Exploring popular sports in Spain

Sports in Spain

Spain is a country known for its passion for sports. From football to bullfighting, the Spanish people have a deep connection to a wide range of athletic activities. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the most popular sports in Spain, their history, and how they have impacted Spanish culture.

Popular sports in Spain: a guide for expats

Living in Spain offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the country’s culture and lifestyle, including its love for sports.

Whether you are a die-hard fan or just looking for a fun way to stay active, Spain has plenty to offer. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular sports in Spain for expats.


Football, or soccer as it’s known in some parts of the world, is by far the most popular sport in Spain. The country’s top national league, La Liga, is home to some of the best teams and players in the world, including Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid.

Expats living in Spain can experience the excitement of live football matches and world championships. They can even join local amateur teams to play the sport themselves.


While basketball may not be as popular as football in Spain, it is still a well-loved sport with a strong following. The Spanish league, the Liga ACB, features some of the best teams and players in Europe. Expats who enjoy basketball can watch live matches or join a local basketball team to play this popular sport.


It is another popular sport for the Spanish population. Spain has a rich history of producing top tennis players, including the greatest Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal.

Expats who enjoy tennis can join local clubs and play on the country’s courts. The country also hosts several international events and tournaments, including the Madrid Open and the Barcelona Open.


Spain is a cyclist’s paradise, with its sunny weather, diverse terrain, and scenic routes. The country hosts several professional cycling races, including the Vuelta a España (similar to the Tour de France), and has a well-developed network of bike paths and routes for both recreational and competitive cyclists. Expats and sports people who enjoy cycling can explore the country’s beautiful landscapes and stay active while doing so.


Golf is for sure one of the most traditional sports in the world. Spain is home to some of the best golf courses in Europe, including the world-famous Valderrama Golf Club. Expats who enjoy golf can join local clubs and play on some of the country’s most beautiful courses, many of which offer stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Water Sports

Spain’s long coastline and warm weather make it an ideal destination for water sports enthusiasts. Surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing are popular activities along the coast while sailing and boating are popular in the country’s many ports and marinas. Expats who enjoy water sports can take lessons or rent equipment to explore the country’s beautiful coastline.

Leisure in Spain


Running is a popular sport in Spain, with many cities hosting annual marathons and half-marathons. Expats who enjoy running can join local running clubs and participate in races, or simply explore the country’s many parks and trails on their own.


Spain has a strong tradition in gymnastics, with many talented athletes competing at the national and international levels. Expats who enjoy gymnastics and the Olympic games can join local clubs and train with some of the country’s top coaches.

Martial Arts

Martial arts are popular in Spain, with many clubs offering classes in disciplines such as karate, judo, and taekwondo. Expats who enjoy martial arts can learn from experienced instructors and even compete in local tournaments.

Horse Riding

Spain has a long history of horsemanship, and horse riding is a popular sport and leisure activity throughout the country. Expats who enjoy horse riding can join local clubs or take lessons from experienced instructors. Spain also hosts several equestrian events, including the Seville Horse Fair and the Madrid Horse Week.


While Spain may be better known for its sunny weather, it also has several excellent ski resorts in the Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada mountains. Expats who enjoy this elite sport can hit the slopes and take in the stunning mountain scenery, or even compete in local ski races.


Padel is a racket sport similar to tennis that is popular in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries. It is played on a smaller court and with a different type of ball than tennis, making it a unique and fun sport to try. Expats can join local clubs and play padel with other enthusiasts.

Fitness and Yoga

Spain is a great destination for expats who enjoy indoor activities, as there are many gyms and fitness studios available offering a wide range of classes. Whether you prefer yoga, Pilates, aerobics, or other fitness activities, you’ll find something that suits your interests.

Participating in fitness classes is not only a great way to stay in shape, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to socialize and meet new people. Many of the gyms and fitness studios in Spain provide a welcoming and friendly environment, where you can connect with locals and fellow expats alike.

