The “Vías Verdes y Red Natura 2000” App, developed by the Spanish Railway Foundation, has received the Special Award of the 9th edition of the European Greenways Award, awarded by the European Greenways Association (EGWA). For this ninth edition, the EGWA had the cooperation of the Vidzeme Tourism Association and the support of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia.
The European Greenways Award was established in 2003 and since then it is held every two years to acknowledge the greenways projects that stand out for their excellence and demonstration of best practices, with the aim of promoting their replication on other greenways all over Europe.
The award ceremony took place on 5 September 2019 in Dikli (Vidzeme region in Latvia) and was organised within the framework of the final conference of the “Greenways Heritage” project, co-funded by the European Union’s COSME program, in which the Spanish Railway Foundation participates as partner.
In this 2019 edition, the international jury has awarded projects in the Excellence and Exemplary initiatives categories, and has given a special award to acknowledge an innovative action or product that contributes to improving the information and the experience for tourists. This special award is the one granted to the Spanish Railway Foundation for its “Vías Verdes y Red Natura 2000” mobile application, which was developed with the support of the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and in collaboration with the University of Seville.
Six greenways and initiatives from Latvia, Czech Republic, Austria and Spain have been awarded as reference of best practices in Europe.
“Vías Verdes y Red Natura 2000” App
Designed for Android devices, this app allows you to discover the rich biodiversity of Spain’s natural landscapes, the Natura 2000 network, the biosphere reserves and the Geoparks Network. It provides very complete information on each itinerary, with detailed maps and geopositioning, and it is highly valued by the users. You can free download the application from Google Play Store.
Almost every greenway in Spain is included in this application, since over 90% of these itineraries lie within a 5 km radius of protected natural landscapes.
Until recently there was no integration or value enhancement strategy of the natural heritage existing in the surroundings of the greenways in a specific and detailed way. The app includes this content in an integrated way and provides search engines of the greenways; georeferenced maps; technical datasheets of the routes (length, types of users, natural landscapes, interpretation centres, hypsometric profiles and connections to other itineraries); environmental information both in text and in cartographic layers; photographs; “how to get there” (interesting feature to get to the selected greenway, location via Google Maps and access to the itinerary itself by road, public transport, on foot or by bike), in addition to other data and resources of interest.