Michelle Alderink is a student at Grand Valley State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Michelle is currently studying abroad with ISA in Granada, Spain.
In order to feel more at home while abroad, it’s important to learn about your city’s culture, history, and unique beauty in order to truly appreciate where you are living. Luckily, in my first 3 weeks here in Granada, Spain, I have been taking every opportunity exploring and would like to share with you 10 places I’ve enjoyed visiting in Granada.
1. The Alhambra Palace: Constructed between the years 889 and 1113, this “Islamic Paradise” is one of Spain‘s most popular tourist destinations. With its quaint gardens, unique architecture, and exquisite views overlooking Granada and the Sierra Nevada mountains, The Alhambra is my first recommendation for anyone visiting Granada. (Side note: I fell in love with Spain while overlooking Granada from the Alhambra on trip during high school and visiting again affirmed my decision to study in this beautiful city).
2. Capilla Real (Royal Chapel): The Royal Chapel is where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella (who helped Columbus discover America), along with their daughter, the famous Juana la Loca and her husband Felipe el Hermoso are buried.
3. Via Verde (Tapas Restaurant):Although the typical Granadian tapas consist of free potato chips, sausage, or another simple dish with the purchase of a beverage is a great experience, I prefer going to Via Verde, where the tapas tradition is mixed with excellent Spanish cuisine. For just €2.5 (around $1.90) you can enjoy a glass of wine and two tapas. My favorites are their seasoned rice dish and delicious Iberian ham covered in tomato sauce.
4. Albazín: Considered the Moorish neighborhood of Granada, the Albazin is definitely the best place in Granada to see a traditional Flamenco dance presentation. Along with the traditional cave setting, ruffled skirts and castanets, there was a twist to the first flamenco dance I saw. Instead of a sole woman dancing to the guitar and rhythmic drum, there was also a male dancer.
5. Alcaiceria Street Market: Street markets in Spain are very typical and although I haven´t visited the most famous (located in Barrio Zaidin), I did enjoy the small street market next to the Bib Rambla Plaza. Here, you can buy both souvenirs and well as culturally unique items. For example, you can find Moorish style clothes, jewelry, etc. here, since this culture is prevalent in Granada.
6. Plaza de Toros (Pajaritos, Granada): Visiting Spain is not the same without a traditional Spanish bullfight! Although bullfighting season doesn’t begin until June in Granada, I can´t wait to visit a nearby city to see one in the next few months.
7/8 Los miradores de San Nicholas and San Cristóbal (Albaizín): This area of Granada is situated much higher than the rest of Granada, allowing for both a strenuous workout to reach them and the most scenic views overlooking Granada. From these miradores, or lookout points, you can see the Cathedral of Granada, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and most importantly, The Alhambra.
9. Shopping on Calle Reyes Católicos: Although not a concern of my study abroad experience, buying European clothes has definitely been an enjoyable experience. This street (just past La Plaza de Isabel La Católica) offers the best shopping experience I have experienced in Granda. Despite my love for shopping here, I have realized that European women are typically smaller, so therefore finding clothes has been difficult (and shoes, literally impossible)!
10. My home: Although I have thoroughly enjoyed everything Granada has to offer, I´m listing my home stay as one of my favorite places in Granada, due to the sheer simplicity that this is the place where I experience Spain in its purest form. There are a lot of American students in the streets of Granada, so coming home to Spanish food, Spanish TV, and being forced to speak only Spanish with my host Señora has given me an authentic experience of Granada, which has made me appreciate this city I love even more.
Reblogged this on William Penn University Study Abroad and commented:
When studying abroad, the hope is that your host location becomes a “home away from home.” ISA Student Blog shared a post today about one of their students who is studying abroad in Granada, Spain. Michelle uses the post to reflect on the locations and experiences that have made her feel welcome and at home while far from her family.
Great writing and very interesting. I spent last semester in Toledo and loved my weekend trip to Granada. Keep living it up!
I came to Granada to study and never left. Now it’s the inspiration behind a lot of my art! It’s a fantastic city!!