Lighthouses are facilities that are integrated into the Spanish maritime signalling system; they are controlled by the port authorities and assist with navigation. Occupancy fees for the currently disused spaces in lighthouses are an additional funding channel for the service to assist with maintenance and, additionally, the use of these facilities would avoid potential situations of vandalism or deterioration.
To realise this proposal, Puertos del Estado carried out a process of promoting additional uses (accommodation, uses linked to cultural activities and events, visits) in the annexes of these facilities.
To this effect, a technical working group including port authorities and Puertos del Estado has been created within the “Faros de España” (“Lighthouses of Spain”) project. The objective is to advance along the common working lines to promote them being made available for private initiative, with a view to using the lighthouse buildings for other purposes, especially as accommodation facilities.
The high interest shown from international investors for many years means that many lighthouses are being used for alternative uses (visits, cultural activities, hospitality), as is the case with the Formentor Lighthouse (Balearic Islands), which houses a restaurant, or the Cape Finisterre Lighthouse (Galicia), which contains an exhibition hall.
Currently, 28 lighthouses accommodate uses such as interpretation centres, and art and exhibitions spaces; twelve serve as cultural and training centres, another five accommodate activities such as research centres; seven have cafés and restaurants and one has an aquarium.
The Spanish Coastal Network of Maritime Navigation Aids is currently made up of 547 aids, 187 of which are lighthouses.