Scenic value of the Basque Country and Catalonia coasts (Spain): impacts of tourist occupation

Beñat iglesias, Giorgio Anfuso, Andrea Uterga, Pedro Arenas, Allan Thomas Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coastal areas around the world are under threat basically because of the tourist industry of which scenery is an important component. This paper presents the result of scenic evaluation of 54 sites along the Basque and Catalonia coasts. The classification derives values from a checklist of 18 physical and 8 human parameters and permits calculation of a scenic evaluation index, which classifies coastal sites into five classes from Class I, usually natural areas of top scenic characteristics, to Class V, poor scenic natural areas with a greater impact of human interventions. Two Class I sites were found in the Basque area. Respectively for Basque and Catalonia, 3 and 1 Class II sites occurred; 8 and 8 Class III; 11 and 4 Class IV; 3 and 14 Class V. In the Basque Country, the presence of coastal mountainous areas positively affect many important natural parameters of classification, and the relative low level of human occupation, favoured good scores at several sites. Along the Catalonia coast, coastal mountainous areas were not so common but, at places, very attractive natural scenic features were recorded. Regrettably many of them were negatively impacted by human occupation related to the “3S” tourist model. Such results provide local managers and planners a solid inventory on coastal scenic characteristics and baseline information for any envisaged subsequent management plan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-261
Number of pages15
Journal Journal of Coastal Conservation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Coastal geomorphology
  • Landscape
  • Carrying capacity
  • Fuzzy logic
  • Tourism
  • Land use
  • Coastal erosion


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