Spain Transforms Unused Railroads into 1100 Miles of Stunning Greenway Trails for Biking, Walking

Spain's environmentally-friendly ‘Vías Verdes’ Trails take you on a spectacular journey through the countryside. Here, the Via Verde de la Sierra (Cadiz-Sevilla).

A recognized leader in eco-tourism and sustainable development, Spain continues its efforts to promote ‘greener’ ways to travel with the help of the Vías Verdes Program. The program, translated literally as greenways, encompasses re-purposing and redesign of unused railway lines into trails for walkers, joggers and cyclists. Similar to Manhattan’s High Line or the Illinois Prairie Path, Spain’s Vías Verdes added over 1,110 miles of trail passages to those existing in Spain naturally.

The trails, located throughout the country, vary in length, providing an option for travelers in search of an active outdoor challenge or those looking for a leisurely stroll. From the 1-mile long Paseo Itsaslur Greenway in Bizkaia that offers breathtaking views of the Basque Country shoreline, to the 46-mile long Sierra de Alcaraz Greenway in Albacete (Castilla La Mancha region,) that will take you through parts of the Don Quixote Route and the meadows of the rivers Jardín and Cubillo. The flat and even surface of Vías Verdes assures seamless travel for those on foot or a bike.

Conveniently located near major cities or in close proximity to train stations, the greenways present an opportunity to discover Spain’s hidden corners, admire the pristine beauty of its landscape as well as interact with the country’s habitat.

Recently, the Spanish Railway Foundation in collaboration with the Biodiversity Foundation and Ferrovial, one of the world’s leading developers of transport infrastructure, launched a campaign titled “Greenways, Zero CO2” to emphasize the environmentally-friendly facet of such programs as the Vías Verdes. The campaign, set to finish at the end of October, 2011, stresses the need for the development of alternative, non-motorized infrastructure options to reduce CO2 emissions, promote sustainable patterns of mobility and preserve biodiversity.

With over 80 itineraries available on the program’s website, every traveler will find a greenway to best suit their interest.

For more information on the Vías Verdes Program, please visit http://www.viasverdes.com/GreenWays. For more information or questions on travel to Spain, visit www.spain.info or contact the Tourist Office of Spain in New York at nuevayork@tourspain.es.

For more travel features, visit:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

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