Napoleonic routes through Spain and Portugal

Project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund ERDF under the programme Interreg V A Spain – Portugal (POCTEP) 2014-2020



The European Cultural Route “Destination Napoleon” is a vehicle to achieve union, cohesion and exchange of knowledge between the different European territories and local communities which share a common historical past, and the NAPOCTEP project (0700_NAPOCTEP_3_P) has the aim to become part of it. Within the framework of the NAPOCTEP project work will be done to create a dynamic network enriched with our experience, in order to obtain a sustainable development of the Program’s cooperation space.

The challenges of the project are at several levels:

  1. CROSS-BORDER COOPERATION, to reinforce the anchoring of the network in the participating regions of the Program and their connection with the rest of the Route throughout Europe.
  2. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, to make an engine of sustainable economic development of the intervention territory based on the historical and heritage-cultural content, all within the Cultural Route of the Council of Europe as an element of notoriety and incomparable visibility, especially for the rural areas threatened by depopulation.
  3. SUSTAINABLE TOURIST AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEVELOPMENT, within the contexts of sustainability, identity and quality in the areas of preservation of the environment, the landscape, the local gastronomy and the sustainable architecture of the tourist and cultural destination.
  4. TRANSMISSION AND REPLICABILITY, to mobilize the actors of the “Destination Napoleon” cultural route, with the purpose of improving local and regional tourism and heritage policies, as well as transferring innovative and original methods, procedures and tools to other realities and territories.

Thus, the project will try to improve the management methods of the common natural and cultural heritage through networks of joint experimentation within the territory of cooperation. The project will pay special attention to the heritage concentrated in the rural and natural areas of the Napoleonic Routes, with an economic value of tourist and cultural destinations, strengthening the visibility and identity of the project’s intervention space, in addition to limiting the dependence or the impact of tourism’s seasonal effect.

Finally, the project will contribute to the participation of key actors in the cultural, environmental and tourism sector for the promotion, communication and commercialization of common tourism products based on natural and cultural heritage. These will promote the growth of the green economy through innovation, energy efficiency and ecotourism. The “Destination Napoleon” Route promotes the structuring of the territory, shortens the distance towards the intervention land and meets the cultural, tourist and administrative characteristics at a regional and local level. On the other hand, the Route connects these regions of Spain and Portugal with many other regions of Europe that are part of the “Destination Napoleon”.


To transform the heritage of the time of the French invasions into a quality and sustainable tourist product that can create wealth and employment in Castilian-Spanish areasand central Portugal threatened by depopulation and ageing in the POCTEP cooperation space.


SO1. To inventory the tangible and intangible heritage elements of the route in the POCTEP space of intervention of the project, and establish a common signage of these elements to be included in the European Cultural Route “Destination Napoleon” of the Council of Europe.

SO2. To create signaled cross-border circuits (signage in the field, maps, leaflets, virtual reality with internet access in web support, apps, etc.), which strengthen the identity of the cultural, tourist and gastronomic heritage of the Napoleonic Routes in the territory of cooperation, and to develop and disseminate a joint agenda of the cross-border cultural events of the “Napoleonic Routes NAPOCTEP” (Historical reenactments, exhibitions, conferences, markets, etc.).

SO3. To develop a heritage and tourism product in collaboration with companies in the sector, integrating the gastronomic, transportation, and hotel services, and its commercialization in national and international fairs, as well as the capitalization and exploitation of results, good practices and project replicability.


The bicentennials of the great events that happened at the beginning of the tumultuous nineteenth century around the figure of Napoleon have been held between 2008 and 2015. Given that he is the second most searched historical figure after Jesus Christ, this proves his power of attraction, especially for the big new markets (USA, Russia, China, etc.).

These events have shown their great capacity for attraction and could be seen as a new tourist attraction for the POCTEP space regions. The project seeks to value that historical heritage and turn it into a recognizable tourist product that supports the commitment to cross-border cooperation, in terms of cohesion of the territory, in the promotion of natural and cultural heritage through sustainable and inclusive growth based on tourism.

On April 29th 2015, the Council of Europe decided to declare the different Napoleonic Routes as European Cultural Routes under the trademark “Destination Napoleon“. This denomination, which includes other routes such as the Camino de Santiago or the Ruta de Mozart, is a unique opportunity for the adhered destinations to enjoy international recognition, to network and to get transnational European funds. All this heritage allows us to create attractive tourist products supported by an international trademark, which is highly valued by certain markets.