Trips, tours and treats
Live the language
R&R in Granada
The last outpost of Moorish Spain, Granada boasts breath-taking Islamic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture, a rich cultural heritage, and the spirit of one of Spain’s greatest writers, making this city the perfect place for A-Level students to appreciate Spain at its best.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, and the most visited monument in Spain, the Alhambra is a palace, fortress and citadel dating back to the 8th century. The Alhambra is the only surviving palatine city of the Islamic Golden Age and a remnant of the Nasrid Dynasty, the last Islamic kingdom in western Europe.
Our resident guide, Isabel, will take students on a cultural journey through the palace, the fortress and the gardens, tailoring her Spanish commentary to the A-Level topics and inviting students to take an active part in the tour. The visit will ensure a learning experience like no other.
Rising above the river Darro and on the opposite bank to the Alhambra is El Albaicín, the Moorish quarter still steeped in Islamic remnants. With narrow streets, whitewashed houses, and a mosque, the Albaicín district will take students back to the Islamic Golden Age so crucial in Spain’s history.
Built along a hillside, this picturesque corner of the city is famous for its cave houses and was home to Granada’s gitana or ‘Roma’ population until the 1960s. Some of them remain in the district, now one of the most fashionable in the city.
At the top of Sacromonte there is a museum set out in a series of caves where students will learn about the Roma culture intrinsic to traditional flamenco.
La plaza de toros
Considered an historic emblem of Granada, the ornate bullring blends the culture and tradition of los toros so synonymous with Andalucía. A tour of the plaza will enable students to understand the historic ritual of the corrida and appreciate the artistic talent of the matador. Armed with knowledge, they’ll form their own viewpoint of the controversy and develop a convincing argument, complete with relevant terminology.
Literature & Lorca
Granada was the home and inspiration of Federico García Lorca, one of Spain’s greatest poets and dramatists. Lorca plays a significant role in Spain’s literary and political history; an understanding of his life is fundamental for all A-Level students of Spanish, especially those studying his final play, La Casa de Bernarda Alba.
That’s why we include a Literary Lorca Day in our itinerary.
We start the day with a trip to Valderrubio, the town where Lorca spent much of his early life. It is here, in this very town, where he found the real-life inspiration for the dramatised tale about his Aunt’s neighbours – the family Alba.
The specialist tour starts in his house, left exactly as it was when the family lived there, and we learn more about the young Federico and his life in the town.
Next, we visit La Casa de Bernarda Alba, the actual house that forms the setting of Lorca’s play, wandering the oppressive rooms where the drama’s action unravels.
To really bring the play to life, students will be treated to professional performances of key scenes in the same rooms that Lorca set them. Shoulder-to-shoulder with the characters themselves, we are immersed in Lorca’s world to such a degree, students will come to understand the play in ways they never could in a classroom.
From Valderrubio we head to Granada for a tour of the family’s summer house, La Huerta de San Vicente. Students will step foot in the rooms where Lorca spent his time from 1926-1936, taking in the views he mused over, and even the desk where he wrote his final play.
After lunch, we arrive at the heart of the city for a tour with a company that specialises in literary heritage, and we visit the places Lorca frequented most. Students will have the chance to ask the experts anything they want to know about Lorca’s life and work in a tour that will open their hearts and minds to a literary legend. The Spanish tour also includes a visit to the Lorca Centre, and comes to an end in his favourite restaurant where we’ll reflect on our experience.
Not only will students come to appreciate literature in new and exciting ways, but they’ll have first-hand experience of the life behind the work they’re studying.
Granada has a delicious tradition of providing a tapa with every drink you order in a local bar.
From pinchos to paella to patatas, students will sample local delicacies in bars the locals love.
R&R in La Axarquía
The Axarquía region was once-notorious bandit country and later a guerrilla stronghold during the Civil War and Franco’s regime.
The area preserves its North African character with Moorish terraces and irrigation channels, as well as whitewashed villages. A total contrast to Granada, students will learn the harrowing history and curious culture of this beautiful region, as well as enjoying some coastal R&R.
With narrow cobbled streets and unrivalled views of the Mediterranean, Frigiliana is one of the region’s many pueblos blancos, widely considered the prettiest of them all.
Just 6km from the coast and steeped in Muslim heritage, Frigiliana is the site of one of the last battles between the Moors and the Christians in 1569.
The town was plagued with more conflict during the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s subsequent regime, and was on the front line in a bloody guerrilla war against the Civil Guard that lasted until 1952.
Our specialist guide and homegrown local, Cipriano, will show students over this stunning town, tailoring his tour to the topics of the A-Level and sharing secrets only the locals know.
El Acebuchal – ‘the lost village’
Nestled in the mountains above Frigiliana, El Acebuchal is a tiny hamlet with a huge story.
In 1948, following Franco’s suspicions that villagers were giving refuge and food to the guerrillas, all residents were forced out of their homes, leaving El Acebuchal abandoned.
The village remained uninhabited until 1998 when one man, Antonio, returned with the dream of rebuilding it, which he did, by hand. Students will hear his very own story in a tour of the ‘lost village’ that takes them back in time and brings Franco’s regime into sharp focus.
La Burriana beach
Coming down from Frigiliana and El Acebuchal, we head to the beach for authentic paella cooked over an open fire.
After lunch, students can enjoy some R and R on the beach soaking up the views.
Once a small fishing village, Nerja is now a thriving town where tourism and local life coexist. Unlike other towns along the southern coast, Nerja has retained its original charm in narrow winding streets and a dramatic setting.
Students will come to Nerja’s Balcón de Europa, a former 9th century fortress, to admire the panoramic views, before we all head back to Granada.
One final treat
On the final evening of the trip, students will be treated to an authentic performance of the dance so symbolic of Andalucía and its Roma culture, listed by UNESCO as ‘intangible cultural heritage of humanity.’
With the guitarist, singer and dancers from the Sacromonte gitana population, students will experience the magic of local flamenco in an intimate setting. ¡Un gran final!
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Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award
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