The wide range of industrial tourism options reflects Spain’s diversity. Thus, in Galicia, we can get an insight into its relationship with the sea and its shipping, fishing and canning industries; in Asturias, we can visit its mines; in Cantabria, we will see how its splendid landscapes combine with its productive activity; the Basque Country and Catalonia, are great places to see remnants of the industrial revolution; in Castile-La Mancha and Castilla y León, we will discover the logic between their vast cereal fields and the flour industry with historical infrastructures such as the Canal de Castilla; in Aragon, its infrastructures show the region's connection to water; in Andalusia, the importance of oil and the agri-food industry are key features and, in Madrid, we see the industrial expressions typical of a capital city.
Industrial tourism offers a different way to approach history and heritage. You can visit former factories, mines, mills, and other facilities left behind by industry and eventually reclaimed as cultural assets and tourist attractions. Alongside these sites, tours of active companies let you explore living industry in the local economy, understand its urban development and interpret the landscape. In other words, discovering how people live and work, now and in the past.
Some of Spain’s industrial tourism and heritage sites are already on the UNESCO World Heritage list, for example, the Vizcaya Transporter Bridge, the world’s oldest ferry bridge; the mines of Almadén, which provided the mercury needed for silver processing in the American colonies; and Las Médulas, where the Romans mined gold. And many more heritage elements are official Properties of Cultural Interest (BIC).There is also a wealth of public works to discover - historic highways, bridges, dams, canals, and the irrigation systems first introduced in Islamic Spain.
Other interesting options include tours of the factories that make the objects we use every day, or the workshops of artisans and small producers who preserve traditional trades and unique products that can only be found in Spain - or in a single region - or in a single village.Industrial tourism can appeal to all audiences, although it is particularly suitable for family audiences as well as for study and professional trips. Above all, industrial tourism is for people who are curious, and want to know more about the history and culture of the places they visit. It is a unique way to really explore an area and its society.