Photo Credit: José Miguel

When most people think of Spain, sun-kissed regions like the Costa del Sol - and bustling cities like Barcelona and Madrid - immediately spring to mind. Sure, there’s plenty of fun in the sun and cultural enrichment to be had in Spain, but what about eco-friendly travel? These days, green travel is an important issue for a large number of people. By its very nature, a lot of travel involves heavy carbon outputs. In response, many travelers are looking for ways to experience various parts of the world without leaving ecological havoc in their wakes. Happily, Spain abounds in eco-friendly travel options; read on to learn more.

Getting Around the Green Way

Although it may be tempting to rent a car when visiting Spain, the truth is that public transportation is extremely streamlined and easy to use. Spain’s train system, Renfre, crisscrosses the country. Long-distance trains are exceptionally punctual; short-distance jaunts, especially in and around Barcelona, can be a bit less predictable. Either way, train riding is a very eco-friendly way to get around. Similarly, buses in Spain are clean, environmentally friendly and convenient. When planning a visit to Spain, then, make sure to prioritize public transportation over environmentally unfriendly rental cars.

Explore the Olive Oil Route

Olive groves proliferate in Spain, especially in Andalucia. Indeed, you’ll find more than 60 million groves in the region near Jaen. Needless to say, the scenery here is positively breathtaking - and there is one especially unique way to explore it without clogging the air with exhaust fumes. The Via Verde del Aceite - the Olive Oil Green Route - is the way to experience this part of Spain. It is a series of walking and cycle trails that have been created out of unused railways. Approximately forty miles of these paths are available been Jaen and Alcaudete, allowing you to immerse yourself in the grandeur of the region in an eco-friendly way.

Cycle the Alpujarras

Approximately two hours outside of Granada, you can book a stay at a remote farmhouse near the village of Berchules. From there, cycling excursions into the Sierra Nevada above Granada are easy to enjoy. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced cyclist, you are sure to appreciate the majesty and pristine qualities of this part of Spain. Best of all, you can picnic by burbling brooks, explore winding trails and see breathtaking peaks - all without choking the atmosphere with exhaust fumes.

Hunker Down in Yurts or on Eco-Farms

Spain is teeming with exciting forms of adventure- and eco-travel. In Andalucia, you can book a stay in traditional, Mongolian-style yurts. These intriguing tents are set up in olive and cork tree groves and include wells where you can draw natural spring water to enjoy. Private gardens are also included; otherwise, the area is completely unspoiled. Eco-farms are also popular in Spain. On Ibiza, book a stay at the Can Marti organic farm to see how local farmers grow their delicious produce.

Explore Espana Verde

Northern Spain is nicknamed Espana Verde - or Green Spain - and it’s easy to see why. The area is resplendent in mile after mile of green, rolling hills and awe-inspiring peaks. Due to the pristine nature of this region, eco-tourism is heavily promoted and readily available. In fact, you can take a ferry over from Plymouth to avoid using an environmentally unfriendly plane. Rural parts of the region, including Galicia and Asturias, are optimal choices for jumping-off points. Wherever you go in Spain, though, you are sure to find plenty of green, Earth-friendly options. Once you’ve experienced the natural beauty of this country, you’ll see why leaving it unspoiled is so important.