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A guide to Nautical Spain
Spain is the perfect place to sample the warm waters
ofthe Mediterranean and boasts some truly world class marinas. This is our guide to some of the best locations
on the Spanish coastline that offers beaches, yachting
and leisure facilities.

We at Buy Spanish have also included a brief guide to
the cultural sights in each locale to help you decide where you want to go or perhaps even live. From Santander in
the north all the way down to Gibraltar in the South this
is the section if you love the sea.

San Sebastian

A 30 minute journey to the west of the French border takes us to Donostia-San Sebastian, situated in the Basque region. Known as the summer capital of Spain, it is surrounded lushly vegetated mountains and the Bay of Biscay. This is the place where the local population of approximately 180,000 inhabitants multiplies considerably as the indigenous population head here as a relief from the stifling inland heat. It is an aristocratic resort which has remained exclusive and cosmopolitan and is a beautiful yet privelaged place to stay.

San Sebastian is the capital of the province of Guipuzcoa, the smallest of all of the Spanish provinces, and is a more reserved resort casting aside the usual gaudiness of the more typical holiday location. The city, divided by the River Urumea, even provides more sedate, serene and natural locations from the busier centre. If you want to explore the Basque country, then this is the place for you to use as your base.

Donostia-San Sebastian was originally a tiny fishing village a place where the locals fished for cod and hunted for whales. It then become a port, alive with the trade of imported wines for the English and French. It has been occupied by the French under the leadership of Napoleon between 1808 and 1813. San Sebastian then went through a period of depression which ended abruptly in 1845 with the arrival of Queen Isabel II starting a traditional annual visit that was to continue for many years to come.

Donostia-San Sebastian has three beaches, La Concha, Ondarreta and La Zurriola. La Concha was made popular by Queen Isabel and is considered to be one of the most beautiful city beaches in Europe. Ondarreta At the base of Mount Igeldo, is the beach of Ondarreta. With it’s surroundings of gardens and villas it can feel opulent. La Zurriola is to be found on the right bank of the river along with the Plaza de la Constitucion, the library (This was once a bullring and previously existed as the townhall). La Zurriola has undergone a massive project to increase its size by reclaiming land from the sea and is now much bigger than La Concha beach. All three beaches provide tourist facilities in the form of changing rooms, parasols and sunbeds. Situated in the centre of La Concha bay is Santa Clara Island and its lighthouse. During the busy summer months this becomes a the fourth beach in the summer, a ferry service providing the essential link from the harbour.

San Sebastian ’s nightlife is in the old quarter as are most of the restaurants, serving seafood as their speciality, although most offer a wide variety of cuisine. The north of Spain is becoming increasingly attractive to other European countries mainly because of the saturated areas in the south. However it should be noted that buying a property in the north is made more difficult, since the agents are not as fluent in English, but this is juxtaposed by the house prices which are relatively cheap in comparison to the south.

The city also offers the visitor a selection of museums, six in all. When you have explored enough, try the La Perla Talasoterapia sea spa centre where you can relax in therapy pools, saunas and a jacuzzi. For the energetic, the Mount Igeldo attraction park offers over 30 attractions and the ice skating rink is a great visit. You will also find casinos and bingo halls. As with some of the other cities in Spain, take the bus or the train to explore and see the sights.

If you want to remain firmly on your feet and want to wander the streets, there are a multitude of shops to entice you into buying the local Basque goods such as cotton shirts and berets. The Paseo de Muelle is considered to be the superior shopping area offering a wide variety of items and services.

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Santander

Santander is situated in the North of Spain and is well-know for its econominally active and important port. Both passenger and car ferries sail to and from here with British port of Plymouth regularly providing service to this destination.

If you want to explore either the regions of Cantabria and Asturias, Santander is and ideal base camp from which to do so as many of the sights of the region are no more than four hours away. Santander itself is based is in the north of Cantabria and is its capital and a gateway to a land of varying geographical features, lush valleys, rugged mountain peaks and clear blue waters and a climate as diverse as the flora and fauna. The coast is littered with great beaches, picturesque fishing villages. The mountain ranges of Picos de Europa , the and the natural preserve of Saja, is a haven for wildlife such as bears, wolves and eagles. The rivers team with trout and salmon. For those with a fascination for geography, Pico de tres Mares, the ‘peak of the three seas’ is worth a visit since rainwater that falls here may either eventually end up in the Mediterranean or Cantabric sea or the Atlantic Ocean

At its core, Santander is an ancient city, the capital of the Cantabria region. with a contrasting modern waterfront which is home to numerous, restaurants, cafés and bars. With such a contrast it means that there are cultural sites to look at such as the castle-like cathedral, the Prehistoria y Arqueologia musem on Calle Casimiro and the Municiple Arts Museum at the Calle Rubio, and yet there are more contemporary shopping establishments replete with a local ceramic works. Just outside the main town is the medieval town of Santilla del Mar and the prehistoric Caves of Altamira.

