Sustainable and responsible tourism in the Basque Country

Ascain
Sustainable and respo ...

Are you interested in preserving the environment? And if you became an eco-responsible tourist! To achieve this, several options are available to you: slow-tourism, micro-tourism, soft mobility... We will guide you in your responsible practices by introducing you to local producers, talented artisans, hosts and alternative lodgings. Let's go for an overview of sustainable tourism in the Basque Country.


Opening photo: La Rhune - Photo credit © Thieury / Adobe Stock

Slow-tourism and micro-tourism, two trends in sustainable tourism

Slow-tourism and micro-tourism are quite similar concepts, in an idea of going back to basics... Our society goes too fast, too far, so during the holidays, we let go. The objective is to awaken your consciousness, to reconnect with nature, its environment, its surroundings.

Slow-tourism, as its name suggests in English, has the principle of slowing down, taking time and enjoying the natural space around us. For micro-tourism, it is a question of reducing the journeys to our vacation spot. The goal is to succeed in getting away from it all without leaving your department, region or at least getting away from it as little as possible.


Photo credit © Nikola Jovanovic


Accommodation with strong values and an ecological commitment

Choosing an accommodation with an eco-label means making sure to work for the protection of the environment. Water savers, clean heating, breakfasts with local products... There are a multitude of little attentions in favor of nature! Sometimes these are alternative or unusual accommodations and you will discover different ways of life there. Our selection of responsible housing:


Photo credit © The Floating Lodges on the lake
Photo credit © The Floating Lodges on the lake

Soft mobility” travel

Vacation travel is one of the most important items in the carbon footprint, because it has become very easy to go to the other side of the world. To protect the planet, micro-tourism is in vogue. But there is also a whole palette of nuances, which is called "soft mobility". What does it consist of?

  • The simplest, most ecological and economical option is walking! In addition to playing sports and learning about slow-tourism, it allows you to explore your holiday environment along the hiking trails. Even if you're not a big walker, it's still ideal for short trips.
  • Just as ecological and favored for longer distances is the bicycle. Thanks to the many greenways, cycle routes and cycle paths, you can criss-cross the region from village to village...
  • For your intercity trips, public transport is a good option, especially with the family. Inexpensive, accessible to pushchairs and people with reduced mobility, it is an effective ally, when you don't have young children or when you travel with the elderly. Buses, trains and trams are available to take you wherever you want!
Photo Credit © Jorge Argazkiak / AdobeStock
Photo Credit © Jorge Argazkiak / AdobeStock

The “greenest” Basque villages

Even a walk in a village can be an ecological act! All you have to do is select those who commit to an environmental policy and obtain the label. This is the label of "green resorts", which reward the most virtuous. Here are the most beautiful green resorts in the Basque Country:

Photo Credit © sasha64f / AdobeStock
Photo Credit © sasha64f / AdobeStock

The seaside resorts of the Basque Country, labeled "Blue Flag"

The Basque Coast is one of the most beautiful in France and the municipalities are keen to protect their coastline. This is why many fishing ports and seaside resorts obtain the famous "Blue Flag". The criteria are very varied and encompass both the protection of the seabed and the management of waste. But they also ensure that you bathe in clean water. Each year brings a new list of labeled beaches, so this list is not exhaustive:

  • In Anglet, the beach of the Petite Chambre d'Amour
  • In Bidart, Parlementia beach
  • In Biarritz, the Côte des Basques beach
  • In Hendaye, Deux-Jumeaux beach
Photo credit © Mikeosphoto / AdobeStock
Photo credit © Mikeosphoto / AdobeStock

The Natural Parks of the Basque Country

Natural Parks were created to preserve the fauna and flora of a specific ecosystem. In fact, everything is in place to help you discover these interesting biotopes. These are good places for hiking. The park houses also offer all kinds of activities or workshops, suitable for all ages, to learn ecological gestures, develop one's knowledge of nature, while having fun with the family. The Basque Country has several protected areas:

Nature activities

To practice slow-tourism, we invite you to try nature activities, to disconnect from your daily life and take the time to recharge your batteries in contact with the natural elements. Here are some ideas:


The beautiful waves of Anglet - Photo credit © Matt Cardinal / AdobeStock
The beautiful waves of Anglet - Photo credit © Matt Cardinal / AdobeStock

Farmers' markets in the Basque Country

Whether it's a farmer's, organic or producers' market, buying local is a good way to support a local economy. In addition, the markets are always synonymous with conviviality and guarantee you fresh products !

  • The Saint-Palais farmers' market, on Fridays
  • The Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port farmers' market, on Thursdays
  • The Espelette market, the oldest in the region…
  • The Quintaou market in Anglet, Thursday and Sunday
The Quintaou Market and its flavors from the Basque Country - Photo credit © Lesley Williamson
The Quintaou Market and its flavors from the Basque Country - Photo credit © Lesley Williamson

Traditional restaurants, farms and inns in the Basque Country

Restaurant owners are both partners for local producers and privileged intermediaries. They put their know-how and their creativity at the service of good products from the Basque region. You will enjoy this tasty cuisine, between modernity and tradition. To stay in an ecological concept, you have the choice between farm inns, traditional restaurants and for a change, vegetarian or vegan restaurants...

Wine tourism in the Basque Country

Wine tourism allows you to visit the Basque wine region in a different way. Beautiful surprises await you there, such as the possibility of discovering new flavors and exciting professions, learning about oenology, practicing an unusual activity in the middle of the hills...

  • Domaine Brana, certified High Environmental Value, for its vineyard, in organic conversion and biodynamics.
  • The Bordatto estate, its peasant bistro and its "children's" area.
  • The Irouléguy cellar offers a tour to help you understand the work required from the vine to the bottle.

Local crafts, unusual gifts and souvenirs

Promoting local crafts means acting for sustainable development and perpetuating old trades and know-how of yesteryear. In its craftsmen's and artists' workshops, as in the designer boutiques, you will unearth unique works, to make original and sometimes unusual gifts. Some good addresses in the Basque Country:



Photo credit: Handmade espadrilles from Dam é Funny in Saint-Jean-de-Luz
Photo credit: Handmade espadrilles from Dam é Funny in Saint-Jean-de-Luz


This is our “eco-tour” of the Basque Country over. We wish you great eco-responsible discoveries and happy “slow-holidays”!

Did you like this report? Find more on the Basque Country Guide blog. Discover others by subscribing to the Facebook page of the Basque Country Guide. We also have an Instagram page @guidedupaysbasque


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