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Fitness and Sport for Expats in Spain

Submitted: July 2013

There are a number of gyms throughout Spain included some which only accept female members. Generally, most gyms will offer personal training (at an additional cost). Gyms however are not as prevalent as in the USA and, depending on where in Spain you are, you may find your options limited. Bigger cities such as Madrid and Barcelona will offer far more options including large, modern gyms with popular classes such as spin class and yoga. Monthly membership fees may vary from anywhere between EUR30 to 100 based on the services and facilities offered. For a list of gyms in Spain, a useful resource is this website - https://www.gymvisit.com/findagym.htm?loc=europe/spain

Other than gyms, there are many other options for staying fit. For example, you may want to consider jogging in one of Spain’s many parks and green spaces, weather permitting. For the serious joggers on assignment in Spain, you may find the below website useful in giving a list of route throughout Spain - https://www.walkjogrun.net/jogging-routes/Spain 

If you want to try something even more adventurous, you may be delighted to find that Spain is known for its mountain-climbing and hiking options. In the North, South and North-East (Catalonia) there are a number of mountain routes which you can take. In the winter, the various winter resorts in the North of Spain are the site of many winter activities such as snowboarding, skiing and other mountain activiites.

Football (or soccer for our American cousins) has replaced Catholicism as the national religion of Spain. The Spanish national team is current holder of the UEFA Euros Championships (2012) and the World Cup (2010). Whether a fan of the ‘beautiful game’ or not, you should experience a Spanish football match while there especially el clasico which is any match between long time rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona (considered Spain’s two best football teams). You should note however that Spanish football continues to be marred by the racist slurs and hooliganism by spectators against players and other fellow spectators, particularly those of African descent. You should be cautious of such hooliganism if opting to attend a football match. If you wish to play football, you may find that there a lot of amateur groups which meet informally in parks or fields and play. Some groups are more organized and your liaison in Spain may be able to put you on to a group of other employees who regularly play after work or on weekends.

If you prefer a more gentleman’s (or ladylike) sport, you may be surprised to find that cricket is a sport growing in popularity in Spain and was recently recognized as a sport in Spain by the Spanish government. There are several amateur clubs in Spain (especially in Barcelona) and you may be interested in participating or attending a match. Because of its relatively warm climate through the majority of the year, the south of Spain is ideal for golf enthusiasts. While in Spain, you may want to consider a ‘golf break’ i.e. a relaxing stay in a luxurious resort offering a golf course on its premises. The Golf in Spain website  (English) would provide you with some useful information - https://www.golfinspain.com/eng/

Cycling enthusiasts would of course be aware of La Vuelta, an annual cycling competition which is the Spanish equivalent of the Tour de France. It is held in late summer. For more information on the 2014 competition, due to be held on 23 August to 14 September, see the Vuelta secion of our website.



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