For the people who love nature trips, Spain is a gem in Europe. From its spectacular Spanish islands, protected areas, to nature reserves, this European nation offers many opportunities for ecotourism. In fact, thousands of eco-tourists from across the world, with a huge number coming from the US, visit Spain every year.
In terms of actually entering the country and since Spain is a member of the “Schengen” countries, US citizens can travel to Spain without a visa for now, but from 1 January 2021, they will be required to obtain ETIAS to enter the Schengen zone. Read this guide to ETIAS to learn about the new changes.
So which are some of the ideal ecotourism spots in Spain? Well, we have rounded up some of the top ecotourism destinations in Spain for you. Here are top ecotourism destinations you must add to your Spain ecotourism bucket list.
1. Sierra de Guadarrama
The Sierra de Guadarrama is a mountainous national park located 56 km or approximately 30 minutes from the city of Madrid so if you happen to enjoy both cities and ecotourism, this is a perfect choice.
The park is best known for its rich flora and fauna that attracts thousands of tourists every year. The park has retained its natural vegetation with more than 1,280 different species including endangered ones. Some of the plant species that you will find in this part include the Scot pine, the Oak, the Piorno and the Juniper amongst others.
For those looking to spot some of the Europe wildlife in its natural habitat, Sierra de Guadarrama is the place to be. The park is home to fallow deer, wild mountain goats, hares, badgers and on occasions wild boar. Apart from flora and fauna, mountain biking and hiking are very popular. With peaks up to 2000 meters high, Sierra de Guadarrama provides a perfect ecotourism and hiking experience.
2. Pyrenees Mountains
Pyrenees Mountains is another ecotourism destination you need to visit while in Spain. The mountains boast one of the best conserved Atlantic forests with thriving flora and fauna. It’s in Pyrenees Mountain that will get to see prolific European wildlife in its natural habitat. The fauna features Roe deers, Black woodpecker, Pyrenean chamois, ermines, marmots and the famous bearded vultures amongst others.
The floral features are unique with the mountains are home to an overwhelming plant species indigenous to the Atlantic forests including rock plants such as orchids, lilies, irises and gentians amongst many other flowers and plants. It is also important to note that some of the Eastern section of this mountain have Mediterranean characteristics.
3. Picos de Europa
Picos de Europa is a mountain range in Spain that extends for about 20 km to form the larger the Cantabrian Mountains. The mountain is also home to the popular Picos de Europa National Park. One thing that makes these mountains famous with ecotourists is their vibrant biodiversity. Their humid and rainy climate support thousands of species.
You might be lucky enough to spot Cantabrian brown bears, wolves, Cantabrian chamois, buzzards and choughs in various parts of the mountains. You will also see various species of vultures, eagles and biodiversity of butterflies. Plants species are in their thousands, including plants and trees indigenous to Europe.
4. Mediterranean Coast
Over the years, the whole of the Mediterranean coast has been a hot spot for ecotourism. The cost which extends to Spain has a unique flora and fauna that makes it a popular destination for nature lovers. The region is also one of Spain’s largest humid areas and one of the biggest wetlands as well.
A visit to the Ebro River Delta Natural Park in Catalonia is worth every minute. The park home to a vast range of bird species, making it one of the top bird destination in Spain. You will also see hundreds of Mediterranean tree and plants species, including the popular Mediterranean herbs.
5. Canary Islands
The fifth ecotourism destination you should have on your list is the volcanic Canary Islands. Home to a Laurel forest in the larger Garajonay National Park, the islands provide a unique flora and fauna. Apart from hundreds of plants species on these islands, you will enjoy watching whales and dolphins at a close distance in the small La Gomera Island. You should also add Timanfaya (on the island of Lanzarote) and Teide National Park (on the island of Tenerife) to your Canary Islands trip.