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Malaga to Alhambra/Granada ?

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For the day in November that we are in port at Malaga (7am arrival and 8pm departure via NCL Epic), Spain Day Tours is completely booked for their Alhambra / Granada excursion. I am told that Alhambra is a must see. Looking for a tour operators or recommendations on visiting Alhambra (or is it really that good - and maybe I should consider the "Malaga to Ronda and Mijas tour" that Spain Day offers).  Is Spain Day Tours a good choice for tours?

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Check viator and getyourguide. Both will resell tours from port of Malaga but don't specify supplier. And it's not every day. Cost around $108 pp including admission.

 

If you want to go on your own it's doable for 13 hrs docking. Basically need to purchase bus tickets online from Alsa.es (around 2 hrs each way), Alhambra tickets online from the Alhambra.org and take taxis from port to Malaga central station (Zambrano) and taxi from Granada bus station to Alhambra (10€ each way). Alhambra tickets are 14.75€. So cost for 2 should be around 65€ pp or less (40 for taxis + 30 for Alhambra + 60 for bus). Less than tour but more hassle and planning

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I wouldn't risk doing it by public transport.  The Granada road is notorious for delays from traffic jams due to road works and accidents.

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That logic also applies to organized tours. My experience with Alsa bus trips was positive, took them a lot and always on time. But things do happen. Once got stuck on the road from Barcelona to Valencia due to Catalonia independence demonstration. In any case if leaving Granada on 4pm bus should be enough to see Alhambra and have enough time to make 8pm departure

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13 hours ago, hkto said:

Check viator and getyourguide. Both will resell tours from port of Malaga but don't specify supplier. And it's not every day. Cost around $108 pp including admission.

 

If you want to go on your own it's doable for 13 hrs docking. Basically need to purchase bus tickets online from Alsa.es (around 2 hrs each way), Alhambra tickets online from the Alhambra.org and take taxis from port to Malaga central station (Zambrano) and taxi from Granada bus station to Alhambra (10€ each way). Alhambra tickets are 14.75€. So cost for 2 should be around 65€ pp or less (40 for taxis + 30 for Alhambra + 60 for bus). Less than tour but more hassle and planning

 I am still toying with idea to go to the Alhambra with spaindaytours ship docks at 9am sails at 6pm, how long will I get to see the  Alhambra and would  it be long enough ?

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Alhambra has 3 major monuments (Nazrid, Alcazaba,Generalife) + 2 gardens (upper & lower) + minor monuments. Quite a big area with top and bottom portions. So it depends on person's pace. I'd say 3 hours is definitely enough time to cover everything. Nazrid is timed entrance everything else is not. So it's ok to break from the group and do at own pace. Buses park at same spot so it's easy to find. Tour bus is not any faster than scheduled so I estimate 4 hrs in transit rest - time on site. BTW don't forget to bring id as for some reason it's checked randomly. We didn't have ours checked but I saw it.

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I enjoyed just walking visiting the historic sites in Malaga itself:  Castillo Gibralfaro, a Moorish 10th+ c complex, and the nearby Alcazaba, Roman ruins, etc.  Also visited the large cathedral downtown and had lunch at a local restaurant.  There is also a Picasso Museum on the edge of downtown, not far from the Castillo.

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19 hours ago, hkto said:

That logic also applies to organized tours. 

Which is why I would always recommend a ships tour for Granada where they will wait for you if you are delayed.

 

Edited by campolady

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I thoroughly enjoyed the visit to the Alhambra and thought it was definitely worth it. I used Shorefox, who got us access to bits not normally seen by visitors (and certainly not by those on NCL's ship tour, who all complained about their experience). 

 

Be careful when reading descriptions of the tours - a number of people found themselves driving by rather than actually going round the Alhambra. Not quite the same thing!

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Drive by sounds like a ripoff. No point of even going if not walking there. As I said previously it takes at least 4 hrs to get there and back and I would allocate at least 6 if using public transportation option (taxis + Alsa bus). Plus time on site around 3 hrs. So probably not suitable for short docks but ok for longer ones (12-13 hrs). Also there is car rental company in port of Malaga (Prima) for people who want to use this option. Alhambra has paid parking. Tickets has to be purchased in advance if going on your own as they can be sold out. I personally had no issue buying, paid with Visa and received email immediately. Tickets are named and gave passport (id) #.

 

As far as going exclusivity with ship tours and taking risk of going on their own that is entirely consumer's choose. 

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20 hours ago, hkto said:

Alhambra has paid parking. Tickets has to be purchased in advance if going on your own as they can be sold out.

 

Just to clarify, for OP.  There is paid parking which is paid by machine in the parking lot.  Tickets to the Alhambra/Nasrid's Palace must be purchased in advance.  Nasid's Palace has timed entrance which is strictly adhered to.

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