Greentraveller's Guide to Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, and the Basque Country
Words by Ginny Light, photography by Christopher Willan, videography by Richard Hammond and Nigel Camp.
Artwork for Greentraveller's Guides by Tina Smith and Mark Edwards
Foreword by Javier Piñanes, Director of the Spanish Tourist Office (UK)
Green Spain refers to the lush natural region of Northern Spain that stretches from the Atlantic coast of Galicia to the Basque border with France. Parts of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque country all fall under the blanket of Green Spain.
Green Spain is unique to the other parts of Spain thanks to not only its temperate oceanic climate and rich green scenery but also with respects to its rich cultural history, unique cultures, and an outstanding gastronomy offering.
What our writer discovered in Green Spain
The four regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country are like nowhere else in Spain. From the Atlantic coast of Galicia to the Basque border with France, including Picos de Europa and coast of the Bay of Biscay, the temperate climate provides a lush and green environment. Known as 'Green Spain', it is home to a wide variety of landscapes - vast sweeping beaches, rivers meandering across flood plains, rocky crags and snow-capped mountains. Year-round there's a range of activities in the great outdoors as well as cutting edge gastronomy, bold architecture and a proud heritage within easy reach of the UK.
Food is often a product of geography and history; no more so than in Green Spain where the local fare goes far beyond the typical seaside menu
The climate of Green Spain and its bounteous soils and plentiful seas, have been a draw for populations from prehistory to modern day
Stay, Eat, See & Do
Our pick of places across Green Spain
Written by Ginny Light
Google Map Key:
Click on the coloured icons for more information about each listing
Green = Places to stay
Blue = Places to eat
Yellow = Attractions
Purple = Activities
Click on the square brackets top right of map to reveal expanded map
Travelling to Green Spain
There are several ways to travel to Green Spain from the UK
There are overnight ferry services from Portsmouth to Santander and Bilbao and Plymouth to Santander. Train services run from France to Green Spain via Irun. The 'Transcantábrico' "train cruise" runs from Santiago de Compostela (Galicia) to San Sebastián (Basque Country). Renfe Spain Pass is a rail card that can be used on all AVE middle- and long-distance high-speed trains and is valid for one month from the first trip (available for purchase up to six months in advance of travel). Alsa runs bus services across all four regions (including services to/from the main airports). To fly, the major airports are Bilbao, Santander, Asturias (Castrillón), A Coruña and Santiago de Compostela.
Getting to the Basque Country
By ferry: Twice weekly ferry crossing operated by Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to Bilbao.
By train: Main train stations in Bilbao and San Sebastián
By plane: Bibao international airport (12km outside Bilbao city centre); San Sebastián airport (22km outside San Sebastián city centre) also has domestic flights from Madrid and Barcelona.
Getting to Cantabria
By ferry: Twice weekly ferry crossing operated by Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to Santander and Plymouth to Santander.
By train: Main station is Santander.
By plane: Main airport is Santander which is 5km outside Santander.
Getting to Asturias
By train: Main stations are Gijón and Oviedo.
By plane: Asturias airport is in Castrillón, which is 14 kilometres from Avilés, 40 from Gijón and 47 from Oviedo.
Getting to Galicia
By train: Main stations are Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Lugo and Ourense.
By plane: Main airports are A Coruña (8km outside A Coruña), Vigo (9km outside Vigo) and Santiago de Compostela (10km outside Santiago de Compostela).
All photos in this Greentraveller's Guide to Green Spain are by Christopher Willan, which he took on his media visit to Green Spain with Ginny Light (writer) and Richard Hammond and Nigel Camp (videographers) in December 2018.