Eco Holiday in the Ribeira Sacra

– visit Ribeira Sacra Galicia

– stay at the Casa de Flores or in Casa do Polo 

What is Eco travel / holiday?

International Ecotourism Society : « … responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people ».

World Conservation Union defined it « …visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas …has low negative visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations ».

Having read a lot about Eco, green and sustainable tourism and holidays I studied some of the Eco friendly advertised locations and opportunities. Having had a chuckle about prominently featured recycled toilet paper, – an indication of a thin green veneer or green wash? -, my personal conclusion is that we can offer a perfect balanced Eco friendly holiday here at the cottages Casa de Flores and the Casa do Polo here in the Ribeira Sacra Galicia Spain.

Traveling

Yes one will create a co2 footprint to travel to a destination and I’m not partaking of what is more effective flying, train or car – that very much depends on the individual circumstances. But here in rural Galicia you will need a car to make the most of your holiday. We do have trains and buses but they are a bit infrequent and not very full. The exeption being the long distance trains from Madrid and Barcelona.

Lets start with the houses:

Stone, brick, chestnut, pine and lime for the structure. Breathable paint throughout (National Trust F&B). Due to the climatic circumstances we have aluminium based windows. The roofs are fully breathable and are clad with tiles partially insulated with sheep wool.
Floors are tiles or wood, just waxed or sealed with linseed-oil. Additional insulation when used is cork, but kept to a minimum, thus avoiding problems with trapped damp and moved dew points.
Very few advanced materials have been used and only when unavoidable.
In the sometimes very humid conditions here in Galicia these (old and environmentally friendly) materials work best.

Lets look at the utilities and amenities:

Water comes from our own wells and is checked. Its 6.7-6.5ph and of high quality. Even after years it still takes getting used to the fact that only minimal soap or shampoo is required. 
Waste water is reintroduced into our grounds.

The Casa de las Flores has 1.5Kw/p on the roofs to substitute our electricity.  Presently it is still not allowed to feed excess energy into the grid This limits the usage and distribution of solar pannels.

In the Casa de las Flores heating is by wood burners and the central heating is based on wood pellets.
For hot water we do use distributed small gas boilers, as the pipe runs for solar are just too long and would require constant circulation. Thus it’s just on demand, powered by a readily available source which can be easily converted to bio gas once it becomes more common available.

The « High end » Casa do Polo is fully electric. This allows for easy maintenance. Heating is by heat pumps that allows for air condition and heating.

It might come as a surprise but heating with heat pumps is actually slightly cheaper than heating by pallets.

All light are LED based.

All wet rooms are automatically air vented and do have under floor warming / drying and this runs independent on a small amount of electricity. The advantage is that the overall temperature can be kept lower without compromising comfort or introducing damp. 

Need to stay in contact? WiFi is provided.

– Page en anglais et en allemand uniquement –