The city of Granada
Granada is a lovely city where you will love to learn and practise Spanish. Being a medium-sized city (population 290,000), Granada has the cultural and leisure options of a big city. Its more than 60,000 students give Granada a special atmosphere. An average of 300 sunny days a year means you can enjoy pleasant weather not only at the nearby coast (30-minute drive) but also in the public gardens and parks such as Parque García Lorca. It is also a comfortable and cheap city: you will not be able to resist its tapas, flamenco and night life. Granada lets us see the traces of its rich and ancient history in every little corner, with a mixture of cultures where everybody feels at home.
La Alhambra: one of the few Muslim fortified palaces and cities surviving from the Middle Ages. This is the most visited monument in Spain. Its name comes from the Arabic words “Calaf Alhamra” (red fortress) because of the reddish colour of the building materials. Started in the 9th century as a fortress, it was later enlarged with the royal palaces, baths, gardens and mosque. After the Christian “re-conquest” in 1492, the Catholic King and Queen settled in the Alhambra and ordered the rebuilding of part of the palace. They also built the church of Santa Maria de la Alhambra and the Convent of San Francisco, the present Parador Nacional (Hotel run by the Spanish State). Their grandson, Charles the Fifth, ordered the building of the unfinished imperial palace which bears his name: “Palacio de Carlos Quinto”.
Albayzin and Sacromonte: the two traditional quarters in Granada. The Albayzin is situated on the hill opposite to the Alhambra, separated from it by the river Darro. This is the old Arab district and it keeps the original structure and appearance of the fortified quarter built by the Muslims at the beginning of the 13th century. It is a labyrinth of narrow streets and hidden squares, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Sacromonte, situated on the same hill as the Albayzin, was the settlement for the gypsy community in the 16th century. They built their houses as caves, excavating the mountain. They are well known today for the “zambras”, flamenco shows in the caves which attract locals and foreigners from all over the world.
The city centre: the present city centre also houses old Muslim, Gothic and Renaissance monuments, such as the old Arab market (Alcaicería) and university (Madraza), the Royal Chapel (a mausoleum for the Catholic King and Queen), and the Cathedral … All of this is in contrast to the activity of the modern city with its shopping areas, restaurants, pubs and “tapas”, bars where you’ll enjoy a free dish when ordering any drink!
Granada is a unique city because of its privileged location whatever your interests may be. You can be in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in just 30 minutes or, in less than an hour, on a Mediterranean beach.
Sierra Nevada: Only 30 minutes from the city, it is a National Park and the sunniest and most southern ski resort in Europe. It was enlarged for the Alpine Ski World Championship held in Sierra Nevada in 1996. You can find the highest peak of the Iberian Peninsula (Mulhacén, 11,424 feet) among its mountains. What’s more, you can go hiking, horse riding and do other adventure sports in the summer season.
Tropical Coast: With almost 100 kilometres of coastline only 45 minutes from the city, it is called tropical because of its climate, vegetation, fruits and water temperature. The Mediterranean Sea alternates wide beaches with hidden creeks, bathing small villages with a delicious gastronomy full of local products, Salobreña and Almuñécar being the most characteristic. Very near, but in the province of Málaga, you can find the pretty village of Nerja (Costa del Sol).
Alpujarra: A region of villages situated between Sierra Nevada and the Mediterranean Sea. It was the final shelter for the last Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula and offers today the architecture and customs of its Muslim heritage (festivals, gastronomy, cultivation and watering systems…). Among the “whitewashed” villages are the highlights of Lanjarón (with its famous spring), Pampaneira (with its houses and traditional products) and Trevélez (for its delicious cured ham).
How can I get to Granada?
There are several possibilities. Granada has an international airport only 15 km from the city, connected by a scheduled bus. You can also take a taxi or rent a car at the airport. Another easy choice is to arrive at Malaga Airport and take a coach to Granada. The schedule is regular and the journey lasts only 1h30 min. If you arrive at Madrid-Barajas airport, you also have at your disposal a schedule of frequent coaches from Mendez Alvaro Bus Station (Estación Sur). Once you’ve arrived in Granada, the urban bus takes you from the station to the city centre, beside the school, with number 3 (or 33). There are many taxis waiting outside the bus station as well. If you arrive by train, the train station is more or less centrally situated. Visit our useful links for further information.
If I arrive by car, where can I park it?
What's the weather like in Granada?
We could dare to say that Granada enjoys 300 sunny days a year! Nevertheless there is great difference of temperature between day and night. Winter temperature ranges from 5 to 15 Celsius and in summer it can reach 35 during the day, but nights are usually fresher! Visit the tourism link and you can get further information about weather
Which language should I use to contact you?
English and French are spoken at ATLAS SCHOOL so – apart from Spanish, of course! – you can use either of these languages
Can I change from the class level in which I've been placed?
Although the placement test is usually effective in most cases, if you don’t feel comfortable in your class and teachers consider it appropriate, you will be immediately changed to another level or class: the most important thing is that you learn whilst feeling at ease!