Tangier to Granada – Day 05 & 06 Busabout Iberian Adventure Tour

Busabout Iberian Adventure / Morocco / Spain

As the fun continues on this amazing adventure, this portion of the Busabout Iberian Adventure Tour features our departure from the Moroccan city of Tangier. As we make our way back from Africa, we arrive back on the European continent in Spain on route towards our next destination, the city of Granada.


We arrived in Tangier by travelling with Busabout on the Iberian Adventure Tour which takes seven days to complete, mostly taking in the sites of Spain but also experiencing some of Portugal and Morocco. Our journey started four days ago in the Spanish capital of Madrid before then making our way towards the stunning city of Seville. One night was spent here and we were shown the sites by a local guide followed by a group dinner at a Spanish tapas restaurant.

RECAP: Madrid to Seville via Cordoba – Day 01 Busabout Iberian Adventure Tour

After our whirlwind night in Seville the next day saw us head off to a new country along our journey; Portugal and the seaside town of Lagos. While in Lagos we stayed in a large house which was a nice change from the usual hostels and hotels, enabling us to stay in a central location in the city and allowing us to experience the Lagos nightlife. While in Lagos we were able to have a bit of fun in the ocean and go sea kayaking which was a memorable experience.

RECAP: Seville to Lagos – Day 02 & 03 Busabout Iberian Adventure Tour

Yesterday we left Lagos and made our way to the port of Tarifa and caught the ferry from Europe to Africa to arrive in Tangier. Last night was a great experience being shown around the city by a local guide which included a group dinner at a Moroccan restaurant. It was a long day but we all got through it and will take away with us a little taste of Morocco that will hopefully encourage most of us to return and explore more of the country in the future.

RECAP: Lagos to Tangier via Tarifa – Day 04 Busabout Iberian Adventure Tour

Day 05: Tangier to Granada – 02 September, 2015

This morning we are up nice and early for our departure and to grab some breakfast where we were treated to probably the best breakfast offering of the entire Iberian Adventure Tour. The hotel we are staying in is called Chellah Hotel and as you make your way downstairs for breakfast you are greeted with an impressive buffet selection of food ranging from all sorts of breads, fruit, cereal and cold meats. What was unique here was that you could have made to order crepes that were handmade while you waited. I didn’t get to try any but from what I hear they were really good.

Our coach arrived outside the hotel for our 8:00am departure which didn’t go down well with the local area as the coach needed to block the road while we loaded ourselves on board. We headed straight for the ferry terminal and cleared passport control and security to then board our ferry. Before you get to board the ferry you are checked again by the Moroccan authorities.

On board for the trip back and unlike last time we were unable to clear passport control on the ferry, we would have to do this once we landed at the other side. The crossing over was pretty uneventful and our guide Marysol was preparing us to get to the front of the line and watch out for people trying to push in. Once again we were told to get those elbows out and shove children if need be to stop them from pushing in.

I think most of us were a little disappointed when we got to the other side and everyone had formed an orderly line and there was no aggression, considering we were all at the front and cleared customs in little to no time. Once through, our Busabout coach and driver Didier were waiting in the car park and we were once again on our way and heading towards Granada.

Along the way we made a stop at a lookout where we were able to view the small British territory of Gibraltar. This place has a fascinating history with this small rock belonging to the United Kingdom and was once, and still is, a very strategic location along the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, much to the dismay of Spain.

Gibraltar has been a source of tension between Spain and the United Kingdom with Spain wanting the territory returned to them. Subsequently two referendums have been held in 1967 and in 2002 where Gibraltarians overwhelmingly rejected the proposal to come under Spanish rule. To this day Gibraltar is a self-governing territory that uses Pounds as its official currency and has one of the world’s most fascinating airport runways, with the main highway crossing over the top and gates that come across the road to stop traffic when a plane is landing or taking off.

On arrival in Granada the coach stopped on the side of the road and we were greeted by a small van from the White Nest Hostel. We unloaded our baggage and put it in the van to be taken to the hostel as our coach is unable to take us directly there due to the narrow streets. Our coach then took us to the centre of the city where we jumped off for our walking tour with our guide Marysol.

