Skip to main content
Λογότυπος της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής
Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Ambroz Valley - Winner 2019

What makes Ambroz Valley special

A hidden treasure among the high mountains in the heart of Iberian Peninsula, in between Madrid and Lisbon. Full of history and plenty of gorgeous vegetation, old giant trees, and millenary routes for biking or hiking like Celts or Romans along the Vía de la Plata – West Saint Jacques route. Relax in modern baths and health resorts with a tradition going back over 2,000 years.

Authentic people, tasty and nature food with traditional dishes at one of the many restaurants in the area, and charming lodging in traditional and historical buildings. Ambroz Valley has all you need for your comfort and relaxation.

Health and wellbeing tourism

Ambroz Valley is composed by 8 municipalities, mainly characterised by agriculture and farming. The destination employs sustainable management of precious natural and cultural resources, shown by its mineral waters and Thermal Heritage. This in combination with the landscape and nature-based activities makes Ambroz Valley a quality destination for health and well-being.

Ambroz Valley aims to preserve the natural and cultural heritage. Here, tourism goes hand in hand with raising awareness and strategies to protect resources in line with the natural and cultural values of the territory. Since 1997, Ambroz Valley has collaboratively been working on sustainability with local people and organisations through a non-profit association. Because of this, Ambroz Valley today offers a holiday offer based in the richness of local resources and values, while saving energy, fighting against light pollution and improving water and waste management.

The peace and tranquility of the land have been a defining feature for ages, attracting many visitors and settlers. Segura de Toro’s Templar castle and Hervás Jewish quarter are excellent examples from the Middle Ages. There are archaeological ruins of the Renaissance palace of Sotofermoso (Duke of Alba’s summerhouse) in Abadía, which was frequented by well-known authors such as Lope de Vega and it is also where they wrote their recognized works. Today, the health and wellbeing elements are exemplified by the thermal waters (with 3 spas), natural pools and snow in La Garganta névé or La Covatilla skiing area.

Sightseeing tips

  • Visit Baños de Montemayor Roman Spa, a cultural and health thermal experience with a tradition of more than 2,000 years. Delve into its history and take a bath in the thermal swimming pools set beside the ancient Roman thermal baths.
  • Cycle the Silver Route and discover Ambroz Valley’s beautiful landscape. The Greenway is reserved for non-motorized journeys and its layout coincides with the disused railway line and the Camino Mozárabe de Santiago.
  • Celebrate with locals and experience the Otoño Mágico (Magical Autumn) nature event that includes trekking, music, theatre and gastronomy, among many other activities.
  • See extraordinary mountain landscapes barely 20km from the meadow of Extremadura. Its overgrown woodlands, meadows and orchards full of cherry and plum trees are a true breathtaking show.

More information

Land of Saint Ignatius - Winner 2017

What makes Land of Saint Ignatius, Basque Region special?

The Land of Saint Ignatius of Loyola comprises a rich historic, artistic and architectural heritage, all organised around a universal figure and his period, in a stunning landscape. You can visit the impressive Loyola Sanctuary, a beautiful work of art in a hidden chapel. Then, go for a walk through the Ignatian Way enjoying the landscape and breathing fresh natural air, all in the same day.

Cultural tourism

This journey is mainly made up of paths and villages off the beaten track close to locations like Loyola, San Sebastian or Bilbao. This is a sustainable experience focused on locals to preserve the authentic sense of the region's culture.

This destination is managed by 3 public tourism boards, and the stakeholders are the local authorities. The stakeholders' working criteria is based on sustainability, social cultural and natural.

The Land of St. Ignatius is centred around his birthplace, where the medieval Tower House where he was born remains. The Loyola Sanctuary was built around it in his honour between the 17th and 19th centuries. It is a spectacular Italian style building, with a circular basilica presiding all.

Thousands of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world come to visit Loyola every year. The few of them that get to know the related cultural treasures other than the Sanctuary go back home touched by the enigmatic things they have seen and experienced. The Land of Saint Ignatius aims to increase these rare occasions.

