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Barcelona is a surprisingly easy city to navigate. From its medieval Gothic quarter and historic old town of narrow streets and alleys to its world famous art-nouveau buildings and futuristic Olympic Village on the harbor, Barcelona is a city of contrasts and unrivaled artistic beauty and diversity. You’re more than welcome to come to Barcelona, discover all this and learn Spanish at the same time.

Our Spanish school is located in a beautiful late 19th century house with a nice garden, only a 5 minute walk from Plaza Catalunya, right in the heart of Barcelona. Linguaschools Barcelona is located in a nice and quiet “Pasaje” without traffic where you can hear birds singing. Here you can take a virtual tour trough our school.

At our school you will meet people from all over the world. You can chill out under the palm tree in our nice garden while having a coffee, catch up with your friends or family through Internet and taste the real Barcelona. Our teachers are all native speakers and have a university degree and many years of experience in teaching Spanish to foreign language students from absolute beginners to advanced. Their enthusiasm and passion for teaching their native language is the key to our success. This combined with the latest teaching methods result in dynamic, interactive and fun Spanish classes. We have spacious and bright classrooms with natural light, a computer room, a nice lounge, a lovely garden and a school library with Spanish books and films.


 

Activities organised by the school

We strive to give our students the optimal balance between a good learning experience and some good fun abroad. Our school has a varied programme of activities which we offer besides the course programme. This way you have the possibility to come into contact with other students and enjoy Spanish culture. Some of the activities during the week are offered for free, others require a small contribution from the attending students. Weekend activities are usually outside Barcelona and give you a perfect insight in the region of Catalunya.

 

 


Spanish courses

Groups are formed according to a students’ level of Spanish. Therefore you will always be in a class with students who have the same Spanish level as you. Since our groups are small, teachers can give individual support and lessons are intensive. In addition to the Spanish language, the country’s culture plays an integral part of the Spanish courses in Barcelona.

We offer Spanish group courses for those students for all levels. If you don’t have any previous knowledge of Spanish, there are fixed start dates for ‘absolute beginners’. For other students it is possible to start every Monday of the year. Prior to the start of the course, you will take a written and oral level test in order to determine your level. You will be placed in a group with students of the same level.

 

 

 

Why Salamanca?

Salamanca is known around the world for its acclaimed university and also, because the city has been declared “Patrimony of Humanity”. It ́s cosmopolitan and friendly atmosphere provides a stimulating environment in which to learn Spanish and to experience Spanish lifestyle and culture. If you want to enjoy a cultural and friendly atmosphere, Salamanca has something for everyone.

 

Why study Spanish at Linguaschools in Salamanca? 

Salamanca, is home to one of Europe’s oldest universities. Its cosmopolitan and friendly atmosphere provides a stimulating environment to learn Spanish and experience Spanish life and culture. It is often said that Salamanca has something to offer everyone.

Our Spanish school is located in the historical district of the city, one minute from the Plaza Mayor, surrounded by the busy city with its cinemas, theatres, banks, bars, restaurants and an immense variety of shops.

 

Linguaschools Salamanca was founded in 1989 with the aim of providing an efficient and friendly environment in which to learn Spanish. Since then, we has had great success, as demonstrated by the increasing number of satisfied students who come from all over the world to study here.

Our teaching methods are highly communicative, interactive and constantly evolving. All of our highly experienced teachers are native speakers and graduates in Spanish Language from the University of Salamanca. They are professional and enthusiastic, with many years of teaching experience, constantly training to expand their knowledge, to renew our teaching methods and improve day by day our didactic quality.

Besides learning in your Spanish class, you can complement your training with extra-curricular activities.You also have access to the library at our school,  and can use the lending service for books and audiovisual materials, which will help you in your learning.


Spanish courses

Choosing a Spanish course is very easy. Tell us how long you want to stay and how many hours per week you want to take. You can join a course any Monday of the month (except for absolute beginners), in this case you can only start the course on the first Monday of each month. The maximum number of students per class is 8.


Activities and cultural programs

Many cultural and social activities are offered by the centre such as guided visits of Salamanca, Tapas nights, cooking and dancing classes, parties and many more. During your stay our school also offers cultural activities such as movies, theatre, art exhibitions and the opportunity to practice different sports. Every weekend the centre arranges excursions to Madrid (Prado Museum), Toledo, Segovia and La Granja, La Alberca / Sierra de Francia. There are also weekend excursions to Andalucía, Galicia and Portugal.


Nationalities

As a quality local language school, we’re pleased with the fantastic mix of international students we teach here every year. We have welcomed students from over 40 countries, mainly from America, Russia, Italy,  Japan, Korea, France, Germany and Australia – although the list goes on!

nationalities

I’m Tanja, 28 years old from Vienna, Austria. I’ve always traveled a lot and enjoyed exploring new places. Unfortunately having a full time job got in the way of my ‘Wanderlust’. So after five years of working for the same company I decided to take a break for one year to travel around the world and learn something new. Before going to San Sebastian, I’ve already spent 3 months at Linguaschools in Barcelona, where I started my first ever Spanish course.

SB03


Why did you decide to learn Spanish and why did you choose to learn the language during a language course abroad?

I was always fascinated with languages. After college I moved to Canada for a while to work there, which not only was a great experience it also helped me so much with improving my English. I’ve always been more of a math person, so I knew that just taking on evening courses in my hometown wouldn’t really do the trick for me. So it had to be a language course abroad.

There are many reasons why I chose Spanish, but mostly because it’s one of three most common languages in the world. I really wanted to learn something that I could use on my travels. Since I am also planning a trip to Latin America after my 6 months in Spain, I didn’t think of any other language.

SB04


What was your reason to go to San Sebastian and since when have you been here?

A while back I almost moved to San Sebastian because of a job offer. I have never been there, or heard much about the town before that. In the end I didn’t take the job and forgot all about it. In my 3 months in Barcelona with Linguaschools I had such a great time with the school and the people I’ve met there. So I wanted to stick with the school and looked into other places where Linguaschools offered Spanish courses. San Sebastian was one of them. After doing a bit more research and finding out that they do have a great surf beach there, I was sold on the idea of going to the Basque Country for 5 weeks.

SB_Zuriolla03

 


How did you experience the time at the language school? 

My first day at school was a bit exhausting since I had just arrived the night before and got horribly lost on my way to the school. It took a while and some locals, but in the end I found it.

The school was a bit different from the one in Barcelona, but I liked my group the moment I walked in the classroom. Most of the time we were about 10 students, which is more or less the maximum. Even though we were that many students, it always felt well balanced.

The only activity I attended was surfing. The school had a pretty sweet deal with the local Surf School. Which I would highly recommend for people who are not staying long enough to get their own board. It was usually 4-5 days a week, depending on the number of students who signed up for it. It doesn’t matter what level you are in and I never had more than 2 other people in my group, which gives the teacher enough time to focus on everyone individually. All in all I really enjoyed the school, made new friends there and really improved my Spanish.


How did you level of Spanish evolve during your stay? 

I went from 0 to A2 in my 3 months in Barcelona, so I started with B1 in San Sebastian.  When I arrived I was able to have conversations with people about basic things, ask for directions or recite what I did on the weekend. I still struggled a lot with my vocabulary and of course still missed basic grammar.
Now I am able to give my opinion, make suggestions and use sentiments. I also understand way more.
When I arrived in San Sebastian it was almost impossible to understand my roommate, because she spoke so fast, the weekend before I left, during a random conversation about TV Shows, I realised that I have absolutely no problem understanding what she’s saying. This and buying my first book in Spanish made me feel really confident about my progress.

 


Why should someone visit San Sebastian? 

The beach, the food, the people. Not the weather. San Sebastian is not they biggest city, but it has so much to offer. The food for example. It’s no secret that San Sebastian has one of the best chefs in the world. But not only the restaurants, pretty much every Pintxo place knows what they are doing. The people are helpful and friendly and very polite. A thing like cat calling doesn’t exist in San Sebastian. (Which one of my teachers always jokingly said is because the Vascos are too shy, and that’s why they will die alone.)