Our first stop on the walking tour was to the impressive Granada Cathedral where we had some of the important features pointed out to us and were given tips for coming to visit the cathedral tomorrow. One thing to be on the lookout for around here is the Gypsy women carrying small bushels of rosemary. They will try and engage tourists in conversation and will grab your hand trying to tell your fortune. They will then give you the rosemary and expect something in return (money). It’s best to avoid them, just keep walking by with purpose and they will leave you alone.

The cathedral is located in the centre of town. We were shown the main square which is filled with many restaurants and cafes. Also from here there are a number of small alleyways where some hidden market stalls are selling all sorts of souvenirs, herbs and spices. We quickly walk through and don’t spend much time here as we will all get some free time tomorrow afternoon to come back and explore.

Our walking tour then follows some of the narrow streets as we make our way towards our hostel for the first time. The White Nest Hostel is located in a nice location right at the foothill of Spain’s biggest tourist attraction, the Alhambra. We will spend our morning tomorrow visiting this stunning attraction and further below I will give you a tip on how to save some money on your entrance fee.

My room in the White Nest Hostel was quite good. I was in an eight room dorm on the top floor of the building. The windows looked out into the center of the building which was open, so while inside the building you could look up and outside with a view looking directly at the Alhambra. We took some time to settle into our hostel and then most of the group got ready to go out for a group dinner where some of us had a little bit too much sangria and then out again for an optional extra activity of seeing some Flamenco Dancing.

The group gathered outside to meet up with our guides Marysol and Didier as well as a local guide who firstly took us to the top of the hill behind us so we could get a view of the Alhambra lit up at night. It was a spectacular sight from this vantage point, seeing this grand building lit up at night and we were able to spend a fair bit of time up here before we descended down towards the Flamenco Show.

The Flamenco show is a very intimate affair located at an establishment called Cuevas Los Tarantos costing you €21.00 to attend and is staged in a narrow cave-like building. Upon arrival you’ll be asked what drink you would like, a good time for some sangria. Chairs were placed around in a large rectangle for us to all sit on with a stage up the far end. What we didn’t realise is that the stage wasn’t being used and that they would be performing right in front of us, almost stepping on our toes.

It wasn’t the first Flamenco show I had been to and this one was great also, however the last performer was a guy with longish hair and as it was quite hot inside he was sweating quite a lot. When he got up to perform, and given he was quite close to us, every time he moved his head sweat would flick off him onto us. It was quite disgusting and funny at the same time.

After the show the night was ours to do what we pleased. Most of the group went and hit up the Granada nightlife while others opted to call an end to the night and head back to the hostel. Tomorrow morning it’s a bright and early start as most of the group head off to the Alhambra for a guided tour, some with sorer heads than others.

Day 06: Granada – 03 September, 2015

This morning we have an early start to the day despite not travelling anywhere on the coach, as the group gets ready to explore Granada and to visit the biggest attraction in Spain; the Alhambra. One thing I must say about the hostel we are staying in is that even though the facilities are great, the breakfast here isn’t too great so don’t expect anything special.

The group will meet out the front of the hostel and is taken up to the Alhambra by our Busabout guide Marysol for a guided tour that will last a couple of hours, however be warned that this optional extra is quite expensive especially compared to all the other activities along the way. If you are smart and plan ahead you won’t need to pay large amounts of money to see this stunning attraction, if you don’t need to go on a guided tour and feel comfortable guiding yourself around with the provided map you are given upon entry, then read on.

*loneXplorer TIP*

Don’t wait to buy your entry ticket to the Alhambra from Busabout or pre-purchase on the Busabout My Trip website. This option is really expensive and to purchase a ticket on the Busabout website will set you back $75.00 or €49.00 on the coach. You should only consider purchasing your ticket through Busabout if you want a guided tour with the rest of the group you are travelling with and from what I was told afterwards, the guided tour wasn’t that great.

Instead head over to the Alhambra website and purchase your tickets directly, this way you are free to wonder the grounds at your own pace. A ticket directly from the Alhambra online will cost €15.40, however you cannot walk up and buy tickets, you must do it online as they sell out well in advance. You will however, need to select a timed entry for either the morning or afternoon and then an actual time for one section called the Nasrid Palace.

