AROUND GRANADA, Granada
For an introduction to the sights and history of Granada, and for finding your way around initially , I'd recommend this bus tour.
12 Euros buys you unlimited use for 24 hours, hop on hop off where and when you want. You're given a map of the city and headphones (to keep) to listen to the individual multi lingual taped commentery. (8 languages)
The open top double decker stops at 12 main attractions ( Alhambra, Cathedral, Bullring, Cartuja Monastery etc)
The ticket also covers travel by mini bus to Albaicin and Sacromente.
For a first time visitor to Granada, I found this very useful.
At some of the stops are uniformed staff to assist with questions and sell tickets.
It's possible for Wheelchair users to access the double decker.
It would be a good tour to do, when the main attractions are closed in the afternoon.
Double decker operates 10.00 - 20.00 from Cathedral
Mini bus 11.00 - 13.00 and 1600 - 1800.
The mini bus only has 8 seats and 7 standing spaces (Theres no taped commentary on the mini bus either)
** Update - Due to extensive roadworks , the bus doesn't stop at the Cathedral at the moment, instead it waits on Ave de Casino, off Puerto Real -near the Post Office** Hopefully will be sorted by now!! - Apparently back to normal now!!!!
See my previous tip for more info
The buses cost 90cents a go though you can buy a bono for 5euros for 9 journeys or a titulo for 10 euros for 20 journeys. There is also a special tourist bono although I'm unsure of what the deal is for that!
The main buses you'll probably be interested in is the 32 that goes to the Alhambra and the 31 that goes to the Albaicin and Sacromonte. Most other buses all stop on Gran Via and each bus stop is equipped with a very good bus map.
Unless you are feeling highly energetic, save your energy for walking inside the Alahambra grounds, instead of to it.
It is possible to walk to the Alahambra from the Granada area - it's a uphill 1/2 km walk from the Plaza Neuva area. Just follow Cuesta Gomerez south from the plaza until you reach the ticket office at Generalife gardens.
My suggestion is to take the red bus (Alahambra is posted on the bus). It stops at the Plaza Neuva and runs multiple times an hour. The ride costs about 1 Euro and takes 5 minutes.
Granada is a small city and comprehensively connected by the Buses running through the (narrow) streets of the city. Buses are so inevitable for an average tourist that it is most likely that you will end up doing several rides (6 - 10). So, you can save some pennies by purchasing, specially if you are not alone, a carnet rather than single-ride tickets.
One ride costs, as of today, 1.2 euros, however the carnet of 10 costs 8.5 euros (0.85 per ride) while that of 16 rides cost 10 euros (0.63 per ride). These carnets come handy in the form of plastic cards, can be purchased from the Bus Driver, and can be used for more than one person, i.e. one carnet for multiple persons.
Show the plastic card to the machined installed at the entrance of the bus to record your ride. We found it difficult to record multiple persons but usually bus drivers do help, so did not cause any problem.
The Bus Driver will charge 2 euros per card reimburseable upon returning the card.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE to walk, you get to see so much more, can dart down mysterious alleyways, weave your way in and out of shops and churches. Plus you get to work off a few calories, definitely a plus for me since eating is my other favorite travel activity.
I thought Granada was very walkable but if you're limited in your walking abilities you might look into taking a bus or taxi up to the Alhambra since from every approach it's an uphill climb. And touring the old Arab Quarter (Albacian) also involves a lot of climbing but well worth the effort for the spectacular views of the Alhambra and the snow capped Sierra Nevada mountains and all the interesting sights you will come upon along the way.
Granada is not a big city and if only you have enough time you can get everywhere on foot. And the weather is usually very nice so strolling around the city is great too. If you're tired to can take a bus (after you figure out its schedule) or simply take a taxi and hope for green lights and no traffic cuz the meter runs even if the car is not moving.
Alhambra is a 10 minutes drive from the city center, i.e. from Isabella Catolica, through cute red mini-bus # 32. One can also walk through but the way to Alhambra is quite steep up the hill and it is better to save energy which will be required very much for Alhambra visit.