Three beaches can be found in Santander, but El Sardinero, a local resort is most popular amongst visitors. This is only a stone’s throw away and its attractions include the lighthouse, a locale offering breathtaking views of the area. In terms of leisure facilities it is second-to-none making Santander an ideal location if you have a strong sporting interest.

San Sebastian has a mass of festivals throughout the year and help to make it a lively place to be. Here they are in chronological order:

January
20th - San Sebastian Day. The patron saints day with parades.
Two cross-country races
February
Tinkers Parade, prelude to the carnival
Nursemaid´s and Shepherd´s Day
Carnival, a celebration popular since 1978
March
Domingode Piñata
Horse racing season starts
April
second fortnight is the book fair
Music festival and festival of Andalucianv folklore
May
Dia de las Casas Regionales - different regions of Spain on display
June
23rd-24th San Juan night with bonfires to mark the start of summer
July
Festival of Jazz
Theatre fair
August
Semana Grande - Day of the Virgen
International fireworks competition
Fiesta del 31 de Agosto - marking the fire of 1813
September
Rural sports and folklore fair
International Film festival
October
Fantasy and Horror Film Festival
November
Marathon
December
21st - Feria de Santo Tomás
Arts and crafts market
31st - San Silvestre footrace

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Denia

Denia is a haven for scuba diving thanks to its coastal seabed. As such there are a mass of clubs in the area to help you fulfill your desire to see be at one with the kingdom of the sea. Denia is also a great place for its sailing facilities and is home to a superb marina. A ferry port also serves the Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera.

Originally a seafaring town, and located in the Alicante region, it is a town steeped in history and culture and diverse architecture which merely serves to illustrate the different civilizations such as the Arabs, Christian, Iberians and the Romans. Shops and amenities are second to none.

The Yacht Club of Denia (Tel 965 780 989) has the following facilities:

601 slips. Electricity/drinking water/telephone/diesel/boat maintenance/cranes/cleaning and antifouling. There is 24 hours security. Regular events are organised.

The Port of Denia can be contacted on 965 780 067. It has 501 slips and a crane facility.

The Marina of Denia can be contacted on 966 424 307. It has 404 slips, 24 hour security, 70T crane lift and all the facilities you would expect from a new and modern marina.

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La Duquesa

The opinion is that this is the Costa del Sol’s best kept secret because although it is merely 40 minutes away from Malaga and Gibraltar airports (40 and 20 minutes away respectively), it offers wonderful quality of life unequealled in Southern Spain. Geographically close but a world away from the myriad of resorts that proliferate the area. Here you will not find high-rise apartments and hotels, but plenty of apartments and property is springing up swiftly to attract those seeking something different from the package holidays.

It has the same climate and infrastructure of the of the Costa del Sol yet it can still boast the tradition and heritage of the authentic side of Spain. The port offers full marina services for boating enthusiasts as well as a mass of attractions for those with little aquatic inclination. The promenades are a home to a mass of restaurants and cafes but not so many shops. An 18 hole course complete with stunning views of the mountains and the sea are yours at La Duquesa Golf and Country Club. This even boasts its own hotel should you wish to stay. Other golf courses are also available at Alcaidesa, a Links course overlooking the Rock of Gibraltar; Valderrama, a host of the Ryder Cup and World Championship; the parkland course of Sotogrande and the qualifying schools of San Roque.

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Benalmadena

Benalmadena is a leisure port and is home to 1000+ berths in the sunny climbs of the Costa del Sol. At the time of writing the marina is virtually full. If you want to explore the region it is an ideal base from which to do so. What makes Benalmadena so unusual is the architecture by Eduardo Oria, a fusion of Indian, Andalucian and Moorish styles.

The marina itself is of high standards. Exceptionally secure, including 24 hour Close Circuit Television Cameras to ease your concerns, and also modern, its facilities include refueling and electrical points to fresh water. A variety of sports are well catered for and there are often fishing and sailing events to keep for the spectator and competitor in you.All manner of sports are available here and each year there are a number of special events such as sailing regattas and special fishing competitions.

