Swordfish, shark, trout fishing that dates back to the 17th century, swimming, surfing… there is something for everyone on the Costa del Sol.
Blue skies, White sand, 800 kilometres of coastline. The list of water related activities in southern Spain is seemingly endless, from high octane wake boarding, magical marine life, there is something for everyone;
Boating and yachting
If you have a passion for boating, or simply want to admire the majesty of some lavish yachts, you will be spoilt for choice in this region. Estepona, Malaga, Velez, Manilva and Marbella all boast ‘blue ﬂag’ awards (an indication of environmental and quality), and from a humble outpowered dinghy, or luxury yacht, there are all kinds of opportunities to take advantage of. Everyone should at least once experience the glorious and decadent port of Puerto Banus in Marbella. The food and shopping is world class, million dollar yachts and sports cars the norm, and even the chance of bumping into the odd celebrity makes this region one of the most lavish in Europe.
Fresh ﬁsh form a large part of the Andalucían diet, so it will come as no surprise that there are excellent fishing facilities available here. For saltwater fishing, the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic waters are ideal (it is important to note, a maritime recreational fishing license, 1st or 3rd class is required to fish independently here), with spectacular swordﬁsh fishing and tuna fishing, where the fish swim so close to the surface they are visible. The sea also plays host to sea bass, gilt-head, leer fish and over 150 types of shark. Freshwater ﬁshing is also available in dams and rivers in Andalucía, with trout, pike, bass, barbel and carp readily available. ‘Rio Frio’ is worth a mention, where trout ﬁshing dates back to 1664.
Snorkelling and diving
There is a Whole world just Waiting to be discovered underneath the Mediterranean Sea. Snorkelling is something that anyone who can swim can take part in, using minimum equipment (snorkel, face mask and flippers); The seas are calm, but always make sure you tell someone inland if you are snorkelling alone. Many sub-aqua divers think that the western coast of the Mediterranean is too shallow, and although the scenery underwater is still beautiful, the more popular sites for scuba diving are closer to the meeting point of the Atlantic, where there are many large underwater rock structures, attracting the best marine life, namely, congers, seahorses, dolphins and spider crabs. There are many interesting wrecks around Gibraltar Worth viewing and there are plenty of dive schools along the coast.
Now onto the more physically strenuous activities where thrill seekers can be found enjoying one of the newest extreme sports; kite-surfing. Whilst the prevalent coastal winds on the Costa de la Luz make Tarifa a kite-surfer’s haven, the beaches of the Costa del Sol offer a variety of conditions to suit all abilities and tastes. Beginner or expert, looking for calm waters or waves, there are numerous beaches popular with enthusiasts and kite-surf schools from Malaga to Marbella and Estepona.
Rowing and canoeing
Generally an inland waterway sport, rowing and canoeing are immensely popular along the Guadalquivir River, especially in Seville and Cordoba. The sport usually takes place on wide stretches of water, but can also be found in lakes and reservoirs. These are calmer waters, with the Guadalquivir being reserved for the more experience oarsmen.
The Mediterranean coastline is better known for its Windsurfing activity, but there is still an excellent time to be had taking to the waves on a surfboard, as is enjoyed by many particularly in the autumn and spring months. One of the recommended destinations is the beaches of Estepona, with the Costa de la Luz also a good location for surfers. The professionals advise you to not buy the first board you see, but to shop around and look for the best price. The surf cannot be compared to places like Hawaii or Australia which make it a good location for beginners.
Wakeboarding is described as the fastest growing water sport in the world. Practiced on lakes or the sea, it is described as a combination of snowboarding, water-skiing and skateboarding. If you can water-ski or skateboard, try this exciting challenge, as it is also less expensive than water-skiing.
The history of this sport is short, dating back to only 1967 where it was founded in California, when Hoyle Schwritzer fixed a sail to his surfboard so he could keep moving without waves, nowadays there are several world championships, one held in Tarifa, Cadiz. Tarifa is for the serious amateur, simply for the fact that it is often too perilously windy for beginners. The sport does not demand a high level of physical strength, just a good sense of balance. Most experts think that women are naturally better than men because of this. For beginners, the beaches of Roquetas del Mar just south of Almeria are perfect, even if the sport isn’t your cup of tea, it proves an excellent spectator’s sport.
Whale and dolphin watching
The waters off the coast of Andalucía are home to a large population of whales and dolphins. Their formal name is ‘cetaceans’ and can be divided into two main categories, mysticeti and odontoceti, and you can see them by joining one of the many expeditions offered by companies from along various points along the Costa de la Luz, Cadiz and the Costa del Sol, or out of Gibraltar. Mysticeti; commonly known as whales are the largest of these species, and can grow up to 120ft long and weigh up to 190 tons (to put that in perspective, a Boeing B-747 Weighs 150!). The other group, Odontoceti is described as ‘toothed whales’, dolphins, gramous and porpoises. The relatively narrow straights of Gibraltar make for a high concentration of these animals, and the scenery is spectacular, not something to be missed.