In addition to traditional fitness classes, many studios in Spain also offer unique and innovative workout experiences, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), indoor cycling, and dance fitness classes. These activities provide a fun and engaging way to improve your fitness while enjoying yourself.

The Passion for Football in Spain: A Deeply Rooted Tradition

Football is deeply ingrained in Spanish culture. In fact, it is more than just a traditional Spanish sport – it’s a way of life.

With passionate fans, competitive leagues, and a deep-rooted tradition, football is a massive part of Spanish culture. Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting out, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and join the football community in Spain. Let’s explore why football in Spain is so popular and how you can get involved.

Football as a Religion

It’s no secret that Spain takes football seriously. In fact, it is often said that football is like a religion in Spain. From children playing on the streets to adults cheering their favorite teams in major sports events, football is a way for people to connect and share a passion.

This popular sport has passionate fans

Spanish football fans are known to be some of the most passionate in the world. The atmosphere in the stadiums during a match is electric, with fans singing and chanting throughout the game. The rivalries between teams only add to the excitement, with the El Clasico match between Barcelona and Real Madrid being one of the most intense rivalries in football.

Getting Involved in this traditional Spanish sport

If you’re looking to make new friends and play football in Spain, there are a few ways to get involved. One option is to sign up at a local sports center, where you can join a casual game with locals. If you’re looking for something more competitive, consider joining one of the many amateur leagues across the country. These leagues cater to players of all skill levels and provide a great opportunity to connect with others who share your passion for the game.

Sports in Spain

Other popular sports

Other sports in Spain that enjoy widespread popularity include handball and motorsports like Formula One and MotoGP.

Spanish Grand Prix

The Spanish Grand Prix is a motor racing race valid for the Formula 1 World Championship. It is currently held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, in Montmeló, Spain. Previously other circuits hosted this Grand Prix, such as Terramar, Lasarte, Pedralbes, Jarama, Montjuic and Jerez, although only the last four were valid for Formula 1.

Formula 1

The world rally championship is one of the major sports events around the globe. This year, Fernando Alonso will make his debut in the Aston Martin team, and Carlos Sainz will continue to develop in the legendary Maranello team. In addition to the home drivers, the new champion Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton will continue to demonstrate their rivalry on the asphalt. Nico Hulkenberg will also return to F1 after a few years away from the World Championship.

As usual, the Circuit will have various proposals to make the Grand Prix a unique sporting event where there will be no shortage of entertainment and fun.

Moto GP

The Spanish Motorcycle racing is a motorcycle sprint race held since 1950 in Spain. Except for the inaugural edition and between 1956 and 1960, it has always been part of the World Motorcycling Championship. Since the 1989 edition, the competition has been held uninterruptedly at the Circuito de Jerez, which also hosted the 1987 edition.

A word from SpainDesk

Spain is a great destination for expats who love sports and leisure activities. The country offers a diverse range of options, ranging from popular sports such as football to lesser-known activities like padel and horse riding.

Football is undoubtedly one of the most popular sports in Spain, and the country boasts some of the best teams and players in the world. Whether you are a fan of FC Barcelona or Real Madrid, you can enjoy the thrill of watching some of the biggest matches and tournaments in the world.

But football is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sports and leisure activities in Spain. Padel, for example, is a unique and exciting sport that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is similar to tennis but played on a smaller court with walls, and is suitable for players of all levels.

Horse riding is another popular activity, especially in rural areas of the country. You can take lessons, go on guided tours or even participate in competitions, depending on your skill level and interests. Other options include hiking, cycling, golf, water sports, and much more.

Spain’s vibrant sports scene is not just limited to competitive athletes, however. If you are just looking for a fun way to stay active and meet new people, you can also find plenty of opportunities to do so. From social sports clubs to fitness classes, there is something for everyone in Spain.

Overall, whether you are a die-hard sports fan or just looking for a new hobby, Spain offers a wide range of sports and leisure activities that are sure to keep you entertained and engaged.