And the beaches. There’s Playa de Concha, the bigger city beach with calm azul waters and cafes with a beautiful view. And then there is Zurriola (Playa de la Zurriola) the Surfer’s beach, where you will find people in the waters at almost any time of day. It also features the cheesiest sunsets I’ve ever seen.


Which spots are really worth to visit? – in San Sebastian and outside the city

Besides surfing at Zuriolla beach, one of my favourite things to do was walking around through the old town – Parte Vieja. That’s where the history of the city can be discovered. You can still see parts of the Town Wall and walk around at the fishing port. Urgull – the hill is a place you shouldn’t miss out, perfect for sundown – picnics. And then there is Santa Clara Island which I heard amazing things about but unfortunately never went.

Another thing I would highly recommend is a day trip to Biarritz. San Sebastian is really close to the French border and there are buses going almost hourly. One day after school, a classmate and I decided to have coffee in France, so we hopped on a bus and 40 minutes later we arrived in Biarritz. It’s a cute little town with lots of coffee shops and a beautiful beach. If you want to go on a little shopping spree just keep in mind that France is a bit more expensive then the places you find in Spain.

Although I got all confused with having to speak French all of a sudden, I was over the moon being there. While it’s so close it has a whole different vibe to it. Next time I will be heading there I will make sure to bring my surfboard though.

Going east is not the only possibility though. A friend I made at school in Barcelona and I decided to meet up in Bilbao for a prolonged weekend. The bus from San Sebastian to Bilbao takes roughly two and a half hours but there are also trains, which might be a bit faster. Bilbao is great if you have more than one or two days. We spent almost one whole day at the Guggenheim Museum exploring the Jeff Koons & the Basquiat exhibitions. It was probably my first real Museum visit after a long time and since I always admired Basquiat I was very pleased to find his work shown at the same time that I was in the city. Once again the weather was on our side so besides strolling through the city, we spent a huge amount of time picnicking, lounging in the sun and unwinding in the beautiful park areas Bilbao has to offer. Our host for the weekend recommended Casco Viejo (The old part of the city) for going out to eat. Which is not only a good place to eat, but also to do a little shopping.


Which restaurants can you recommend? 

“La Madame” was my favourite place to go for brunch on weekends. They also have wonderful food during the week. They mix typical basque ingredients with classic Spanish cuisine as well as international influences. Also who doesn’t like Brunch? Then there is “vegan vegetarian km0” which we often chose after school for their lunch offer.  I am not a vegetarian but went to class with a girl who was, and I remember it was always very hard to find places in San Sebastian that would serve vegetarian options.
So we were very happy when we found KM0, not only because it was so close to school but also because it didn’t have the typical basque opening hours. If you are not vegan or vegetarian you will have it pretty easy with good food there. In Party Vieja, for example, are many amazing pinxto bars. Also for the best carrot cake in town go to “Robinson Bar” in Gros.


What are your favorite places to go out in San Sebastian?

Every Thursday there is Pintxo Pote in Gros, which I always enjoyed. The bars in the area open around 6pm and serve pintxos with drinks for a bargain (mostly between 1€ – 2€). In Gros it’s not that much about the food, although I had some really good ones there. It is more about bar hoping and have a few drinks with your friends on a week night. There are also some places that changed Pintxo Pote to Pizza Pote or Burger Pote, which are a lot of fun, but as said it’s not all about the food. While the Pintxo Pote is happening in Gros there is also Gastro Pote at Mercado de San Martin in the Centro of San Sebastian. Every Thursday they transform the market area into a little concert hall surrounded by amazing food and great wine. I am not much of a party person, but I do love food and enjoy drinks with friends. So these Thursdays always been the most fun to me.

 

 

 

 

 

© Paolo Trabattoni

Insider call Málaga the city of “Boquéron” which means anchovy in Spanish. The city’s gastronomoy determined this nickname to the Andalusian fishermen city in fact of the high amount of anchovy fishing. Right in the middle of Costa del Sol, Malaga is one of the most touristic cities in Spain thanks to its beaches, innumerable sunny days and a gastronomy based on fish brought in daily by the fishermen at its port. Precisely, if anything distinguishes this Andalusian city it is their anchovies, which has converted into one of its main attractions and most recognized parts of its cultural identity.

Málaga is a briskly modern historic city yet but still has the atmosphere and swagger of a Mediterranean port. Admittedly, initial impressions can be discouraging as, like most Spanish cities, the shell is drab and industrial. But the kernel, the historic city center, is charming with its majestic, if peculiar, unfinished Gothic cathedral, surrounded by traditional balcony buildings, narrow pedestrian streets and some of the best tapas bars in the province. In recent years, the city has heavily invested in its culture and heritage with new museums, extensive restoration and a brand-new port development.

Málaga is a joy to stroll around, with a skyline that reflects the city’s eclectic character; church spires jostle for space with russet-red tiled roofs and lofty apartment buildings while, like a grand old dame, the 11th-century Gibralfaro castle sits grandly and provides the best view of all.

© Francisco Miguel Godoy Aguilar
© Francisco Miguel Godoy Aguilar

 


Here are the top things to do in Málaga:

  • Museo Picasso: The Museo Picasso has an enviable collection of 204 works, 155 donated and 49 loaned to the museum by Christine Ruiz-Picasso (wife of Paul, Picasso’s eldest son) and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso (his grandson), and includes some wonderful paintings of the family, including the heartfelt Paulo con gorro blanco (Paulo with a white cap), a portrait of Picasso’s eldest son painted in the 1920s. Don’t miss the Phoenician, Roman, Islamic and Renaissance archaeological remains in the museum’s basement, discovered during construction works. There are also excellent year-round temporary exhibitions. Our Spanish school in Malaga is located on 200 metres from the Picasso museum!
© Martin Haisch
© Martin Haisch
  • Catedral de Málaga: Málaga’s cathedral was started in the 16th century on the site of the former mosque. Of this, only the Patio de los Naranjos survives, a small courtyard of fragrant orange trees. Inside, the fabulous domed ceiling soars 40m into the air, while the vast colonnaded nave houses an enormous cedar-wood choir. Aisles give access to 15 chapels with gorgeous 18th-century retables and religious art. Climb the tower (200 steps) to enjoy stunning panoramic views of the city skyline and coast. Building the cathedral was an epic project which lasted some 200 years. Such was the project’s cost that by 1782 it was decided that work would stop. One of the two bell towers was left incomplete, hence the cathedral’s well-worn nickname, La Manquita (the one-armed lady). The cathedral’s museum displays a collection of religious items covering a period of 500 years.
© Emilio J. Rodríguez-Posada
© Emilio J. Rodríguez-Posada
  • Castillo de Gibralfaro: One remnant of Málaga’s Islamic past is the craggy ramparts of the Castillo de Gibralfaro, spectacularly located high on the hill overlooking the city. Built by Abd ar-Rahman I, the 8th-century Cordoban emir, and later rebuilt in the 14th century when Málaga was the main port for the emirate of Granada, the castle originally acted as a lighthouse and military barracks. Nothing much is original in the castle’s interior, but the airy walkway around the ramparts affords the best views over Málaga. There is also a military museum, which includes a small scale model of the entire castle complex and the lower residence, the Alcazaba.The best way to reach the castle on foot is via the scenic Paseo Don Juan de Temboury, to the south of the Alcazaba. From here a path winds pleasantly (and steeply) through lushly gardened terraces with viewpoints over the city. Alternatively, you can drive up the Camino de Gibralfaro or take bus 35 from Avenida de Cervantes.
© Romtomtom
© Romtomtom
  • Jardín Botánico La Concepción: Four kilometres north of the city center is this large botanical garden. Dating from the mid-19th century, it is the brainchild of a local aristocratic couple, British-born Amalia Heredia Livermore and her Spanish husband, Jorge Loring Oyarzabal. They decided to recreate a tropical forest near the shores of the Mediterranean. It is famous for its purple wisteria blooms in spring. By car, take the A45 Antequera road north from the Málaga ring road (A7) to Km166 and follow the signs for the ‘Jardín Botánico’.