Sightseeing tips

  • La Antigua Hermitage - The impressive hermitage known as the cathedral of Basque hermitages built in stone and wood has an incomparable beautiful interior
  • Sanctuary of Loyola - Grand monumental baroque style complex built around the birthplace of St. Ignatius
  • Arantzazu Sanctuary - The Sanctuary of Arantzazu, built in stunning natural surroundings has become a symbol of spirituality and Basque culture

More information

Goierri, Basque Country - Winner 2015

Local gastronomy

The Goierri is the first 'culinary tourism club' of the Basque Country, meaning that all the local stakeholders involved one way or another with the local gastronomy work together to develop strategist that position the Goierri as one of the most important gastronomy destinations of the Basque Country.

This club consists of dairy, cheese and cider farms, bakeries, restaurants, rural accommodations, gourmet and delicacy shops, tourism guides, etc.

Goierri is the top destination for local cuisine of the Basque Country, thanks to local products such as cheese, cider and Txakoli, and the skill of its chefs, who buy the fresh produce they use for their traditional and modern cuisine at the famous Ordizia market and from local producers.

Goierri is deeply involved in sustainable initiatives and collaborate with the Agency for Rural Development of the region. For over 15 years Goierri, originally an industrial area, has been investing in a susatainable and authentic tourism model.

Goierri is a destination not overcrowded, with its own unique identity, and differs dramatically from the archetypical 'sun and beach' tourism so popular in other parts of Spain.

Sightseeing tips

  • Visit the Ordizia market. Take a guided tour with chef Xabier Martinez and find the best seasonal products and producers that come to the market every Wednesday. The Ordizia market har taken place here since 1512, showcasing the best produce that the region has to offer.
  • Go to the Idiazabal territory to taste authentic Basque food. Enjoy a guided tour in the Ondarrre cheese factory, in the town of Segura. Here, the shepherds have spend decades producing the artisanal Idiazabal cheese. Visit the stables, parlour and rooms, and round off the experience with a delicious cheese tasting, accompanied by wine or the local Txakoli.
  • Become a basque shepherd for a few hours in one of the two natural parks: Aralar and Aizkorri-Aratz. Share unforgettable moments with a local shepherd who will explain everything you want to know about the Idiazabal cheese. In the warmer months, the shepherd remains on the mountain with the sheep, and might give you a demonstration of how his sheepdog guards the sheep in the pasture.

More information

Natural Park of Guara's Mountains and Canyons - Winner 2013

Accessibility

Since 2006, the Natural Park Sierra y Cañones de Guara is promoting accessible tourism or 'Tourism for all'. This project involves all local and regional public authorities, along with organisations representing persons with disabilities and business.

Currently, infrastructures adapted for people with different disabilities include tracks in nature, rambling, a variety of mountain sports, bird-watching, exploring the cultural heritage (Alquézar, Lecina, etc.) and tasting the local cuisine... all in the Natural Park.

Sightseeing tips

  • Enjoy the bird-watching in Vero River Canyon
  • Walk, touch and breathe Guara along the accessible pathway of Tamara
  • Discover the ancestral customs on the Pathway of the Millennium Oak.

More information

Trasmiera Ecopark - Winner 2011

Regeneration and revival

The Trasmiera Ecopark initiative began in 1998, aiming to maintain the historical identity of the region and restore its cultural heritage.

Several landmarks were regenerated and given a new purpose. For example, the Santolaja old tide mill was turned into an 'Observatorio de las mareas' or 'Observatory of tides' – an information center, educating visitors on coastal tides and its role in shaping the region.

An old school was turned into an 'Observatorio del arte' (Art Observatory), which serves as an exhibition centre for local and international artists. World-famous artists, such as Cristobal Toral, Javier Perez, Jose Luis Sanchez, Gloria Torner and Roberto Orallo have all had exhibitions here.

