malaga is about 1 hr + and Nerja another hour. To go just from Torremolinos to Nerja on the freeway was a 2 hour drive. No stops (Torre is about half way between Marbella and Malaga), then you have to double the time to get back. Take into consideration peak traffic hours.

Whatever you do, MAKE YOUR RESERVATION FOR THE ALHAMBRA NOW!!!! Very limited availability. If you know when you are going, do it now. You can do it online, and pick up the tickets when you get there. Feel free to email me if you have anymore questions.

Have a great trip! You will love Spain. Learn some Spanish!

Posted by
11 posts

Wow thank you for the very detailed and helpful response ! We will budget the whole day to drive from Seville to Granada so will have around 10 hrs. It seems the drive is around 5 so would give us around 5 hrs of exploring time. Would this be enough time to stop in Ronda and nerja ? Anywhere else you would recommend is a must see ? Thanks !

Posted by
15673 posts

I don't think you have enough time to stop in Ronda and drive along the coast. Sevilla to Ronda to Malaga to Nerja to Granada is 6.5 hours of net driving time according to viamichelin.com (usually more accurate than others like google maps). In order to get out and walk around for an hour in Ronda or Malaga, you'll have to find parking. That takes time too. And if you stop at any of the scenic pullouts on the road to admire the view, that's another 10-20 minutes each time. The road frm Malaga to Nerja is the fast A-7, which is not right on the coast, but looks to be 1-3 kms inland, so I don't know if you'll see the "beautiful coast" while you're driving. If you want to drive along the coastal road, Michelin estimates an average speed of 30 kph (less than 20 mph).

The mountain roads are good roads, but there are few places you can pass a slow-moving vehicle, which will slow you down.

Choose the hills or the coast. If you want the coast, take a fast train to Malaga in the evening, spend the night and then you'll have a day to explore the coast and drive to Granada. Or drive from Sevilla via Ronda and Antequera to Granada.

Posted by
7551 posts

Cja, it would be useful if your online profile here included your home country and region. I don't find the Spanish coast as beautiful as you do, I guess. I would also choose Granada over Barcelona (which you didn't mention). We flew out of Granada after our drive from Seville, but we enjoyed sleeping in Ronda. Your long drive will not be a pleasure. It's too bad you couldn't get open-jaw flights for such a short trip.

Although it tends to under-estimate time, you might wish to use Google Maps to get a lower bound on driving times, anywhere you go. We found the roads to be excellent, but truck traffic often limited our speed. You didn't mention the month of the year.

Posted by
11 posts

Sorry, I am from PA, USA. We were originally going to include Barcelona but figured we should save that for another trip since we are pressed on time. I had been to Barcelona before and found It more modern as well. I preferred Madrid over Barcelona. We haven't booked our flights yet but looking in to them it seems the cheapest most practical flights were in to Madrid. Couldn't even find flights that were affordable from Philly. We will have to fly Newark or JFK. We would be going the first week of May. Thanks!

Posted by
1 posts

Can anyone recommend a good tour for the Alhambra? We are going at end of March and I'm hoping I'm not too late to get tickets.

Posted by
15673 posts

Karen, I just used the audio guide and went on my own.

Posted by
7551 posts

cja, Pittsbugh is harder than Philly, but I'm proposing that you price flying home in two segments, starting with a partner airline of your transatlantic carrier, like perhaps Lufthansa. You'd have to keep the car, maybe, in Granada, and fly home from Malaga, maybe. The point is to get one more day into your short trip! Using United, we've done very well with Lufthansa. If you feel bad about paying an extra $100, figure out the cost per day of your whole trip!

Posted by
11 posts

Tim, I actually have a change of plans. We will fly out of JFK round trip and we will fly out of Granada on our last morming to Madrid and then nonstop from there to JFK. The flight is a steal even though JFK is a pain. So I think our itinerary will look like this:

3 nights Madrid- day trip to Toledo
3 nights Seville- day trip to cordoba
Drive through Ronda, Marbella
1 night Marbella- potentially (or add another night to Madrid)
Drive from Marbella to Nerja and on to Granada
2 nights Granada-(will end up having around a day and half there- fly back to Madrid for flight home

How does that sound?

Posted by
15673 posts

Is the Granada-Madrid flight on your RT JFK ticket or is it a separate flight. If it's separate, not a great idea. Too much can go wrong and you could miss your flight home - a very expensive proposition.