Jardín-Botánico-Histórico-de-La-Concepción

 

  • Paseo de España: A palm-lined extension of the Alameda, this park was created in the 1890s on land reclaimed from the sea. The garden along its southern side is full of exotic tropical plants and trees, making a pleasant refuge from the bustle of the city. Elderly and young malagueños (people from Málaga) stroll around and take shelter in the deep shade of the tall palms, and on Sundays buskers and entertainers play to the crowds.

pasao de espana

  • Mercado Atarazanas: North of the city’s main artery, the Alameda Principal, you’ll find this striking 19th-century iron-clad building, incorporating the original Moorish gate that once connected the city with the port. The magnificent stained-glass window depicts historical highlights of the city. The daily market here is pleasantly noisy and animated. Choose from swaying legs of ham and rolls of sausages or cheese, fish and endless varieties of olives. The fruit and veg stalls are the most colourful, selling everything that is in season, ranging from big misshapen tomatoes, sliced and served with olive oil, chopped garlic and rough salt, to large purple onions, mild-flavoured and sweet.
© Maksym Abramov
© Maksym Abramov
  • Roman Theatre: Málaga’s Roman Theatre is one of the remaining symbols of Roman Hispania in the city. In addition to the theatre itself, it has a modern interpretation centre where new technologies present the life and customs of the time. The Theatre has also been returned to its original use and different types of shows take place inside. Discovered in 1951, it lay half-hidden for many years by the Casa de la Cultura (Culture House) building, built between 1940 to 1942 and renovated in the 1960s. It was during these works when the first signs of the Theatre were discovered and the Casa de Cultura was demolished to uncover and properly assess this theatre, which came to be a part of the cultural programmes of 1992. Excavations began by uncovering the proescenium, that is, the stage, remnants of the Orchestra, the place reserved for senators and the cavea. These stands have a 31-metre radius and reach a height of 16 metres; there are thirteen raised rows of seats and the entrances passageways, what is referred to as the  vomitorium. Built in the time of Augustus in the 1st century AD, it was in use until the 3rd century. Much of its construction material such as stones, columns and carved stones were later used for building the Alcazaba. The interpretation centre is decorated on the outside by original fragments of the Lex Flavia Malacitana (municipal code of law, which granted free-born persons the privileges of Roman citizenship), recovered in the excavations.
© Adán Sánchez de Pedro
© Adán Sánchez de Pedro
  • Alcazaba: This fortress palace, whose name in Arabic means citadel, is one of the city’s historical monuments and is much visited because of its history and beauty. The building that dates from the Muslim period is located at the foot of the Gibralfaro hill, crowned by the Arab defence works to which the Alcazaba is connected by a walled passage known as the Coracha. With the Roman Theatre and the Aduana Customs Building, this special corner offers the chance to observe Roman, Arab and Renaissance culture, all within a few yards of each other. If you have no time to visit Granada’s Alhambra? Then Málaga’s Alcazaba can provide a taster. The entrance is next to the Roman amphitheatre , from where a meandering path climbs amid lush greenery: crimson bougainvillea, lofty palms, fragrant jasmine bushes and rows of orange trees. Extensively restored, this palace-fortress dates from the 11th-century Moorish period; the caliphal horseshoe arches, courtyards and bubbling fountains are evocative of this influential period in Málaga’s history. Don’t miss the small archaeological museum located within the former servants’ quarters of the Nazari palace, with its exhibits of Moorish ceramics and pottery.
© Fernando Vivar
© Fernando Vivar
  • Centre Pompidou: The center proposes all public to feel the experience of the Centre Pompidou through its wealthy collection, its excellent schedules, the mutual interference of artistic disciplines and its innovative mediation programs. Malaga, birthplace of Picasso and an international tourist destination place, positions the culture and the museums in the center of a new stage of its development

Málaga_Centre_Pompidou

 

  • Ronda:  Explore the countryside and mountains of the province of Málaga, land of Bulls, olive trees, leather, great food and amazing views. Ronda, Arcos, Ubrique, El Bosque, Grazalema, Bornos, Algodonales are the so-called “pueblos blancos”= white villages Mostly famous for its cliffs, one impressive Bridge, the Oldest Bullfight Arena in the world, and is considered by many one of the most beautiful towns in Spain.  The millennial city of Ronda possesses one of the most beautiful historical centres of Spain. Declared a Site of Cultural Interest in 1966, containing a rich and diverse historic heritage. The New Bridge is, together with the bullring of the Royal Cavalry Order of Ronda, symbol and soul of the city.

Paella is a traditional Spanish dish from Valencia. It is a rice dish that can have meat, fish, seafood, and vegetables and is characterized by its use of saffron to give it a yellow color and unique flavor. There are three main types of paella:

  • Valencian paella/paella valenciana: rice, green vegetables, rabbit, chicken, or duck, snails, beans, and seasoning.
  • Seafood paella/paella de marisco: rice, seafood, and seasoning.
  • Mixed paella/paella mixta: combination of seafood, meat, vegetables, beans, and seasoning.

 


How to prepare the best paella

Before beginning preparations, it’s important to ask, “How many people will be eating?”Once you answer that, you can decide what size and type kind of pan is needed.

  • The Paella Pan: Paella pans, sometimes called paelleras are made especially for the job. They are round, open, metal pans, which are approximately 2-2.5 inches deep (5-6 cm). These pans spread the heat and withstand cooking over hot coals. Paella pans can be made of carbon steel, stainless steel or enamel and have two handles. The material, shape and shallow depth of the pans are what make them perfect for cooking rice, which is the focus of the paella. Paella pans are readily available in sizes from a 9-inch pan that makes 1-2 servings, and costs about 10 Euro.
  • Casual Ingredients: 
    • Spice Mix for chicken, recipe follows
    • 1 (3-pound) frying chicken, cut into 10 pieces
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 1 Spanish onion, diced
    • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
    • Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish
    • 1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
    • 4 cups short grain Spanish rice
    • 6 cups water, warm
    • Generous pinch saffron threads
    • 1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
    • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
    • 2 lobster tails
    • 1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed
    • Lemon wedges, for serving
    • Chicken Spice mix: 1 tablespoon sweet paprika, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Preparation: Before starting rub the spice mix all over the chicken and marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5. Season the chicken pieces and dust with flour. Heat a little olive oil in a large deep pan and fry the chicken until golden brown on both sides. Place the pieces on a baking tray and into the oven for 20 minutes. Add salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove the chicken from pan and reserve. In the same pan, make a sofrito by sauteing the onions, garlic, and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld. Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. Pour in water and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Add chicken, chorizo, and saffron. Add the clams and shrimp, tucking them into the rice. The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook. Give the paella a good shake and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, for about 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, when the rice is filling the pan, add the lobster tails. When the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it’s perfect. Cook’s note: The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called socarrat. Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Finally, add the cooked chicken and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley and a wedge of lemon.Garnish with peas, parsley and lemon wedges.
  • Drink: Paella is a complex dish, with many ingredients and layers of flavors, so the range of wines and beers that complement it is wide. Traditionally, the Spanish accompany Paella with a rosé or a crisp Spanish white wine such as albariňo. Lovers of sparkling wines could try a good Spanish cava and red wine fans might favor a light Spanish rioja.
  • Bon appetit / ¡Buen provecho!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The obvious reason to come to Granada would be our Spanish language school of course :-). Though if you are still doubting whether to come to Granada or learn Spanish somewhere else in Spain, may this article help you in your choice.

History

The first settlements in Granada dated back to 1500-2000 BC, where small tribes lived close to Granada. At this time, the region was inhabited by the Phoenicians and subsequently the Carthaginians. From the 5th century, when Visigoths conquered the city, establishing it as a military stronghold. It was from that time that Granada started to become a more significant city. During the same period, a small Jewish community lived in the region, calling it “Garnata al-Yahut”, which was probably the origin of the city’s name.

