For those of you who enjoy football, there’s no question it is one of the most popular sports activities in Spain. Few will not have heard of La Liga, Spain’s top footballing division. Go into virtually any bar and when there’s a football match being played it will be shown on TV with patrons eager to watch every second of it. And it was a Spanish football club, Barcelona, who won the prestigious 2011 Champions League title against the English Champions, Manchester United, at Wembley on May 28th.
Real Madrid are the big earners, and the big spenders, when it comes to Spanish football, indeed world football.
Over the years they have spent a lot of money on the world’s best players, and few observers were surprised when they lured the Welsh International, Gareth Bale, away from Tottenham Hotspur, on the 2nd September 2013. Paying 100 million euros (£85 million) for Bale, this set a new transfer record in football anywhere in the world.
Pradollano Ski Resort
But, there’s much more to sport in Spain than just football. While most of us might think about the warmer weather types of activities, it should also be remembered that Spain is the second highest of European countries. And that means snow! And wherever there is snow you will often find opportunities for skiing, snow boarding and other winter activities not always associated with sports activities in Spain. With over 35 ski resorts there is bound to be the kind of terrain to suit everyone, from the inexperienced to advanced. Some of the most challenging runs are in the Pyrenees region in Northern Spain. One of the biggest and best ski resorts there is the Baqueira Beret, located around 200km from Barcelona. This is a great place for families who are learning to ski. At Beret they have a wide range of services including cafés, terraces, ski equipment hire, children’s sleighs, ski school, children’s playschool, beginners’ area with ski passes at reduced rate.
In the south of Spain is the Sierra Nevada mountain range, very popular for winter sports. The Sierra Nevada is only a couple of hours away from the Costa Del Sol. The snow in that region is light and dry because of the low humidity in Southern Spain. The city of Granada is nearby, at the foot of the mountains.
One of the most popular ski resorts in the Sierra Nevada is at Pradollano. Skiiers and snowboarders can usually enjoy a full season of snow from November to May. Pradollano is more than just snow though. There are a lot of bars, shops, hotels and apartments in the area, and is great for year-round entertainment with outdoor activities such as horse riding, hiking and mountain biking being very popular among both locals and tourists.
For anyone who can’t get enough of skiing there is Xanadu in Madrid, the first indoor ski slope in Spain. Xanadu is divided into both a beginners’ area and another area for more experienced skiers. It can take up to 3,000 people at one time. It has a shopping area next door with dozens of restaurants and cinemas, even go carting is available.
As you might expect in a country with thousands of kilometres of coastline, sports activities in Spain have to includes some wonderful facilities for water sports, including water-skiing, windsurfing, surfing, diving, rowing and canoeing. If you go to the coast there are sure to be facilities for some type of boating activity. Some of the lakes and rivers are ideal for canoeing or kayaking on, and again equipment is usually available to hire. In the northern mountains in Spain you can find white-water rafting and canoeing in the rapids.
At Tarifa, Andalucia, located about as far south on the Spanish mainland as you can get, they have windsurfing and kitesurfing activities. It is a windy area, which is why it is a popular place for windsurfing of course. Some actually refer to it as the Wind Capital of Europe. There are a number of windsurfing and kitesurfing schools in Tarifa.
For those who enjoy horse riding you will find lots of horse riding schools throughout Spain. Horseriding holidays are very popular. Farms, riding schools, hotels and small stables offer a wide range of horses for riders with varying levels of experience. Horse riding is another of those sports activities in Spain there is an abundance of.
Finally, think of some of the finest golf courses in the world and you think of Spain.
The Costa Del Sol is recognized as one of the world’s best golfing destinations with courses for all levels. The ‘Sunshine Coast’ itself has over 30 courses. It’s here that Valderrama is located, in San Roque, Cadiz. Valderrama was host of the 1997 Ryder Cup, and has staged a number of world championship matches, including the Volvo Masters tournament.
Such is the popularity of golf that many property developers actually build their homes around golf courses.
Although almost anywhere in Spain you’ll find a course to play on, many are located on the eastern side, right from down in the south on up to the north. There are a number of good courses in Almeria, and too in Murcia with its La Manga resort, which contains some of Europe’s finest courses, with several Spanish Opens being played there. In Catalonia there is one of the top rated golf resorts in the world, the PGA Catalunya. PGA Catalunya is ranked number 2 in Spain.
A lot of golfing enthusiasts like to go on pre-packaged golf holidays where everything is organised and planned in advance.
Here is a list of a number of golf courses throughout Spain. This includes directions and contact numbers for further information.
Sports activities in Spain are plentiful, and are among some of the highest quality in the world. You’ll easily find spectator sports, and ones in which you can get involved yourself, whether it’s the water you like, or simply getting involved in activities such as hiking.