I am thinking of travelling solo to Spain. I want to fly to Malaga and visit Seville/granada/Córdoba. I’d like to do tours if possible as I am alone. Has anyone experienced this trip independently using buses/trains? As that is another option for me
Yes, we flew to Malaga, got the bus to Granada from Malaga airport, then train to Seville and back to Malaga. It was dead easy. I’m going out for an hour or so, but I’ll post details of the lovely hotel we stayed in in Granada later and tip for booking Alhambra. It was a fantastic trip!
We've also done it and it was fabulous. One of the best holidays we've ever had.
We hired a car for the first couple of days, because we went walking on El Caminito del Rey up in the mountains (raised walkway along a gorge that was refurbished a couple of years ago). We then drove to Granada for a couple of nights, got rid of the car and visited the Alhambra and just wandered around stuffing ourselves with tapas.
We then got the train to Seville for 4 nights and wandered around visiting all the Giralda, other palacy things I can't remember the names of, parks and stuffing ourselves with tapas. One of the days we got the train to Cordoba for the day.
It's really easy to get around and there's always people including families around at night, so it would feel safe to wander around alone.
On the last day, we got the train back to Malaga and then to the airport - you can get a rail pass that gives you a set number of journeys for not much. The coaches are good too and really cheap.
I would do it again because watching that Channel 4 city break programme (48 hours in....) made me realise that we missed the Setas in Seville, which was a real shame because it was stupidly hot when we went and they were installed to provide shade. And it was all brilliant.
Or if you want to go on an organised tour there's always one advertised in The Times at the weekend, I think it's Rivera Travel - they base you in Antequera and take you to Granada, Seville, Cordoba, Ronda and possibly Malaga (which is a great city break destination in it's own right) as day trips but we didn't want to do that because we've been to Ronda several times and we wanted evenings in Granada because then you get to walk up through the Albacin to a square above the city where there's a load of tapas restaurants and a viewpoint to see the Alhambra at night. The organised tour was also quite a bit more expensive than me booking it all independently.
Thank you very much barbara very insightful, love the idea of stuffing tapas
agent I’ll await your info thank you
I have wanted to visit these areas for so long, but I’m a little apprehensive going alone, however, it must be done and it’s quite safe as you say..so thank you
Did a similar trip solo last month and it was fantastic. Fell in love with Seville - wonderful city. I flew Ryanair to Malaga (cheapest option) got the train (only 10 minutes) from airport to Malaga centre and stayed in a cheap hotel, next day got the train to Seville (2 and half hours journey, cost 24 euros for the slightly slower train - fast one was nearly double that price and only 45 minutes quicker). 4 nights there. Then on to Cordoba by train (2 nights, 45 minute journey) then Granada by bus (train station is closed so even if you book the train there is a bus replacement for half the journey so I booked the premium Alsa bus instead (free wi-fi, single seats etc). 3 nights there. Then on to Ronda (3 nights) and then train back to Malaga for a bus to Nerja (4 nights). Then bus back to Malaga for flight home.
In order of preference I liked Seville, Granada, Ronda, Cordoba and Nerja (all were pleasant places, I just liked the bigger cities more).
One night and day was probably enough for Cordoba (or do it as a day trip from Seville). Alhambra in Granada was amazing - book tickets in advance though! If I did it again I would probably have skipped Nerja and spent more time in Granada and Seville. Felt very safe everywhere, especially Seville. Granada was a bit more 'gritty' in some parts (more grafitti, sometimes people stared at you a bit but probably just curiosity...as I was obviously not Spanish). I did just wander all over the place though, as I like doing that in a foreign city.
Download the Alsa (bus) and Renfe (train) apps - makes booking much easier and you can use mobile tickets. Trains and buses are good and easy to use - on the trains they even make the announcements in both English and Spanish.
Learn a few Spanish phrases - not everyone speaks English so it helps, even just for ordering food, coffee, wine/beer etc. As well as the basics like hello (Hola!), goodbye (adios/hasta luego, thank you (gracias) , you're welcome (de nada) etc. Youtube videos are good for learning or just use Google translate app when you are there.
Try the more 'local' tapas places - crowded, but good cheap food and drink and friendly vibe. It helps if you like seafood. In Granada you get a free tapas with every drink you order!
In Seville, see the Alcazar and the Cathedral (climb the bell tower- great views), Plaza de Espana, Triana market (Mercado de Triana), wander around the Old Town and Macarena (impossible not to get lost - use Google maps!), go up Las Setas (mushroom shaped thing - 3 euros) for sunset.
Airbnb is good -- I got a nice 2 bedroom apartment in Seville all to myself for same price as a cheap hotel (£27 a night), stayed in a converted recording studio in Ronda with a shared outdoor terrace and a 3 bedroom flat in Granada with a sunny balcony and lounge which had views of the city - all for under £30 a night (it was off season though).
I would not bother with a tour, but then to me the advantage of solo travel is go where you like for as little/long as you like and a tour takes that away, feel a bit rushed and also a bit like a sheep being herded around. (That's my experience anyway - plus side of course is you meet people and have companions for meals, which is nice).
Any questions - ask away and I will help if if I can. Definately recommend it though - maybe avoid mid-summer though as it gets seriously hot apparently!
Some good info here: www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/apr/08/seville-city-guide-what-to-do-best-hotels-restaurants-bars
I’m excited about your trip! Here are my tips.
First, we stayed in a stunning hotel in Granada called El Ladron de Agua. It wasn’t terribly dear and it was amazing. But it’s small so you’d need to book well in advance.
Book your Alhambra ticket well in advance too. You can book online and collect the tickets at a certain bank (can’t remember which one) cashline machines in the town. Saves you queuing. Your ticket gives you a time to visit a certain part, but that’s the only timed element. The gardens are just stunning.
You also need to book your intercity trains in advance - no standing allowed - but you can download your ticket onto your phone.
I wish I could remember where we ate in Seville and Granada. The food was amazing. I can also recommend recommend a hotel in the centre of Malaga old town - hotel boutique teatro Romano - and THE BEST (posh) tapas bar. I can’t remember it’s band but I’ll ask DH when he’s home at the weekend.
butter and agent fantastic information, thank you so much. Never thought of doing Airbnb either!
I’m getting very excited now, doesn’t seem quite so daunting.
Will start an itinerary soon, with travel possibly April/May..thanks again..invaluable advice
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