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Trip Report: ANDALUSIA Two Weeks in December- PART 2

-Continued from Part 1-

To finish Ronda:

  • We walked all over that small town to the point of exhaustion.
  • While the Old Town was charming, it was a little sterile for us and were happy to have stayed in the new town just a few blocks from Puente Nuevo. It was a real neighborhood with real people and when we went for to Cafetería Churrería Alba it was full of locals.
  • The Arab Baths are a must. A MUST. -Getting lost in the maze of roads leading to and from the baths and crossing the Arab bridge... a thing of dreams.
  • There was not a noticeable drop in the number of people at night when the day trippers leave, so the town stays pretty busy.
  • Free parking is very hard to find-- this is a working city but plenty of paid parking at reasonable rates.

GRANADA (via Setenil de las Bodegas and Grazalema)
The drive to and from these picturesque pueblo blancos is very twisty and local drivers suffer zero of the signature neuroticism of Americans who can't drive 70mph on hairpin turns. Noted.

Both towns are remarkable, but Setinel is absolutely stunning! Parking was easy for both. Find a bodega that sells goat cheese in Grazalema.

For next time: make a pit stop at a winery.

  • As Moorish history buffs, Granada was the coup de gras. We stayed 5 nights and dedicated a day to the Alhambra. We did a self-guided tour this time but will hire a private guide next time.
  • There are no words to accurately convey the grandeur of the Alhambra. TIP: A lot of people suggest to leave the Nasrid Palaces for last and to start at the Generalife Gardens so you don't "backtrack" too much. Advice: Backtrack. An early morning timed entry to the palaces set the tone for the magnificence. And even we, avowed and devoted Moorish history fans, were exhausted by the time we finished the tour and can't imagine leaving it to the end.
  • VERY happy for the advice to not stay in Albicin the first time. We had a sweet AirBnB by the Cathedral.
  • Don't miss the madrassa! We skipped the Cathedral.
  • Christmas was not as laid back as you would think. Streets were full with revelers on both eve and day.
  • We dedicated a day to getting lost in Albcin and ended the evening in gorgeous Sacromonte at Zambra Maria La Canastera. It is touristy as all heck, but the show was heart-stopping and the dancers were passionate and friendly.
  • Mirador de San Nicolás is highly and unapologetically overrated. A better view is from Sacromonte right where the #34 drops you off at Cno. del Sacromonte 89.
  • The food in Granada was better and better priced than Seville. Eat everything offered at Mercado San Agustín. -Make plans to visit Granada again-- hopefully when flowers are in full bloom. If it was this gorgeous in the middle of winter, it must be beyond during spring.

Cordoba: (two nights)

Again, very grateful for the pointed advice to stay overnight in Cordoba. Two nights is perfect.
- The Roman bridge at night lives up to the lore.
- The Mezquita .. I won't even try. RS guidebook was very sufficient.
- Those were the main tourist places we were interested in seeing so we took time off to unwind and walk around in the Juderia and eat some really good Cordobeze deserts (Cordobeze?.. let's make that a thing if it is not already) at El Pastel Cordobes.
- There is a store that sells only olive oil. It's magical and UNESCO should know about it.
-TIP: Save time to see the Casa Andalusi. We discovered it late and tried to get in but they only take cash. Have some handy.
- Food: We ate at a tiny middle eastern nook called Restaurante Damasquino-- the owner/proprietor made the food and her lovely young grandson served it with much aplomb. Even though we had overdone tapas, we couldn't resist one last indulgence at Campos de Toro.

That's it. Enjoy the magic!

Posted by
890 posts

Thank you for the trip down Memory Lane. I too am in love with Granada and have been twice in the winter. I think there is a 3rd visit for me in the spring. Hope you make it back then.

Posted by
731 posts

Thank you so much for a fantastic trip report - you have a wonderful way with words! I am heading to Spain in November and really appreciated your tips of neighborhoods and places to see.