It seems there are 3 locations from which to start the bus trip. I just don't know which destination to choose if "Granada" is not an option.
Can someone help?
Thank you to all. We have decided to buy our bus tickets (ALSA - supra class) when we get to Spain. I prefer using American Express and many of these sites can't or don't or prefer not to accept it. On the site, only 4 seats have been sold so far so I don't think they will be sold out. What's more, if the seats somehow sell out, there are several other supra-class busses to choose from that day.
For those who are just starting this research into Spain travel:
1. Be patient with the websites.
2. Spanair.es is out of business.
3. Vueling.com* offered the same Iberia and Vueling flights for less than the Expedia site. However, they charge separately for choosing your seats, luggage, and use of credit cards other than one I don't have.
4. Call the US or Canada 800 numbers on your RailEurope tickets and questions. I found them to be helpful.
*I lost almost an entire day trying to buy plane tickets on vueling.com. I know I could have used paypal but I prefer to retain the benefits/protections of Amex...so I bought the same seats on Expedia.com. The tickets cost me $12 more each but I was able to get through it quickly because Expedia's site is sleeker and more items are included. Vueling.com would have been great when I was a backpacking, hostel-staying, penny-pinching 20-something.Edited: 11:25 am, May 27, 2012
Navigating the ASLA.es site from the US:
I have a fairly new PC and have been navigating the ASLA.es website quite a bit. For those who are just getting used to it, I will tell you that:
1. sometimes, even if you click on the British flag symbol to get English, the language does not change.
2. When you type in "Madrid," 3 choices appear: The bus station "Madrid" refers to Estacion Sur de Madrid which has the most busses travelling to Granada and the south. However, if you are staying near the airport, you might choose the option, "Aeropuerto Madrid-barajas T4" or if staying in the north part of Madrid, "Avenida de America."
3. When you type in "Granada," in the slot for "destino," you will get Granada along with 12 other choices with (Granada) attached to their names. Stick with the first choice for "Granada," which is not in parantheses. I'm not sure if the other choices such as Alhambra de Granada have many ASLA busses available directly to it. I suspect the other Granada choices are for city busses you can use within Granada.
4. Cost: 17.22Euro one way on a regular bus. 26.33 Euro on a supra class bus.
5. Supra Class busses: Fewer supra class busses run the Madrid - Granada route each day. However, instead of 5:00:00, they get to Granada in 4:30:00 because they don't make a stop. Also, the bus has wider seats configured: seat:aisle:seat:seat. The regular bus is configured: seat:seat:aisle:seat:seat. There should be a toilet on the bus as well.
I hope I am helpful to another who is traveling between Madrid and Granada. If I've saved time for someone else, all my research would have been worth it!Edited: 7:23 pm, June 12, 2012
This is probably overkill but I wanted to comment on our ALSA bus experience, last month. It was very pleasant, comfortable and relaxing.
1. Purchasing tickets: If you decide to purchase the day of your trip, there is a separate line/queue for same day tickets. We purchased same day as well as future day tickets (Granada to Sevilla). Because we arrived 40 minutes prior to the bus we wanted to take, that bus was sold out. We were offered bus tickets on a later bus. It was not a supra. We should have offered to split up (4 of us need not sit together). I believe we would have been able to get on the bus we wanted. No matter. We waited in the cafeteria, eating lunch and reading.
2. Boarding: It was not clear where we were to line up and how we should stow our luggage on the bus. However, the bus we were to take was parked in lot #24, as indicated on the ticket, and its side cargo doors were lifted. We stowed our luggage and boarded the bus. Seat numbers are clearly marked on the aisle seat. The sun will set on the right as the bus drives south so we chose to sit on the left. Most people sitting on the right closed their curtains as the day was bright and hot (39 Celcius).
3. The LONG ride: Leaving Madrid was uneventful. Then, we got onto a highway cut through barren land. Miles of brown, flat earth. No buildings. No people. After an hour or so, we started to see acres of trees, planted for harvest. Olives? Total time on the road? 5:30:00.
4. Arrival in Granada: Granada's bus station is small. We made the mistake of following people who were walking through the parking lot, around the building and scattering. If we had gone into the station and out the front door, we would have been in time to catch the busses that take you into the old part of Granada, where most people stay. We missed the busses. Taxis eventually came around to cart us all to center city Granada.
Opinion: The regular ALSA bus was clean, had a toilet and was air-conditioned. We rode a supra-class bus between Granada and Sevilla. That bus was "better" in that the seats were wider, leather and each person is given a "welcome" kit (water bottle, napkin, earbuds, cookies, crackers, nuts). However, the bus driver of the supra class was a rough driver and we all agreed that our experience on the regular bus was easier.