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Leisure Question:  What leisure activities are available?

Answer:  There are many leisure activities available in Spain that are great fun and can be enjoyed by all ages.  Please consider the following:

 

 

 

GOLF

One of the most popular pastimes for visitors and residents of the Costa Blanca region is golf. With sublime weather all year round and World class golf courses along the coast there is something for all golf enthusiasts.

Compared to other parts of Europe some people may consider that the green fees are quite expensive. But when you take a look at the quality of course you are playing on you realize that they are quite good value for money when you consider a round of golf can take approximately four hours to complete.

Many residents love their golf so much they purchased their property on one of the courses. They just want to be close to the game they love and with free club membership coming with most properties it does make perfect sense. They also have the option of renting out their apartment for periods of the year.

Many of the courses have special offers throughout the year so you can make some great savings on your green fees. With a round of golf priced at 60-75 € many residents pay annual memberships of 2000 - 3000 € which entitles them to play as often as they want. If you play regularly, then purchasing an annual membership is something to consider.

There are excellent golf courses all along the Costa Blanca coast and the top ones are listed below. 

TENNIS

Tennis has always been a popular pastime on the Costa Blanca. With a year round climate ideally suited for outdoor sports you will not have to wonder far to find tennis courts available for players of all ages and levels of ability.

Many urbanisations have tennis courts available for residents and the maintenance and running fees of the courts is covered in the annual administration fees each home owner has to pay. The care of the tennis courts is usually maintained by the gardeners. 

Another option is to join a Tennis Club where you can pay per game or by an annual membership fee which will allow unlimited play. You will have to book court time in advance in hourly time slots. Most clubs have strict dress code so tennis shoes are suitable tennis attire and should be worn at all times. Rackets and balls can be hired if needed. 

Although joining clubs can be expensive and their value would depend on the amount of time you can dedicate to play, they are also a social community in their own right. Tennis Clubs are a great way to meet people and to meet other opponents. 

Many of the tennis courts in the past were grassed but due to high maintenance costs they now use other materials such as clay, synthetic and hard courts.  They provide a harder longer lasting surface, which make them more economical to manage.

Many of the Country Clubs include tennis court access to their members along with Golf so you will need to ensure that the annual membership fee is something you are going to get true value from. If not then it would be more financially beneficial to pay per hour. 

Many of the dedicated tennis clubs will have professional tuition available for beginners and standard players. The average cost of tuition is 20-30 € per hour. 

If you love tennis then you will find that the Costa Blanca has everything you need. A wonderful all year round climate and some of the best playing surfaces in Europe.

FISHING

When you connect the Costa Blanca with fishing you would normally associate it with sea fishing but away from the coast you will find a network of rivers and lakes that will satisfy the appetite of the most enthusiastic angler. 

With Zander, perch, trout, pike, carp, barbel and bass available, there is plenty to challenge the fisherman into using their vast array of techniques and tactics they have mastered over many a fishing season back home.

You will need a regional fishing license and these can be obtained via the many angling shops located along the coast.  If you intend to fish for trout during March - August you will need a license with the trout supplement on it. Licenses cost around 12 €.

With both public and private fishing areas available you need to ensure that you have the license if needed. Some may insist on an additional permit, the local tackle shop is the best source for information on this. The Amadorio and Guadalest dams provide the very best for freshwater fishing and you will find that the many fishing clubs and specialist fishing tour operators provide trips that will include licenses. 

You will find many local sea fishermen on the rocks and harbours though they are only likely to catch smaller bream and bass. To catch the bigger fish you will need to head out to sea in a boat. These can be chartered if you are part of a group and the boat owner will have the local knowledge to take you further out to fish for tuna, grey mullet and mackerel. 

It is highly recommended to go with the local fishing club who are normally much cheaper than chartering your own boat.  You will make some great friends who share your passion (and language). They will also provide all the tackle and bait for your needs.

