Travelling has changed. We want to get right back to the heart of the matter - to contact with the natural world, sampling local cuisine, seeing cities in a different way. 2022 could be a great time to plan a getaway to Spain, with all the necessary safety measures in place. Because life is also to be enjoyed, we have some examples of destinations in Spain that are special for different reasons, and that will get you feeling excited about travelling again.
Sustainable towns and villages
Fancy a rural getaway? Two Spanish villages have been chosen to be included on the World Tourism Organization’s Best Tourism Villages list because of their commitment to values such as sustainable development. The first of these is Lekunberri in Navarre, located in the north of Spain just 30 kilometres from the city of Pamplona. Here you’ll be able to do some hiking and bike routes, together with other activities in the countryside. For example, there’s the Plazaola Greenway, an old railway line that’s been converted and reconditioned for walkers and cyclists. You could also do the part of the Ernest Hemingway route that runs through Navarre. Can you imagine being able to follow in the famous writer’s footsteps? And don’t miss out on the nearby Mendukilo cave, the source of the river Larraun and the Azpirotz viewpoint.The other village chosen is Morella, in the north of the Valencia Region. A stroll through its medieval streets protected by a city wall will make you lose all track of time. Iberians, Celts, Greeks, Romans, Carthaginans and Arabs each left their own distinctive mark, making Morella one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. Don’t miss the Basilica of Santa María la Mayor.
Granada, one of the best cities to visit in 2022
On the list of the 25 destinations chosen by National Geographic as the most incredible places to travel to in 2022, you’ll find a Spanish city: Granada. In fact they even go so far as to call it “one of the wonders of the 21st century”.If you’ve never been there, you might not know that Granada is home to one of the most beautiful sets of monuments on the planet: The spectacular palaces of the Alhambra, and the Generalife gardens. And if you add a sunset in the Albaicín neighbourhood (from the San Nicolás viewpoint), a flamenco show in the Sacromonte, and a visit to the cathedral, you’re in for an experience that’s just about perfect.
A national park and a UNESCO environmental corridor
In 2021, a new national park was added to the list, bringing the total to 16. This is the Sierra de las Nieves National Park, located in the heart of the province of Malaga. If you decide to visit, you’ll find soaring peaks that reach heights of almost 2,000 metres, the deepest sink hole in Andalusia, a labyrinth of caves that’s great if you like a spot of adventure, and an iconic species of tree, the Spanish fir.And there’s another destination that’s highly recommended if you’re a nature lover too: Extremadura. A UNESCO environmental corridor has been created here, made up of three Biosphere Reserves (Monfragüe, Tajo Internacional and La Siberia) and the Villuercas-Ibores-Jara Geopark. This is a part of Spain that’s ideal for stargazing at night (here you have one of the best skies in the world for enjoying the stars), and watching birds such as vultures and imperial eagles during the day. You’ll also be able to savour the delicious cuisine, and visit monuments such as the Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe, one of Spain´s most important pilgrimage sites.
Europe’s first whale heritage site
Without a shadow of a doubt, the Canary Islands are a paradise for marine species. The area located between the islands of La Gomera and Tenerife has been recognised as such. It’s an incredible place if you want to go whale or dolphin watching in a sustainable way.The Canary Islands also have many more places where you can connect with the natural world, such as the stunning island of La Palma, known as La Isla Bonita [the Beautiful Island], or the Garajonay National Park in La Gomera, first declared a nature reserve 40 years ago. There you can immerse yourself in a laurel forest, a type of forest that was abundant millions of years ago, but that has now almost disappeared from our planet.
La Alcarria: Twenty years since the death of a Nobel Prize winner -
writer Camilo José Cela, author of “Journey to the Alcarria”. The book focuses on a particular area of Spain, the Alcarria, which belongs to Gudalajara and is full of villages with lots of charm. Hire a car and let yourself be captivated by the tranquillity of places like Hita, Brihuega and Pastrana. Historic, monumental towns with castles, legends, sweeping fields of lavender, pretty rural accommodation options, and typical local products such as honey.