Sightseeing tips

  • Visit the Iglesia de la Asuncion. previously a church, this impressive venue has now been converted into exhibition center for local artists.
  • Visit the incredible Santa Olaja tide mill, which still uses the force of the tides to grind wheat.
  • Visit the Cabrahigo Tower – a 15th century tower which represents an impressive example of gothic architecture.
  • Visit the stunning beaches and soak up the sunshine.

More information

A Guarda - Winner 2010

What makes A Guarda special?

The estuary at the mouth of the Miño river is a wide humid area of 1,668 ha of high ecological value. It is known as the 'Galician Doñana' by biologists and ornithilologist alike, due to the variety and quantity of birds lodging during the winter season.

In 2010, new trekking routes were established along the coast and the riverside, offering pleasurable and more challenging walks for trekking enthusiasts.

Don't miss

  • the Castro de Santa Trega, which is the most important sample of ancient settlement in all the Northwestern Iberian peninsula
  • the historic center where you can discover 16th century buildings like the Tower of the Reló or the Church of Santa Maria.

More information

The Ebro Delta - Winner 2009

What makes the Ebro Delta special?

The natural diversity in the area is unparalleled, and the delta is considered one of the most exotic places in all of Spain.

Surrounded by the park's lagoons is La Punta del Fangar, a desert-like area with vast sand landscapes and dune formations. View points offer sweeping views of the Bay of Fangar, where mirages can be seen on certain days.

The Ebro Delta houses some of Spain's most time-honoured human use of land, including fishery, livestock farming and rice growing. For centuries people living here have worked the land while also caring for the region.

As in the case of most places of splendour, beauty draws crowds. In 2006, the Ebro Delta adopted the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism, to protect the park's natural heritage.

Public and private investments are made to ensure that the area monitors the adverse impact of tourism on the landscapes. A commitment has also been made to protect the park from excessive tourism development.

The main objective is to keep the Ebro Delta as pure as possible.

What to look for in...

  • Spring: Flooded rice paddies turn the delta into a dream world.
  • Summer: Rice grains take on warm, golden hues as they await the harvest.
  • Fall: Flocks of migratory, aquatic birds descend on the delta.
  • Winter: Undulating sand dunes are the perfect backdrop for stunning sunsets.

Hightlights of the Ebro Delta Nature Park

  • Listening to the wind whistle through the rice paddies
  • Tasting freshly caught bass and carp
  • Sightings of rare and unusual birds depending on the season
  • Sinking your feet in the warm, fine sand of La Punta del Fangar

More information

The Sierra de las Nieves - Winner 2008

Ethnography - the star attraction

Tourism in Sierra de las Nieves is a highly organised affair. Sustainable tourism is at the core of the tourism strategy in Sierra de las Nieves, and aims to preserve natural and cultural heritage and enhance quality of life.

Ethnography is above all the star tourism product, uniting the whole district. Its core is the Ethnographic Encyclopaedia of the Sierra de las Nieves, which compiles local folk wisdom.

Elderly people who act as tour guides keep the local history alive, and play the role of ambassadors of cultural identity. Cultural mediators are also tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the quality of stays in each town.

Sightseeing tips

Crafts and products may be discovered through thematic tours such as the local crop routes – the table olive harvest or the chestnut routes, the lime-gatherer or Calero route – one of the honoured crafts still living, and the pottery route starting at El Burgo’s pottery workshop.

A variety of events, festivals and religious processions are also ways to discover local specificities:

  • the Festival de La Luna Mora in Guaro, which has roots in medieval souks, shows traditional Andalusian arts and practices and their Christian, Muslim and Sephardic Jewish influences
  • the Festival Folclórico de Tolox with traditional song and dance
  • the Castillo del Cante flamenco festival in Ojén
  • the Mercado de Carboneros y Oficios Antiguos – Market of Charcoal Burners and Ancient Crafts – in Monda.

More information