Three us of are flying into Malaga for one week, then driving up to Barcelona via Granada and Valencia in late February. We will have a rental car the whole time and are looking forward to some day trips from Malaga, hopefully to Gibraltar and the high speed ferry to Morocco. Any updates on safety of these areas lately and ideas for inexpensive but wonderful local foods and things to do. Is there anything we need to book ahead or since we're off season, will things be closed? Any advice is appreciated.
I've visited all the places you mentioned except Malaga.
We went to Marrakesh at the end of January 2015. That was a good time weather wise to visit the country.
Not sure where you plan to visit in Morocco though?
You will need to be more careful in Morocco, particularly around the souks (markets) they are very busy in Marrakesh with bikes and motorbikes.
You will be doing an awful lot of driving on this trip. How long is the trip in total?
The roads are good between the main cities but the tolls add up when you are driving the amount of miles you will be.
I would certainly at least visit Seville, Granada,Cordoba in Andalusia.
i really enjoyed Valencia, nice old town and city of arts and sciences.
Barcelona is an excellent city, we have been there quite a few times and would happily return.
There are many, many attractions to keep you interested here.
Let me know more about your trip plans and I can give you some more specific information.
Thank you for your reply. We'll be staying in my friend's timeshare in Malaga for one week late February and I've booked a car. I've driven in quite a few foreign countries and really love driving. For me it's not a trip unless I've included a major road trip within it.
I was thinking of a day trip to Gibraltar and either taking the high speed ferry from there to Morocco or I see that there's also a high speed ferry from Malaga to the Spanish colony adjacent to Morocco. I was also contemplating a day trip from Malaga into Portugal, but am not sure it's worth it.
After our week in Malaga, we take off on the road trip toward Barcelona. I've booked 1 night in Granada, 1 night in Valencia and then turning the car in to stay in central Barcelona for 2 nights before flying home. My only concern with the driving is whether roads will be icy at that time of year in the mountain areas or do they stay pretty clear? Are we safe as three women driving through Southern Spain?
Ok, thanks for letting me know the number of days you are there.
This is a few suggestions that i can offer.
If i were staying in Malaga for the week I would try to visit Seville and Cordoba. They are around 2 - 2.5 hours by car or train from Malaga. These are very good places to visit.
In my opinion superior destinations than Gibraltar or somewhere in Morocco.
I would head back to southern Spain before going to Morocco again.
They both have some excellent sites and are a delight to just stroll around the streets.
We never felt unsafe at any moment (I travel with wife and young daughter) but you do need to be careful of petty crime like bag thefts around the old town areas particularly if the streets were you are walking are deserted.
This website can give you an idea of the temperatures that you can expect:
Most of your driving between the cities will be on motorways which should be fine.
We have driven throughout many areas in Spain and never had a problem. I have just booked up a 2 week trip in Northern Spain in July.
You don't have much time in Valencia and Barcelona. They are both very good cities with many things to see and do. I'm not sure if you have visited the cities before?
La Sagrada Familia is a must visit. On our visit we booked the tickets in advance, but you can check the website to see how busy it would be:
Another site which we saw which was very impressive was:
Of course Gaudi's houses are must visits.
There are so many places to see, we have been several times to the city and not seen all we would like.
Valencia was a nice place also.
There are some interesting museums such as:
you won't have much time in the city, make sure you at least take some photos of the city of arts and sciences buildings, they are impressive.
we visited the Hemisferic and Oceanografic.
There are plenty of options, I'm sure you will have a good time no matter what you choose.
You didn't mention where you are staying in Barcelona, but I highly recommend the Cotton House (Autograph) hotel Excellent and centrally located. Very nice restaurant too. You can walk to Sagrada Familia (get tickets early -a must). You can walk LaRambla,port,Plaza Cataluna,Gaudi houses,shoppine etc.
Love Barcelona but you must at least be aware of Gypsies and street peddlers.
I hope you have a great trip. But, make sure you use a lot of caution. Here is why:
1. Pickpockets operate very heavily in Barcelona. While on a trip there, my friend had his wallet stolen with all his cash and credit cards.
2. Also, be very careful about trip interruptions. I recommend travel insurance. I was there one year when a volcano went off and everyone was gouging everyone they could. The hotels raised their rates astronomically. To Marriott's credit, I was using points, and my rates never changed. Kudos
But, overall, I felt very safe. But, things are changing fast...
Have a great time!
On my last trip to Spain, we were in the Barcelona, Costa Brava (northern most point in Spain, bordering France) area at the end of December and in January. The only places that were closed were amusement parks, pools, some of the restaurants in the small villages, golf courses, etc. No ice or snow between Barcelona and Costa Brava. The weather in Barcelona was nice--60's, so you could walk around with a coat on and not be over heated. I would nail down Gaudi designed places to visit--there are several, including the Parc Guell, Palace Guell at the end of the Rambla towards the ocean, Casa Batllo, Pedrera, etc., etc., and of course the church, Sagrada Familia. That will give you a good appreciation of this architect and his various buildings around the city. Take a picnic lunch to the Parc--he had a very sunny warm day there. We stayed in a private apartment so I can't recommend a hotel. Tons of good restaurants--try the off the beaten path ones in the Gothic area, down the very narrow, one car wide streets with neighborhood vibe--good tapas!
I can advise regarding Barcelona as I know it quite well: about safety, the city is quite safe everywhere by day and night but BE CAREFUL when you are in extremely crowded tourist areas like Sagrada Familia, Las Ramblas or the Gothic Quarter to pickpockets: watch close your phone and wallet! Same applies if you take the metro.
Regarding things to do or where to eat here are some of my besties:
- Eat at least once at La Paradeta : best value quality / price option if you wanna eat fresh seafood.
- Visit ALL Gaudi buildings such as Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, Park Guell and of course La Sagrada Familia (better go early in the morning to avoid crowd)
- For a city tour, I'd recommend either a classic bus tour with Barcelona City Tour or a more original boat tour with Bluemar Ferries, that will bring you also to discover the nearby really charming village of Sitges.
Hope you'll enjoy Spain and Barcelona, if I can help you with some more tips let me know!
WE arrived today in Granada. Looking forward to Alhambra but book well in advance unless you want to take the chance and wait inline. Just been to Córdoba, 4 days. Wonderful city. Easy to walk to the historic sites. In general, a very walkable city? Saw Jewish/Arabic old quarter, Mesquita/ Cathedral, mercado Victoria. Didn't do the Alcazar, have seen a few already.
Earlier in Malaga - also a great walking city, very compact - clean, neat. Wonderful.
previous trips to Barcelona, must see Sagrada Familia. Recommend advance booking tIke including English guide ( thru the Sagrada web site)
cant miss with with any of the cities mentioned. This trip by car, only difficulty has been in Granada. We did an unintentional tour trying to find hotel (AC Palacio Santa Paulo - hotel very nice) be sure to have a GPS.