If you love nature and ecological tourism destinations, you’re in luck: 2017 has been declared the International Year for Sustainable Tourism, giving us a new chance to become aware of the importance of traveling while respecting the environment and promoting a reasonable economic development. Spain leads the Unesco Biosphere Reserves ranking, with a total of 48 protected areas that cover almost 11% of its territory, or 5.5 million hectares. Secret Escapes has chosen five destinations for Luxiders, in which you can enjoy nature without leaving Spain.
Sierra Nevada is one of the most renowned sustainable sceneries. Located mostly in the province of Granada and extending to the province of Almeria, the Mulhacén peak makes it the highest mountainous mass in all of western Europe, laying just behind the Alps. This summit’s name comes from “Mulay Hasan”, the third-to-last nazarite king of Granada in the fifteenth century, who is believed to have been buried on this mountain. The landscape and botanical value of the Sierra Nevada led it to become a Unesco Biosphere Reserve in 1986 and was declared National Park in 1999. Thanks to its strategic location, you can combine a visit to the mountains and to the beach on the same day, given that the Granada coast is less than 100 kilometers away.
Lanzarote, with 40% of its territory under protection and with a Biosphere Reserve status that extends over 84,600 hectares, offers sustainable activities for those who love the sea and nature. It was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1993 and its tourist infrastructure are perfectly integrated into the natural environment, which is characterized by a unique volcanic landscape with amazing geological formations. The Los Volcanes Natural Park and Chinijo Archipelago Natural Park are definitely worth the visit. In addition, the La Geria vineyards will make you think that you’re on a different planet.
European Peaks. This rocky landscape, which houses a rich cultural, artistic and historical heritage, consists of three large mountainous masses that extend along three autonomous communities: Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla y León. The cultural value enjoyed by those who live in the nature reserve is incalculable, housing ancient baroque palaces, caves with rock art, Romanesque and Gothic churches, etc. One of the factors that attracts travelers the most is its strategic location, which makes it one of the most visited National Park in Spain, just behind the Teide (Tenerife) National Park. In 2002 it was declared a Unesco Biosphere Reserve.
Doñana, considered one of the most important protected natural areas of Europe and the most diverse in the continent, consists of two parks: the Doñana Natural Park and the Doñana National Park. 300 different species of birds coexist in this area every ear, which migrate there thanks to its marshes’ mild temperatures during the winter, located where the Guadalquivir river meets the Atlantic. In 1994, this space was declared a Unesco Patrimony of the Humanity.
And last but not least, we find Bardenas Reales. Even though it isn’t a National Park, the Navarre government designated the Bardenas Reales as a Natural Park due to its huge natural value, which is worth being maintained and conserved. In addition, since 2000 the space has been declared a Biosphere Reserve. It’s a white desert in which limestone and plaster floors predominate. Bandits such as the Sanchicorrota passed through here and nowadays it’s a quiet route that can be done through non-polluting means, such as by Segway, to visit reservations such as the Vedado de Eguaras, the Rincon del Bu and the Falls of la Negra Natural Reserve, while birds of prey hardly notice our presence.