Granada is such a diverse city in that there are so many different things to do. During my first week, I made a bucket list of the things I had to do. I was able to check off many things, and here are my top five favorites.
Arab Bath House
Granada is well known for having Arabic bathhouses that were used to cleanse you before heading into the mosque. Here one can enjoy the tranquility and take in the intricate Arabic designs while enjoying the different temperatures of the pools and a 15-minute massage. The Arabic baths are also known for their complimentary mint tea. If I could go here every day, I would.
Sierra Nevada Mountains
If you look to the horizon in Granada, you are sure to see the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains landscape. One Saturday, my AIFS group visited them and it was one of the highlights of my trip. We got to see many gorgeous viewpoints and swim under natural, cool waterfalls. We sat and had a picnic and went for a much-needed swim where we cooled off in one of the many streams in the mountains. It’s also common to see goats climbing the mountainside. The hike was eight miles full of rope bridges, crawl spaces and beauty. It was a nice break from the bustling city that is Granada.
This was easy to cross off the list but it has been one of my favorite parts of Granada. There is something about the gelato in Granada that is unlike any other ice cream I have had before. The local favorite is called Los Italianos where you can get a slice of cake and a scoop of ice cream into a cone. They have just about every flavor you can think of and I think I’ve almost tried them all. Let’s just say it’s a good thing we walked everywhere. One of the best parts about it is how cheap it is. You can get a single scoop cone for one euro. There is nothing more refreshing than some delicious ice cream, especially when Granada has one of the hottest summers around!
This is an obvious one but don’t count it out. The Alhambra is the most historically significant destination in Granada as well as one of the most beautiful places in Granada. The Romans, the Moorish community, and even Christopher Columbus, have found themselves in the Alhambra. The history of the building is multi-layered. My group took a guided tour through the Alhambra, and whether you are a history buff or not, it is sure to entice you. It makes you realize how big this world is and how many different cultures have crossed paths. The Alhambra can be seen from different viewpoints throughout Granada and it is heart-warming to see how it still stands after so much history.
Granada is the only place in all of Spain that offers free tapas for the table with the purchase of a beverage. Most times you don’t know what the tapa will be, which is half the fun! Tapas vary from little sandwiches, fish, meat, and salads. It is nice to go out and enjoy a couple drinks, eat some tapas, and soak up the culture. Many people come out to eat tapas at night and everywhere I have gone the waiters are very nice and welcoming. They are often just as excited as you for you to be here. I had many waiters stand and talk with our table, getting to know us. It’s also a great opportunity to practice your Spanish.
A Piece of Advice
Cherish your time. Above any certain thing I have done, I have loved the people the most. Above any place you go or anything you buy, make sure to cherish your time. I truly loved every second of being in Granada, and I owe a lot of that to AIFS. I truly think this is the best program out there for me. It has connected me with so many amazing people giving me the coolest opportunities. I have made memories that will last a lifetime. Granada is like nowhere else I have been. The locals are friendly and welcoming everywhere you go. Even though my Spanish definitely needs work, they always smile and encourage you to practice. I knew studying abroad was going to be an awesome experience but I had no idea how much it was going change me. I have grown in so many ways and made lifelong friends.
This post was contributed by Marley Vawter, who spent her summer studying abroad with AIFS in Granada, Spain.