The mini-bus carries Alhambra written in bold fonts on the top of the wind screen, so be careful and don’t jump onto any red minibus you find!
One ride costs 1.2 Euros but buying a carnet is recommended to save some good pennies.
I took a bus tour both in the morning and afternoon of the day I was in Granada in 1964.
One of the things that happened on the tour was that our bus, coming down the hill met another bus coming up the hill and they were both practically flaking off paint on their sides the road was so narrow. So were eyeball to eyeball and had to back up.
On arrival into Granada from the airport (2006), I was surprised to see the extensive roadworks and redevelopment that was taking place - Via de Colon is particularly affected. Although the airport bus was easily able to drop us off outside the Cathedral, on the return journey it was a different matter. The pavement and bus stops opposite the Cathedral are 'fenced in' with wire enclosed walkways. I'd enquired at my hostal and at the Tourist Info office as to where the bus for the airport stopped and was assured that it was in the usual place, opposite the Cathedral.
I was finally directed about 300 metres down the road, by a chestnut seller, who was indicating the cupola (dome) of a church. I spotted a couple here, who were travelling to the airport too, and were equally unsure as to where the bus stopped - when the bus arrived, the driver did let us on, but we were still in the wrong place, the stop was a further 100 metres away. So allow plenty of time to find the bus stop, as it will probably be in a different place.
The Granada Tour bus has also been affected, and no longer stops at the Cathedral, instead it waits in Ave. del Casino. (From the Cathedral, facing the Christopher Columbus Statue, turn right down Calle Reyes Catolicos, pass by opposite Plaza del Carmen, and a bit further along You'll see the Post Office (also on the left side of the road) The wide road to your left is Ave de Casino - Walk down the right side of this Avenue for a short distance and You'll see the bus stop for the Tour Bus.
Apparently this chaos is going to continue for a further 2-3 months (I'd guess it could take a lot longer, as they're planning an underground system) untill the elections!
(Hopefully by now it's sorted!)
..........or into Albayzin.
Streets in the older parts of Granada are very narrow, far too narrow for large buses. So there are minibuses to serve those areas, including the route up to the Alhambra itself.
Minibuses start from Catedral, the stop on Gran Via de Colon to the rear of the cathedral. They have their own special stop....it's not the one that other buses use but it's only a few steps further down the street.
You pay the driver, as on the larger buses, and the fare is the same (I assume it's a flat-rate fare for the whole of central Granada). Minibus 30 goes up to the Alhambra, minibus 31 will take you alongside the river Darro and up through the heart of Albayzin, minibus 35 will take you alongside the Darro and round the edge of Albayzin and to Sacromonte.
All routes have frequent services, with departures for the 30 every 10 minutes (or less) from 0700 until midnight.
You can find route numbers, route info with stops, timetables and a map of all Granada's bus services (which you can click to enlarge and zoom) on the website below.
If you are feeling energetic you can walk from Plaza Neuva up Cuesta de Gomerez. Or you can catch minibus #32 which departs from Plaza Issabel La Cotlica and is marked for the Alhambra. The service is fairly regular at around every 15 mins. Alternatively you can take a taxi from Plaza Nueva. It is not recommended to drive more for the congestion of one way streets you will encounter on your departure.
It's a pleasant 20 minute walk to the Alhambra from the city centre, and it's uphill. If you're not feeling energetic go on the minibus (Alhambrabus) which wait at the bottom of Cuesta de Gomerez. Cost is 95 cents (Jan 2006)
There are few departure hours for the bus to Sierra Nevada. Thus, I was afraid of not finding places in the afternoon bus, back to Granada, or even in the morning bus to SN. Even though I searched a lot at internet, I could not find information about this possibility - more passangers than places in the two daily buses.
Well, once in Granada, I could see that they add extra buses (and even mini-buses) when the number of passangers is big, so there's no such a possibility (having to stay in Granada or SN because of few places in bus), at least considering what I saw.
I have to say that the best way of experiencing Granada is on foot. There's no better way to see the small alleyways and narrow streets and really experience the smells, the sounds and the colours of this city! And, the best part is that almost everything you'd want to see is within walking distance! Go explore!