On the Run in Granada

Jack Davis is a student at University of Colorado Boulder and an ISA Featured Blogger. He is currently studying abroad with ISA in Granada, Spain.

If you are someone who cannot go a day without breaking a sweat or are that person who seeks relaxation in the sweaty hell imagined by your friends, then you may be concerned about finding a running routine when studying abroad. Back at home, working out with my teammates is an important part of my day. Thus, I prioritized staying active while studying abroad in Granada, and so far it has been easy and enjoyable.

At first glance, you might think residents of Granada are phased by the beauty that surrounds them and that locals are only interested in the plethora of tapas bars or panaderias that line their cobblestone streets. However, when shifting your gaze to the more active side of the famed Spanish lifestyle, you will see that staying fit and releasing endorphins is a lot more valued and much easier than it may seem on the surface in Granada. This city has no shortage of routes to run, so lace up your running shoes and let’s go explore some of the places that give Granada its charm.

Rio Genil, passing through the city center
Rio Genil, passing through the city center

Granada’s central river, Río Genil, is a community landmark that bisects the city while boasting over six miles of scenic paved and dirt trails. Come down to the banks and you’ll join countless other runners and walkers enjoying their workout, smiling and sweating their way along the path. Let your imagination wander as you start in Granada’s central district and quickly fall into winding, tree covered dirt paths nestled among the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.

The more natural side of Rio Genil
The more natural side of Rio Genil

With just a quick look at a city map, you will not be surprised to learn that there is plenty of accessible nature within walking distance of downtown Granada. Just beyond the Alhambra sits the ‘Dehesa del Generalife,’ a 450 hectare park offering a natural playground for hikers, runners, and mountain bikers alike. Whether you’re opting for a relaxing jaunt ascending the grassy trails or a morning run along the winding curves of archaic aqueducts, Generalife offers a quick backyard escape from the city.

PHOTO 3: Generalife - Exploring the seemingly endless views
Generalife – Exploring the seemingly endless views
Dehesa del Generalife - a more urban view from the park of the Albayzin
Dehesa del Generalife – a more urban view from the park of the Albayzin

Spaniards are no stranger to walking, and in Andalucia, that active norm is quite literally elevated throughout Granada’s notoriously hilly and picturesque landscapes. From the street art, staircases, and ancient history of Albayzin and Realejo barrios to the surprising natural escapes like the picturesque path to the Alhambra and Cuesta de Gomérez, clear an afternoon and prepare to lose yourself among Granada’s favorite sites. Don’t miss: the sweeping and romantic city views from Mirador San Nicolás, the century old Lavadero, Granada’s most romantic peek, Mirador El Limbo by Hotel Alixares, nor the city’s best kept secret, the expansive gardens at Carmen de los Mártires.

Mirador San Nicolas - One of Granada's favorite views.
Mirador San Nicolas – One of Granada’s favorite views.

No matter where you are in the Pomegranate City at sunset, you will be sharing the streets with groups of people young and old, tightening their neon running shoes and enjoying the endless beauty around them while breaking a sweat. ¡Vamos a correr!

Eager to see more photos of Granada? Take a peek at our Granada photo gallery!