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For a lot of vacationers, the query of Granada vs Malaga is an existential one when planning a journey to Spain. I ought to know, as a result of it was for me. The excellent news, not less than so far as I’m involved, is that it isn’t an particularly shut contest. The higher information? Even if you happen to make the choice to base your self in simply considered one of these cities—and also you most likely will—it’s simple to go to the opposite on a day journey.

Regardless of which selection you make, you’ll have a tremendous place to name dwelling as you discover the japanese lobe of Andalusia, which for my cash is Spain’s finest area. There’s so much to see right here, nonetheless, so I believe we should always get began.

My Experiences in Granada and Malaga

Nothing tells the story of my time in japanese Andalusia than the completely different hospitality I obtained in every metropolis. In Granada, I arrived to my boutique lodge close to the town’s huge cathedral when the receptionist was on siesta. She nonetheless appeared as I stood there ready, as if alerted just by my presence, and went out of her approach to assist me at each stage of my keep, usually anticipating my questions, even considerably non-traditional ones. She spoke no English, however her intentions got here via clearly.

The defining expertise of my time in Malaga, then again, was an ill-fated meal I loved (or tried to take pleasure in) at a tapas restaurant within the metropolis middle. Along with the truth that neither the meals nor the sangria was superb, the server was wholly inattentive, to the extent that I did one thing I by no means do. Unable to get my examine, not to mention to pay, I dined and dashed. I had a bus to catch, and wasn’t about to overlook it as a result of another person did not do their job.


Methods to Evaluate Malaga vs. Granada


Which isn’t to say you must let private experiences of mine (curated ones, no much less) make your resolution. Alternatively, the fact is that not a single attraction in Malaga compares to Granada’s world-famous Alhambra, which is itself actually solely the start of what there may be to see within the metropolis. If you happen to needed to accomplished one touristic factor in Malaga, I’d most likely hike as much as Gibralfaro Viewpoint.

Lodges and eating places

To me, that is an space the place Malaga vs Granada is simply no competitors. Whether or not you keep in bohemian San Nicolas or down towards the Cathedral, each accommodations and tapas eating places in Granada are genuine, cozy and cute—for accommodations, I really like Casa de Reyes and the marginally extra upscale Palacio de Santa Paula. In Malaga, then again, what you’re actually its lodging and eating (and nightlife, if you happen to’re into that) geared towards the bottom overseas denominator.


Malaga is on the ocean, which ordinarily would give it the nod for me. Sadly, Malaga’s city-center shoreline is fairly industrial, and fewer than charming consequently. Granada, against this, not solely spreads gently over the hills that run via its middle; the whitewashed buildings of San Nicolas (essentially the most picturesque a part of Granada) virtually look like they’re an outgrowth of the character.

Native vs. vacationer vibe

If selecting between Malaga or Granada is a matter of wanting a extra genuine expertise, there’s actually no context. Whereas Malaga is a bigger metropolis and has loads of “actual” neighborhoods, these are sadly amongst Spain’s most harmful and least enticing. Whereas Granada is seemingly designed extra for vacationers, the fact is that the upper caliber of vacationer it attracts when in comparison with Malaga makes any artificiality simpler to disregard.

Day journeys

As a result of it’s bigger, Granada is barely higher positioned for taking day journeys inside Andalusia. It’s lower than an hour from Nerja, lower than two hours from Granada and about 90 minutes from Ronda as nicely. You’ll be able to take all these day journeys from Granada, too, however journey occasions might be barely longer, and buses might or might not depart as usually. In each circumstances, take into account that the bus station is outdoors the town middle and requires a tram, bus or taxi journey.

Different Locations in Andalusia

I’ll be sincere: Andalusia is just too large to have only one base, be it Granada or Malaga. These cites actually solely permit you to discover the japanese “lobe” of the area. When you end right here (or earlier than, relying upon what path you journey), I like to recommend heading to Seville. Along with being the most effective place to base your self in western Andalusia, I additionally personally discover Seville to be Spain’s most satisfying metropolis, on the entire.

From Seville, you possibly can go to many various locations on day journeys. To the north is Cordoba, well-known for its church that also retains an excessive amount of aesthetic reminiscence from its previous as a mosque. Heading south, in the meantime, takes you to coastal Cadiz and to Jerez de la Frontera, a metropolis that’s well-known each for its sherry manufacturing in addition to for its heritage of equestrianism.


Different FAQ About Visiting Malaga and Granada

Which is healthier to go to, Granada or Malaga?

Granada is a way more attention-grabbing, genuine metropolis than Malaga, though you wouldn’t know that primarily based on the hordes that crowd the city middle and seashores of the latter. I’d advocate basing your self in Granada after which visiting Malaga (assume you do) on a day journey.

Malaga is value visiting if you happen to merely wish to go there to say you’ve been. Nonetheless, if you happen to’re merely searching for a seashore, I like to recommend visiting close by Nerja as an alternative, or going elsewhere in Spain totally. The fact—and I imply no shade by saying this—is that Malaga feels much less like southern Spain and extra like someplace in England, the pure surroundings however. Preserve this in thoughts earlier than you ebook a visit there.

The Backside Line

I believe it’s fairly clear the place I fall on the Granada vs Malaga debate. Whereas Malaga has sure issues going for it—truly only one, its location alongside the coast—it simply doesn’t maintain a candle to Granada, a metropolis mired in fable and overflowing with power, the place magic is as thick within the air as the warmth throughout the summertime. With a purpose to decrease your disappointment, I’d advocate staying in Granada and, if you happen to select to go to Malaga, doing so solely on a day journey.

Robert Schrader

Robert Schrader is a journey author and photographer who’s been roaming the world independently since 2005, writing for publications reminiscent of “CNNGo” and “Shanghaiist” alongside the way in which. His weblog, Go away Your Day by day Hell, supplies a mixture of journey recommendation, vacation spot guides and private essays protecting the extra esoteric features of life as a traveler.



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