The subject of today’s blog is sport, something that is everywhere you look yet can be so often overlooked. Golf in particular is rarely far from the headlines, although this is hardly surprising given the fact that there’s a golf course seemingly every few kilometers. 102 for those of you who are wondering how many there actually are! One of the largest news features recently was the 2023 Solheim Cup hosting being awarded to Finca Cortesin, one of the most famous golf courses in Europe.
However it’s not just golf that has captured residents’ interest on the Costa Del Sol recently. Tennis is currently dominating the news in Marbella at the moment. This is thanks in part to the men’s world number 1 Novak Djokovic moving his main base to Marbella, in particular the exclusive gated community of Sierra Blanca, and taking over the courts both in Nueva Andalucia and Puente Romano, where the ATP Tour is holding an ATP 250 event from March 29th to April 4th.
Now let’s not get hung up on golf and tennis, there are a vast array of sporting activities to choose from. Equestrian sports, football, hiking, water sports …. they are all in plentiful supply.
Marbella, with its’ microclimate, wonderful weather and quality of sports facilities, is one of the preferred places to hold activities and many important sporting events, including National Automobile Championships and Andalusian Cycling Tour. It hosted Davis Cup tie between Spain and Great Britain in February 2018, and was a chosen destination for the rhythmic gymnastics’ final Grand Prix 2018. The Ironman event is now held annually in the Marbella area.
Let’s talk football.
Marbella Fútbol Club is the ‘local’ team here and plays it’s home games at the Estadio Municipal de Marbella, a 7300 seat capacity stadium in the heart of the town. Plans however are afoot for a much larger 18,000 seater stadium, part of plans to increase the brand awareness of both the club and Marbella itself. For those who might not be too familiar, Marbella FC has a rich and varied history, from ownership by Jesus Gil to Russian businessman Alexander Grinberg who saved the club from bankruptcy.
The Marbella Fútbol Club experienced a fundamental episode in its history on November 19, 2018, when Mr. Zhao Zhen, Sport Business Consultant of Guirenniao Group Limited, became the new owner of the entity. In this new stage, the representation agency The Best Of You Sports SA has been in charge of the management of all areas of the club to generate a new impulse both at a sporting and structural level.
Since the arrival of the new Chinese owner, Marbella FC has undergone a profound renovation, the aim of which is for the club to reach the elite of Spanish football in a few years. Since then, the Marbella municipal stadium has undergone very sensitive structural improvements in accordance with the demands generated by the new property: the first team changing rooms are at the same level as First Division clubs; the brand new Honor box is set up for premium events and the best comfort for your guests during match days; The official store in the stadium offices has the attractive merchandising of the club and the new U-television provides an absolute presence to the sponsors during the broadcast of the matches.
In the sporting aspect, Marbella qualified to play the promotion phase to Second Division of the 2019/2020 season, having lost only one game during the competition, and has once again placed itself among the most competitive teams in the category.
In relation to sports sponsorships, major international brands have opted for the current project of the Marbella club. In this way, the Marbella City Council has become the main sponsor; Adidas is the technical sponsor; Hospital Ochoa, the medical sponsor and such relevant names as Pedro del Hierro, Bibo Dani García, Moët Chandon, Coca-Cola, Iván Malagón Clinic, Avatel or Iberian Mobility also appear in the select group of partners .
The Marbella youth academy has become professional in such a way that 24 teams of all categories (from pre-juniors to juniors) make up the new Marbella FC Talents academy , directed by Adolfo Aldana, whose reputation in educational football is extraordinary.
The club has also given great importance to the Senior Female team with a high-level technical staff and the commercial commitment of such prestigious brands as Women’secret. Last but not least, Marbella FC has signed a strategic alliance with Hyderabad FC of the Indian Super League, through which the club will have access to the emerging Asian football market.
One team punching slightly below their weight at the moment however is a name much more familiar to both the Spanish and European football fans. Malaga CF. A team that not so long ago was in the upper echelons of both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League is now languishing in the Segunda División, the ‘second division’ of the Spanish football system. Playing their home games in the La Rosaleda stadium, Los Albicelestes hope that their beloved team will once again reach the dizzy heights they all too briefly reached just 10 years ago.
