As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to Green Spain, we've picked out a selection of places to stay in Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country.
Outside of the cities such as Bilbao and San Sebastian, accommodation across Green Spain tends to be mid to small scale, with very few resorts on the scale of the Costas. Much of the tourism is domestic and many of the Spanish tourists opt for self-catering apartments or houses. There are plenty of hotels and B&Bs for those who don’t wish to cater, but these are likely to be independents, rather than being booked as part of a package holiday. For those on a tight budget, the region has some superb value-for-money campsites, hostels and apartments. Below is a selection of places to stay throughout Green Spain.
Casa da Cabaza This bucolic farmhouse B&B lies on the shore of a lake 45 minutes drive from Lugo. Owners Sietske and Tariq have lovingly restored the main house and five ensuite bedrooms in the building across the courtyard. Period features such as wooden beams and thick stone walls remain while each rooms is unique with striking artwork and furniture made by local craftsmen. Guests are invited to wander the organic gardens, laze in hammocks or star gaze thanks to the light pollution-free skies. A vegetarian breakfast of homemade and locally sourced produce includes Galician cheese, yoghurt and honey, while a an evening meals of tapas, or ‘pinchos’ can be prepared if ordered in advance. casacabaza.com
Posada del Valle
A family run hotel set in 18 acres of organic orchards, pasture and a vegetable garden that supply the restaurant with much of its produce. Guests are greeted by homemade apple juice and bread for breakfast, while in the evening the daily changing set menu includes a soup, salad, main course, dessert or cheese, much of it picked just hours before it is served, for E28 per person. The 12 bedrooms are ensuite and include features such as stone walls and windows that originate from the building’s past role as a priest’s farmhouse. It lies in the foothills of the Picos de Europa and is, as such, popular with walkers and bird watchers. Nearby towns are Cangas de Onis and Llanes. posadadelvalle.com
Camping Tauran Agroturismo
This family-run cliff-top campsite near the pretty harbour town of Luarca occupies a dramatic position on the wild Asturian coastline. The 100-or-so spaces include free camping, sites with electricity as well as spaces for motorhomes and caravans and bungalows. The log cabin-style bungalows sleep 2-6 people and have a kitchen including a fridge, toilet, shower and bed linen included. The site has its own smallholding boasting native Asturian animals including an Asturcon pony, Xalda sheep and Pita Pinta chicken. Other child-friendly activities include a playground, pool, sauna, table tennis, basketball, table football, and billiards. There is free wi-fi, a covered barbecue area and Taurán beach is a 200 metre amble downhill. The site runs on solar energy and is kept cool by the shade of the trees and breeze from the Cantabrian Sea. campingtauran.com
EcoFarm Asturias This ‘glampsite’ may be off the grid but it is only 40 minutes drive from Oviedo and there’s no skimping on the luxury. There are three choices - the caravan that sleeps four overlooking wild woodland with a mini kitchen and composting loo and the yurt that sleeps five and has a simple field kitchen with a deck and hammock. Then, the cabana that sleeps up to six. It is a traditional rural building where animals would have slept below and the shepherd above. Water comes from a private spring and solar powered phone chargers and showers are available. Guests can self cater and order ahead for a veg box, eggs, potatoes, a fresh bunch of herbs, plus there’s barbecue facilities using home produced charcoal from the farm’s sweet chestnut coppice. Evening meals can be provided for E15 for adults, half price for kids, offering dishes such as chicken with olives, lemon, honey, ginger and coriander. ecofarmasturias.org
La Casa de las Chimeneas
Owners Tony and Lucia have converted a rustic farmstead into a hamlet of pretty apartments in the tiny village of Tudes in the Pico de Europa. The eight apartments, once pigsties and hen houses, have one, two or three bedrooms and have 14 chimneys between them, giving the house its name. All have kitchens, televisions, wood burning stove and wifi. There’s a shaded terrace, striking infinity pool with mountain views and bar called La Taberna del Ingles which offers light meals and snacks. Potes is only ten minutes away with its old town and Monday market. lacasadelaschimeneas.es
When Casa Zalama’s six bedrooms are full, its occupants increase the population of the village, San Pelayo, by 50%. This is countryside life in the slow and peaceful lane, yet Santander and Bilbao are just an hour’s drive away. The house is rustic and traditional and surrounded by a pretty garden with plenty of spots to unwind. There is also a self catering cottage that sleeps four with its own kitchen and garden area. Breakfast and dinner is home cooked and much of it homegrown including traditional rustic Spanish dishes, perfect for the surroundings - antique reclaimed furniture, baskets, woodwork hanging on thick stone walls.
Eco Hotel Mundaka
Mundaka is a world famous surf destination thanks to its left-breaking wave, considered the finest in Europe in its category, and reaching up to four metres high. Mundaka also boasts a pretty harbour and is in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, which includes beaches, forests, rivers and islands. The Eco Hotel is in the centre of town and 300 metres from the beach. It has simple but bright ensuite 19 single, double or triple rooms and stands strongly by ecological principles including solar power, smart water use and minimal use of chemicals. It has a dining room offering a locally sourced breakfast, a surf school and gelateria in season. hotelmundaka.com
Ea Astei Once a collection of farm buildings, the 15th century farmhouse, adjoining granary and raised barn have been converted into two rustic but luxurious self catering apartments and a cabin together with two striking modern apartments in wood and glass. The five units sleep between two and six people and have well equipped kitchens, heating, wifi and linen. There is a swimming pool, sauna, hot tub, garden and barbecue area. The bucolic surroundings include eucalyptus forests and beaches 10km away. And Guernica, of Picasso fame, has lots of restaurants and an excellent market and is 15 minute’s drive. en.astei.net
Marques de Riscal
This five star hotel is part of the extraordinary ‘City of Wine’ complex designed by Frank Gehry. The contorted metal facade of this building gleams pink and silver in such flowing folds that the metal looks like twists of ribbon. It houses the cellars, wine tasting rooms, two restaurants, avcafe, shop, spa and hotel with 43 bedrooms and suites. Many rooms have balconies and all have views of the combed rows of vines or the terracotta roofs of the pretty village of Elciego. marriott.com/hotels/travel/biolc-hotel-marques-de-riscal-a-luxury-collection-hotel-elciego
For nearby places to eat, visitor attractions and activities, see our Green Traveller's Guide to Green Spain