Freshwater fishing on the Costa Blanca can be great fun for the novice and professional angler alike. For those staying around Benidorm you need not have to travel far for some good action. The lake at Villa Joyosa is only 7km away, and probably holds the biggest carp on the Blanca. This is payable water. Day tickets available in the village just past the lake called Orxeta, at bar Gregorio, or you can start to fish and the ballif will come and direct you to the bar. This is a catch and Release Lake so there are chances of the fish growing bigger and there is very little rubbish laying about on the riverbank.

For the visitor staying in the Torrevieja area the lake near the village of Torrremendo is stuffed with carp and barbel. Sadly they are not so big; they all seem to be around the 2kg mark or just under. Bags of 100 lb are common in the summer months for a six hour session.   Licenses are required to fish each region, for both these lakes you will need an Alicante/Valencia licence which are available from most Caja Rural banks and costing approx 7 €. 

There is a number of fishing tour operators up and down the Costas. The advantage of using these guides is your license is organized for you and they supply all tackle baits and transport which is usually by 4x4 to get you close to the waters edge. A good guide will know the best places to fish and a busy guide will be pre-baiting these areas every day. There are some excellent venues in Spain, but not in this area. The specimen hunter will have to travel further afield to catch big fish. This usually means a few nights away but there are 40lb plus carp and incredible barbel up to 35lb. 

BOWLS

The ever popular European sport of bowls has a solid foundation on the Costa Blanca. With a perfect all year round climate and facilities available it is no surprise that the game of bowls has attracted a huge following. With the game being available to male and female players of all ages it has turned a popular game into a social gathering.  

Bowls was once the game of the elderly and retired but nowadays it has caught the attention of a new generation of younger players.

Joining one of the many bowls clubs on the Costa Blanca opens up so many social avenues it is a great way to make new friends while acquiring the skills of line and distance.  There are bowls clubs the length of the Costa Blanca who all play in their regional leagues.

Many visitors come to the Costa Blanca to play bowls as part of their holiday. This is understandable when the long winter months restrict the playing of the sport outdoors in other parts of Europe.

Most clubs have a local coach available for beginners though they are normally unqualified as a coach in its own right. They are generally experienced players made available to teach anyone looking to take up the sport. 

Most of the clubs have dress code and prefer members to wear whites and flat rubber shoes. There is a lot of discussion amongst the clubs regarding dress code with many new players preferring to wear casual attire while the older members insist that white is the color best associated with the sport. 

HORSE RIDING

Imagine horse riding along nature trails, sandy beaches, salt lakes, pine forests, lemon and orange groves. All this can be done on the Costa Blanca where you hire magnificent Andalucian or Hispano-Arab horses from local stables. 

Nothing can beat the excitement of galloping along the empty beaches and surf with the sea air blowing in your face. It is an exhilarating experience that should not be missed by anyone with a taste for the adventurous and a lust for the outdoor life. 

The Costa Blanca has an abundance of natural beauty and what better way to see this than on the back of a powerful Spanish horse. 

The Costa Blanca has a range of stables inland and on the coast that provide riding lessons for beginners and for more experienced riders. 

Stables are open all year round and they have a range of facilities available; staying overnight on the longer treks or you can simple pay per hour. With prices from only 20 € per hour it's a great way to get closer to nature and to meet new friends. 

Many of the stables have an indoor school so as to learn the art of horse riding before you hit the trails. The cost of the indoor school tuition is approximately 15 € per hour. This is a great way to understand the behavior of the horse and to learn the simple commands that you will need when you hit the trails. 

When the instructors consider you are competent enough you can take to the trails in small groups. With a little more practice you will soon be galloping across the Costa Blanca sands. 

CYCLING

For those of you who love to leave the car at home and take to the parks, hills or coast you will find that the Costa Blanca is a haven for cycling enthusiasts. With a healthy climate all year round and breathtaking scenery the Costa Blanca has everything the cyclist requires. There is nothing quite like getting close to nature and breathing in the local fresh air not to mention the fitness and health benefits that cycling embraces. 

Even in the hot months of July and August the Costa Blanca is ideal for cyclists who take advantage of the cooler early morning and early evening temperatures.  You should always carry a change of clothing, compass, map, water and a mobile telephone in case of emergencies. 