In 711 the Moors took over the city of Granada and developed it during the next 300 years. At the beginning of the second millennium, the city was almost completely destroyed, because of fights between the ruling clans. Finally, in 1013, the dynasty of Ziries came to power converting the region into an independent kingdom. The expansion of Granada was sustained under the regime of Nazari dynasty, one of it’s greatest   periods. The Nazari family controlled Granada until 1492, when it was incorporated to Castilla by Ferdinand and Isabel which marked the end of the last Muslim kingdom in Spain.  During the next centuries the Moorish population was baptized by force and all the signs of the Arabian culture were prohibited. This led to rebellions and riots and as a consequence, most of the Moorish were expatriated.

Until the middle of 20th century, Granada was in economic depression. Some years after that it became an important Spanish university city and also artistic center, with Federico García Lorca and Manuel de Falla living here. Now Granada is a thriving and growing modern city which enjoys a wonderfully rich history and   great atmosphere as Spain’s third largest university city.


1) Weather

The weather in Granada is seasonal and can be extreme. Winter can be cold with temperatures below zero, although there is generally more sun and brighter cold days than rain and snow. December and January are the coldest months. During summer, temperatures can rise to over 40 degrees centigrade, into the  100s Fahrenheit. July and August are the hottest months. You can normally guarantee good weather from June to the end of September. October is  great but it can rain also, generally “winter” starts in November and ends in March. Spring is short here and the heat comes quickly!! Granada has a dry climate and there are many options to enjoy Granada and the beautiful countryside that surrounds it,  such as mountain climbing, biking, trekking, horse riding or rafting.

  • Winter: The obvious sport in winter is Skiing and during your stay in Granada you can make the most  of having the Sierra Nevada ski resort just 45 minutes away. The skiing is fantastic, with some great slopes and runs for ski or boards. The Sierra Nevada has been voted one of the top ten ski resorts in Europe by Conde Nast Traveller. Skiing is not the only sport that you can enjoy in Winter, due to the dry climate, there are many sunny winter days where the temperature hits 15­‐20 degrees easily. Mountain biking, trekking and mountain climbing are very popular with locals and  visitors  alike. It’s a good way to meet people and get to know the surrounds of the city.
  • Summer: During the summer in Granada, temperatures can rise into the 40s. The city is generally quieter as the schools and Universities are on holiday from June through to at least September.   August is the quietest month when a lot of people choose to take their summer holidays also. The Tropical coast (Granada’s coast line) is a popular resort for those wishing to escape the heat in July and August. However, city life continues, albeit at a slightly slower pace! Granada always comes to life at night and summer nights are no different. People enjoy evening strolls, city bars with terraces and of course the wonderful Albaicín which has many open air restaurants with the most spectacular views imaginable.

2) The Alhambra & Generalife Gardens

Dating back to the 9th Century and soaked in history, the Alhambra is a world famous monument and is a must see during your stay in Granada. Spring is a fantastic time as the Generalife Gardens are spectacular at this time of year. The Alhambra offers a summer program of theater, music and dance – all at night in the amazing surrounds of the Generalife gardens. It is a wonderful experience and as you would expect, tickets sell out extremely quickly.


3) The district Albaicín

The Albaicín isn’t just Granada’s oldest district, it’s also the largest and most characteristic of Spain’s surviving Islamic quarters! The rambling  white-­washed web of intertwining cobbled streets will take you back to  the years of Islamic splendor. Practically unchanged, the Albaicín, which is also a World Heritage Site, emanates Arabic culture from every street! Amongst the intimate squares and original Islamic fountains, you’ll find Arab baths, Islamic palaces, and many interesting places to pass the day or night.


4) Cuesta de los Chinos

Located at the end of the Paseo de los Tristes and looking up to the Alhambra Palace, this place is a meeting point to relax, read a book, sell artifacts, watch the world go by or paint.


5)The parc García Lorca

What was once the countryside surrounding the home of famed poet,   author, and playwright Federico García Lorca is now an enchanting park named after him. Perfect for a lazy late afternoon stroll or a relaxed picnic lunch, or a pit stop at the bar. Perfect for strolling, walking or jogging. Take the opportunity to revel in its footpaths lined with trees, bushes and blossoms. Be sure to head to the García Lorca Park’s “rosaleda”, where hundreds of species of roses come together for unbeatable visual and aromatic pleasure. It is a great place to chill out in the middle of the city.


6) The mountain range Sierra Nevada

The Sierra Nevada is a dramatic, rugged and extensive mountain range, the highest in Europe after the Alps. The protected area encompasses torrential rivers, sheer-­sided gorges, stony slopes, glacial lakes between snowy summits and, in the foothills of the Alpujarras, cultivated terraces of almond trees and vegetables. Designated a national park in 1998, it is one of only two in Andalucía. It was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1986, in recognition of its exceptionally diverse plant, bird and animal species. As we mentioned before, in the Sierra Nevada you can enjoy a wide range of activities such as skiing, mountain climbing, hiking, mountain biking and horse riding to name a few. Any activity can be arranged by the school with qualified professionals.

sierra nevada2


7) The valleys of Las Alpujarras

Las  Alpujarras is a 70km long collection of valleys along the   southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada. It is a mixture of dramatic mountains, deep ravines, sloping  hillsides, huge gorges, and the  most breath-­taking views. It is full of many clusters of beautiful white villages, often seemingly clinging together on the side of a steep mountainside, which are a traditional feature of this area. Las Alpujarras has often been  described  as ‘oddball’, ‘kooky’ or ‘strange’ due to its uniqueness,  and old‐world quality. It has a sense of timelessness and its own pace of life.  It is extremely picturesque and beautiful and once seen, never forgotten. The Alpujarran people are very welcoming; everywhere you go you are greeted with a friendly ‘Hola’ and are soon made to feel part of the community. There is a strong emphasis placed on family life; you will often see several generations of the same family sat down enjoying a meal together. It is a particularly delightful area to explore on foot and there are many well-­signposted walking routes, ranging from a short stroll, to day long hikes into the Sierra  Nevada. For the really serious walker there are two famous long-distance foot paths that cross Las Alpujarras. One is the GR-7, which begins in Tarifa in Cádiz province and crosses Europe all the way to Greece. The other is the GR-­142, which runs from Lanjarón to Fiñana on the northern side of the Sierra Nevada in Almeria province. Las Alpujarras, and in particular Granada, is famous for its delicious tapas. These are small snacks served (free) with an alcoholic drink and cover a wide range of imaginative dishes. The town of Trevélez is famous for its ‘jamón serrano’ (cured  ham). The well known ‘Alpujarras’ or ‘Costa’ wine can also be sampled.

valley


8) Granada Beaches and Coastline  
The Costa Tropical, situated between the Costa del Sol in Málaga and the Costa de Almería, is a rich strip of coastline, which coasts the very best conditions and attractions necessary to provide an excellent holiday. Its situation on the Mediterranean, its closeness to Africa and to the Sierra Nevada, with the highest peaks on the Península, protect the Costa Tropical from the cold northerly winds. The result is a subtropical micro-­climate, with 320 days of sunshine a year and an average temperature of around 20ºC, where all kinds of tropical fruit is grown, such as  Kiwis, avocados, bananas. Winter temperatures are usually between 15-18ºC and in Summer between  25-30ºC.  With  six  tourist  centres: La  Herradura, Almuñécar, Salobreña, Motril, Castell de Ferro and La  Rábita – the Costa Tropical boasts a good tourist network where countless sports can be practiced: windsurfing, surfing, scuba diving, fishing, sailing, waterskiing, golf, tennis, squash and horse-­riding.

granada beach


9) Semana Santa (Easter Week) in April
Holy Week takes place in the last week of Lent. It is a religious  festival  which  began in the early days of the Church, when the faithful traveled to Jerusalem at Passover to  re-enact the events leading up to Christ’s resurrection. In towns and cities throughout Spain and especially in Andalusia, it is a week of great celebrations, processions, masses and displays of religious fervor. In Granada, some of the particular events include a procession known as ‘Christ of the Gypsies’ or ‘Christ of Sacromonte’ on the Wednesday of Holy Week and a ‘Procession of Silence’ from midnight on Thursday, from the Church of San Pedro on the Carrera del Darro. There is also the ‘Procession of Las Angustias’, on Easter Saturday. The processions are held all around the city of Granada starting from either the cathedral or various churches.