However it’s not just local teams that can be spotted on the Costa Del Sol. Marbella is home to the warm weather training camps of various English Premier League teams including Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Marbella’s residents also like to look after themselves and keep fit. Among the best local gyms are Plaza Gym if you own a property in Puerto Banus, O2 Wellness and Zen beauty center if you live in Marbella town, Fitness Studio at Los Monteros Hotel and Oxigeno Gym in La Cañada. Golden Mile residents like the legendary Marbella Club Wellness or Fitness Club in Puente Romano.
Water sports are also extremely popular on the Costa Del Sol.
The Costa del Sol is a fabulous holiday destination for water sports enthusiasts and for those with a holiday home in Marbella there’s always a new type of water-based leisure activity to be discovered. Various companies organize boat excursions, dolphin watching trips, yacht charter, fishing trips and speed boat rides, but there’s also surfing- and kite surfing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, banana boat racing and much, much more.
At splashwatersports.com, water sports enthusiasts can ride the azure waters on a luxury sports boat and watch wild dolphins, turtles, flying fish, tuna and whales in their natural habitat along the shores of Marbella. Starting from Puerto Cabopino Marina, which is located a few miles east of Marbella, the boat tour is a great adventure. The company offers trips starting at 15 minutes, with the longest excursion lasting one hour 15 minutes, costing around 50 euros per person.
Speed fans will find the super speed Rapid Rib Rides this operator offers even more thrilling. Hurtle along the coast at high speed to test your mettle or take it slow and easy. The 15-minute trip is great fun and costs just 20.00 euros per person. Water skiing is not everybody’s cup of salt water, but for those who want to take up this sport, Splash Watersports offers tuition at 45 euros per session.
For more leisurely water sport activities, there are sonar inflatables and banana boats, pedal boat rental, sea kayak tours, wake boarding and deep sea fishing trips. At watersportsmarbella.com, thrill-seekers can hire jet skis or go on flyboard jet flights, guided jet ski excursions, enjoy waterskiing, sailing and parasailing trips. This company covers the coastline from Malaga to Sotogrande, offering more than 400 holiday activities, including many water sports and boat charter combinations that start from Estepona, Cabopino and Puerto Banus.
Why not head to Gibraltar by speedboat on a private excursion or go on a 2-hour jet ski expedition off the coast of Marbella? The company also offers kite surfing lessons, stand-up paddle tuition, sea kayak excursions and rental, pedal boat hire and sailing hobbiecat rental. The Costa del Sol also offers plenty of scope for fans of canyoning, a truly spine-tingling experience.
And if you want a day off from the beach and water, there are quad bike tours, paintballing adventures, archery, crazy mini-golf, treasure hunts with metal detectors and treetop zip lining you can enjoy just a few kilometers inland from Marbella. The company’s own quad circuit is based just a 30-minute drive from the center of Marbella and here petrol heads can experience quad bike driving even without a driving license. There is also an archery target area and guests can compete in an air rifle contest to test their shooting skills.
Marbella also offers families with children several activity centers, where little ones can splash about, learn how to swim, have their first snorkeling experience or receive sailing tuition. For sea kayaking excursions a minimum age of 8 typically applies, but if your child is old enough for a kayaking adventure, it will be a family team effort your child will remember for a long time to come. Or at least until your next Costa del Sol visit, by which time a new water-based sports craze will have arrived in Marbella!
Moving on, let’s not forget the polo at Sotogrande. Verdin Property have been lucky enough to be invited to the polo and we must say, whilst it’s not our favorite sport, it’s certainly a great experience, even if you’re not in the VIP section! And who knows, you may be rubbing shoulders with royalty, wealthy businessmen and fellow horsey fans.
A brisk hike up Marbella’s iconic landmark, La Concha, is also something that should be on the ‘to do’ list, if only for the view when you get to the top (see above!). What we will advise though is that it is a longer walk than you might expect, so make sure you make an early start and take plenty of water. For this reason we also advise that you don’t try and do the climb during the summer months, we don’t want you needing to be rescued!
Slightly further afield, you also have the well known Sierra Nevada for those of you who don’t mind the cold, as well as the Caminito Del Rey near the lakes of El Chorro, both are places we highly recommend visiting.
Obviously there’s far too much on offer for us to go through it all, but between having a kick-about or rally with your friends, a day at the golf club or just taking a walk up the iconic La Concha mountain, the Costa Del Sol has it all on offer.
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