Basque Country sustainable tourism stories - example Vitoria-Gasteiz
Virgen Blanca Square in Vitoria-Gasteiz, capital of the Basque Country

Welcome to our Basque Country sustainable tourism stories and examples. During our destination visit of the Basque Country in November 2015, we had the opportunity to witness first hand how this region is taking steps towards sustainable tourism development, and how pioneering accommodation providers have created examples of best practice – points of reference for the destination’s ambition to become a leader in sustainability.

We also gained unique insight into the political economy of destination stewardship by talking to various key stakeholders during the World Charter for Sustainable Tourism +20 conference in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

For the Basque Country, developing strategies for sustainable economic development through responsible tourism isn’t just about market share and competitiveness. It is a chance to offer opportunities and to maintain peace in a region whose people and reputation have suffered from terrorism and violence for far too long.

Here our Basque Country sustainable tourism stories and examples:


Mertxe Begiristain, Las casas de EA Astei, sustainable rural house in Basque CountryLas Casas de EA ASTEI

Las Casas de EA ASTEI, especially the Casa VITA house, aren’t just a great place for corporate retreats or hideaways. This prime example of Basque craftsmanship and engineering is also the first “active” house in Spain, producing more energy than it consumes.

Simple yet ingenious: The biomass boiler providing heating of the houses, pool and spa is fed by leftover pine chips created from the family’s sawmill and carpentry business.

Learn about the details in our interview with Mertxe Begiristain.


Outside Agroturismo Arkaia Accessible Tourism Basque CountryAgroturismo Arkaia in Vitoria-Gasteiz

Agroturismo Arkaia, just five minutes from the historical center of Vitoria-Gasteiz, is an accommodation recently awarded the EU Ecolabel and great example for accessible tourism.

In our interview with Ángeles Arroyo Sánchez, the hostel’s owner and manager tells us why the family decided to invest in restoring the building in a way to make it as sustainable and accessible as possible.


Lurdeia in spring, Basque Country AgrotourismLurdeia Casa Rural

Thirty years ago, a group of friends decided to leave everything behind and to create an oasis of tranquility and a place to reconnect with nature. This oasis is called Lurdeia, nestled in the Urdaibai estuary, near Bilbao.

Read the story of Alberto, Alberto, Iñaki, Tomás, Roberto, Josu, and Josu’s parents Manolo and Agapita: a group of persons passionate about organic farming and leaders in sustainable ecotourism.


Basquetour destination marketing Basque CountryOur thanks to Basquetour– the Basque Tourism Agency for facilitating those interviews and for hosting us during our destination visit of the Basque Country in November 2015.