Book your hire car with Gomarbella & Spain now and Then

Friday, 26 October 2007

Spain now and then

Spain now and then seems to have been the pattern of my life recently.

Earlier this week I was in New Malden in London, teaching an 11+ exam revision course for the Extra Tuition Centre. I spent 3 days from 9am to 1pm helping well motivated young students prepare for their selective secondary school entry process and then from 2pm – 9pm each day I was with my 22 month old grandson. He is also selective about what he learns, preferring diggers and dump trucks to wolves sliding down hot chimneys.

On the way home to Marbella this morning, I enjoyed the BA check in procedure at Gatwick airport complete with touch screens and smiling, helpful ground staff and the leather seats, headrests and hot meals on board.

Last week I was in Essen over the weekend for a very pleasurable family birthday celebration. Taking the 6am Easyjet flight out of Dortmund on the way home I was back for in Marbella in time for my 1pm class at the hotel and tourism vocational training school. With 3 new classes starting next week, it’s going to be a little tighter to find time for European travel.

I always pick up my emails on my travels and so it was that last night from Battersea, London I replied to a gomarbella reader wanting to know if he could walk from the Los Boliches train stop to the Yaramar Hotel, Avenida Los Boliches s/n in Fuengirola. The photo above shows you the Los Boliches train stop.

To give him the best advice I thought it would be a good idea to check out the Los Boliches train stop personally and take the train from Malaga airport to Fuengirola train station on the way home today instead of the airport to Marbella shuttle bus.

In Gatwick’s carpeted North Terminal this morning the passenger assistance buggies moved sedately to and fro with blinking orange lights and muted bleeps. In Malaga airport later in the morning the buggies raced like Fernando Alonso along the marbled passages and honking passengers to one side.

Wouldn't Europe be boring if we all acted exactly the same way?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic website you have it is so helpful! We went to La Cala in Mijas Costa last year and rented a car for the week, this year we are returning to the same place and wondered if we could manage without the car. Do you know how much it would cost to travel by taxi from Malaga airport to Mijas Costa? Or is it an easy journey by bus/ train? Many thanks

Anonymous said...

Hello...I am going to Marbella for 10 days and would like to visit Ronda, Seville, Granada and Malaga. I was wondering if you have such a thing as a week bus pass or how could I get bus rates. Would it be less expensive to rent a car?

Mike Drury said...

Just replying to your query about needing a car in La Cala de Mijas, I would say no, not really.

I have just phoned the taxi company in Marbella and while the girl couldn't give me a price from the airport to La Cala (being based in Marbella) she said that from the airport to Marbella by taxi would cost 56 euros on weekdays and 66 euros at night or on weekends. From Marbella to La Cala de Mijas by taxi would be 25 euros on a weekday and 30 euros at night or on a weekend. So, if you subtract 30 euros from 56 euros, it would give you the approximate price of the cost of a taxi from Malaga airport to La Cala, around 26 euros. (Please check before you get into the taxi though) Taxi fares on the Costa del Sol are fixed in a book and do not vary for a whole year.

If you are feeling fresh after your trip to Spain, then the train to Fuengirola from the airport leaves every 30 minutes - from the first floor departures level and through the car park. Follow the train signs and get your tickets from the machine near the platform.

From the Fuengirola train station it is a short one block trundle to the bus station (or you could even take a taxi to La Cala from right outside the train station - you will have saved a lot of money by taking the train so far). Watch your pockets, bags and belongings on the train and getting on and off the train when you are always off balance. I always give this advice to travellers anywhere!

If you look on www.gomarbella.com/costadelsolbuses and click through to More Useful Bus Questions you will see this journey described in more detail.

There is also a list of all bus stops between Fuengirola and Marbella and you will be able to see exactly how many stops there are before you get to La Cala. This Wednesday I am going to take some photos of the La Cala bus stop and they will be on the site later in the week.

I hope these suggestions help you make up your mind. Please let me know sometime what you decided!

