Two tourist destinations in Spain for a better world

by Lorraine Williamson
tourist destinations

MADRID – By choosing your holiday destination, you can also have some influence on making a better world. The New York Times selected 52 tourist destinations worldwide that stand out with sustainability and environmental projects. 

Two Spanish tourist destinations are helping to change the world, according to the prestigious American newspaper. Moreover, in the “52 Places for a Changed World” list, they are ranked 23rd and 47th respectively. Furthermore, this classification highlights tourist destinations that carry out projects to make the world a little more sustainable. 

Travellers can be part of the solution 

These are places around the world “where travellers can be part of the solution”, reads the publication in the American newspaper. Therefore, travellers who decide to spend their holidays in the aforementioned destinations contribute to the development of sustainable initiatives. Furthermore, the two Spanish destinations are the Canary Island of El Hierro and the Cíes Islands off the coast of Galicia. 

El Hierro 

Measuring only 268 square kilometres, El Hierro is the smallest inhabited island of the archipelago. This includes Tenerife and Gran Canaria and El Hierro is the furthest from the Spanish mainland. In Valverde, one of the three municipalities on El Hierro is the innovative hydro-wind energy park of Gorona del Viento. Therefore, this makes the island a testing ground for clean energy. And furthermore, makes it almost 100% self-sufficient. 

CO2 emissions into the atmosphere have been reduced by 15,484 tons with the deployment of Gorona del Viento.  Consequently, 1,293 hours are covered with 100% renewable energy and, therefore, the consumption of 5,922 tons of diesel is avoided. 

Water is pumped between the lower and upper reservoirs by the surplus wind. The water that remains in the last deposit helps to produce electricity from the hydraulic jump when there is no or insufficient wind. 

Cogesa Expats

In 2000 El Hierro became a Biosphere Reserve and a pioneer in organic farming and sustainable fishing. The next step is for the island authorities to invest more in electric cars. Subsequently, in this way, the island is increasingly becoming a testing ground for sustainability. 

With the installation of 25 free Wi-Fi points spread over the three municipalities, it was declared the first ‘smart island’ in the world by the central government in 2013.

The Cíes Islands 

The Cíes Islands are a true paradise in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Vigo in the Spanish province of Pontevedra in the region of Galicia. The archipelago consists of the islands of Monteagudo, Faro, San Martiño and the smaller islands of Boeiro, Penela dos Viños, Carabelos and Ruzo. Tourists can hike trails with a guide, camp, bird watch or visit the paradisiacal beaches. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, the beaches here are among the best in Europe. 

The archipelago is very small with a total area of ​​4.5 square kilometres and has the protected status of a national park. Despite this, they threatened to succumb to mass tourism every summer. 


With its choice of the islands, The New York Times emphasizes the control that the authorities have been carrying out since 2018 to bring the number of visitors in line with the character of the archipelago. Since then, the regional government has allowed a maximum of 2,000 visitors per day in the high season. This offers tourists the experience that they are visiting a real natural paradise. 

 Also read: How to go green in Spain


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