Spain | WWF


From the vibrant capital of Madrid with its great food, museums and nightlife to the beaches of Barcelona and Costa Blanca, Spain is the world’s second most visited country and a perfect destination for those in search of culture, History and landscapes diversity.

But large stretches of Spain’s 8,000 kilometres of coastline are at risk from erosion, pollution and oil spills. Other environmental threats are water over-exploitation,  desertification, drought and deforestation, including shrinking cork oak forests that are home to fox, wild boar, wild goat, red deer and the Iberian lynx - the world's most endangered cat species.
    © WWF / Edward PARKER
Cork oak tree, Spain.
© WWF / Edward PARKER

Country Eco-tips

Energy and Water
  • Water is generally safe to drink in Spain. Madrid is perhaps one of the safest places to drink water from the tap. The tap water in Barcelona and surrounding is not known for its taste.
  • If travelling in remote areas, it is best to play it safe and drink bottled water.
    Visitors should be prepared for hot, dry summers, which in the past several years have contributed to drought and forest fires in parts of the country.
  • On particular windy days, wind power generation has surpassed all other electricity sources in Spain.
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  • You can either dispose of your waste at local packaging collection places or use recycling bins that are provided along the streets in some municipalities. They are emptied and cleaned out on a regular collection basis by the municipality workers.
  • Recycling in Barcelona – blue for paper; green for glass; and yellow for metal and plastic..
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  • The easiest way to get around Spain is by bus. But the Spanish national rail carrier, Renfe, will also get you place. More on public transportation in Spain here.
  • Biking in Spain is popular. Cycling lanes are available in many large and mid-sized cities.
  • Spain intends aims to put 1 million electric cars on the road by 2014 as part of the government’s plan to save energy and boost energy.
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  • Seafood paella is one of Spain’s most popular national dishes – make sure the seafood is sustainably sourced, especially endangered Mediterranean bluefin tuna, although WWF recommends not to eat this species. Many other different dishes will be found in this food-diverse country.
  • Look for the blue MSC eco-label when food shopping or dining out.
  • The traditional market is still very much a part of the Spanish way of life. In Barcelona, the largest is the central Sant Josep market, known as La Boquería. In Madrid, the largest is the Maravillas food market.
  • Spain is among the top four EU countries in terms of agricultural land devoted to organic farming. Look for the following organic supermarket chains throughout the country: NaturaSi, Veritas and Comme-Bio.
  • There are many vegetarian and organic restaurants to choose from in Spain.
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Green Spots
  • Coto Doñana National Park: Located on the southwestern coast of Spain, at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River, Coto Doñana National Park is one of the world’s most important wetland sites, providing a haven for millions of migratory birds. It is also home to one of the two last surviving populations of the Iberian lynx.
  • Cañadas del Teide National Park: This is the largest and oldest park in Spain’s Canary Islands, and at 3718m, the park’s Mt Teide is the highest mountain in Spain. Canary Islands hold three more National Parks.
  • Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park: Situated in the Pyrenees, the park is home to boar, chamois, marmots and eagles. It also part of UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve of Ordesa-Viñamala.
  • Retiro Park: Perhaps Madrid’s best known park, Retiro covers 120 hectares of land in the centre of the city; it includes a rose garden and boating lake.

    Look for the Spanish Tourism Quality “Q” seal at many beaches and natural areas here.
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Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the above information. However, WWF makes no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding errors or omissions and assumes no legal liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use.