Thank you very much for using gomarbella bus pages!

Mike

Mike Drury said...

Thank you for writing in to ask about bus or rented car trips to Ronda, Seville, Granada and Malaga.

Getting to Malaga from Marbella bus station is very easy. There are buses every hour from Marbella right into the big Malaga bus station which is a short walk from the centre of Malaga.

You will find schedules and prices and journey times of buses from Marbella to all these destinations if you look at www.gomarbella.com/costadelsolbuses and open the Marbella bus schedule.

Ronda is also an easy do it yourself bus trip from Marbella using the local Portillo bus service. It is quite inexpensive too. There are some great pavement cafes right by the bullring for lunch.

About Granada and Sevilla which a are a bit further away. Why don't you consider going on one day excursion tours? You get picked up from anywhere along the coast including three to four stops in the centre of Marbella, a commentary for the journy and when you get to your destination also. You get lunch and a chance to meet and chat to your travel companions also. You get lunch and a full day's visits and the best part is that you don't have to drive home at the end of the day.

If this kind of excursion is of interest I will suggest a couple of local travel agents and get prices for you if that helps.

If it is just you on your own then buses will be cheaper than a rented car. If there are two of you or more then the economics of having one vehicle and more passengers could make it cheaper for the longer journeys to Seville and Granada. If you don't want the problems of parking and finding your way in and out of Granada and Seville especially, then the bus or guided excursion tour becomes very attractive.

I hope you have a great visit. Please let me know if any excursion prices would be useful.

Best wishes

Mike

Anonymous said...

Mike,
I just stumbled across your site and it is of great interest to me. I am hoping that you will be able to provide me with the names of reputable tour companies to take my family and I to Granada and Seville from the Marriott in Marbella this August. As well, what is your opinion of day trips with a guide to Tangier? Lastly, for some unknown reason, I am not having any success booking a high speed train from Malaga to Madrid. Kind regards.

Mike Drury said...

I am glad that gomarbella is of interest.

It will be a pleasure to help you with excursions to Granada and Sevilla. I always recommend Viajes Valemar in Marbella. With the minimum of formalities they will book you onto your tour and booking as coming from gomarbella you will normally not need to make a prior deposit, simply pay the full amount once you are on the bus.

You will be given a time and a bus stop to wait at, from Marriots Marbella this would be the public bus stop, just 500 metres from the resort.

About a guided tour in Tangiers, I would very strongly recommend going on an organised excursion especially for your first visit. As a member of a group, all immigration formalities are taken care of and you are left well alone by the local touts in Morocco. Sure you will be taken to carpet shops and given mint tea and you will see belly dancers and eat cous cous but in a group you will avoid continuous hassle (almost) completely.

The www.renfe.es site is very, very difficult to use. Sometimes even from within Spain I have been unable to book myself onto a short trip from Malaga to Cordoba for example. I think in the end it will be easier to do it through an agency.

When the time gets nearer and you know your dates, please write back and I will gladly put you in touch with Viajes Valemar.

I hope this helps, best wishes from Marbella and thank you for your contact. Mike

Canada said...

Wow, great site! I was reading about your recommendation to go with a organised tour group from Spain to Tangiers. I am wanting to only go for a day excursion to just to experience the flavor of Morocco in a safer less hastled environment. Could you please recommend some tour groups from Spain?
Thanks!

Mike Drury said...

Hi Canada,

Thanks very much for writing in. I generally encourage everyone to do something a bit different but for a first visit for women in a group or on their own,unless they have experience of travelling in North African countries I suggest that an organised excursion will be more enjoyable.

It's not that the trip is dangerous at all, but to avoid hastles such as persistent offers of guides, constant attention or people tugging at your elbow with different offers all day long, a guided tour is a comfortable alternative. It saves you booking your bus to Algeciras, buying your ferry ticket and passport formalities.

