What is it like to move to and live in Granada, Spain?
In this Ask an Expat series I interview people living all over the world but outside of their home country.
I try to help paint an honest picture of the ups and downs of life abroad, share tips for other (future) expats and share information about the place the expat now calls home.
Spain is the first country I ever moved to myself, to a small town called Moraira, now more than 18 years ago.
I have lived all over the world since but I still travel back to Spain at least once a year. and every time I am there I wonder if I should move back to this beautiful country with its rich culture, great climate and impressive quality of life.
I, therefore, loved doing this interview with Nina about her experiences moving to and living in Granada.
Living in Granada, Spain
Name: Nina Bosken
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
“I moved to Granada because I wanted to live in Europe and practice my Spanish.
Prior to moving to Spain, I spent a year at a bilingual job working with the Hispanic community of my city. I already spoke Spanish at an intermediate level when I arrived and simply wanted to continue to perfect my Spanish.
Here in Spain, there are lots of opportunities to teach English if it is your native language. There are jobs for native speakers from every country where English is spoken as the dominant language (such as Australia, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, and of course the UK).”
Why Did You Move to Granada?
“I actually did not specifically pick Granada, but could not be happier here.
With my teaching program, they let you pick the region. Andalucia (the region that Granada is in) was my first choice.
I’m happy that I got placed here and love living in Granada!
The school I work at is actually in a different province and is about an hour away. Two teachers from my school live in Granada and commute. So I just carpool with them. My contract is only for 12 hours a week, so I’m only going to the school Wednesday-Friday.
I picked Andalucia because it’s warmer and the people tend to be the friendliest in all of Spain.
One of the most important things to me has been to make Spanish friends and interact with Spanish people as much as possible. That’s the best way to learn about a different culture.”
Also Read: Why Moving Abroad is Such a Valuable Experience and Teaching English in Spain as an American – Things to Know
What Do You Like About Living in Granada?
“I love so many things about living in Granada.
First, the cost of living is very inexpensive. I make more than enough to cover all my bills and have some fun money.
Secondly, it’s a beautiful city. I still am in awe as I walk around the city. I feel very lucky.
Third, while it’s not a huge city, it’s still very much a city. I can find basically anything I want or need here. I love Spanish food, but sometimes I crave Indian food, sushi, or pizza. Granada has all of those cuisines and a smaller town in Spain might not.
And lastly, I love all the people I have met in Granada.”
What Do You Dislike About Living in Granada?
“It’s really hard to pick something here.
I’m going to say what I dislike more is having an American passport. I’m so jealous of EU passport holders because they can get jobs in other EU countries so easily.
My teaching program is not something I can necessarily do forever and they just made a new rule that we cannot be in Andalusia consecutively for more than two years.
So getting a job to stay long-term in Spain is a tad harder because you have to find a company that is willing to pay for your visa. It’s not entirely impossible … just harder.”
Is Granada Safe as a Place to Live?
”Yes, I feel very safe living in Granada.
Of course, as in any city, you hear the occasional story of pickpocketing, so do pay attention to your belongings. Basically, use common sense like anywhere else.
And I’d avoid walking through small, poorly lit streets at night.
But I feel safe going home alone after an evening out with friends.”
What Is Your Favorite Thing to Do in Granada?
“I like going to the little tea shops on Calle Elvira (map) and the surrounding area.
Some of my Spanish friends took me to a little hidden tea shop where you have this amazing view of the city. That was awesome!”
What Is Your Favorite Place to Hang out in Granada?
“I’m not sure if I have one favorite place, so I’m going to name a few.
That tea shop I mentioned before is called Abaco Té. One of my friends also loves this bar called Rollo (used to be Lio) which is right next to the cathedral.
I also am a big fan of seafood, so I love Bar Los Diamantes. They have tapas with seafood.
And lastly, if I need a good place to do work and drink coffee, I love the Lemon Rock. It’s a hostel that has a cool coffeeshop/bar.”
What is the Expat / International Community like in Granada?
“The expat community in Granada for English-speakers is large and honestly, I don’t spend much of my time with it.
My biggest goal in Spain is to improve my Spanish and immerse myself in the culture. I do have maybe 5-6 expat friends and that’s it. Only 4 of them live in Granada and the others live in other parts of Spain.
But, it’s definitely nice to have a few friends who speak your language and are experiencing the same things you are.
