Can you give me some advice please? I am considering taking a Spanish language class offered by Don Quijote in Spain. Having never been there, I am having a hard time picking the best location in Spain. I would love to be near the ocean but don't want a huge city nor major tourist destination as I would love to explore the culture of Spain in a laid back city. I have narrowed my choices down to Granada, Valencia, Malaga or Seville. Which city do you recommend and if you can give me any additional advice, I would apprecaite it. What is your favorite city in Spain?
Happy New Year,
You definitely want Granada...
it is an hour from the beach.. great cheap bus service to a cute and very spanish town called Salobrena..cheap accomodation there too.. also very close to the mountains for winter skiing or summer hiking .. great locale can't be beat.. I know I live in Salobrena..
Cheers and you will love Granada.. Malaga is too big and to touristy
I hope Antonio Banderas forgives me if I say I wouldn't choose Málaga (he was born and bred there). Even though Málaga has probably the best weather in Europe all year round, it has the disadventages of any big city but few of their adventages. By this I mean it's not specially beautiful (in fact I think it's not beautiful at all except some streets) and not specially interesting or appealing. Sorry, malagueños, it's just an opinion from someone who has been there thousend times, no offense.
Which one then? No sé.
Granada and Seville are in Andalucía, the south part of Spain where we speak spanish with andalusian accent that can be hard to understand, In Valencia they speak with a(more or less)neutral accent.
Valencia is more of a modern city than the others, it's not as turistical (except maybe for the CAC):
You won't find in Valencia any of the cliches you may have about Spain: flamenco, guitars, bullfighting, white little houses,...not here. That doesn't mean its not interesting, it is. It has a nice mediterranean vibe, warm people. The distance to Madrid and Barcelona makes it a nice base for quick trips. Valencia has got a beach (La Malvarosa) which is no big deal but you can find very good ones in the surroundings.
Most tourists think that Paella is the national dish of Spain (it's not) and order it at any restaurant they stumble upon all over the country, no matter where they are. Well, Valencia is one of the few places where you can properly eat a Paella not getting that strange gaze from the waiter.
Seville is probably the most beautiful of the three.It has about the same size and population as Valencia. Here and in Granada you will find that cliche you may have in mind about Spain. A large historical center, lots of history,...and lots of tourists. But definitively a nice, nice city. Even if there's no beach, you can get a bus an go to any of the beaches along the coast of Cádiz and Huelva, as sevillians do. To me they're probably the best beaches in Spain (Conil, Zahara, Cádiz, Tarifa,...)
Granada is the smaller one. Living here makes sometimes the impression you live in a small village. Here (I live in Granada) you walk everywhere, know every street, every bar. Tapas are for free with your drinks, lots of students,...and the Alhambra, the Albaycin and Sierra Nevada. Its also the dirtiest of the three but charming nonetheless. Beaches? One hour by bus: Nerja, Salobreña, or (two hours) Costa del Sol or Cabo de Gata. Beach, deserts and mountains. Sounds familiar to you, oregonian?
These are the virtues. They, of course, have defects: traffic, crowds, noise,...like everywhere else. I don't know if all this will help you or make things worse. But I really can not choose one. Maybe others can point some other reasons. Maybe some search for pictures in flickr helps. Un saludo.
[ Edit: Edited on Dec 28, 2006, at 3:40 AM by Gusiluz ]