If you are travelling to Tangier from somewhere along the coast, it makes a long day and sometimes life is a bit easier if you have a guide to follow and a bus waiting for you when you get off the ferry back in Spain.

Of course you are going to be shown a carpet shop and just because you are given a cup of mint tea, don't feel you have to buy a carpet! You'll probably go on a camel ride and see belly dancing while you have cous cous and other Moroccan delights in a restaurant or hotel organised by your excursion company. The trip across the Straits of Gibraltar to Tangier and back is exciting and all in all you'll have a great day out.

Here is the address of Viajes Valemar: Viajes Valemar Avda. Ricardo Soriano, 64 29600 Marbella Tel: + 34 952829944 Fax: + 34 952828737 You'll speak to Leonor del Toro, her email address is leo@viajesvalemar.es I do nearly all our own travel bookings myself but when I need the help of a travel agent I use Leo's services.

Write to her and ask for a description of day trips to Morocco and if I can help you at all, don't hesitate to contact me. I hope you have a great day out Canada, thanks again for your contact.

Best wishes from Marbella

Mike

Canada said...

Thank you so much! Im actually planning on staying in Marbella. So excited to day trip in the South of Spain as well! Im thinking of doing a day trip to Granada and one more town, hopefully all in one day... Do you have suggestions of the best places to visit for a day to do some historical sightseeing?


You are a gem, thank you so much for your assistance!

Mike Drury said...

Hi Canada

Thanks for writing back and your kind words. I'm glad you will be in Marbella, it's looking really good right now!

Seville, Cordoba, Granada and Ronda are all well worth while excursions. Mainly because of the distance they take the best part of a day to visit. Ronda is a lot closer. Malaga city is also very close and an interesting city to visit.

When you write to Leo, ask her for details of excursions to Seville, Cordoba and Granada. Ronda and Malaga you can easily do by yourself on the local public transport. I recommend that you leave yourself a day's rest in between the longer excursions just to take things easy and enjoy the local scene. Maybe not so much history but lots to see and do around here.

Canada when you have your dates clearer write to me and I'll tell you what's on the go locally in Marbella and what you can do in Ronda or Malaga. The other organised excursions will have the whole day planned for you!

I hope that helps you, keep in touch and best wishes again from Marbella

Mike

Canada said...

Hi Mike,

Thank you for your reply. I will be in Marbella the week of July 7th. I actually am wanting to take public transit from Pamplona to Marbella. (I also need to go from Madrid to Pamplona, than Pamplona to Marbella after the 1st morning of the San Fermin Festival!)

Im not interested in Euro rail as I have the time and would like to save the extra expense! Do you have a suggestion of the best website to book public transit or chartered bus tickets through?

Thanks!

Mike Drury said...

Hi Canada

Nice to hear from you again. My best suggestion to get from Pamplona to Marbella is to use the Gomarbella online booking system! Copy this address into your browser:

www.gomarbella.com/marbella/online-bus-reservation-spain.htm

Choose some date next month as your date of travel because July 2011 is not yet open for bookings. Put in Pamplona as your Origin and Marbella as your Destination and press Continue and you'll see one timetable for buses to Madrid and then another timetable for services to Marbella.

You have a number of different combinations but if you would like to do the journey in one day and arrive in Marbella in daylight, then the key is to leave Pamplona early. For example if you leave at 07.00 you'll arrive in Madrid at 12.00. That gives you an hour to change bus stations in Madrid and then your next bus from Madrid to Marbella leaves at 13.00 and arrives in Marbella at 20.10.

If you leave the San Fermin overnight party and go straight to the Pamplona bus station you can sleep almost all the way to Marbella. When you get off the bus it will be sunny and warm, have a shower and then head straight out to Puerto Banus. Does that sound good?

So it is possible to do the whole trip by bus and also book in advance which would be advisable travelling into and out of Pamplona around those dates. If this seems OK to you, write back and I'll check on the earliest date for booking.

Sounds like a great summer coming up Canada, start saving your energies now!

Best wishes Mike