Ecotourism and Travel in Spain

As we all strive to become more environmentally friendly many may worry about how they can still travel without heavily impacting on the environment.

Spain is one of many European countries that are leading the way in Ecotourism, and what better way to enjoy holidays whilst being sustainable and green.

We take a look at ecotourism and what is being offered to the eco-tourist visiting Spain.




Wind Farm Andalucia
Wind Farm Andalucia

Ecotourism Spain

Spain has been an advocate of ecotourism since the early nineties. It is attempting to advance its energy-progressive standing.

The country now ranks as the fourth-largest producer of wind-power and this is largely thanks to the hillsides of La Mancha and other Spanish regions. Evoking scenes of Don Quixote with so many windmills to tilt at.

Spain offers many opportunities for the eco-tourist whether they want to take a cycling tour of Andalusia, volunteer on an organic farm or help endangered wildlife, there are certainly plenty of things that you can do to help the country and see its beauty at the same time.

Eco-Destinations

When searching for eco-friendly places to stay in Spain, it's a good idea to look for hotels, resorts and other accommodation providers which actively promotes renewable energy sources. There are now many eco-destinatioons which will help to offset your carbon footprint, or even reduce it whilst you are visiting.

Cities like Barcelona and Madrid have a strong culture of renewable energy and sustainable transport. So these are good places to target. The El Prat airport in Barcelona features solar panels for renewable energy and also specially designed glass walls that help to reduce electrical consumption. This single building is a typical example of Barcelona's attitude towards environmentally friendly travel.

Madrid dedicates a lot of the city to protected green space and has the most green space of any European city.

In the more rural regions, there is even more dedication to eco-tourism. There is a commercial solar power plant in the Sanlucar la Mayor countryside. Work is also underway to construct the first carbon-neutral city in the country in the La Rioja region.

Eco-Friendly Accommodation

If you are someone now looking to explore ecotourism and are searching for eco-friendly accommodation in Spain then try to look for places to stay that actively help support the local environment and culture.  You can always ask what they do to adhere to energy-saving policies and practices.

The motto ‘Reduce, reuse and recycle' applies to many new environmentally friendly places to stay.

Orange Grove Yurts
Orange Grove Yurts

Eco-Friendly accommodation comes in many forms from quaint small converted farms to monasteries, hostels, convents and numerous  other places that advertise their green credentials.

There are now a string of very good quality eco-friendly places to stay in Spain located in mostly beautiful natural surroundings, these include the Finca de Arrieta Eco Cottages in Lanzarote, Macaronesian Eco Suites Caves Tenerife and  the Cuevas Helena in Andalucia.

Ecotourism Associations
Ecotourism Associations

 

The Eco-Tourist in Spain is a non on-profit organization created in 2010.  The Association of Ecotourism in Spain (AES) manages the Ecotourism Club in Spain and is focused on sustainable development of Spanish Ecotourism destinations.

Other labels of interest include the Green Globe who, for more than two decades has been providing sustainability certification for the various sectors that make up the international travel and tourism industry.

And its not just the smaller hotels that are making the move for eco-friendly tourism.

Discover the Hotel Mas Salagros located in picturesque Catalonia, this is the first 100% eco-friendly EcoResort on the peninsula.

The awe inspiring 5 star Puebloastur Eco Resort Wellness located in Asturias, northern Spain. The resort is the perfect place to relax and get pampered in one of the countries most picturesque and natural settings.

Barcelona boasts the eco-friendly hostel Urbany. Which has rainwater collectors and also reuses around 50% of guest wastewater. The facade of the hotel is also noise-absorbing to help create an oasis of calm. 

Environmentally Friendly Transport

Transportation can always be a bit trickier when it comes to environmental sustainability. But its certainly not impossible to greatly reduce your carbon footprint whilst on holiday in Spain.

Whilst air-travel itself isn’t the most environmental of options at least Spain makes an effort with the airports like in the La Prat airport mentioned above.

Spain does have a great train network though and the Alta Velocidad Espanola or AVE as it is known can get you around the country in a very short time. It is rapidly becoming part of daily life for many Spaniards and they are constantly expanding the network with the hope being that all Spanish people will live within 31 miles of a high-speed train station by 2020.

As well as the rail network, Spanish buses are being adapted to run on bio-diesel, hydrogen fuel, electricity and ethanol all to help promote the eco-travel boom.

