"Green Spain" - the call of nature
Redes Nature Reserve, Asturias
Oyambre Beach (Cantabria)
If you like the countryside, then you will love "Green Spain". The Regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country, in northern Spain, are home to some of most valuable and best-conserved ecological areas in Europe. These are landscapes full of contrasts, with salt-water rivers, endless green… Would you like to discover them in an unusual, enjoyable way? How about on horseback, by boat, or following an old Roman road? The choice of active tourism on offer is huge; you just have to decide on your favourite way to have fun in harmony with nature.
A coastline that stretches for more than 2,000 km, with cliffs, mountains, forests, rivers, beaches, deep gorges and valleys... Imagine the countryside caressing the seashore. This is the region known as Green Spain and you will find it between the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Biscay. It is the territory made up of the Regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country, in northern Spain. Although they have some things in common, each one of these Regions has its own unique character that you will want to get to know. Their range of different landscapes and ecological wealth cannot fail to please. Come for an active holiday and discover the range of activities available in this part of Spain.
A world of options
The environmental wealth of its protected areas is reason in itself to visit Green Spain. Proof of this lies in the fact that many of these areas have been given the Biosphere Reserve designation by UNESCO. This is true of the Picos de Europa National Park, which lies in Cantabria and Asturias, and which is Spain's largest single protected area. In Asturias you will also find nature reserves such as Redes, Somiedo (with Europe's largest population of Brown Bears in liberty) and Fuentes del Narcea (with one of Europe's largest oak forests). The Terras do Miño Reserve in Galicia, and the Urdaibai Estuary in the Basque Country, also have this internationally recognised designation.
There are however, even more landscapes and places of interest in the region: expanses of sand dunes such as the Liencres Nature Reserve; the Altamira Caves, designated World Heritage, in Cantabria. Rugged mountains just 10 km from the beach, like the Aiako Harria range in the Basque Country. Cliffs such as A Capelada in Galicia, Europe's highest, and islands like those of the Atlantic Islands Park, also in Galicia. There are too many to list, but one thing is for sure, the best way to get the most out of them is through active/adventure tourism.
A thousand trails
A pleasant way to get to know Green Spain is on foot. We have a network of trails, ideal if you want to take your time discovering the natural and cultural diversity of this region in depth. What were once old railway lines, Roman roads and livestock trails, are now a wonderful way to discover the valuable flora and fauna which can still be found in northern Spain. There are easier and more challenging routes, divided into stages suitable for a weekend or a single day, meaning you can design an itinerary to suit you. The majority of protected reserves have visitor centres where you can get information on routes and their main points of interest. Guided bird watching visits are even organised, given that this area is home to a great diversity of resident bird species and visiting colonies.
There are also horseback and biking routes on offer, the choice is up to you. If water is your thing, in Asturias and Galicia you will find many rivers ideal for canoeing, kayaking and even white water rafting for the more daring. These activities are available all year round, as long as there is sufficient water in the rivers. The best time of year tends to be spring and summer. If you like strong sensations and are a fan of climbing, canyoning, caving or abseiling, then here you will find ideal locations. There are companies that organise this type of activities both in the nature reserves themselves, as well as in nearby towns and villages. The best thing to do is to enquire in the relevant visitor centre or tourist office and they will give you all the necessary details.
You will love Green Spain, not only for its countryside, but also for its art, culture, traditions and gastronomy. Come and discover it for yourself.
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