Currently there are plans in the pipeline for a 50% increase in the port’s capacity with a feature of a stop-off point for cruisers.

The harbour office is adjacent to passport control, customs and the police station.

Contact the captain of the port on via the following details to make enquiries:

Tel (0034) 952 577 022
Fax (0034) 952 441 344

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Malaga

Malaga, despite being one of the most frequently visited areas of the Costa del Sol, is considerably more than just a place of sun, sea and sand (a very clean beach is on offer). It also offers much in the way of history and culture (around 3000 years’ worth) as well as stunning vistas and villages. It had much significance during the Moorish, Roman and Carthaginian occupations of which there are many remnants scattered around the town. In the present age it is a city of some 600,000 inhabitants and is both a major industrial area and a port for the south of Spain. It’s airport is the largest in Spain and handles around 10 million travelers per year and is an important world airport offering flights to many major cities.

If you are traveling by car Malaga can be accessed with considerable ease via the N340 or by the railway route that runs along the coast. The railway itself goes to Malaga Central station and when upon your exit you are within the close proximity to the main sights.

Malaga offers a wide variety of nightlife in three particular areas. The first of which is El Palo. Here is a great place to begin your adventure into the city at night with its promenade and fish restaurants. The most fashionable area is Pedragalejo where the pubs reflect this, but there are more traditional bars to offset if you want to savour the real Andalucia. La Malagueta is more contemporary area of Malaga and is where you will find the fashionable areas for the locals. Either way you won’t get bored.

The weekend sees the areas of Marques de Larios, Plaza de la Constitución and Calle de Granada full of young people out to enjoy the nightlife. During the week they are slightly more subdued (only slightly!) areas for shopping and eating.

The locals do not often go out until the midnight hour and will stay up all night often not returning home until the early hours of the morning.

Easter sees the city burst into life to celebrate Holy Week or Semana Santa. This has an almost carnival-like atmosphere and is a magnet for visitors both national and international, so much so that there is an almost fifty percent increase in the city population.

During the summer, the Malaga Summer Fair or Malaga Feira is held during the month of August. This is a traditional Andalucian style event of music and dance, starting at noon, in the Calle Larios, one of the main streets of Malaga. This continues on until the evening. There is a short respite and then it is onto the fair in Cortijo de Torres on the outskirts of the city.

Running between the older city and the port is The Paseo del Parque, a large avenue lined with gardens and palm trees. This is a great place to watch the world go by. Witness the amount of locals who seem to swarm there to get in some practice.

Behind the Paseo del Parque is La Manquita, Malaga’s cathedral. The name La Manquita means ‘the little one armed lady’, due in part to it’s sole tower, (the second tower’s lack of funding meant building was halted) and is a fusion of Neoclassical, Renaissance and Baroque architecture, indicative of the centuries it took to construct.

About a five minute walk from the Cathedral is the Alcazabar, a legacy to the Moorish occupation of the 15 th century. Sitting on top of the hilltop it also features a neighbouring Roman theatre, which is currently being restored. This prominent position provides gobsmacking views of the city and the port below. Open everyday bar Mondays it is worth spending a few hours to appreciate this monument. The opening times vary in the summer and winter, its doors open from 9.30am – 8.00pm and 8.30 – 7pm respectively.

On top of the hill overlooking the city is Gibralfaro, the lighthouse. It’s name is derived from the Moorish words Jebel which means hill and Faro meaning lighthouse. Again, like the Alcazaba it offers superb panoramas of the city below. You will also find a castle here, another Moorish building and gardens to relax in especially if you have decided to walk all the way to the top. (A bus, the number 35 or taxi from the town centre might be a better idea depending on how fit you are feeling).

In more recent times, Malaga’s other major cultural boast is the artist Picasso who lived here for around 14 years. You can visit the museum and see his house (this is not open to the public). Such was his impact on the place that the airport is named after him.

The easiest way to see all of the sights of the city, such as the Banco Espana, is to get a tourist bus which first departs at 9.30am from the bus station. If you buy a ticket it is valid for 24 hours so you can hop on or off the bus at any of the 13 most significant stops.