Many residents have chosen to purchase bicycles as a means of transport. With the high cost of the second hand car market it makes economical sense to purchase a bicycle to enable you to get around independently. They are ideal for those quick shopping trips to the supermarket, visit to the local town, not to mention the additional fitness, environmental and leisure benefits. 

There are many Companies on the Costa Blanca offering cycle hire facilities (Costablancabikehire.com). They simply deliver the bicycles to your hotel or apartment and pick them up later. They can also provide you with free maps and tour advice and the security of breakdown or puncture problems. 

With stunning coastal routes and breathtaking national parks you will find that cycling on the Costa Blanca is ideal for beginners, families and the extreme sport enthusiast. 

HIKING

The Costa Blanca has some of the most wonderful and diverse scenery in Europe though much of this can only be admired from a distance. Hiking and mountain walking on the Costa Blanca erase these barriers, you can become close up and personal to parts of the mountainous region that very few have witnessed before. 

You don't just come close to fauna and flora but you get back to nature big time and see unique and fascinating animal life in their natural habitat.  

These enthusiastic walkers do not just climb for the reward of a panoramic view. As beautiful as the scenery is, the breathtaking views of the spiraling eagle, a deer hidden in the undergrowth or even wild boars enhance the experience. The mountains and hills of the Costa Blanca are filled with a historic past that can only be explored on foot. Moorish and Christian castles and trails form a hidden network invisible from below. The hills reveal a hidden a world; magical surroundings that come alive for everyone that are fit enough to tackle the most rugged of terrain.  

Beautiful as they are the hills and mountainous regions of the Costa Blanca can be extremely dangerous. You should always walk with experienced people and wear the correct clothing, carry enough liquids that can feed a demanding body in hot climatic conditions. Safety is paramount and you need to ensure that you are aware of your feet and hand placements at all times.  

If you have a serious accident you put yourself and fellow walkers at risk. Due to this we would only recommend walking with clubs who know the area and can provide excellent guides to ensure you get the most out of the area. 

Many of the groups have walks to suit all standards of fitness and experience and it is a great way to meet new friends who also have a passion for the outdoors.  

Many of the routes are colour coded and you need to ensure that you choose a route that matches your grade of experience and fitness. Maps and compasses are a must and the ability to use them skillfully. 

The Costa Blanca is a wonderful area for walking with a wealth and diversity of mountains and hills that will test even the most advanced mountain walker or hiker. 

WINDSURFING

If you love the exhilaration of riding the waves then windsurfing, the Costa Blanca has just about everything for the extreme water sport enthusiasts. With some windsurfing professional’s reaching speeds of up to 40 knots you can imagine the thrill and excitement of cutting through the waves at high speed.

Summer thermals normally peak between 4pm and 6pm making this the ideal time to windsurf. Winds normally pick up in the September and October months with some days more ideal to surfing when the large waves come crashing into the shoreline. You will find ideal windsurfing locations all along the Costa Blanca with some of the most popular areas in the north. 

Shifting sands, hidden underwater rocks, strong winds and currents make windsurfing dangerous at times. You should always check the weather forecast before heading out and also to ensure that people know where you are and what time you anticipate being back.  Safety should always be the number one priority. 

There are lots of windsurfing schools available on the Costa Blanca with most heading towards Calpe, Javea and Moraira. While the most experienced windsurfers will own their own equipment, schools and nautical clubs rent them out by the hour. 

It is essential to have lessons and this must include safety. Windsurfing is like surfing in many ways, it looks so easy to do from the shore. But when you try it for the first time you have an instant reality check; you discover that it is indeed a skill that needs to be nurtured and comes only with practice and expert guidance. 

If you are experienced enough to venture into the open water without an instructor; wearing the correct clothing and using up to date equipment, windsurfing on the Costa Blanca will be a thrilling experience not to be missed. 

SAILING

The Costa Blanca has always been a haven for water sports and none more so than sailing. With the warm Mediterranean Sea and ideal climate you will find an endless parade of yachts gliding past on any day of the year.  

