In recent years, new forms of tourism have gradually gained ground on the traditional sun, beach and big cities oriented tourism. As a probable response to the frenetic pace of modern life, nowadays more and more people choose to spend their holidays in a natural environment, isolated from the big cities. The so-called rural tourism is without a doubt one of these alternatives. In Spain, however a recent phenomenon, it has already become a popular alternative to “mass tourism” in other parts of Europe.
The exceptional natural environment of the Canary Islands, offering beautiful contrasts, seems like a perfect spot for this type of tourism. Volcanic landscapes, golden beaches, rock formations in whimsical shapes and a unique biodiversity await visitors, who have a wide accommodation offer to choose from. In addition, many rural houses are located in old buildings that represent the traditional architecture of the islands to perfection; an incomparable way to learn about the history and idiosyncrasies of the Canarian people. They are also ideal to practice activities such as hiking, climbing or biking, as well as photography and astronomy.
The offer is increasingly diverse and includes accommodations of various types, but they all have a number of things in common. For example, their harmonious and tranquil surroundings, the importance placed on contact with nature and the wealth in historical and scenic assets. Rural accommodation can be classified into:
-Cottages: Generally located in remote areas well away from the cities, these are houses that have been adapted for visitors to stay. They usually have common areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms. The type of building and decoration style are normally those typical of rural areas, but they boast all necessary amenities.
-Rural hotels: With no more than 20 rooms, these hotels are located in rural areas where visitors can enjoy the surrounding nature and engage in the activities on offer. In many cases, they are equipped with facilities such as spa centre, massage services and beauty treatments.
-States: these are houses located in rural environments that are primarily devoted to stockbreeding and trading of beef products and wool.
-Farm-schools: Focused mainly to the young visitors, they offer tours and all kinds of activities aimed at raising environmental awareness amongst visitors.
There are also a series of modalities that fall under a very particular classification, but that can be included within a very general concept of rural tourism, such as agrotourism and ecotourism or the wine tourism.
Agrotourism: It is understood as tourism modality in agricultural areas that offers visitors the possibility to get a close feel of traditional agricultural activities. It consists essentially of the observation or even the practice of agricultural chores such as harvesting fruits and vegetables, milking cows, sheep shearing, etc. It allows visitors to go back to a time in which the countryside and agriculture were the main means of livelihood of a large part of the population.
Ecological tourism: It brings together a number of factors, such as the contribution to biodiversity preservation, the search and promotion of local participation, and the fact that it is carried out in small groups and making the smallest possible consumption of non-renewable resources, among other things.
Wine tourism: Wine culture. Tastings and visits to wineries and vineyards are organized aiming to improve and manage the island’s winegrowing wealth.
Any of these options is a perfect opportunity to approach the rural environment and enjoy the authentic local cuisine and cultural heritage, as well as to purchase stunning artisanal products. Experiencing the Canarias through rural tourism, both the north and the south of the island, in the coast and the mountain areas, will make for unforgettable memories. Peace and contact with nature are guaranteed in this type of tourism is becoming increasingly attractive for all kinds of visitors.