10) Dia de la Cruz (Cross Day) in May

Each year, various brotherhoods and organisations enter into a competition for the best-decorated cross. The size is large and the theme is generally floral and elaborate. The crosses are erected at different locations throughout the historic center, and in the adjoining   neighborhoods of Albaicin and Realejo. Public squares and courtyards are usually chosen, and each participating group seeks to boost their chances of winning by laying on music and flamenco dancing. In addition, the streets and squares in which the crosses are installed are beautified for the occasion, because there are cash prizes to be won in this category too. The festival is very popular and many people tour from one cross to another to enjoy the festivities,   which often continue until late at night.


11) Feria de Corpus Christi in June

Granada lets its hair down with huge fairgrounds, lots of music and dancing, puppet shows, fun activities for children, processions, balcony decoration competitions, plant and pot exhibitions, flamenco performances in casetas (huge  tents) in the fairground on the outskirts of the city and in the city center. There are two major processions. The first is the Tarasca (Tarasque), where a figure of a woman on a dragon, accompanied by giants and other characters wearing big paper maché heads, walks through the streets of Granada. The other procession, which is named after the feast of Corpus Christi itself, is solemn and religious and leads out on the Thursday, which is a feast day in Granada.


12) International Dance and Music Festival in June and July

This prestigious and long-running festival is one of the musical highlights of early summer that’s distinguished by the extraordinary combinations of great music in fantastic settings. Musicians such as Rubinstein, Victoria de los Angeles and Andres Segovia have performed in the beautiful Arab courtyards of the Alhambra and other evocative venues, in front of enraptured audiences. Schuricht, Karajan and Celibidache have conducted at the Palace of Charles V;  Margot Fonteyn and Nureyev have danced in the Gardens of the Generalife. The festival program is based on classical music, ballet and Spanish dancing but also includes flamenco and ancient and contemporary  music.


13) Jazz festival in the Costa Tropical in July, August and September

Taking the international Jazz festival to the Granada Tropical Coast. Enjoy a host of Spanish and International Jazz artists performing in a wonderful coastal setting. Flamenco Summer Concerts held through out the summer months of July to September, the evening are held in different areas of Granada, such as the well know “Cuevas” (caves) of Sacromonte or in the various indoor and open air theaters in Granada city center.

 


14) Jazz  Festival in Granada in September
The Granada International Jazz Festival is one of Europe’s longest-running and is a Spanish member of the Europe Jazz Network, which  organizes jazz festivals in Europe. The event has been held since 1980, with the participation of prestigious international figures from the world of modern jazz. This festival is aimed at jazz lovers. Apart from the concerts on the official program, there are also unofficial sessions at a range of venues around the city, as well as other activities related to the event.


15) The Festival de Otoño (Autumn Flamenco Festival) in December

December in Granada is dedicated to flamenco music and dance and takes place in the first week of December every year. The best-known and most talented flamenco artists from all over Spain come together to perform in the atmospheric Teatro Isabela Católica. Performances are also held at various other locations around the city, mainly in the Sacromonte district.

 

 

Barcelona is divided into 10 districts and due to the multiculturalism and the long history of the city, each of them has a different flair and atmosphere. The areas vary from small streets and bars in El Raval and Barrio Gothico to wide streets with lots of restaurants in Eixample that looks a bit alike New York with its square city blocks.

As well as the areas vary, so do the bars. That’s the reason why we want to share you with the best bars in town in order to make your city trip as entertaining as possible.  Here’s our inside guide to Barcelona’s best bars!


Barceloneta Barrio – this area is home to Barcelona’s closest beach to the city center. Popular with families and tourists who want good access to the center of the city but away from the hustle and bustle of the heart of the city center. Here are our recommendations for the best bars in this area:

  • Beach garden:  Beach garden is situated at the beach and looks like a Chiringuito at first sight. But it’s a great restaurant and cocktail bar all in one with a beautiful view on the beach. The bar is located in Plaza del Mar in Barceloneta, where you can relax, enjoy the sun and watch at the beach while listening to great electronic or alternative music at the same time.
  • Absenta Bar: The old sailors district of Barceloneta is the only witness of the history of the bar. The exact date of when it was founded, is quite uncertain. The first records of the city in 1897 suggest that a police raid discovered the existence of a speakeasy in this discreet corner where sailors and artists drank the then banned absinthe, sharing long nights of pleasure and inspiration. In the century after, the bar witnessed countless events: parties, wars, bombings and the complete transformation of the neighborhood. Today, the bar continues in that same corner, rescuing an ancient bohemian corner, entirely dedicated to art, music and the warmth of the green fairy, absinthe. You find the bar with the “Green Fairy” drink in Carrer Sant Carles 36.

absenthe

 

  • Bar Electricitat: It’s called the legend in Barcloneta due to the fact that it is a classic and typical Spanish bar where young and old mix together and the waiters mostly or only speak Spanish. The atmosphere is casual and authentic and you won’t find that many tourists. Don’t be afraid to enter, because you will find delicious food and drinks for cheap prices. (for example calamar, seashell, etc.). The bar is located in Calle Sant Carles 15 in the center of Barceloneta.

 

  • Can Paixano (La Xampanyeria):  It’s a factory shop for wine a couple of streets back from the beach. They are specialized in cava and you can get a glass of it for only 1.60 € and around 6 € for a bottle. Its a great and lively bar and the food is flying out of kitchen but it is always absolutely packed. So make sure you avoid rush hours when you want to have a seat.

 


Poblenou: The urban district. Poblenou lives an unstoppable transformtation by the hand of a creative community that risks, reinvents and generates proposals that place this postindustrial nucleus in the sport of Barcelona’s vanguards. Here are our recommendations for this area:

  • Balius Cocktails & Vermouths: During centuries Barius used to be a chain of drug stores in Barcelona. After they closed down their store in Poblenou, the building has transformed into a cocktail bar and the whole interior design has changed since 2014. However, it still kept the charm and exterior design of the drug store. The cocktail bar is specialized in Gin Tonic and open from 7pm till 2.30am in Carrer de Pujades, 196, close to Rambla Poblenou.
  • Ovella Negra: The bar reminds about an old brewing factory and offers lots of space to hang out with friends. It is probably one of the best places, where you can relax, drink cheap beer or sangria and also watch the FC Barcelona or Spain matches on huge screens within a lively atmosphere. The place is huge and has an additional room, where you can play pool or table soccer with your friends when the match is over. It is definitely worth a visit.

 


Les Corts: Les Corts is an important financial business district in Barcelona and therefore has many good hotels and restaurants but not so much in the way of tourist attractions. Also, on Diagonal there is a large shopping complex called L’Illa. In L’Illa there are several good restaurants, a huge supermarket, a small exhibition centre and of course lots of clothes shops. Here are our recommendations for the best bars in this area:

  • The Black Lion: The bar is the oldest Victorian pub in town and it’s situated in Evarist Arnús 70, just 5 minutes walk away from Nou camp stadium. The bar is perfectly decorated in British pub design and furniture and a typical old red phone box in the entrance tops off the atmosphere. Here you can choose from a wide selection of local and imported beers on draught and an even wider range of imported and artisan bottled beer. Grap a beer at the bar while watching to several sports matches life on diverse screens. It might becomes your second living room to hang out with your friends. Here are the opening hours: Tuesday and Wednesday 7pm – 1am, Thursday 7pm – 2am, Friday and Saturday 7pm – 3am and Sunday 7pm – 00am.

 


Eixample District (Left and right): – Some of Barcelona’s best shopping is found in this Barrio. It also has many bars and restaurants along with modernist architecture e.g. Gaudí’s Casa Batlló, Casa Mila and Sagrada Familia. This Barrio is also characterized by a busy grid-like road system. Here are our favorite bars for this area:

  • Ale & Hop: The bar was awarded in 2014 for excellence in and service to the craft brewing community. So iti is officially one of the best beer bars in Spain and definitely the best one in town. You can taste their special beer in Carrer Basses de Sant Pere 10 during their daily opening hours from 5 pm till 2.30 am
  • Dry Martini: Dry Martini is the cocktail bar of Barcelona that has become an icon in the Cocktail Universe. Included on the list of the 50 best bars in the world, as part of the top 25 year after year, and it is considered the third gin best world bar. Find your dry martini in Calle Aribau, 162-166.
  • Quilomobo: Are you looking for live music, good drinks and great ambiente? Then Quilombo is the perfect address, where you will find one of the best Mojito in town. While slurfing it you can listen to live music of different artists, which change hourly. The venue is situated in  Carrer d’Aribau, 149 and is open from 10.30pm till 3am from Monday till Saturday. On Sunday the bar is closed.

El Born Barrio: Offers culture and traditional buildings close to Barcelona centre. The area is close to the beach, and has good night life, restaurants and bars. Here are our recommendations for the best bars in this area:

  • Collage Cocktail Bar: Aloha, get ready for some Hawaiian inspiration! The bar is well-known for their eccentric cocktail preperations and stylish decoration. If you forget your Hawaiian shirt at home, don’t worry you will be able to buy directly one at the bar in order to plung into the vibes of Honolulu. The address to your Hawaiian destination in Barcelona is  Carrer dels Consellers 4. The bar is open from 7pm – 3am daily.
  • Cal Brut: If you are looking for a night out alone or relaxing evening with your friends, Cal Brut is the right address. It is a small but comfortable and has an alternative undergrond touch. The bar is authentic and definitly worth a visit if you want to relax and enjoy a beer with great tapas. The bar is located in Calle Princesa 42 and open from Monday till Saturday from 7pm until 1am.

cal brut


El Raval Neighbourhood: Controversial area in Barcelona, probably more suitable for seasoned travellers. Raval is an interesting and exciting area in Barcelona however it also has its darker and seedy side that you ought to be aware of. It is certainly not the safest or the cleanest area in Barcelona but it does have a special personality and character all of its own that makes this area a compelling visit. Here are our favorite bars for this area:

  • Bar Marsella: The bar has been existing since 1820 and it is the oldest bar in town and is specialised in absinthe. The custom of drinking absinthe gradually became so popular in bars, bistros, cafés, and cabarets that, by the 1860s, the hour of 5 pm was called “the green hour”. Absinthe was favoured by all social classes, from the wealthy bourgeoisie, to poor artists and ordinary working-class people. According to rumors Picasso, Dali and Gaudí were also big fans of the high alcohol and came Bar Marsella to get inspired to work. Walking inside the bar, itt seems like they never changed anything on the interior design. Also the fact that it has signs from the Franco regimes, which show the repression of the Catalan language makes it even more interesting; it’s like travelling in time. You find the classical bar in town in Carrer de Sant Pau 65 and it is open from 10pm until 3pm.
  • Tahiti Bar: Red leather couches, dim light, a jukebox and Tiki inspired furniture turn the bar into an oldy but goldy. Tahiti’s mission is to bring the quality of Barcelona tiki back to the ’40s and ’50s, and to be a departure from the ’70s tiki bars found in the city. The fire and cocktail mixing shows underline the bar’s delicious tropical cocktails and they are serving classic drink recipes from Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s—an area where other Barcelona tiki bars fall down. You find the Tiki bar in Joaquin Costa 39 and it’s open every day from 7pm till 3am.

Gothic Quarter – Barri Gòtic Quarter: The “old city” in the heart of Barcelona and the “original” Barcelona where the city all started. This area is characterized by winding cobbled ancient streets, wonderfully picturesque architecture, top quality restaurants and cafes full of atmosphere. Here are our favorite bars for this area:

  • Els 4 Gats: Dazzling in its design, Els Quatre Gats is an unmiss- able stop for those interested in Modernista archi- tecture and indeed the art of the period, being the former regular meeting place of Picasso and other artistic luminaries. Nowadays, it chiefly caters to tourists, and is no crucible for Catalan gastronomy – nor is it cheap. There is, however, a more reason- ably priced and generously portioned set lunch, and when it’s all over you can buy the T-shirt. To appre- ciate the building without forking out for dinner, visit its café. It’s open daily from 12am till 1am and you find it in the street Montsió 3.

Quatre-gats-gerra-3

  • Ocaña: This space is the namesake of José Perez Ocaña, paintor, activist and defender of freedom, who was one of the main players of ‘la Movida’, the great counterculture movement during the Transición following Franco’s death in the 1970s. Ocaña is a bar and restaurant with prime outdoor seating, and its own cocktail bar, La Apotheke. The décor and ambience have been treated with care, with respect for the original structure of the building and with  pieces of furniture from all over the world. Check it out in Plaça Reial, 13-15. Get inspired by the ambiente. It’s open from 1pm until 3.30pm daily and let the spectacles inspire you.
  • Sor Rita: If Mario Vaquerizo lived in Barcelona, this would be his favourite bar: a place that has find in the ‘kitsch’ style, its reason to exist, that seems to be a part of an Almodóvar movie, one of the hard ones. You find this colorful and inspiring spot in Mercè 27.

sor-rita


Gràcia Barrio: Gràcia was an independent town until the late 19th century and even now the community is small and tight. However despite the trendy nature of Gràcia it is also a traditional barrio with a large elderly population which makes for an amusing and odd mix. Here are the best bars of this area:

  • Châtelet: It is the typical bar of Gracia and offers a unique atmosphere with its big windows and has some inspiration of Gaudí due to the different and colorful Mosaics on the wall. The food and drinks are good for affordabel prices. It is a perfect place to go with friends but it is quite busy, so make sure that you book a table in advance. The decoration with the low lightnings and screens invites to have a chat with friends and sharing beers, snacking some nachos and end with your favorite cocktail while listening to and watching great music videos. The is located close to Cinema Verdi in Carrer de Torrijos 54. (Opening hours are: Monday – Thursday: 6 pm – 2.30 am | Friday: 6 pm – 3 am | Saturday: 12 am – 3 pm Sunday 12 am – 2.30 pm)

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  • Bobby Gin: As the name mentions it, Bobby Gin is a specialist in Gin cocktails, especially the Gin & Tonic. The barkeepers at this place are to gin what Walter White is to meth. So if you want to go to a place for a cocktail in the city, this one is definitely worth a visit. The bar is little bit pricey but it certainly got ambiance, style and delicious craft cocktails. You have also the possibility to eat some nice tapas while slurping delicious cocktails. The location is tucked away along the side of the wall in a sketchy alley in Carrer de Francisco Giner 47. There is no sign outside the bar, so make sure you have the right address. (Opening hours: Monday, Tuesday | Wednesday and Sunday: 7 pm – 2 am, Thursday: 7 pm – 2.30 am | Friday and Saturday: 7 pm – 3 am)
  • L’Armari: The perfect place to have a romantic dinner. They have delicious tapas, you will see that almost of the dishes have a very welcome French twist. Their cocktails are original, you will notice it! It’s good to know that all cocktails have 1€ discount until 10 pm! (Opening hours: Monday 7 pm – 2.30 am | Tuesday – Thursday 6 pm to 2.30 am | Friday – Saturday 6 pm to 3 am | Sunday 6 pm – 1 am)

l-armari

  • Cafe del Sol: Cafè del Sol was one of the first bars to open in this most famous of Gràcia squares “Plaza del Sol”, which is a spot not only for sun worshippers, but also for having a beer and getting entertained by the crowed at the square. Cafè del Sol features a generous terrace peppered with metal chairs, where day and night, you hear patrons speaking local and world languages, not understanding each other until the waiter comes over, when everyone knows how to order a ‘cervesa’. (Opening hours: daily 11 am – 2.30 am)
  • Gorilla: The bar has a old Berlin or “Hippster” style with old leather furniture, wooden chairs and tabels. It is perfect to have a chilly and cheap drink while watching football on a big screen or listening to great songs. But it is also a great place for a coffee and cake during the weekend in order to read a book or to work on your laptop. You find the bar in Carrer Torrent del L’Olla 39. (Opening hours: daily 10 am – 1 pm)

Montjuïc – Picturesque Montjuïc characterized by the fabulous views of the city when you get to the top of the mountain (more a steep hill really) Tourist attractions include the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, MNAC museum, and Poble Espanyol. Barcelona Olympic stadium is only a short walk away. Here are our favorite bars for this area:

  • La Caseta: La Caseta is a secret of Barcelona that is situated at Mirador del Migdia in Montjuic and is only open during summer time. Besides exceptional views over the sea and the mountain, it’s a fresh alternative to the summer heat, being the place, where you can watch the sunset of Barcelona while listening to vibes of alternative, Mexican or Flamenco music. Here are the opening hours:  Night (starting the 23rd of June): Wednesdays: 21.00h – 24.00h (only with reservation), Thursdays: 20.00h – 01.00h, Fridays / Saturdays: 20.00h – 01.30h, Sundays: 20.00h – 24.00h.

Plaça Espanya: The main draw to Plaça Espanya is the Palau Nacional which is the Museum of Catalan art, stands regally up on the side of Montjuïc. It’s stunning and there is never a better time to see it than when it is lit up at night with the Magic Fountain in front. Here are our favorite bars for this area:

  • B-Bar at B-Hotel: The B-Bar hotel is situated in “Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 389”. From the terrace you have a perfect view on the square of Plaça Espanya as well as on Montjuïc with the Museu National d’Art de Catalunya. On the elegant terrace you can have diner next to the pool with a view on “Las Arenas” that used to be a bull fight arena in the past. Compared to other rooftop bars in Barcelona, the prices for tapas and cool drinks like are relatively affordable and it is less crowded than Sky Bar. The bar is daily open from 08pm till 1am and you get drinks for affordable prices.

Poble Sec: – Not much in the way of tourist attractions in this area but you will find that accommodation prices are lower and since the heart of the city centre is only a 10 minute ride by metro you have excellent transport to the rest of the city. Here are our favorite bars for this area:

  • Bar Rufian: The bar is one of the few places that once gave life to the city, El Clandestino – which in little more than a year and a half had become one of the epicentres of local music – was dismantled. The staff of El Clandestino – Dani, Jorge, Ghenadie and Berta – have come back with El Rufián, a Poble-sec locale specialising in beers, vermouth, and tapas. The ingredients are simple: a cosy spot with modest aesthetics, excellent music, a friendly atmosphere and premium drinks. Saturdays and Sundays are a party: go in for some vermouth and you’ll find a great place to meet kindred spirits spending the afternoon in good company. Check it out in  Nou de la Rambla, 123. Opening hours are: Monday – Thursday 9am-1am; Friday and Saturday 9am-3am and Sunday 11am-6pm.
  • Psycho: Psycho is a rock and roll bar that ticks all the boxes: red bar and walls, posters of The Who, The Dead Boys and Mystery Train; stickers of Black Flag, Shaft, Route 66, 13th Floor Elevators, Motorhead and Misfits; and a small back room where you can dance and sweat alongside the excellent sound system. Psycho’s clientele is varied, but tattoos and the ’50s look abound, with an age range from late-20s to early-40s. The bar is located in Piquer 27, it’s open daily from 8pm till 2.30am and it’s the perfect place for a pre- or post-concert drink.

Port Olympic: – Modern and stylish area in Barcelona with ready access to Barcelona’s beaches. This area benefited from the Olympic Games area regeneration program. Here are our favorite bars for this area:

  • Icebarcelona: Have you ever thought about taking a drink in Barcelona inside an Arctical ambiente? Icebarcelona is the first ice bar at the beach in the world and a unique venue at a temperature of -5ºC, designed by internationally renowned artists. The theme of the lounge, the lighting and the sculptures are renewed at least twice a year, in order to offer something different every time you come. The average visit lasts 45 minutes. While you are shivering with fun, you can relax on the terrace, perfect for an al fresco cocktail right in front of the Mediterranean sea. You find the “cool” bar at Paseo Maritimo de la Barceloneta 38 A, just next to the beach of Port Olympic and between Shoko and Sotavento. it is daily open from 12am till 3am.

 

 

Tom is 27 years old and comes from Leigh, near Manchester. He studied Medicine in Liverpool and is now working as a doctor in London. Tom likes reading history and novels, playing guitar, running and swimming. He speaks French, because he went to Angers (Pays de Loire) in the Northern part of France for an exchange program, when he was a student. Before he came to Barcelona he was working in Intensive Care Medicine in London. Due to the fact that he got a new job beginning in August he decided to go abroad and to learn a new language, because he had an opportunity to do something else whilst he was between jobs. Tom used the duolingo app to get some basics before he went on his language travel to Barcelona. When he arrived he had Spanish level A1 and after 4 weeks of the intensive course at linguaschools he reached the A2 level.


Why did you decide to learn Spanish and why did you choose to learn the language during a language course abroad?

My girlfriend spent 4 months in Argentina to learn Spanish. She traveled to South America before and she fell in love with Argentina. That’s why she wanted to go back there to learn the language properly. During her time in Argentina I visited her in Buenos Aires for 3 weeks and I could see that her level of Spanish helped us a lot to experience the culture and country much more deeply. That’s the reason why I wanted to use the short time during my job change to learn Spanish in an efficient way in order to catch up with my girlfriend’s level of Spanish. Another reason is that on the long term I and my girlfriend would like to work and live in a Spanish speaking country, especially in South America.

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How did your Spanish level improve during your stay?

I started with nearly no level of Spanish. After 4 weeks intensive course at the language school I feel quite comfortable in terms of understanding Spanish. I can’t say whatever I want but I understand a lot. In case of travelling to Spanish speaking countries, for example booking a hotel, asking locals for information, etc., I feel totally confident and would survive without any problem, because I could easily order food and drinks. (*laughs)


Why did you decide for Barcelona? Why should someone visit this city?

Barcelona was a quick and spontaneous decision. However, there are two reasons, why I had the city in my mind. First, probably my favorite English author George Orwell wrote about Barcelona, in “Homage to Catalonia”, where he recounts his experiences of the Spanish Civil War. So I wanted to come and see the city he wrote about.

Second, Barcelona is a city with a kind an edge to it, because people are little bit more radical and the city is quite different than the rest of Spain. I knew about the Catalan identity and I wanted to find out more about it. Also, the city seems an independent and unique place to visit. You have the mountains behind and the sea in front of the city. The food and drink is great, the architecture is just incredible and there are so many different areas with a different atmosphere in just one city.


What did you do at linguaschools?

The life at school was really sociable and the activities helped me to meet people from different classes. During my time at linguaschools I joined the Tapas tour in Poble Sec and I went on a picnic in the Parc de la Ciutadella with the school. I also played Volleyball and celebrated San Juan with students at the beach of Barcelona and I went on a city trip to visit Sitges, the city of artists. Due to the fact that I made friends easily at school I did a lot with them after school classes and activities as well.


Which are your favorite spots to visit in Barcelona?

There are three venues that are really special for me in Barcelona.

