Rural Turism in Spain
Spain is much more than a simple sun-and-beach destination, and some of its most beautiful locations remain uncharted by commercial tourism. Rural tourism (which is similar to ecotourism) is an excellent alternative to Spain's more commercial tourism; it allows visitors to come into closer contact with the country's incredible geographic and cultural diversity.
Rural tourism is highly recommendable for those interested in nature, history and culture; it is definitely not the right option for those looking for daytime relaxation on the beach and nightlife excitement after sundown.
Northern Spain offers some of the best natural surroundings for rural tourism. Most visitors to this part of the country come to experience the beauty of its geography and its delicious and varied gastronomy. Asturias and Galicia are some of the most popular northern destinations for rural tourism.
Rural tourism can be experienced practically everywhere throughout Spain; in some areas only an hour's drive from Spain's massive beach tourist centers. Usually taking place in the country or in small villages, with accommodation in historical or traditionally-built buildings, it is mostly a national activity. Most foreign tourists are drawn to the popular beach destinations of the South.
The growing popularity of this form of tourism at the national level has led to increased commercialization and a quickly growing portfolio of rural accommodations on offer throughout the country.
Rural tourism in Spain is marketed mostly through the Internet, with a number of specialized portals that allow the user to search for rural facilities based on criteria such as quality, location and other characteristics.
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There are several types of rural tourist facilities:
- Rural home (casa rural): A single building offering separate rooms, with common areas for bathrooms, living room and kitchen. Individual rooms can be rented out for smaller parties; large groups usually have the option of renting the entire house.
- Rural accommodation (alojamiento rural): Similar to a vacation apartment rental, with distinguishing 'rural' features (construction, decoration). These facilities usually include kitchen, bathroom, living room and multiple bedrooms.
- Rural hotel (hotel rural): Also known as a “posada rural”, rural hotels are larger than other rural tourist facilities and typically offer no more than ten rooms. Services include daily room cleaning, restaurant facilities and meeting rooms (corporate outings often take place in rural hotels).
- Rural tourism center (centro de turismo rural): Usually consists of a small complex where accommodation (often of various types), dining facilities and other installations are grouped together. Nature activities are arranged under the supervision of professional guides, with materials available on-site. Also popular destinations for corporate outings.
Activities associated with rural tourism usually revolve the region's natural, historical and cultural heritage:
- Getting to know traditional towns through their customs, festivities and traditional foods.
- Exploring nature trails (“rutas rurales). Spain has plenty of official trails maintained by the government for people of all ages and levels of skill.
- Visiting sites of historical significance. Besides the country's medieval heritage, Spain has a vast wealth of ancient Roman and Arab-Islamic monuments.
- Experiencing Spain's rich and varied flora and fauna. Many experts throughout the country offer guided, informative trips.
- Practicing extreme sports such as paragliding and rock climbing.
- Spiritual and relaxation activities in specialized rural facilities.
Si hablas español te recomendamos la pagina web de naturural donde puedes encontrar una guía muy completa sobre el turismo rural en Andalucia. En esta página web puedes encontrar una amplia gama de casas rurales en Andalucia para alquilar un casa rural para un fin de semana o para unas vacaciones rurales más largos. También puedes encontrar guías útiles sobre que hacer durante tus vacaciones rurales en Andalucía, donde comer o las cosas más interesantes de ver.