Trips to sustainable destinations in the north of Spain which you can reach by road
Do you feel like a getaway to Spain but don't want to go by plane? Would you like to visit places that are especially committed to caring for the environment and conserving culture? We recommend some areas in the north of Spain which you can reach by road and where you can immerse yourself in nature once you arrive.All of these places are included among the best sustainable tourist destinations in the world according to the Global Green Destinations International Association.
Terres de L'Ebre (Catalonia)
Declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, this territory, located at the estuary of the river Ebro (the longest river in Spain) is one of the most beautiful areas of Tarragona. There aren't many places in the world where you can find two natural parks with two different ecosystems just over 30 kilometres from each other: the Ebro Delta Natural Park and the enormous mountain range of the Els Ports Natural Park, a perfect place for birdwatching.The coast is over 140 kilometres long and you can stroll along Marquesa beach to the Fangar lighthouse and watch the sun set over the dunes of the Ebro Delta. What makes this place so special is that you can also make lots of plans to disconnect. For example: sailing down the river on board a traditional boat called a llagut, exploring cities like Tortosa or beautiful villages like Miravet and its castle with Templar remains or discovering the cave paintings in Ulldecona.If what you're looking for is gastronomy to enjoy, try and visit the wineries, where you can taste Terra Alta designation of origin wines, the Wine Cathedral in El Pinell de Brai or one of the Michelin-star restaurants in the area.
El Berguedà (Catalonia)
You'll find this area in the foothills of the Catalan Pyrenees, only one hour by car from the city of Barcelona. What's special about it? It's part of the Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park, which has peaks of up to 2600 metres, where you can see roe deer, bearded vultures and eagles. In El Berguedà, a network of footpaths covering some 2000 kilometres has been created for walking or cycling. There are also various long routes that cross the area, such as the Camí dels Bons Homes (which follows the route used by the Cathars in the Middle Ages to escape from the south of France) or the Cavalls del Vent (a circular route connecting eight mountain shelters).Other original ideas for a good holiday are a visit to the Pedraforca Astronomical Center (the skies of El Berguedà are particularly clear due to its location in the mountains, far away from any big cities) or discovering its incredible history and cultural legacy. It has fascinating museums dedicated to its mining past, textile factories and the migration to the colonies. It also hosts festivities which have been celebrated for centuries, such as Fia-Faia or La Patum in the city of Berga, declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.Of course, you also have to try local products like cheese and jam.
Pallars Jussà (Catalonia)
Set in the middle of the Catalan Pyrenees, this area of Lleida features agricultural plains, extensive forests, high mountains, lakes and reservoirs. Its investment in sustainable tourism is reflected in the large number of initiatives you can enjoy. One of the most special of these is its Lakes Train, a journey in a historical or panoramic train that crosses the lands of Lleida until it reaches the iconic lakes in the Pre-Pyrenees. You can also do the El Cinquè Llac guided route on foot. It's a 7-day circular route beginning in La Pobla de Segur, on which you'll get to know amazing landscapes, enjoy the peace and quiet of the rural atmosphere and try delicious local cuisine.And there's so much more: you can visit the Geoparque Orígens (where numerous dinosaur fossils have been found), the Montsec Astronomical Park or ride the Vall Fosca cable car to a height of over 2000 metres to begin a route in the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. If you visit in summer, don't miss the summer solstice fire festivities, declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Torroella de Montgrí-l'Estartit (Catalonia)
You'll find this destination in the Baix Empordà area of the Costa Brava (Girona). If you travel this far, you should get to know the Montgrí, Medes Islands and Baix Ter Natural Park, which can be visited sustainably via different hiking and cycling routes. There are also longer routes such as the Pirinexus Greenway, which reaches as far as the Pyrenees, or the 200 kilometre route following the course of the river Ter.If you like diving, you're going to love plunging into the waters around the Medas Islands, as they have one of the largest marine flora and fauna reserves in the western Mediterranean.The area's cultural heritage and programme are also not to be missed. Be sure to include a visit to the famous Montgrí castle in your plans, a walk around its art galleries or a concert during one of its festivals, such as the Torroella or the Jazz L'Estartit.
You'll find this municipality right on the Cantabrian coast, between the cities of Santander and Bilbao. Its Econoja International Fair is just one example of its commitment to the environment. Did you know that 75% of its area is within the Santoña, Noja and Joyel Marshes Nature Reserve? You'll love walking and swimming at its two spectacular and well-cared-for beaches Ris and Trengandín, complete with fine golden sand, which cover over 6 kilometres between them.Its marshes also make Noja a rest stop for thousands of birds, which are fascinating to watch. For this activity, we recommend you get to know the El Molino de las Aves environmental education centre.You can also go surfing, explore its manors and palaces or take a guided tour through its marshlands, countryside and sand dunes.