Going back to our roots, sustainable tourism and contact with nature
We spend more and more time connected. This is nothing new, since life in the big cities involves a frenzied pace and technology that has us in the grip of its networks. It demands we stay constantly alert with all five senses, ready to react. But such a lifestyle isn’t always the healthiest. We need to disconnect and breathe a little in order to be well, to recharge our batteries and return full of energy. If we also want to take special care of our health, nothing beats getting back to nature.
Megacities of 10 million-plus people
The World Economic Forum predicts that 2020 will see at least 10 cities around the world gain megacity status, i.e., enormous populations with more than 10 million people. It is already the case of places like Tokyo, New Delhi and Rio de Janeiro, and the figure multiplies exponentially every few years, according to the latest research. Life in the city has a major impact on our habits and health, which is why for some time now, and especially in recent years, rural tourism or holidays in contact with nature has been providing a respite for families and people in touch with their wellbeing. It also has the value of the land, culture, our history and roots.
Visit the village of your grandparents
Spain has a long tradition of ties with the rural world, and although life in the capital cities has become the norm, many families still visit the area their forebearers hailed from. In popular parlance it is known as “going to the village” for the holidays. Spain is strongly linked to its land, nature, history and the specific culture of each region, making it a fantastic place for visitors. Although life in the big smoke is the new normal, the countryside survives and offers us an oasis to wind down and recharge our batteries in.
Spain could lay a claim to being one of the world’s most versatile tourist destinations, with beach holidays leading the charge, but there is also a growing range of cultural tourism offerings and surging demand for holidays in the countryside. Rural retreats have experienced a boom in recent times, attracting over 3.6 million tourists in 2016. Ecotourism is also growing in popularity as we become increasingly aware of sustainable tourism and farming, in places where we can enjoy a relaxing break while helping preserve the environment. Local tradition, culture and history, as well as typical cuisine, are other key parts of experience tourism. Staying on a farm, surrounded by nature in a pleasant setting, is the perfect way to return to your regular life with renewed zeal.
A host of experiences
Having decided to disconnect and get a change of scenery, far from the bustle of the big smoke, the range of possibilities is immense. Mountain holidays, horseback riding, foodie breaks, wine tasting and winery tours, local speciality samplings and guided tours of historic buildings are just some of the options. Then there are original and bespoke events like blindfolded dinners, joining an olive harvesting group or trying your hand at farming for a day. Instead of simply relaxing, we prize going home with a light suitcase and a wealth of memories. This makes us selective when choosing a holiday destination that will provide an experience in a class by itself. We want a break that speaks to our senses and gives us a feeling of achievement. Customised experiences that offer wellbeing and learning opportunities. Plans that deliver on all this are the ones most in demand, where the tourist experience is paramount.
What to do in Ronda
Picture a place where you can relax or enjoy an experience at a typical Andalusian cortijo, lovingly restored by architect and designer Philippe Starck. Set in a stunning estate with an organic olive grove and vineyard and where art, fine dining, culture and history come together to delight your senses.
Welcome to LA Organic Experience
Set in the highlands of the age-old region of Ronda, between Antequera, Malaga and Seville, lies a stunning property that cannot fail to impress. A very special place where organic farming has been turned into an art form and where design and countryside coexist in perfect harmony.
A stroll among ancient olive trees and varieties from around the world throws up a series of surprises that designer Philippe Starck carefully arranged along the route to impress. Tours start at the car park with monumental photographs several metres high, making it clear from the outset that we are not just in the countryside, but surrounded by an extra something special. An immense task of recovering plant species and restoring the property has left us with thousands of trees, including olive, cypress and fruit, plus vineyards and a beautifully laid out garden where absolutely all the produce is organic.
The property also boasts a place with a wealth of character: the Greenhouse, a multifunctional venue with a gastronomy corner, exhibition room, a store with specially selected products and two stunning terraces where you can enjoy a good serving of Iberian ham and glass of the local tipple, while taking in the fabulous views over the Grazalema mountain range.
Finally, before or after the guided tour and taking part in a LA Organic extra-virgin olive oil tasting, you can head back to Cortijo LA Organic at the end of the day to absorb the sights, sensations and experiences of a day to remember.