Many cruise passengers arriving in Malaga take a shore excursion to Granada’s Alhambra Palace. This is often the highlight of their entire vacation. This is no wonder because the Alhambra is the most outstanding remaining example of Moorish art in the Western world attracting over two million annual visitors. Guide books to Spain suggest that if you only see one town in Spain it should be Granada so your ship’s arrival in nearby Malaga provides the perfect opportunity to visit this most exciting, sensual and romantic of all European monuments.
What is the Alhambra Palace?
Spain was subject to Moorish rule to varying extents geographically between the year 711 and 1492 with Al-Andalus, modern day Andalucia in the south of the country, most influenced. The Alhambra was the palace-fortress of the last Spanish Moorish kingdom, and in its construction Moorish art reached a spectacular climax. But the building seems to go further than this, revealing something of the whole brilliance and spirit of Moorish life and culture.
Getting to the Alhambra Palace
All cruise ships arriving in the port of Malaga offer excursions to the Alhambra and you’ll normally see many coaches awaiting your arrival as you pull into your berth. If you prefer a private tour you will meet your driver at a prearranged time at your ship then begin the 80 mile drive to Granada heading northeast along the N-331. This takes around 1½ hours depending on traffic getting out of Malaga city.
How Much Time Will I Have?Typically most cruise ships arrive in Malaga in the morning (around 9am) and depart in the early evening (around 6.30pm). Considering the journey time without allowing for any delays due to traffic is approximately 1½ hours each way there isn’t much time to see very much of the city of Granada.
If your ship’s arrival and departure time does allow for some flexibility then it’s well worth heading down to Plaza Nueva along Cuesta de Gomerez then along the Carrera del Darro into the Albaicín district. This is the largest and most characteristic Moorish quarter that survives in Spain. Here you can visit the Mirador de San Nicolás which offers a spectacular, panoramic view of the Alhambra with the snow capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains in the background.
Private Shore Excursions to the Alhambra
For more information about hiring a driver and guide for a private tour to the Alhambra Palace take a look at the following link:
Private Shore Excursions to Ronda
Another favourite shore excursion from Malaga Port is to take a trip into the mountains to the quaint town of Ronda which is one of the most popular tourist destinations from the Costa del Sol.
Private City Tours of Malaga
Some people prefer to spend the day in port wandering around the lovely city of Malaga rather than heading off to Granada or Ronda. In this case there are a few private excursions designed for cruise ship arrivals: