Leaving your environment for other places could scary but here are the 13 Reasons Why Granada is the best Place to live if you are considering relocation or visiting into Spain.
Eight years have passed since we moved to Spain – first a year was in Madrid, then only a couple of months in Seville and finally in Granada. We also explored much of Spain, from northwestern Galicia to the eastern edge of the Costa Brava, the southern coast of Cadiz to the remote Balearic and Canary Islands. But where, in my opinion, is the best place to live in Spain?
For some reason, we still live in Granada, although we have visited many places that we like more than here. Perhaps this is because of the nature surrounding Granada, maybe because of the high quality of life or the slowness and ease of people here. Be that as it may, there must be something in Granada that has taken us so long.
Could Granada be the best place to live in Spain?
I have asked myself this question many times. We have lived in many places around the world, from London to Singapore, Miami and Tanzania; but of all of them, Granada is still the best place for us.
Granada is a comfortable and cheap place to live, a place filled with nature and history, and a place that we can truly call our home. Of course, he is not perfect, as elsewhere.
Here I share what we like and dislike about life in Granada – it’s up to you.
What we like about Granada
Granada has both mountains and beaches
First, the city of Granada may be small, but the province of Granada has it all in terms of mountains, valleys and the sea. Outdoor enthusiasts like us love how diverse the surrounding landscapes are, so you can go skiing in the mountains and diving in the sea in one day. In just an hour, you can easily reach the Mediterranean from the Sierra Nevada ski station.
Skiing in the Sierra Nevada is cheaper than in other parts of Europe – day passes cost only 35 euros, and there is also an unusually long season from late November to early May. Best of all, it’s a 45 minute drive from Granada, which means we can easily go for a day of skiing and return home without spending money on expensive ski lodges.
As far as the coast is concerned, the pebbly beaches near Granada are usually packed in the summer, but they are pleasant to visit all year round due to the subtropical climate of the Costa Tropical (hence the name). They are not as beautiful as, for example, the beaches of Mallorca, but still great for summer holidays.
Nature around Granada
I’ll be the first to admit that there isn’t much to do in the city of Granada itself – it’s a small town with a beautiful, charming old town, but it’s also more of a place to wander, get lost and soak up its atmosphere. … But because of its location at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, it is literally surrounded by nature.
There are so many outdoor activities to do just a few steps from the city, from simple walks through the waterfalls in Los Cajorros, to canyoning in the Rio Verde system, climbing the highest mountain in mainland Spain and exploring the sandstone caves in Guadix. … For example, my favorite hiking trail is the easy 8 km walk next to Trevenke Mountain, just 20 minutes from where we live.
Life lives outside
Even though Granada has all four seasons, you can count on the sun to always be there, even when it’s zero degrees Celsius outside. It is always sunny in Granada, so you can sit in the sun and have a snack regardless of the season. Summer can be ridiculously hot (temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius) when most people take a full month’s vacation to spend all their time on the beach, just 40 minutes from town.
We try to spend more time outdoors than at work. I set my working hours and Alberto is done by 5pm every day, so we usually have quite a lot of time to hang out with Kaley, go to the park, or meet friends in the evenings. Especially in summer, the sun doesn’t set until 10pm, so it seems like we have extra hours a day to have fun.
A strong sense of family
One of the reasons why we stayed in Granada for so long is because the whole Alberto family is here. Granadinos in general are very family oriented and family is the most important thing for them.
I found out about this during my first trip to Granada almost 13 years ago – Alberto and I had a long distance relationship then, and we did not see each other for several months, but all the time we spent in Granada we spent meeting with his grandmother, aunts , cousins and everyone else in the family.
At first I felt overwhelmed and confused, but over time I realized that family is an important part of his life and the life of everyone. Now I really enjoy having a family, especially considering that we have a two year old daughter, and it is great for her to have a strong bond with her grandparents.
Carefree, relaxed vibration
Granada has a small-town vibe with a bohemian hippie vibe that is loved by many travelers (including us). It’s very cool and casual; No one is in a hurry, and everyone is just enjoying life. Siesta is common here, in contrast to major Spanish cities such as Barcelona or Madrid.
Most people have two hour lunch breaks, although they finish work later. Many people actually work from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm (with a late lunch), which means they have the rest of the day free. The pace of life here is slow and comfortable, which is in stark contrast to life in Singapore where I grew up – and I really enjoy this stress-free life for our daughter.
Cheap prices and affordable housing
Granada is very cheap to live in compared to other parts of Europe and even Spain. To be honest, I have not found any other city in Spain cheaper than Granada. Airbnb or a hotel in Granada costs between 30 and 50 euros per room per night. Renting an apartment in Granada for a long term usually costs between 300 and 600 euros per month in the city center.
In terms of food, you can get some of the best traditional Spanish food in Granada at low prices. In fact, Spanish tapas in Granada are usually free! Almost every restaurant and tapas bar serves a free plate of food, such as patatas bravas or carne con salsa, with a drink (beer and wine only cost between 2 and 3 euros).
Excellent quality of life
We prefer to spend more time with our family than at work, and most people are here too. The low cost of living here allows us to enjoy a high quality of life without working too much. We lived in big cities like London and Singapore, where our incomes were much higher, but long hours of work and poor social security made us unhappy.
It focuses on social life, family time and hobbies rather than work. Most residents of Granada (including Alberto) have 22 to 30 days of vacation a year, which is why we can travel so much with Kaleya. You will find that many Granadinos have apartments / holiday homes by the sea (even if it’s so close!), So this is where they usually spend their summer.
Safety and comfort
Compared to big cities, Granada is a very safe place to live. I have never heard of any serious crimes in the city. Granadinos are afraid of gypsies, but they seem pretty decent to me. Going outside at night is not a problem at all – in fact, Granada has a vibrant nightlife thanks to its large student population. In general, we feel very comfortable in Granada, without worrying about finances or security.
What we don’t like about Granada
But, as elsewhere, Granada is not perfect. In fact, living in Granada is not exactly the same as traveling here. Find out more about what it really is like to live in Spain.
Things can move too slow here
Although I love the slow pace of life in Granada, it can be frustrating at times. It is true that the Spaniards adhere to “manana mañana,” which means that everything can wait until tomorrow. Take, for example, the metro: it has been under construction for over 10 years, but it is not yet completed!
We also live right across the street from a shopping center, which took the same amount of time to build. Before it opened last year, we had to deal with this big ugly construction site, from which every day it carried dust into our house.
The infamous red ribbon
The Spanish bureaucracy is notorious, so if you are applying for a residence permit in Spain or buying a house, be prepared for the crazy amount of paperwork and ridiculous obstacles that make any formal procedure a pain in the ass. Funcionarios (government employees) seem to take advantage of this by working at the speed of a sloth and acting as if they own you.
Wait in line for hours if you are applying for a NIE (Proof of Identity for Foreigners) or anything related to the government. Accept the fact that no matter how many documents and photocopies you take with you, one will always be missing. Be patient and flexible – this is the only way to deal with it!
Limited public Wi-Fi
The internet speed in Granada is pretty good, with a maximum download speed of 100 Mbps. Fiber optic broadband has also become widely available in Granada at speeds up to 300 Mbps. However, surprisingly, Wi-Fi is not readily available in public areas, restaurants or cafes.
Many of these establishments do not seem to understand the importance of having Wi-Fi to their customers. Compared to Southeast Asia or the rest of Europe, Granada really lags behind in terms of internet accessibility.
No cafe culture
As a blogger and writer, I usually work from home, but this can quickly get boring. I like to work outside, in cozy coffee shops, where it is quiet.