Granada, Spain has a way of finding a place in your heart and staying there forever. A breathtaking view of an ancient Moorish palace … a conversation with a friendly Granadino over delicious tapas … or one adventurous trip into the alluring Sierra Nevada Mountains, and you are transported back to a time where the past holds the same significance as the future, and the present provides a whirlwind of magic. Studying abroad in Granada will forever link you to this romantic city.
Geography & Demographics
Granada is capital of the province of the same name, part of southern Spain’s Andalucia. Situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, This ancient city is located an hour or less from the Mediterranean coast, which provides a beautiful, temperate climate.
Food & Culture
Historic meets modern in Granada’s city center. People zoom around on mopeds, and you can stop at any street café for a quick bite of churros y chocolate, or Spanish sangria and tapas. The city has expanded and has shopping, dining, and entertainment options comparative to that of larger cities in Spain. However, what makes Granada so unique is that it has not been swept up in the bustle of some of its larger neighbors. It is easy to get transported back to ancient Moorish Spain when you’re browsing colorful Albyzín marketplaces, and can mute the honking horns and squealing brakes of the city traffic.
The true passion and beauty of Granada, however, is reflected in its people. Granadinos are warm, welcoming, and have pride in their city. They walk the streets with an air of Spanish confidence. Hearing their stories about a city that has seen so much makes Granadinos and visitors alike feel as if they are a part of something bigger.
Things to Do
Granada’s history dwells in every corner. Its most famous landmark, La Alhambra, is an ancient Moorish palace that drips with detail and precision. The last Moorish stronghold on the Iberian Peninsula, it has exquisite architecture and vibrant Islamic tiling. A walk through La Alhambra and its manicured rose gardens will take visitors back to the wealthy and exotic worlds of the sultans before the fall of the Moorish empire. (This fall occurred here in 1492 by the Reyes Catolicos, Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabelle, who are buried in the Royal Chapel of Granada).
The Albayzín neighborhood boasts arguably the best view of La Alhambra from its Plaza of Saint Nicholas. This is one of the few remaining ancient Moorish communities; it was built to house the original artists and architects of La Alhambra. Nearby is the Sacromonte neighborhood, made entirely of inhabited caves. Sacromonte is known for its live Flamenco shows, which gives visitors a taste into the local Gitano culture. People come from around the world to explore the variety of outdoor activities in and around Granada too.
The sheer beauty of La Alhambra cannot be shown with pictures and words. The vibrancy of the Albayzín cannot be felt through description. The flavor of the Andalusian air and passion cannot be given justice through words. It must be experienced. That is where the magic of Granada is found.