February 10, 2013 at 6:16 PM
1) It’s a beautiful, old city with lots of history.
Granada is home to the famous Alhambra palace, which sits on a hill high above the city. The forest behind the Alhambra is beautiful as well. The streets in the old neighborhoods are really interesting and most of the houses are painted white. It’s a very clean city with many beautiful things to see such as parks, old buildings and cool statues.
2) Free tapas
I’ll say it again. Free tapas. Granada is famous for this. When someone orders a drink at a restaurant or tapas bar for 2 euros, they are given a complimentary plate of food. Tapas can be any size – some places even give tapas that are enough to be a whole meal. Granada is great if you are on a budget.
3) It’s like Penn State. Granada is a college town. About 70,000 students attend the university, which leads to students taking over the town. It’s a little different from State College, since the city is much bigger so not everyone has a connection to the university. But, in my opinion, it’s the closest you can get to Penn State. The bar scene and discotecas (clubs) are filled with college-aged students. If you are looking to study abroad somewhere similar to State College, Granada is your place.
4) It’s easy for Granada to feel like home
Granada itself is a small city – one that after only a week you will know very well. It’s size is small enough to walk everywhere, but big enough that you can find something new everyday.
5) Lots of Spanish
Unlike some other places in Spain, you will always speak Spanish here in Granada. Up north in Barcelona, the mostly speak Catalan, but in Granada, you don’t have to worry about a different dialect. Not everyone speaks English in Granada like you would expect in a big city, so you will find it necessary to speak in Spanish when you are here, especially in restaurants and stores.
6) Sierra Nevada mountains
The proximity of the Sierra Nevada mountains to Granada is another perk of studying abroad in Granada. The mountains are great for skiing or snowboarding. Even if winter sports aren’t your thing, the mountains still have something to offer. Many people enjoy driving up to the Alpujarra, a beautiful area in the mountains with many small towns. I am not an outdoors person, but my three-hour hike last weekend through the Alpujarra was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. If you’re looking for a fun day trip to a beautiful location, the Alpujarra is a great place to go.
7) Close to the beach
Granada is situated only about 1 hour from the southern coast of Spain, allowing for many excursions to the beach during a semester here. There are plenty of pretty beach towns that are just a bus ride away.
8) Different neighborhoods
One of the coolest parts of Granada is that each part of the city is unique. The area that I live in is more city-like, while if you venture into places like the Albayzín, you will encounter an older area with cobblestone streets. The Center of Granada is modern, while in the Sacromonte neighborhood, the gypsies and the hippies live in caves. The city’s diversity makes Granada a fun place to live.
9) Lots of foreigners
The University of Granada is a very popular place for international students. If you’re looking to make friends from around the globe, you will have no problem doing that in Granada.
10) Beautiful views
The 11th floor view of Penn State’s campus from my apartment in State College is nothing compared to the magnificent views you will get from the various lookouts in Granada. Each place has a different view. From some lookouts, you will see the Alhambra, and from others you can see the entire city with the mountains in the background. The views in Granada are outstanding.