Last Updated on June 22, 2015 by
When I was looking into studying abroad in Spain, I had no idea what or where Granada was, but that’s what intrigued me. Of course I’ve heard of Barcelona and how beautiful it is, but I’ve also heard how much of a tourist city it is and that you can get away with speaking English everywhere. After reading a few study abroad reviews of Granada, looking at pictures, and the description of the program, I still had no idea what I would be getting myself into, but I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone.
Now, starting week 3 of my time here, I know I made the right decision. I didn’t believe in love at first sight until I opened my eyes on the bus coming into Granada: the mountains, the palm trees, the amazing views. Getting off of the bus and walking in the city for the first time just felt right.
Granada is a smaller city
You can walk anywhere, but it’ big enough that you can get lost, find new things, and have new adventures each day. There are tourists but it’s not an overwhelming amount. The more you get to know the city, the less you feel like a tourist and the people don’t think you are either.
Granada is a slower city
This city is far from any city back home. People are always having a drink, tapas, gelato, or just socializing. No one is ever in a rush to get anywhere, siesta is taken seriously, and people can be out all night long until 8 am the next day. I haven’t quite gotten used to walking slowly, but I do take advantage of a nap after lunch or go to the gym because it’s slow when everyone else is having siesta.
Granada is surrounded by nature
The central part of Granada is great, full of shops and people, but my favorite part is being able to escape the city for a little bit. A very short walk away is the Albaicin which has a breathtaking view of the Alhambra. This can be a little crowded but there’s usually someone playing a guitar and it’s easy to tune out the rest and just appreciate the views.
The beaches are a short bus ride and offer a nice getaway as well. There’s also a walkway along the Rio Genil that narrows and goes into a wooded area. I haven’t discovered just how far it goes or where it takes you yet, but I will. Listening to the river as you’re walking is peaceful and relaxing.
Granada is well connected to other nearby cities
After visiting Sevilla and Cordoba, two beautiful cities, I realized even more how happy I am with choosing Granada. Sevilla was much larger; it was busy and people at the stores, hotels, and those trying to sell things on the street all spoke English. I like the challenge in Granada that almost no one speaks English. They were much more “touristy” than Granada is. I just feel at home here and I can’t wait to explore more each day.