A yacht taken gently by the natural breeze is always a sublime sight and with a colourful sunrise or sunset as a backdrop it makes for a totally picturesque image. Gently lapping waves and the buffeting canvass make a sailing adventure a complete must for any visitor or resident of the Costa Blanca. 

With marinas packed with pleasure craft all along the Costa Blanca coast you do not have to travel far to get a taste of the ultimate sailing experience.  Yachts can be chartered along with skipper for parties up to six persons depending on the size of the yacht. 

All charters come with refreshments and normally travel along the coast up to Denia or down to Alicante. Trips from Alicante can take you north or south down to the Mar Menor. An average size yacht would normally cost 900 € for the day. When you consider this is shared between six other people it makes quite good value for money. 

You can make arrangements to take longer trips that can include Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca. You will sleep on the boat and with modern comforts of showers and television it makes for a five star floating luxury accommodation. You will be given basic safety information before you set sail which should be taken very seriously for the benefit of yourself and other passengers. You will also be encouraged to take an active roll in the sailing of the yacht which is an experience not to be missed.A completely different prospective is visualized when sailing on the breeze along the mainland of the Costa Blanca shoreline in all it's beauty, one that should not be missed! 

There are additional tax implications for boat owners in Spain and they need to be aware of the three tax system that is currently in place. The first is the harbour tax which is known locally as G-5. This tax covers the use of moorings and ports and the funds received via the G-5 tax is spent on the maintenance and improvements of these areas.  

The second tax to consider is the wealth tax though this is only applicable for people staying less than six months in Spain in one year. 

The third tax is the re-registration of boats that come under the Spanish flag. Like motor vehicles you cannot use a foreign registered boat after a six month period so you have to consider changing it over to a Spanish flag. This can be quite costly and you will be required to pay a 12% matriculation tax on re-registration. 

SCUBA DIVING

With warm Mediterranean seas and good visibility the Costa Blanca has plenty to offer beginners and more advanced scuba divers. The average visibility is twenty meters and with sea temperatures averaging 60 degrees, there are a range of shore and boat dives available enabling you to discover wonderful underwater sea life. With historic shipwrecks in abundance the Costa Blanca is becoming a popular place for many scuba divers.  

With P.A.D.I schools available in the north offering courses for all levels of experience it really is a great option to consider for visitors and residents. You can choose for a simple one day beginner’s course which will provide you with an overview of the sport and is a great way to discover more about the underwater world and to familiarize yourself with the equipment and safety issues. With one-day courses starting at 60 € you can get a real feel for scuba diving to see if it is a sport you would like to develop further without having to commit to a longer and more expensive training option. 

The open water courses last approximately four days at a cost of 300 € with certification. This will enable you to dive anywhere in the World just by showing your P.A.D.I log book. For those looking to develop their pastime into a career, more advanced Scuba Dive Instructor courses are available. 

Youwill find visibility up to forty meters when the sea is calm and a wealth of underwater sea life to view at the many dive centres along the Northern Costa Blanca coast. Here you will find rays, octopus, barracuda, eels, bream and many other species. 

The top dive spots are found from Benidorm up as far as Javea. Recent exploration has discovered more proof of the connection between Calpe and the Balearic islands with ancient shipwrecks of ships that used to transport pottery and goods to the Costa Blanca.

A first century Roman ship was discovered off the Alicante coast in 2000 in excellent condition and is currently the only Roman ship under investigation in the Mediterranean. It is only recently that finances have been raised to start a complete investigation. The cargo contains around 1,500 amphoras’ which are two handle clay jars that were exporting fish sauce to parts of the Roman Empire. The ship was also carrying lead and copper so tin could be made. Experts believe the ship ran into a storm only 1.5 kilometers off the coast. 

You can also dive on a wide range of first and Second World War ships such as submarines, destroyers and minesweepers. There is an unlimited supply of caves to explore and large drop-offs to descend to even deeper depths. 

The coral and the sea life make for an inspiring array of magical colours that have to be seen to be believed. The Costa Blanca can offer experienced scuba divers a wealth of underwater opportunities.  Beginners can be fully qualified in a matter of days by experienced training staff so as to enjoy these wonders.