Leisure and Sport
Nature, Culture and Excursions
Unlike on the built-up Mediterranean coast, the Spanish Atlantic coast is still fairly untouched. Endless beaches, pine woods, cork trees and wild olive trees, large meadows and vineyards dominate the landscape. Trips and excursions to places like Gibraltar, Cádiz, Seville and Jerez can be easily made from around Chiclana and Conil..
A crossing to Africa (to Tanger, from Tarifa or Algeciras) will lead you to Morocco into a completely different world, which has influenced Andalucía for centuries.
Recreation and sporting facilities in Andalucía vary considerably depending on the town or area, but are excellent in the major cities and resort areas, although more difficult to find in more rural regions and villages. Community sports centers, known as polideportivos are located in the larger towns or cities and there are also many private country clubs (e.g. DehesaMontenmedio), sports centers and gymnasiums. Several of the larger hotels on the Costa de la Luz also have gymnasiums that are available for non-guests. Many community developments and urbanizations have swimming pools, there are a number of tennis clubs and other sports facilities. The cost of participation in sports, overall, is reasonable when compared to most other European countries. Obviously, the sports facilities on the Costa de la Luz are tourist driven, particularly in respect to golf and water sports. It is the climate, of course, that makes all the outdoor sports so popular and possible all year round.
Perhaps the most popular and number one visitor sport in Andalucia!
The horse is an integral part of rural life in Andalucia. Farms, riding schools, and private stables provide riding lessons, riding trips or simply hire horses for riding.
The Costa de la Luz is a watersports mecca, because of its wide coastline, framed by the Atlantic Ocean. The most popular sports include sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, jet-skiing, surfing and subaquatic sports. There are clubs for most water sports in all major Costa resorts and instruction is generally available. Although windsurfing is better known -especially in Tarifa -, surfboarding is also enjoyed by many, particularly good times are in the autumn and spring.
The bay and strait of Gibraltar have a large population of whales (pilot whales, orcas, sperm whales etc) and dolphins (common, bottle nose). To observe these magnificent animals within their natural habitat is a truly breathtaking experience! Various companies offer boat trips lasting for 2-4 hours, leaving Tarifa several times daily. Whale watching season starts in April and ends in October.
Celebrations and fairs
Spain – and especially Andalusia again – is the land of the ferias and fiestas. Therefore a journey would be incomplete without visiting one of these festivals foaming over with vitality. Taking into consideration that every single village is celebrating its patron once a year, there are thousands of these festivals. All of them are quite different, depending on the region and the occasion, but they all have something in common: There is never a lack of wine, dance, music and loads of fun.
Are the traditional former annual fairs which evolved into general folk festivals? Nowadays they aren’t necessarily related to their historical origin anymore, but still worth to be experienced. You will often find the so called “casetas” there, tents and booths belonging to associations or rented by families. In the former case the access is for free, the associations are just supplementing their cashes by selling food and drinks. The largest and most popular feria of Andalusia is the “Feria de Abril” of Seville.
are of religious origin, and of religious roots to be enjoyed and relished, during the impressive processions, or the mass – at the latest- the bars are packed with people celebrating until the next morning. This applies also for the Semana Santa (Holy Week) which is assumed to be more gloomy. The host for the most popular celebrations during Semana Santa is again Sevilla, but also the celebrations in other Andalusian cities are very glorious. And that’s by far not all yet: Apart from the Holy Week there are more numerous and charming, famous original festivities
is the spanish designation for the pilgrimages to one of the Saint patrons. Europe’s biggest pilgramage is taking place at Whitesurday and leads to the small andalusian village of El Rocio. Up to one million people are joining in this fun filled and hilarious romeria every year.”Merios y Christanos” are a special kind of festivals, reminding of the period of Christian Recapture – the “Reconquista”- by stylising fights between the “maros” and the “christianos”. These performances are taking place at many spanish regions. The ones at Murcia and Valencia are eminently noticeable.
The Andalusian basic festivities
Carnaval (Shrovetide, Carnival)
Once banned by Franco because of a supposedly contra-conservative ethos, the Carnaval is fun filled and hilarious nowadays as always. The most lively processions are said to be found at Cadiz.
as already mentioned above, Semana Santa is one of the most colourful festivals, packed with awesome processions all over Andalusia. Especially the processions of Sevilla are highly praised, but there are loads of other outstanding celebrations during the Holy Week.
Feria de Abril
at Sevilla. The feria begins from Monday to Thursday night, between the 15th and the 21st of April and ends at the following Saturday night. It is a gigantic spring festival with hectolitres of spent sherry, solemnly dressed cavaliers, family-tents and so on…
Cruces de Mayo and Fiesta de Patios
taking place during the first two weeks of May, these are two consecutive contests where the most beautiful cross made of flowers and the prettiest courtyards (patios) are choosing. In the latter case all of the patios are exceptionally access able for the public.
Feria del Caballo (Festival of the Horse)
Happening every year during the second week in May at Jerez de la Frontera, this event is definitely a must for everyone who loves horses. The opulent side shows are really worth visiting this feria even for those who usually cant do anything with horses.
Feria de Mayo
the Feria de Mayo is the counterpart to the Feria de Abril of Sevilla and takes places during the last week in May.
Romeria el Rocio
the most popular festival of Andalusia besides the SemanaSanta at Sevilla. It also takes place at Pentecost in the form of a pilgrimage lasting several days and leading to the village of El Rocio at the river of the Guadalquivir.
this is the second highest public holiday in the christian almanac which is celebrated by every single village. The hosts of the biggest and most popular processions are Granada, Cordoba and Sevilla.
Dia de San Juan
(23./24. of June), the date were Midsummer Night is celebrated with loads of fire works. The festivities are really lasting the whole night.
· La Virgen de la Asuncion
(Assumption Day) Celebrated in Andalusia as well as in Spain or the rest of Europe at the 15th of August.
This pilgrimage at the 6th of September starts at Guadix and leads to Baza (Granada). The whole event comes across as a bit abnormal, as the inhabitants of Baza are resisting against the entering of the “Casacamorras” and his companions in a quaint way, in order to anticipate the success of an image.
Fiestas de Pedro Romero
last but not least on of the typical spanish celebrations taking place in the first two weeks of September at Ronda (Malaga). The fiesta de Pedro Romero is a festival in honour of the greatest bullfighter of all times (this is at least the locals opinion). The venue is the oldest bullfighting arena of Spain, the best location for a real traditional event with Corridas in historical costumes, Flamenco and so on..
This pleasant category was created to give you some advice on how to spend your days in Andalusia. Any of the activities listed below have already been tested by us and we definitely had loads of fun doing this. As we are constantly enlarging it, it is worth checking this category frequently.
To be on offer soon:
- day trips to Morocco
- horseback riding in Andalusia
- mountain biking and bike tours
- jeep game drives including back-country tours and a cross-country show-jumping course
- excursions to the bullfighting arena
- sherry tasting guided by the producers