Here is the best way to go about it…

  • Book your tickets on the Spanish Ticketmaster website by clicking here.
  • Click on BUY under Alhambra General.
  • Select the morning or afternoon session, my advice is to pick the morning as the days are usually hot so you want to get it done in the morning and this is when the rest of the group go inside if they book through Busabout.
  • Then you’ll be asked what time you want to enter the Nasrid Palace. It is up to you when to enter, but my advice would be as early as possible (I selected 10:30am giving us time to find the entrance and walk up the hill) and head straight for that area when you arrive as there will be a line to get inside. After you have finished looking around the Nasrid Palace you can explore the rest of the Alhambra at your leisure.
  • Make sure you have an American Express Card, if not see if you can borrow one from someone. For some silly reason the Spanish Ticketmaster website will not accept Australian Visa or MasterCard but will accept American Express. Of course if you are from another country give it a shot. This isn’t ideal because you will most likely attract a currency conversion fee whereas you wouldn’t if you were able to use either the Citibank Plus Visa Debit Card or the 28 Degrees MasterCard.
  • Once you complete your transaction, print out the confirmation to take with you. You will need to show this along with the credit card used to pay at the ticket collection booth to be given your ticket to gain entry.
  • Instead of paying €49.00 you have now only paid €15.40.

With my tickets already purchased I abandoned the group and we made our way to the entrance to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Alhambra. I didn’t anticipate that there would be a massive hike up a large hill so it took us a little longer than planned to get to the entrance. Once there we collected our tickets and make our way inside and headed straight to the Nasrid Palace for our timed entry of 10:30am. We were a little early so waited around which made us second in line for our session, but it was worth it as the line snaked its was round the courtyard. The funny thing was that while we were waiting we could see the special group tour entry to the palace where the Busabout group were lining up and we managed to get in a few minutes before them all.

Inside the Nasrin Palace it was amazing to look at the attention to detail from the floor right up to the ceiling. You can just imagine hundreds of years ago that this place would have been one of the most luxurious places in the world with stunning water features and landscaped gardens everywhere you looked.

The entire Alhambra is a massive complex and will take a couple of hours to really see it all, even if you’re not on the guided tour. It’s a beautiful place and well worth the visit and I’m really glad that I didn’t go on the tour because it allowed us to go at our own pace and not be rushed around. When you enter you are given a map and because of the enormity of the Alhambra they have a recommended route to walk around so you get to see it all and if that isn’t enough you can pay a little extra for an audio guide if that’s your thing.

Once finished looking around it was time to head back down to the main town walking back down the hill we painstakingly walked up earlier in the morning. We made our way back to the main square and found a nice pizza cafe for some lunch and took a well earned rest from all the walking we had just completed.

For the rest of the afternoon we had a look around the various shops in the centre of town and the small alleyway market stalls to see if there was anything worth buying. I found my shot glass of Granada so I was happy that I found my tacky little keep sake. We also spent some time looking around the Granada Cathedral before heading back to the hostel to take a bit of a rest as it was quite an exhausting day, especially as the hot sun it really takes it out of you.

After a long day of exploring Granada the night was ours to do with how we wished. Most people opted for a quiet night finding something for dinner and to keep it really simple we opted for Burger King, not very Spanish I know but sometimes you’re too tired to go through the process of having to pick a restaurant. Tonight a lot of people opted to join in on the optional extra activity of visiting a Hammam, doing this will cost you €24.00 or €36.00 if you want a massage also. After that most people spent the evening packing their bags and heading off to bed while a small group went out for another night on the town.

Tomorrow we will continue on with the Busabout Iberian Adventure for the last time as we depart for day seven and make our way back to where it all started in the Spanish capital of Madrid. Before we get back to Madrid we will make two stops, first being Consuegra where we will have our final group photo in front of the historic windmills that grace the area and then the old medieval town of Toledo capping off one awesome adventure.


NEXT: Granada to Madrid via Consuegra & Toledo – Day 07 Busabout Iberian Adventure Tour

PREVIOUS: Lagos to Tangier via Tarifa – Day 04 Busabout Iberian Adventure Tour

Just your average guy doing his 9 - 5 job as a Senior Payroll Officer by day, writing about his travel adventures and hopefully giving you inspiration and ideas for your next travel adventure here at loneXplorer...

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