Located on the southern coast of Andalusia in Spain, Sotogrande offers the very best in sport, dining, luxury accommodations, and of course polo. Boasting over 300 days of sunshine annually, it’s renowned for its perfect climate.
Home to five golf courses, two tennis clubs, a world-class marina, a sailing club, and two high-level polo clubs, Sotogrande has something for everyone. Just a 30-minute drive from the resort town of Marbella and 20 minutes from the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, it’s easily accessible from most major airports in Europe.
Founded in 1962, today Sotogrande is home to the global elite including royal families and those looking to escape the public eye for a private getaway.
It’s also home to one of the world’s top polo tournaments, The International, which takes place each summer, making it a bucket list destination for polo players and fans alike. Why is Sotogrande a must-visit polo hot spot?
Image: Philip Lange
Home to two top-level polo clubs, Sotogrande offers world-class polo for players and spectators alike.
Santa Maria Polo Club is considered one of the four most important polo venues in the world and has long been considered the ‘Wimbledon’ of polo fields. Hosting forty tournaments each year, there is no shortage of polo to experience at Santa Maria. It’s also home to After Polo Sotogrande, a nightclub that takes over the grandstands when the daily polo action wraps up.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this past August, the International is a high-goal polo tournament lasting five weeks and showcasing the best of the sport alongside music concerts, cultural events, art, and gourmet cuisine. Polo matches can be enjoyed from the comfort of catered terraces, tables, and VIP boxes.
Ayala Polo Club is the oldest polo club in Sotogrande. Founded in 1965 by Filipino entrepreneur Enrique Zobel, the club continues to host top-level polo today and is run by Zobel’s son Inigo. It’s also home to the restaurant Cancha II which offers gourmet cuisine field side.
Learn to Play
For those inspired by the on-field action, Sotogrande also hosts facilities that allow visitors to give the Game of Kings a try for themselves. The premier polo school in the area, Polo Valley, was established in 2015 and offers countless packages from trail rides through the Andalusian countryside to lessons and week-long intensive polo courses. Polo lessons can be tailored to suit all levels of players from true beginners up to advanced players. Located just outside the border of Sotogrande proper, the ranch offers a unique combination of world-class accommodation and polo coaching.
With nearly perfect weather year-round, it’s no surprise that Sotogrande offers a host of outdoor activities from golf and tennis to polo and sailing; sports fans are guaranteed to find something to suit them here.
Spain’s finest golf courses are all located within 3km of the heart of Sotogrande and the area has played host to numerous top-level golf tournaments.
Renowned for its equestrian culture, Sotogrande offers something for all fans of equestrian sports regardless of the discipline. From polo to dressage, eventing, and show jumping, all are equally represented on Sotogrande’s sporting calendar.
Watersports are also popular thanks to its proximity to the Mediterranean and a plethora of lagoons located nearby. Some of the local favorites include kayaking, kitesurfing, wakeboarding, deep-sea fishing, and diving. The marina, built in the 1990s, is considered one of Europe’s most beautiful marinas. Over 800 yachts and boats of all sizes call Sotogrande’s Marina their home and the area hosts numerous regattas annually.
For those more interested in relaxing, the area’s picturesque beaches are home to world-renowned beach clubs such as Trocadero where guests can kick back, relax, and soak up the sun.
If exploring Andalusia is the goal, Sotogrande makes the perfect base. Attractions such as the Great Mosque in Cordoba, the Picasso Foundation in Malaga, Seville’s Cathedral, and Tarifa’s Gold Shores are only a short drive away.
When to Visit
Sotogrande enjoys sunny and warm weather throughout the year, meaning there’s hardly a bad time to visit.
That said, Sotogrande’s polo season runs throughout the summer months from May to mid-September. Most polo fans will agree that the best time to visit is in August, which is not only the hottest month of the year, but also when The International Polo Tournament takes place at Santa Maria Polo Club. Attracting forty teams, hundreds of ponies, and the world’s top players and organizations, The International is not an event to be missed.
While experiencing the polo life in Sotogrande might be the main reason to visit, the area will not disappoint when it comes to hotels, dining, nightlife, and attractions away from the polo fields and grandstands. It’s never too early to start planning your polo escape to Sotogrande.