Many cities and tourist destinations also have a great network of bike hire and this can be one of the best ways to see many parts of the country. This allows you the freedom of movement whilst not impacting the environment so you can experience the full range that Spain has to offer.

Spain is making a lot of progress on eco-tourism and has been actively promoting it for nearly three decades now.

Much of the country is a place of outstanding natural beauty and even in the more urbanised areas work is being done to make sure that tourism is sustainable and eco-friendly.

There are many great things to see when it comes to being an eco-tourist in Spain and that is what makes it one of the number one ecotourism destinations.

Eco-Friendly Practices

Ecotourism
Ecotourism

There are lots of eco-options open to hoteliers and other accommodation providers to be a greener holiday destination.

Here are some of the best eco-friendly practices:

Energy Conservation

There are many energy saving systems that can be installed to conserve resources. Using long lasting LED lights, solar panels and training staff to turn off non-essential lights and machinery whenever possible are just some of them.

Limit Water Usage

Water is a limited resource and should be used in such a way, less water used means less wastage. Reuse water when ever possible then use any excess for irrigation purposes whenever possible.

Limite or Iliminate Disposables

Many guest room amenities are bad for the environment such as shampoo, lotion, soaps, plastic cups and coffee pods. These can easily be replaced by natural organic toiletries in biodegradable or recyclable packaging.

Reuse Linens

Guests should always be offered the possibility to reuse linen for the duration of their stay.

Create an Eco-Garden

Creating wildlife habitats in garden which attracts birds and insects not only looks great but has many eco-advantages. Install plant feeders, rocks, plants and trees and a pond also helps local wildlife.  A composting area will not only feed nutrients into the garde abut is a great way to use biodegradable food waste. Grow your own organic fruit and vegetables which is possitive for the environment on many levels as well as offering delicious fresh food to the guests.

Serve Locally Grown & Organic Food

More and more eco-minded travelers are looking to dine on healthy, sustainable cuisine. Serving locally sourced in ingredients ensures guests are eating fresh eco-friendly meals whilst offering an insight into the local communty, its culture and customs.

Implement Eco-Friendly Cleaning

Replacing conventional harmful cleaning porducts with safer options is a great option. There are now many bio-based cleaning products on the market which not only reduce polution they are also beneficial for health and skin care.

Use Eco Friendly Water Dispensers

Water filtration systems and countertop water dispensers are a great way to serve water. The guests not only enjoy clean fresh water it also makes financial sence as it reduces costs to both guests and business owners.

Guest Rooms

Guest rooms should be stocked with eco-friendly information on local attractions and activities such as cycling, hiking and transport routes. Offer guest incentives such as free parking for green vehicles. Use glass and ceramic cups intead of placstic cups and offer the guests the possibility to buy carbon offsets  which can be passed onto certified companies such as TerraPass.

 

Cycling Tours Andalucia

Useful Resources:

» World Tourism Organisation
» Responsible Travel 
» The Travel Foundation
» El Pais.com
» Tusrism Spain

Recommended Eco-Friendly hotels in Spain

Mas Salagros Ecoresort & Aire Ancient Baths

The 5 star Mas Salagros Ecoresort & Aire Ancient Baths is located in Vallromanes in the heart of Catalionia. This is the first 100% eco-friendly destination on the peninsula, just 20 minutes from Barcelona. The hotel meets all the standards established in European regulations on sustainability, which include building materials, energy efficiency and waste management.  Reviewer Rating: 8.8

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Hotel Spa Sierra de Cazorla

The 3 star Hotel Sierra de Cazorla is located in the La Iruela, in the heart of the stunning Sierra de Segura of Jaen Andalucia. It is  just a 7 minute walk from La Iruela Castle and numerous well prepared nature trails. Reviewer Rating:  8.3

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Casa Rural Son Bernadinet Mallorca

The Hotel Casa Rural Son Bernadinet, chosen as “best country hotel in Spain” in 1999, is located in a 42-hectare plot close to beaches such as Es Trenc and Es Carbó in Mallorca. This truly is a stunning country property and eco-freindly hotel tucked in the Cmapos hills of Mallorca. Guests here enjoy beautifull landscaped gardens, organic garden and massage room. Rating:  9.2

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