Playing golf in Spain is an international extravaganza. Many northern Europeans head south for the winter, much like snowbirds in the United States and Canada, and so many of those fleeing colder temperatures find their way here. On numerous Spanish golf courses you can hear German, Dutch, Russian, Norwegian, Swedish and English spoken, and one of the tourists’ favorite destinations is the Costa Blanca, or White Coast, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
This incredible stretch of sand, sea and sun is open for business 365 days a year, and that goes for golf as well. Officially, the Costa Blanca area stretches roughly 125 miles, though a few of the 24 courses that make up the Costa Blanca Golf consortium are on the fringes of that designated area.
The city of Alicante on the Mediterranean is the central point of the Costa Blanca where the average year-round temperature is 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to the expansive golf options, this area features numerous Blue Flag beaches. The Blue Flag beach designation is widely considered the gold standard for beaches throughout the world. Blue Flag beaches are recognized for their excellence in water quality, safety features and amenities, sustainability and accessibility. In Spain, Alicante province boasts the majority of these pristine beaches, including San Juan Beach, Albufereta Beach, Postiguet Beach and Saladares Urbanova Beach.
Hospitality and affordability are two hallmarks of a stay-and-play adventure on the Costa Blanca. Several hotels offer reasonable packages that include golf at multiple courses. Hotel amenities include fine restaurants, spas, swimming pools and great resources for exploring the surrounding area. Hotel Alicante Golf and Dna Monse Hotel Spa Golf are two particular properties that offer expanded golf deals.
Hotel Alicante Golf features an 18-hole course on property, the Alicante Golf Course designed by legendary Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros. The par-72 measures 6,842 yards from the tips and features five large lakes and wide fairways.
“If you enjoy playing a variety of courses, we can also arrange bookings for other area courses, too,” said Celia Trives, sports and holidays director at Hotel Alicante Golf. “There are several other quality courses less than 25 minutes away.”
Courses not to be missed include:
- El Plantío Golf Resort features a stellar 18-hole routing along with a nine-hole par-3 executive course. The layout of the entire complex is in harmony with the surrounding terrain.
- Altea Golf Club has been in existence for nearly 45 years, and the popularity of this busy nine-hole course hasn’t slowed over the years. According to General Manager Pablo Rivas, Altea averages 30,000 rounds a year. The picturesque and hilly course features pine tree-lined fairways, and plenty of scenic backdrops featuring the imposing Sierra Bernia mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. Hole 19 is Altea’s pub and restaurant where they serve incredible paella.
- Lo Romero Golf offers a fabulous track and pristine setting, but it’s the magnificent 18th hole island green that gets all the attention. This is an exciting and enjoyable way to end a round of golf.
- Bonalba Golf Resort features an enjoyable par-72 course that stretches to 6,667 yards. This well-manicured course offers a peaceful and tranquil setting adjacent the Mediterranean Sea.
- Vistabella Golf opened in 2009 and offers large and undulating greens. This course was designed by Manuel Pinero, who teamed with Seve Ballesteros in the 1985 Ryder Cup.
Attractions in Alicante
Shops in Alicante are a treasure trove for locally produced leather pieces such as handbags and purses, along with crafts and handmade jewelry.
Not to be missed, the Santa Barbara Castle is a 10th-century fortress which has played an important role in the history of Alicante. The imposing location is one of the main draws – from its position atop Mount Benacantil, the castle provides unrivalled views of Alicante and the surrounding area, especially from La Torreta, or the upper keep. The Museum of the City of Alicante is located inside of the castle and has 10 exhibition halls covering the history of the city and the castle.
Unique hotels in Spain
Renowned for their high standard of service, Paradores Hotels can be found throughout Spain and are unique in that some of these luxury hotel accommodations are set in castles, palaces, fortresses and other historic buildings. There are 95 state-run Paradores Hotels throughout the country, offering more than 10,000 hotel beds. Six of those resorts offer golf on or near the property, including Parador El Saler in Valencia.
On the drive up to the El Saler, the hotel has a Frank Lloyd Wright appearance outside, and the advertised high-quality standards and amenities inside. El Saler Golf Course is a magnificent wind-swept 18-hole masterpiece and is one of Spain’s top tracks. Designed by Javier Arana, the course opened in 1968 and stretches to 6,950 yards. The course record belongs to Bernhard Langer who in 1984 shot a 62 on the last day of the Spanish Open.
Valencia, the third largest city in Spain, has much to offer. One of the main attractions is the City of Arts and Sciences. This unique complex highlights science and culture in a variety of artistic methods, including an IMAX cinema, science museum and the largest aquarium in Europe. A bike or Segway tour is a great option for getting to know the city. You can also get a great overview of the city on a half-day walking tour. Stop by any of the Spanish tourist offices for details. In Valencia you’ll find seven Red Tourist Info offices, which also provide details about the city, including maps, schedules and a ticket window.
A stroll through Valencia’s Old Town historic district is a great place for sipping a beverage, people watching and absorbing the daily pulse of the city. The charming Plaza de la Virgen, which dates back to the Roman times, features a picturesque fountain in the middle, depicting Neptune surrounded by eight naked women. The square is also surrounded by loads of history including the Cathedral of Santa Maria, the Basílica de la Virgen de los Desamparados, and the Palace of the Generalitat. Inside the cathedral, the Holy Grail is one of the must-see attractions. There are also two unmistakable Goya paintings in the San Francisco de Borja chapel of the cathedral.
The Costa Blanca region of Spain offers plenty of golf and entertainment throughout the year. It is easily accessed by train and bus from the rest of Spain, and Alicante’s airport is a major destination from all over Europe. For more information on the region, visit www.costablanca.org.