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Gibraltar

Strategically positioned, The rock of Gibraltar, has been a historic landmark for 4,000 years. It’s present name of Gibraltar stems from the Arabic invasion of Spain the 8 th century, from the commander of the invading army Tarik-Ibn-Zeyad. Upon sending his soldiers to Mount Calpe (the ancient name), he had a caslte erected there and thus the mountain was called Gibel-Tarik or the Mountain of Tarik. Some 500 years later the city was expanded considerably by the Christians and then by the Castilians. The Muslim occupation still leaves its mark today and the main street is virtually identical to how it was six centuries before hand.

Nelson recognized it’s geographical significance as a naval port and this continued for many years until in 1985 when the Royal dockyard was closed. As such for it to remain open in any form it had to look to other means for survival such, thus the port was born. The government has endured that the port has developed to cater for all of the 80,000 ships that pass through the straits of Gibraltar and is seen as a stop-off point for refueling, servicing and provisions.

Gibraltar has been a maritime centre for over 3,000 years. Admiral Nelson was one of the first to see Gibraltar's potential as a naval base. With the closure of the Royal Dockyard in 1985, Gibraltar has had to look to other sectors to continue its survival. One of the new directions is the port. With its VAT free status, Gibraltar is perfect for the handling of cargo and the economy is further boosted by cruise liners which stop there for both servicing and for tourists to see the area.

Gibraltar is not just a commercial port and offers a perfect stop over for private boats and it boasts fantastic facilities. These include dry dock repairs, berthing for small vessels to cruise liners, oil storage. Even spare parts can be supplied and transported in with no VAT.

The improvements are still ongoing. As a result of these improvements, the port now caters for over 5,500 ship calls a year. The new cruise terminal caters for well over 200 cruise calls per year, very important for Gibraltar's economy.

Because of the VAT free status of Gibraltar, the port is used extensively for the handling of cargo.

If you want to use the port you will need the following:

Ship’s register
3 x crew lists
Maritime declaration of health
A de-ratting certificate
A crew agreement
Insurance certificate for liability for oil pollution.

You will need pilotage for arrival for berthing, unberthing and shifting anchorage.

Important contacts

Gibraltar Port enquiries

Tel (350) 77254 / 78134

Ministry for Tourism and Transport

Tel (350) 79336

Registry of Ships

Tel (350) 47771

H.M Customs

Tel (350) 77251

Immigration Dept

Tel (350) 48531

Passport Office

Tel (350) 70071

Tourist Board

Tel (350) 74950

Chamber of Commerce

Tel (350) 78376

Gibraltar Shipping Association

Tel (350) 79478

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Puerto Banus

Sandwiched between Marbella and San Pedro is Puerto Banus. This is the place to find trendy bars, restaurants and designer shops. If you want to live in a place which is a favourite amongst celebrities and film stars and where socialize side-by-side with them, then this is it. If you follow fashion then this is the place to find it too. You will also find some of the most expensive yachts and impressive yachts here. With this in mind, you mind be prepared to pay celebrity prices. You only have to look at the list of visitors to gather the type of place this is: the King and Queens of Spain and Belgium, Antonio Banderas. Annually, Puerto Banus attracts in excess of 4 million visitors.

The port, which was inaugurated in 1970 boast a capacity for over 900 vessels ranging from 8 to 50 meters. Facilities include a fuelling station that is 24 hours a day, every day and the bonus of being directly supplied to the larger yachts on the main pier. 24 hour CCTV and surveillance and a centralized alarm for boats (optional).

At the waterfront of Muelle Riviera you will find a vast amount of shops, restaurants and bars. Dinners are simply exquisite and although expensive they are sublime. Some of the best are to find it. The nightlife is famed amongst the celebrities. If you want to go out on the town, it as with the rest of the town on the pricey side, although if you are going to party the whole town stays open until daybreak.

There are two beaches either side of the port around 150m in length. Recreational facilities include nine 18-hole golf courses and one 9-hole golf course all within close proximity. They are even lit for playing at night. A cinema is based in the town and offers films in both Spanish and English.

If you want to stay in Puerto Banus you may well find it cheaper to stay on the outskirts or outside. There are many hotels of varying grades in the town but you will still find it easier on the wallet the further you go out. You can drive to Puerto Banus along the N340, the main highway. Parking is sparse on-street but you can park in the El Corte Ingles (a huge department store and part of a Spanish chain). Access to the port via a car is possible but as with so much in the area, there is a financial privilege to for this. You have to pay for a port access card.

On a Saturday there is an antiques-orientated market near the bullring. Guess what though – it’s pricey!

Properties in the area can be as you may have guessed, sizeable and in more recent times, prices have shot up and remain at a decent level.

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