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Vitoria-Gasteiz: Green Capital of the Basque Country

By Tourism Board of Spain

Posted: August 4, 2023


Spain is a haven for lovers of sustainable tourism, a concept based on the responsible use of natural and cultural resources and which helps improve the social and economic conditions of the local inhabitants. Over a quarter of Spain's territory is dedicated to the preservation of nature.

Come and see for yourself! Feel the beauty and the magic of woods, rivers and mountains that you've never even dreamt of.

Spain has been recognized by the UNESCO as the country with the most biosphere reserves in the world and the second highest number of Geoparks

Spain is top of the list in Europe, with 44 Protected Natural Areas which comply with the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism (ECST), where protection of the natural environment is essential. In addition to the implementation of different environmental management systems in accordance with UNE-EN ISO 14001, Ecolabel and EMAS requirements, many public companies and administrations are promoting tourism which respects the environment.

Throughout Spanish territory you'll find a large number of experiences and destinations acknowledged by pioneering initiatives like the Responsible Tourism Institute (RTI) and the Ecotourism Club in Spain. These non-profit organizations are a guarantee that your visit will contribute to the preservation of biodiversity.

Get about responsibly and reduce your carbon footprint. Spain has a National Railway Network (RENFE) which uses electrical energy generated to a great extent from renewable sources. Walk, take a bicycle or rent an electric vehicle. All these means of transport contribute to preserving the environment. Explore Spain, a country full of history, culture and surprising natural surroundings. Come and breathe clean air and experience sustainability to the limit.

Some of the most fascinating places in Spain have adopted good practices which comply with the requirements for environmental, social and economic preservation. These are destinations which make responsible use of natural and cultural resources, while supporting local craftsmen and products

In 2016, Vitoria was awarded the Biosphere Responsible Tourism certificate, which recognizes it as a sustainable tourist destination.

The clean air and the abundance of green spaces in the capital of the Basque Country/Euskadi provide a good example for other cities.

There is a magnificent historical old town, officially recognized as a Monumental Complex in 1997, which has preserved its medieval layout and is home to a great selection of bars and restaurants. In 2012 it was declared the Green Capital of Europe as a result of 30 years promoting respect for the environment and adopting sustainable development policies. Take a stroll through the Anillo Verde or Green Ring and explore the natural beauty. The project managed to recover and join up the parks around the periphery of the city. This has resulted in 79 km of urban pathways which are easily accessible from the city center, be that on foot or by bike.

The results from this initiative are self-evident in places like the Salburua Wetlands, a breeding ground for numerous species of birds. Learn about the area's biodiversity in Ataria, a highly original visitor center located in a unique wooden and glass building which blends into the environment. There is surprising public commitment to the environment and town planning has developed so that the whole population lives less than 300 meters from a green space.

Learn more about Vitoria-Gasteiz