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Visit Granada

How to Spend Your Downtime in Granada

So you have decided you maybe want to learn Spanish in Granada and now you are wondering what else you are going to do, while you are at it. Fret not. While this is only a small city of less than a quarter of a million people, the history, lineage and geographical situation of the place provide for a wide range of activities that can easily be collated with learning Spanish and used as a complement to your academic interests.

Sierra Nevada Granada

For recreation, Granada is full of possibilities. Perhaps the most popular activity involves driving out to the Sierra Nevada, Spain's highest mountainous formation, peaking at close to 3500 metres, making it Europe's second highest range, after the Alps. Operating until late in the season (April), a visit to the Sierra Nevada Ski Station not only offers great fun, it also provides wonderful respite from the relentless sun that, throughout the year, makes this one of the sunniest areas in the entire continent.

If you are one of those people who thrive in the over three hundred days of sun that Granada will experience over the course of a year, then you might prefer to make that ride a tad longer and head towards the coast instead of climbing the dizzying heights of the Sierra Nevada. In less than one hour you will be strolling on the soft sand of the beaches near Motril, be it to the west, towards Salobreña, or to the east, in the direction of Castel de Ferro.

For the more adventurous, there is always the possibility to do both activities, in which case you will want to go to the mountains first, especially if it is late in the season, because the snow is likely to melt sometime around noon. After that, you can roll down to the beach and have a nice, relaxing lunch by the seaside. This, option, should be chosen just because you can — after all, where else are you going to be able to do something as extravagant!

Back in Granada, there is little danger anyone would miss one of the most extraordinary boons the city has to offer, which is the heartfelt, genuine hospitality of its people. Go out for a drink, get lost in the tiny lanes of the historic centre and randomly go from bar to bar engaging in idle conversation with the locals: you will find that the people of Granada are not only seriously easy going, they also like their food and drink like no others. That is why, by the time you have walked into the fourth bar you won't be able to have another bite — because the complimentary tapas they serve in Granada with every drink are enough to keep you satiated for hours.

Flamenco

Flamenco

The Arab influence in the barrio of Albaicín is both evident and staggering. Small winding roads lead up to surreal environments, where, in the full splendour of its original expression, Flamenco is danced and sung and performed and breathed and sensed and, in short, lived, and lived intensely at that. If Flamenco is your thing then Granada is quite likely the right place for you to visit, even if you are only doing a summer camp in Spain.

And even if Flamenco is not, particularly, the beat to which your heart pulses, the nature and extent of the performances you will witness in Granada are not of this world. They are undoubtedly a spectacle to be admired and, indeed, are the greatest living example of a cultural expression that encompasses the sentiment, the temperament and the vitality that characterise Iberian people.

Therefore, more than a curiosity or merely a tourist attraction, Flamenco in Granada, as well as in Cádiz, is a cultural performance that provides you with a priceless opportunity to gain an insight into the spirit of a different society. Like tango in Argentina or salsa across the Spanish Caribbean, this is more than music: Flamenco encompasses the ideals — the goals and the fears, the attitudes, expectations and even the accomplishments — of an entire people. And all of that is within reach in Granada.

As a matter of fact, a good way of complementing your interest in Spanish language might be to find an option where cultural studies are incorporated into linguistic subjects. There are Spanish schools that combine language lessons with Flamenco classes. This would be suitable not only for those who love the dance, but also for those who wish to better understand it. After all, there is nothing more beneficial to learning a language than understanding its culture.

And if you get into Flamenco, then Granada holds even one more amazing secret for you: as you head reach the Albaicín neighbourhood, head out northwards in the direction of the whitewashed hill in the distance: that is the famous Sacromonte, where cave dwellings have been used for centuries and remain to this day home to a large Gypsy community. This is the true home of Flamenco — at least so far as Granada is concerned. So venture out there, and see what you can find!