In general, there are a lot of English-speaking expats in Granada who either work with my program or teach English at academies.
So if you want a larger group of expat friends, that’s totally possible, and it’s easy to meet expats living in Granada.”
Any Tips for Moving to / Living in Granada?
“If you are looking for an apartment to rent, give yourself at least a week to look once you’ve arrived in Granada.
There are lots of ways to find an apartment or a room to rent. There are several websites (see below) and the Facebook group Pisos en Granada where people post their open rooms.
Just allow yourself time to check out as many places as you want until you find something you’re comfortable with.
You might not get every single thing you want and that’s okay. For example, I have a twin-sized bed. But I have wonderful Spanish roommates, central heating (a hot commodity in Spain) and my apartment is close to everything I could need.”
If you are from the USA and thinking about moving to Spain, also read What I Wish I Knew About Moving to Spain From the US
Any Resources You Found Useful During the Process of Moving to And/Or Building a New Life in Granada?
“Yes I found Idealista and Fotocasa to be great when searching for a place to live.
Also if you’re looking to connect with people, there are several Facebook groups for expats in Granada.”
Is There Something You Just Have to See or Do When You Are in Granada?
“Of course you have to go to the Alhambra. Just make sure you book your tickets in advance.
Walk around Calle Elvira (map) and the Albaicin neighborhoods (map).
The Mirador of San Nicolas (map) is great for views of the city. And the cathedral (map) is also awesome.”
About Nina – expat in Granada
Nina is a travel and fashion blogger originally from the United States. She lives in Granada, Spain where she teaches English and writes her blog.
She has always loved dresses and her personal style normally consists of a dress. She loves to write about her outfits and the places she travels to.
Basically, she is the girl who travels the world in a dress. Check out her blog aworldofdresses.com.
Granada is a city in the Andalucia region of southern Spain, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
The city is known for grand examples of medieval architecture dating back to the Moorish occupation, especially the Alhambra: a stunning hilltop palace and fortress complex.
Rich in history and culture, Granada is arguably the single most worthwhile city in Spain for visitors.
In addition to a rich multicultural history, a student-driven nightlife, and skiing and trekking in the nearby Sierra Nevada, Granada offers a break from the summer heat of other Andalusian cities.
Granada is a place to put down your guidebook and let your intuition lead the way… Through the narrow streets of the Albaicin and the tumbling white-walled house gardens of the Realejo neighborhood.
Elegant yet edgy, grandiose but gritty, monumental but marked by pockets of stirring graffiti, 21st-century Granada is anything but straightforward.
Tip: Are you flying to Spain from anywhere in Europe? Then check Vueling for cheap flights. It is a low-budget airline so don’t expect much but I almost always get the best flights with them!
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8 thoughts on “Living in Granada, Spain – Interview With an Expat”
I wonder how things have changed post coronavirus? It would be so interesting to know – are there still TESL jobs in Spain, how do their see foreigners living and working there, etc.
It’s hard to say right now what’s gonna happen. Yes, some people still find new jobs including TESL jobs but it’s not a good time. And I think most of us living in Spain expect it to get worse. So if you are thinking about living in Granada I would definitely recommend finding a job before you move here.
Buenos dias Nina,
My French husband and I (American) will arrive Tuesday, June 18. Do you have Spanish friends that speak some French or English that we could meet for a coffee or drink while we are there? We are in our 50s, very young and young looking. Would like to meet you too for a tea at the place that you mentioned “Albaco Té. It would be nice to meet Spanish people while in Granada. We are leaving on Sunday morning. Enjoyed your blog! I also have WhatsApp but better to send an email first. Merci beaucoup. We live in Paris.
I got a friend of mine who stays in Spain, but unfortunately not able to visit his place. Got to hear lot of pretty things about Spain.Hope to get there soon with my family.
What a wonderful city! I once made the mistake to just travel past it. Then later I got there by accident. I was very surprised about how it is and happy that I went there…
Honestly, never heard about this place but your article made me want to visit it! Really curious to see it with my own eyes!
I never thought about living in Spain. After reading this post it sounds more appealing than before. It’s interesting how she dislikes her passport more than anything in the city. It is hard to get work in the EU without an EU passport, but if it is meant to be it will happen with a company to pay 🙂
We were in Granada last December and loved it what an amazing beautiful city. Love the fact you get a free tapas with a drink its a nice touch