The 2020 global pandemic has shown us many things. Among them, that we shouldn’t take anything for granted. Travel included. This summer many people have had to make tough choices about holiday plans and visiting friends and family and perhaps even question the necessity of foreign travel all together.
Do we need to travel? Why do we need to travel? I imagine most people’s answers to this question would be any and all of the following: for work or study, to visit family and friends, to widen horizons, take a break from familiar routines, experience different cultures, climates, landscapes, food, art and of course learn and practice other languages.
Learning the language was one of the key reasons I moved to Spain in 2009. I wanted to live, not for the first time, in a different country and experience a different life. Granada was recommended to me by a good friend who had herself come to the city for a few months to improve her Spanish. The rest is my history.
If you’re looking for somewhere to improve your Spanish, whatever your level, Granada is a pretty fantastic destination. It’s not too big and, with all the many cultural and social opportunities on offer in this great city, it’s the perfect place to go out and practice face-to-face whatever you’ve learned through books, online and in the classroom.
Gazing at the Alhambra from Mirador de San Nicolas
Immerse yourself in a vibrant city with a youthful, relaxed atmosphere
Granada is home to one of Spain’s most prestigious and popular universities, attracting students from Spain and all over the world. It’s a great city for students offering a lively social scene which is culturally rich and diverse. With such a large population of students looking for entertainment and fun, the prices are relatively low and the atmosphere is relaxed.
You’ll find plenty of opportunities here to test your Spanish language skills and can find out more about Granada’s nightlife here.
In your own time, soak up Granada’s history and culture
Reminders of Spain’s Moorish heritage are everywhere you go in Granada. It is visible in the art, architecture and even the language. The beautiful Alhambra Palace, the UNESCO World Heritage site overlooking the city, is the most famous and magnificent example of this legacy. If you have some time in Granada you can explore this spectacular monument at your own pace as well as discover what’s on offer in the winding cobbled streets of the ancient barrio of the Albayzín and Sacromonte, famous for its caves and flamenco bars.
You can also visit some of Granada’s many museums to learn a little about the history and culture of the city and some of its most famous artists and historical figures such as José Guerrero, José Maria Rodriguez-Acosta, Manual de Falla and of course Granada’s most famous literary son, Federico García Lorca.
Discover flamenco in Granada
Experience the passion and drama of flamenco in Granada
Originating in the 15th-century, this passionate world of music and dance has long held a great fascination for those who visit Spain and is an integral part of Andalucían culture.
Arguably, Granada’s flamenco heritage is second only to that of Seville and studying here offers a great window on to this world and a chance to experience first hand the drama and romance of this sensual art form.
Find out more about the best flamenco in Granada here.
Enjoy all the perks in the home of free tapas
Part of the Granadino culture that you’ll certainly want to take full advantage of while studying in Granada is the free tapas. This is the tradition of having a little something to eat with your drink and is said to have arisen from the need to cover, or tapar, your drink with a slice of bread or ham to keep the pesky flies off in the heat of summer.
In bars and restaurants all over Granada, you will also receive a tapa for each drink you order and as your rounds progress, so do your tapas.
A little Spanish conversation in a relaxed social setting goes a long way.
Tapas y cerveza
Have the best of both worlds exploring the Sierra Nevada and the Costa Tropical
One of the thrills of staying in Granada is it’s proximity to the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. This combination adds to the attraction of Granada as a year-round destination for tourists and students alike.
The snow-capped Sierra Nevada is the second highest mountain range in Europe after the Alps and provides the glistening backdrop to the Alhambra Palace. Activities include skiing, snowboarding, and trekking alongside some more gentle pursuits in the Alpujarras, the foothills to the south of Granada that roll down to the coast.
The Costa Tropical is named for its sub-tropical climate, which results from its unique position south of the Sierra Nevada and close proximity to Africa across the Med. Granada’s nearest beaches are only an hour from the city and it’s quite possible to do the slopes and the beach in the space of one day if you’re energetic enough!
Take a beach day on the Costa Tropical
Where to study Spanish in Granada
There are a number options available to you including Linguaschools, a well-established school based in a number of Latin American destinations and Spanish cities, including Granada.
Their philosophy is to offer high-quality Spanish courses within the unique cultural setting of each destination. In Granada, their students get to practice what they have learned while enjoying authentic local experiences such as tapas tours, tours of the Albayzín, and visits to the Sierra Nevada.
Virtual immersion today, travel tomorrow
If you can’t travel to Granada right now there’s no need let that hold up your progress with Spanish. Linguaschools also offer virtual lessons via Zoom for groups and individuals.
There are also lots of other free and paid online resources available to help you improve your Spanish until you can visit Spain to practice it in the real world.
Here are just three that I’ve found useful at various times in my time studying Spanish: