FAQ´s move to Granada
A move to Granada is often the reason why my readers email me. I receive lots of questions about living in Granada Spain.
The usual things that come up are on the same themes; accomodation, learning Spanish and finding work. So hopefully this insider information will give more insight to those of you thinking about a move to Granada or even moving to Spain.
After living here since 2006 I have first hand experience of living in the city on a permanent basis.
Here are some of the most Frequently asked Questions and my replies to them.
Finding an apartment before I arrive?
I would recommend booking a hotel or hostel for the first 5 days – week on arrival to Granada. As soon as you are here you can look for areas and properties to rent. The majority of rentals are not advertised online.
Rental properties are snapped up quickly in Granada due to a high student population. You may find it helpful to stay in an Apartment for a week or so intially. Stay Classy Cathedral are well located, comfortable apartments.
From the End of August to beginning of October are very busy weeks and flats are quickly rented during this period. I would not rent or agree to anything before actually getting here. You need to be here to get things done. If someone you make arrangements online you will probably pay much more that if you negotiate here on the ground.
SpotaHome is a good solution as they have a good selection of apartments across Spain. A range of sizes and budgets to choose from. Perfect for organising before you arrive on Spanish soil.
Which area should I choose for Rental Accommodation?
The most characterful areas of Granada are around the Albaicin. This is a beautiful quaint area but personally I find it is not very practical for daily life. The city centre of Granada and Realejo district may be more advisable and also has character too. These areas have shops, buses and taxis as well as all services.
The Albaicin can be tricky as the infrastructure is not too good (roads, parking, access, rubbish collection etc) it depends what lifestyle you are looking for and if you have to work in a certain area.
What to consider when buying a Granada city property or villa on the Coast?
Before buying property in Spain or planning a move to Granada Spain I would highly recommend renting a property in the same area for at least 6 months (although 1 year is better to see all seasons) Can you imagine what the area will be like in wintertime? Perhaps the shops and restaurants only open in summer season. Does the area suffer from flooding? There are many things to take into account when living somewhere for the whole year.
If you do decide to purchase please make sure that all documentation is translated into English before signing anything. To get an idea of prices or areas you can look at the website Idealista.com.
The British Embassy in Spain provide a lot of information for British people moving to Spain. Read their website here
Is Granada safe?
I would say that there is no real concern for Personal Safety in Granada. People are very social and the streets are busy in the city centre at all hours. The area North of the city, around the bus station is known as the Poligono. This area is the most problematic but is not at all touristy. I would not advise this area for rental accomodation. (Zona norte, Pulianas, Almanjayar, Estacion de Autobuses) This doesnt mean that the bus station is dangerous, but be more careful as with any large transport hub.
As with any tourist destination you need to keep an eye on your personal belongings, espeically valuables such as camaras and mobile phones. Pickpockets are more likely to be the most historic areas around Plaza Nueva, Albaicin or Cathedral.
The busy times such as Easter Corpus Fair or Christmas holidays are particularly targeted as there are larger crowds in the city.
Occasionally Granada has small tremors or earthquakes. Since living here for over 12 years I have only experienced tremors of 3.5 or less.
Read more here about Granada Seismic activity
Forest Fires & Air Quality
Also please be aware that wooded areas may suffer from forest fires. Homes may be near to trees or woods and there is a higher possibility of Forest fires in Summer. The houses on the outskirts of Granada and surrounding areas are more affected than the city itself as they have more woodland.
Air quality for people with allergies or asthma may be an issue in the city and outskirts. With many agricultural sites and Olive plantations around the pollen can cause discomfort from April – July especially.
Is there a Public transport service?
The city bus service in Granada is run by Transportes Rober. This serves the metropolitan area only. These red buses are running from 7am until 11pm approximately. Taxis are quite good value compared to other Spanish cities.
From the airport to Puerta Real, Granada expect to pay 30 euros (updated March 2017) There is also a bus from Airport to city for 3 euros. Granada is a manageable city and many routes are short enough to walk.
If you move to Granada you will see that the city is simple to get around and you can choose to live without a car. You can just rent a car on certain weekends if you need one.
How about the costing of Daily items in Granada?
- a beer €1.50-2.60 comes with a free tapa
- 1 glass of wine €1.50-2.60 comes with a free tapa
- Tapa or pincho Normally free but sometimes an extra €1 or so
- Café con leche €1.10 to 1.40
- Average meal €10
- A night on the town €20-30, Nightclub cover usually €5-10 and includes a 1st drink though sometimes drinks can cost up to €9
- Dorm hostel €25-30
- Private hotel/hostel room €35-50
- Transport: Bus: €1.40 per ride but only €0.80 on a bus pass that you top up in multiples of €5
- Attractions €14 Alhambra. Museums Some are free or anything up to €8
- Rent: €180-260 in a shared apartment with €40-65 in utilities
- Groceries for 1 wk €30-36
International Bank Transfers
Since living in Spain. I realized that I need to make financial transactions in several currencies. USD, Pounds Sterling, Euros….
I continued to use my normal bank but soon noticed that each no UK transaction cost me 4 gbp. (regardless of the amount moved) So I paid lots of money I got stung for in transfer fees. Sometimes there were currency conversions at unfavourable rates too.
Multicurrency Bank Account
Getting a flexible bank account that can deal with different currencies and has fair transfer rates will make a huge difference.
To avoid these high fees I use a Transferwise account.
This European online bank has really been a game changer. I now have the benefit of different currencies in my account. (It looks like paypal)
I´ve been using this for over a year and everything works so quickly. Love it.
Getting a VISA
Depending on which country you are from you may need a VISA for an extended stay in Spain (or the EU)
There is lots of updated and specific information on the iVisa website.
Whichever nationality you are it provides lots of detail about when you need a VISA and when you should get in touch with your embassy.
There are changes to rules and each case can vary so best to get updated official information.
How to find work in Granada ?
In Granada most of the people I know teach English or are working in the tourism industry (bars, restaurants or rural accomodation)
Some also have a business or are freelancers that can work from anywhere as long as they have internet and a phone line. I wrote this post with tips on Job Search that may be useful.
Teach English in Spain
In Spain or in any other country you choose, you will need a TEFL certification. My TEFL offers great online courses which you could complete before actually moving to Spain.
These courses are good particularly if you are new to teaching but also fit if you already some experience.
Click on the banner for more information on TEFL certification and courses.
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Helping newcomers transition to living abroad is something I enjoy.
Here´s hoping this deal helps you get ahead when making your plans to live abroad.
If you want to work in a Spanish company you will need to Learn Spanish to a high standard. Unemployment levels are very high in Spain and Granada at the moment. Finding work is not easy for anyone. I would recommend securing work before a move to Granada if at all possible.
If you are looking into running your own business in Spain. Here is lots of English information about being Autonomo in Spain this is more complex that the system in UK. In fact some expats choose to have a Limited UK company to simplify bureacracy.
Learning Spanish in Granada?
I recently published this detailed post about Learning Spanish. I cannot stress the importance of grasping the basics of Spanish at least. In other areas of Spain the expat community is numerous and Spanish may not be as necessary. In Granada the expat community is quite small and locals do not have good english. To carry out the most basic task (e.g posting a letter at Correos) you will need some Spanish.
There is also the opportunity to Stay with a local Family and get a real Spanish experience. Homestay specialise in this type of programe.
How can I find other English speakers + Expats in my area?
There are many networking opportunities in Granada. A group that I have participated in Expat.com. In Granada they usually meet once a month. The group is gradually increasing in size. There do have other groups in Spanish & European cities too. The online platform is good to find contacts and the meet up is great to socialise and make local friends.
Looking for bloggers who write about the area where you intend to live or even searching on twitter can prove very interesting. I have met lots of great contacts this way. They also tend to share lots of experiences and detailed information about their local area too.
For a sucessful move to any country it is really important that you find contacts and receive support. You will take time to adjust after a move to Granada or any other location. In Spain Costa Women has a large network of members that could be in the area which you are interested in.
If you go to a language school or language exchange evening this may provide contacts too as there many be other people in the same situation as you. My advice to be open minded and friendly and go a few times as each time there will be different people.
How can I find good schools, childcare and nurseries in Granada
I haven´t had to choose nurseries and schools personally I cannot drawn on my own experience, however here are some resources that will help.
Again as I mentioned with accomodation before deciding on a move to granada big decisions need to be taken here, not remotely. Lots of information isn´t freely available online unfortunately.
- Article about Choosing the right Education overseas on ExpatChild
- A local Granada nursery that has English & Spanish too: Centro Infantil Pecosetes Granada Spain (N.B there are others!)
- A post written about International Schools by Family in Spain
Granada is a small city. Population around is 275,000. It is traditional Spanish city.
Spain generally is a social place and family orientated society. Children play out late on the street and are involved in all activites.
If you have a family it can be a positive move once you have settled in. Probably enjoying a better quality of life than in your home country.
My blog is written mainly about Granada & Andalusia.
I try to avoid the typically touristy/expat vibe as my life is actually 100% Spanish. I enjoy connecting with the local traditions and culture. Hoping to share this atmosphere with you the reader. I want to share the authentic Granada rather than just from a holiday perspective.
This move to Granada guide is an overview, a starting point.
Please do lots of research before you hop on the plane!
Before you move to Granada
If you are seriously considering studying or a move to Granada Spain you must read two posts that should give you an overall feel for the city & province:
Is there something I didn´t cover?
Do add your question in the comments below or on this dedicated Questions and Answers post