BY CAR, Granada
The complexity and narrowness of the streets of the Albayzin will drive you madly around in circles if you do not have a GPS. I do believe that we would still be driving around if not for the following tip..... tail one of the city busses that squeeze through the streets of the Albayzin. They will take you to the central city and out of the maze. It is remarkable how these mid -sized Mercedes busses navigate through the very narrow streets and tight corners.
If you are driving to Granada you can take the A92 which is the east-west access and connects you from Seville and Almeria. The E15 from Barcelona or Malaga also connects to this motorway. From Madrid you can take the A-4. Granada is 160 miles from Granada, 80 miles from Malaga, 550 miles from Barcelona and 260 miles from Madrid.
When we travel, we like to be independent to do our own thing and it usually involves getting off the beaten track. As a result, we almost always hire a car if it makes any sense at all given the circumstances of where we are visiting. In this case, because Sue's sister was joining us from England for eight days of our trip, I had to go one size larger than normal to accommodate three suitcases. It turned out to be a diesel Ford Focus station wagon with a 5-speed manual transmission. There was enough space in the rear for the suitcases plus a few other odds and ends as well as a flap that covered-up everything from prying eyes. However, I did not like the fact that it had a big 'Goldcar Rental' sticker on its rear window, advertising that fact to the world.
We hired it from Red Ribbon Car Hire Spain but picked it up from the Goldcar desk two days earlier away up the Mediterranean coast at the Alicante airport - at a daily rate of 18.26 Euros. However, when all the extras like insurance and diesel surcharge were added in, the total for 18 days came to 617 Euros.
Everywhere we went in Spain, we found the roads to be in excellent condition - even on small secondary roads in the Sierra Nevadas or along some 'off-the-beaten path' coastal roads. However, in larger congested cities like Granada or Seville, the best thing to do is to just find a parking garage and do your exploring on foot! Aside from the traffic and convoluted streets, another problem with this Group F-size car was in towns, trying to squeeze it into one of the few small parking spots that one might chance upon. However, it did not give us any mechanical problems during the 3240-km (~2000 miles) we drove it and was just great in allowing us to reach the many smaller destinations on our trip.
It take about 2 hours driving from Málaga. When you leaving Málaga take the A-45 until the way out to the A-92M and drive about 26 km and you connect with A-92 to Granada and when you reach Granada, take the way out to the A-44 or ring road that connect to all the areas in Granada.
Condunciendo desde Málaga se tarda unas 2 horas. Cuando sales de Málaga tienes que coger la A-45 hasta el desvio de la A-92M que se encuentra pasado Casabermeja y que desemboca en la A-92 y desde ahí hasta Granada donde coges el desvio de la A-44 y entras en lo que es la ronda de circunvalación de Granada.
We chose to drive to Granada from Mijas. It's about a 90 minute drive. In the morning, we drove the inland route from Malaga to Granada through miles and miles of olive groves over rolling hills. The route is very beautiful and serene.
Coming back, we took the other route which is the motorway around the Sierra Nevada mountain range and down to the coast at Motril. That ride was incredibly scenic. We traveled through rugged mountains and valleys, and past tiny mountain towns.
One could do this by train if one wanted to. It is possible to take the train from Malaga and make a connection in Bobadilla. It's much longer than driving, so we chose to go by car.
We have used a variety of car hire companies in the Granada region.
Some better than others (!)
Carjet, has so far been the best option (link below).
Friendly and efficient, reasonably priced and a very user friendly website!
They have an office very near the airport and another in the center of Granada city (I think near the bus station).
The road to Niguelas (which continues onto Granada city ) is a rather scenic affair...Pictured here, windmills for power and the much needed/debated dam.
We recently drove this road again, but at night. When you get near to the Granada, the city appears all of a sudden, nestled below the mountains lit up with thousands of little white light...An awesome sight, Granada is even beautiful at night, from a distance.
Driving through the city centre can be a nightmare, so I rather suggest to leave the car at the parking.
Even if expensive, a easy way is to leave it at Alhambra parking, as you do not have to enter on city center, only follow the Circunvalacion road until the sing of Ronda sur or Sierra Nevada, is the same exit that Alhambra
Getting to Granada is easy on the highway, but once you get into the city, it's hell! Roads are busy and sometimes streets are closed! Had to drive around for over an hour to find a parking space near the Alhambra, and the parking space is so bloody tight!!
My advice is to take the train and spend at least a night in Granada to really enjoy the city.
Drove there from Malaga Airport via Nerja and it is easy to get there.
Driving within the city is hell with lotsa one way roads. Plus roads only for buses and taxis! Drivers seem to be very impatient and never hesitate to use their honks. We parked our car near to where we are staying and walk or take a taxi.
I find the taxi is really convenient. Wun get lost and get to the place we want fast.
We had rented a car which is a great way to see the countryside, however, driving in the city centre is rather confusing due to the complexity of the streets. Make sure to have a good map and study it before or else just 'wing it' and hope you end up at your destination!