The widest range of sports facilities is to be found in Canaries and Azores Archipelago and concentrated in tourist resorts. What follows is just a brief selection of what’s available.
Swimming – Those warm sea temperatures and the numerous beaches make this a great place for swimming. Gomera and La Palma are short of beaches, but the other islands have plenty, especially in the south. Some are small and rocky, some have black or reddish volcanic sand, others are vast stretches of gold, the stuff that sunbathers’ dreams are made of. The city of Las Palmas has its own fine white long beach (Playa de las Canteras) and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, not to be outdone, has imported thousands of tons of golden Sahara sand to construct an artificial beach where there was only shingle before. This man-made wonder 5 miles from the capital is now an established, natural-looking beach called Las Teresitas, near the fishing port of San Andres.
Most big hotels have their own pools, and there are public pools (piscinas municipales)in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and elsewhere, notably the architect-designed leisure complex of Lago Martianez in Puerto de la Cruz.
Watersports– Every island except Hierro has a yacht club, for sailing is a popular sport with locals and visitors alike. In Tenerife the sailing community welcomes visitors at the Real Club Nautico (Carretera de San Andres, Santa Cruz) and at the Club La Galera in Candelaria. In Gran Canaria the sailing centre is the Club Nautico in Las Palmas (Leon y Castillo).
Waterskiing can be arranged through some hotels and many specialist agencies who also hire out boats for fishing or trips round the coast, equipment for sub-aqua swimming and even windsurfing. These agencies are mainly in the tourist urbanizaciones of southern Tenerife (Los Cristianos, Playa de las Americas) and southern Gran Canaria (Puerto Rico, Maspalomas), with similar facilities in the Jandia resorts of Fuerteventura and round the Los Pocillos/Playa Blanca area of Lanzarote.
Tennis – again, many hotels have their own tennis courts, sometimes with professional instructors if you feel your backhand needs strengthening. There are dozens of clubs, often with swimming pools too, and public courts in the modern tourist complexes. The clubs de tenis are usually happy to accept temporary members – in Tenerife, for example, you could apply to join the ‘Outdoor Games Club’ (Club Ingles, San Antonio, Santa Cruz).
Golf – Tenerife and Gran Canaria both have excellent 18-hole courses open all year round. The Club de Golf de Tenerife is at El Pelion, about 10 miles from Santa Cruz, 14 miles from Puerto. There is a bar-restaurant here and a bus service from the capital.
Gran Canaria has several courses. The long-established Club de Golf de Las Palmas is at Bandama, 9 miles from the capital. As well as bar plus restaurant, the Club also has its own accommodation. Guests pay half the regular green fees. There are also two 18-hole courses at the Campo de Golf Maspalomas, 34 miles south of the capital, sharing one clubhouse, bar and restaurant.
Riding – There are several riding schools, mainly in Gran Canaria and Tenerife, where visitors can take lessons or hire a mount. In Gran Canaria at the Bandama Golf Club, at the Picadero del Oasis Maspalomas and at the Escuela de Equitacion, Hoya del Sabinal (off the road between Marzagan and Tafira). In Tenerife at El Club Hipico La Atalaya, near Los Rodeos Airport, and at El Club Hipico Tinerfeno in Guamasa, Tacoronte.