7 Reasons to Discover Green Spain

Located in the country’s verdant north, this region is an underrated gem that’s blissfully free of crowds.

Apr 6, 2021

WITH INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL BEGINNING to pick up and European Union borders open to citizens of many Southeast Asian nations, travelers are looking to explore the natural beauty of Spain. While bustling cities like Madrid and Barcelona may be perpetually popular, there’s so much more to this culturally and geographically diverse land. To see another side of Spain, venture to the regions of Basque, Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria, sometimes collectively known as Green Spain. Here, you can safely explore at your leisure.

Visit a traditional Basque cider house

From world-famous art at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to stunning beaches, the Basque region has much to offer. No visit to this area is complete, however, without a trip to a sagardotegi, or Basque cider house. Bone-dry and thoroughly delicious, the hard cider here is a delicacy not to be missed. To soak up the booze, be sure to order several rounds of pintxos, bite-size tapas, or head to a local steakhouse to try Txuleta, a giant rib steak served on the bone.

Discover ancient cave paintings and a charming Medieval town

The historic streets of this Medieval town centered around the church of Santa María are enough to make you feel like you’ve stepped backward in time. To take matters a few millennia further back, head to the outskirts to the Altamira Cave, located in Santillana del Mar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site adorned with pictographs. Sometimes referred to as the “Sistine Chapel of the Paleolithic Age,” this impressive archeological site contains some of the best-preserved creations of early human civilization.

Go hiking in Picos de Europa National Park

Situated in the Cantabrian Mountains and running through the provinces of Asturias, Cantabria and León, this dazzling national park is a must-see for nature-lovers. Hiking trails with panoramic views abound, as do lush forests of beech and oak trees. Keep an eye out for the iconic Iberian wolf and brown bear. 

Stargaze in Cíes Isles

This trio of islands in Galicia has been a protected Nature Reserve since 1980, meaning there’s still an air of wildness about them. The utter lack of development makes for impeccable Dark Sky conditions, meaning you can enjoy the spectacular sight of constellations popping out of the velvet blackness without the impediment of light pollution.

Visit the End of the World

Finisterra, also known as the Costa da Morte, feels like a place plucked straight from mythology. The ancient Romans claimed that they could see the end of the world here—hence the name, which comes from the Latin phrase Finis Terrea. While the rocky outcroppings here may not be the literal ends of the Earth, they offer a truly breathtaking vista.

Explore Green Spain by luxury rail

While all of Green Spain can be easily traversed by road trip, there’s something especially indulgent about returning to the Golden Age. With El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo, you’ll experience the sights and sounds all while being wine and dined in high style on a beautifully furnished train. Sip on glasses of Tempranillo and Cava while enjoying regional cheeses, exceptional seafood and all manner of tapas while you watch the scenic countryside roll by.

Get a glimpse of the slow life in the fishing village of Cudillero

Asturia’s seafood ranks among the finest in the world and there’s no better place to sample it than the idyllic village of Cudillero. With a population of around 5,000, this maritime dream is impossibly picturesque. Spend your afternoons wandering among the terracotta rooftops and cobblestone streets, then stop at a local spot for a refreshing glass of Asturian cider accompanied by a mountain of shellfish.


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