Being such a slave to metropolises, I rarely consider entertaining the idea of any type of rural tourism. In fact, I know little about anything rural. According to Planeta.com, an online global journal of practical ecotourism, rural tourism can be defined as a type of travel that “allows travelers to visit areas outside of urban areas.” With that definition in mind, I began exploring what kind of rural tourism exists in Catalonia, the region of Spain where I reside.
I was surprised when I started my research to find that there aren’t a terrible amount of resources available for those hankering to spend some time breathing in the pre-Pyrenees air in a house made of stone while livestock graze outside the window.
John Erceg is the Director General of Engrande, an online booking site of hotels, hostels and apartments including Ruralsi, a site that specializes in rentals of rural houses in Catalonia that start at as low as 10 EUR/ night. John explained that rural tourism has a much stronger presence in France than in Spain.
According to John, following WWII the French government poured resources into marketing rural tourism to help the impoverished French countryside. Spain, unfortunately, never followed suit.
There is no reason, however, why Catalonia, which is attached to Southern France, can’t also have a stronghold on the rural tourism sector. This site focuses exclusively on eco and rural tourism in Spain, although it leaves a lot to be desired. Another site called Top Rural does not offer as many options as Ruralsi. It is a shame, since surely there are travelers out there that would opt for a night listening to cow bells rather than the merrymaking of boisterous tourists on the calles below.