  • Can Paixano (La Xampanyeria): It’s a factory shop for wine a couple of streets back from the beach. They are specialized in cava and you can get a glass of it for 1.60 € and around 6 € for a bottle. It a cool bar in Barceloneta which is always absolutely packed. I really enjoyed it, because it is so lively and the food is flying out of kitchen. So I suppose they cook food continuously for people to order it and they serve you really fast.
  • Bar Marsella: The bar has been existing since 1820 and it is the oldest bar in town and specialises in absinthe. It seems like they never changed anything on the interior design and the fact that it has signs from the Franco regimes which show the repression of the Catalan language made it even more interesting for me; like travelling in time.
  • Olympic Swimming pool at Montjuic: The city of Barcelona built this pool for the Olympic Summer games 1992. It is a swimming pool with an astonishing view, where you see more or less over whole Barcelona. The pool is only open in the summer and it opens in early July.

How can you summarize your language travel and stay in Barcelona?

Barcelona is a great play to come and study. I wouldn’t be to put off that there is Catalan and Spanish, because a lot of people speak Spanish. I would definitely come back to learn Spanish in Barcelona, because I went from no Spanish to level A2, only because of school. In addition I met so many great people, who have a similar outlook on life and similar attitudes. The life at school makes it really easy to integrate and I met with some extremely funny and nice people, for example Vitali from Ukraine, Helle from Norway and Charlotte from London. That’s also an important reason why it is best to learn a language abroad, because you meet so many people from all over the world.

João is 22 years old and comes from Lisbon in Portugal. Currently he is doing a Spanish course at linguaschools in Madrid. Just before coming to Madrid he was finishing his Master’s in Business Management, and he will continue once his stay here is over. He is a fun and active person, who often looks for new adventures in life. He is always eager to learn something new, and the search for knowledge keeps him moving. His hobbies include reading, writing and, of course, travelling (when he can!). He usually doesn’t like to stay in one place for a long time and often look for new opportunities to stay “on the road”. Before he came to Madrid he had level B1 and he chose an intensive course with 4 hours per day, 5 days per week, for 2 months to become fluent.


Why did you decide to learn Spanish and why did you choose to learn the language during a language course abroad?

I have always been fond of learning new languages and I felt that since I already had a basic level of Spanish, extending my knowledge of it should not be too hard, and the best way to do it would be to actually live in a Spanish speaking country. I believe that the Spanish culture is quite similar to the one from my country, and therefore I would fit in quite nicely and without the need to go through an adaptation period. Also, given that Spanish is currently the second most spoken language in the world, I also think that improving my proficiency may be beneficial to my academic and professional career.


What was your reason to go to Madrid and since when have you been here?

I arrived in Madrid in the first of June. For me, studying in this city was a very obvious choice. It is the capital of Spain, internationally known for its multicultural environment, gastronomy and nightlife. Besides, it’s quite close to my hometown! Overall, I was under the impression that Madrid would be very impressive and appealing to me, a big metropolis full of life and young people, and I can happily say that my suspicions were confirmed.


How did you experience your time at school?

This wonderful experience started at my very first day at the school. There were many international students from different places taking similar courses at the school, and it was easy to meet people and make new friends, which made my language learning process even faster. The course that I took was conversation-based and, in my opinion, this is best way to learn (and you really had to participate!). The Academia also held many events that brought the students together, and in no time I was already making plans to fill my afternoons after class.


How did your Spanish level evolve during your stay?

When I first arrived in Madrid, I could understand a bit of Spanish since I had studied it before and due to its similarity to my native language, even though I could only form some basic sentences. I think that I started improving from the very first day I stepped into class. I, just like all the other students, had to communicate fully in Spanish, and the teacher was very attentive and corrected all our mistakes. Of course, since I’ve been living in Madrid for this period, I am also very exposed to the language on a daily basis and I have to make use of it in many daily life situations: going to the supermarket, asking for directions or even talking to someone in a nightclub!


Why should someone visit Madrid?

The question is: why shouldn’t they? This city has everything that you’re looking for. International environment? Check. Great cuisine? Check. Fantastic nightlife? Check. Impressive art scene? Check. Madrid is quite touristic, and there are many places to explore, from the famous Prado museum to the beautiful Retiro park. Also, Spain has quite a unique way of life and I believe that Madrid fully represents it. People take the time to enjoy a good meal during lunchtime and during the afternoon the streets will be almost empty: it is the famous “siesta” time. When the day is ending, you will see the locals coming out of their house for some “tapas” and maybe a “caña”. I think that visiting in Madrid is a very important cultural experience due to its uniqueness, and everyone should come at least once in their life.


Which touristic spots are really worth to visit?

Madrid is a big city and it has a lot to see, but if we have to narrow it down to a short number of places, I would definitely recommend Plaza Mayor, the heart of city that still holds a very significant historic significance; the Prado and Reina Sofia museums, where you can find widely known paintings by Picasso, Goya, Miró and many others; Templo de Debod, even though it may be smaller than you expect, it is an important artifact since it was constructed about 2200 years ago. For a more local insight, I recommend going to one of the many “terrazas” in Calle del Toledo, taking a stroll around Gran Via and paying a visit to the famous Rastro in La Latina.


Which insiders’ tip don’t you find in a tour guide?

Did you know that there is a “beach bar” in Madrid? Ojalá, in Malasaña, has its floors covered in sand where you can sit, relax and enjoy a beer.

Would you like to dine in the same place as Hemingway once did? Look no further. Sobrino de Botín, near Plaza Mayor, is one of the oldest restaurants in the world and they would be happy to receive you. If you would like to see a recreation of Lucifer being expelled out of heaven, Madrid is also the place to go: the Retiro Park is home to the fallen angel, a statue that depicts that exact scene.


Which restaurants can you recommend?

There are many places in Madrid where you can have a real taste of Spanish cuisine. Between ten and mid-day, many restaurants offer a day menu that is usually large, cheap and composed by traditional dishes. By evening, many a tapas bar is what you are looking for: “tortilla”, “morcilla” or “patatas bravas” are very common and any bar will serve them. Whether you are walking in the city center or in the surrounding areas, it will be easy to find a place that suits your needs.

 


What are your favorite places to go out in Madrid?

In my opinion, Madrid can be enjoyed by night as much as during the day. There are many discos and hot spots all around town, and different neighborhoods often sport different styles so you have to explore a bit in order to find a place where you feel truly familiar. From Sol, the main plaza of the city, you can find several nightclubs in the streets close-by. La Latina, another central area, is manly famous by its many bars and attractive prices. In Malasaña and Chueca you will find yourself in the middle of the hipsters and trendy scene of the city – people gather in the streets to drink, talk and spread their joyful Spanish energy. You can get very acquainted with the city in a short amount of time.


What are your favorite “beaches” or places to swim in Madrid or in regions around the center?

A lot of people may think that there are no beaches in Madrid but I will let you in on a little secret: in Pelayos de la Presa you will find the famous Pantano de San Juan where you will find over 10 kilometers of beaches and where you can bath as much as you want. Even so, if you prefer to spend a day in the city you may wish to visit one of the many public pools of Madrid, such as Universidad Complutense’s in Moncloa or Canal de Isabel II in Ríos Rosas.


Which markets can you recommend?

When speaking about markets, three immediately come to mind: First, Mercado de San Miguel, right next to Plaza Mayor. This is a specialized food market where you can find samples of many traditional spanish foods, from “Cocido” to “Paella”. All the ingredients are very fresh and just walking around this market will make you hungry. Secondly, I have to mention El Rastro. This is a flea market that is held every Sunday morning in La Latina, so remember not to sleep in. You will find yourself surrounded by dozens of stalls that sell all sorts of items, such as books, clothes and souvenirs, all at a bargain price. Finally, take your time to visit the farmer’s market in Matadero. Here you will find fresh and quality products that will make you want to come back.


What are you going to do after your travel to Madrid?

After these months in Madrid, I will spend six months in Italy as an Erasmus student. Once I finish my studies, I certainly plan to return to Spain.


If a person walks up to you asking for advice and you only had a few minutes to give him or her your best tip to learn Spanish, what would it be?

Meet the locals! Many “Madrileños” are eager to meet foreigners and will welcome you with open arms. Spend as much time as you can with them practicing your Spanish and you will be speaking fluently in no time!

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