Today’s Featured Contributor is Brian Drury, a 22-year-old who has studied abroad in Granada, Spain and has traveled to several other countries, including Portugal and Costa Rica. In his post, Brian gives an insiders perspective on traveling to Granada.
Where should I go to change my life?
Few cities can boast a rich cultural history, incredible architecture, a bustling night life and a kind, diverse population. In the shadow of the Sierra Nevada mountains in southern Spain is a small city called Granada, which offers all of these things to travelers and more.
What will I find when I get there?
Whether you are looking for amazing food, scenery or cultural immersion, you can find it all in the immaculate city streets of Granada. If you’re a culture buff, the Alhambra (the second most visited site in Spain), a 14th Century fortress that still stands overlooking the city today, is the perfect spot for you. The palaces, complex architecture, and maze-like gardens are simply breathtaking. Some other great ideas for those looking to experience the culture of Granada would be to take a relaxing walk up to the Albayzin or Sacromonte and watch a traditional flamenco show, take part in a day of total relaxation in the Arab baths, go see a bull fight at Plaza del Toros, or you might just take a stroll through all the picturesque plazas that are scattered throughout the city.
Where can I stay?
Granada offers plenty of hostels and hotels that will allow you to find accommodations that fit your budget. If you are looking to move there permanently, which I would highly recommend, there are plenty of apartments to choose from.
What’s the local cuisine that I have to try?
One fantastic attribute of this city that sets it apart from almost all the other cities in Spain is their tapas. Tapas are common in just about every city in Spain; what makes Granada different is that their tapas are FREE! That’s right! Head to any of the phenomenal tapas bars throughout the city, order a drink, and with it comes a free plate of food. Foods from paella to burgers and everything in between will keep your taste buds guessing and have you more than satisfied.
Will I need lots of money to have a great time in Granada?
Due to the fact that Granada is such a popular location for study abroad students, the city is geared toward young adults, which means that everything is very inexpensive in comparison with other larger European cities. You can eat delectable food that fills you up for just a few euros per day!
Can I have a fun night out on the town in Granada?
The night life in Spain has always been famous for starting early and ending after the sun has risen; Granada is no exception. Camborio, also known as the cave bar, is on a mountainside looking out on the Alhambra and the city. Marisma, Paddys Irish Pub, Bar Emilio and Taantra were some of our favorite bars to frequent during our study abroad program. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you should head down to Chupiterria 69, the one euro per shot shot bar right off of Calle Pedro Antonio de Alarcon. With over 120 shots ranging from mild to strong, you will never run out of new chupitos (shots) to try!
If I’m not sold yet, why should I go?
Simply put, Granada has it all. Great food, incredible culture and some of the nicest most accommodating people I have ever met in my life. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish; many of the locals speak enough English to help you get by. If you are looking to practice your Spanish speaking skills, the Granadinos (Granada natives) will be more than happy to encourage you and correct you as you converse and laugh throughout the day together. The Andalusian accent is very strong and distinct so be ready to be challenged at first when trying to understand it, but in a short time with some Granadino help, you will be speaking like a pro! So grab your bags, don’t waste another minute and don’t take my word for it, go see for yourself! I promise you won’t regret it.
Tapas: La Antigualla, Reventaero, La Cueva, Bizarro, El Nido del Buho, Tendido 1 Shwarma: The best shwarma in the city in my opinion can be found at Nemrut Shwarma on Gran Via (look for the blue sign). Gelato: Pick any spot, you can’t go wrong! Culture: Flamenco shows, the Albayzin, Sacromonte, the Alhambra, Arab baths, Plaza del toros, Plaza Nueva, Plaza Bib-Rambla, Plaza San Nikolaus, Puerto Real, the cathedral of Granada, the Christopher Columbus statue. Nearby: The Alpujarras (gorgeous mountains great for hiking), Sierra Nevada (for snowboarding/skiing), beaches (Nerja, Malaga, Almuñecar, and so many more are only about an hour from the city!) Bars/Clubs: El Camborio, Granada 10, Mae West, Taantra, Paddy’s Pub, Marisma, Bar Emilio, Chupiterria 69 Shopping: Gran Via, Calle Recogidas
Do you have insider knowledge on Granada? Share what you know in the comments below!
Brian Drury is 22 years old and studied abroad in Granada in 2011 for a full semester while attending Penn State University. He has travelled to 13 different cities in Spain, Portugal, Ireland France and Italy. More recently he took a trip to Costa Rica, and also speaks Spanish fluently thanks to his traveling. Brian notes that travel is his greatest passion and welcomes readers to contact him with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out his blog!