We all know that travelling by plane does not do a lot for the health of our planet. But that does not mean that we should all stop travelling entirely. Jetting all over the globe is not going to win you any environmentalist friends but there is nothing wrong with taking a holiday abroad every now and then. There are plenty of things you can do to make sure that the aviation industry moves in a less polluting direction and to off-set carbon emissions. What is more, there are plenty of holidays you can take that will actually benefit the planet in all sorts of different ways. Here are a few suggestions to help you plan a more ecologically friendly holiday in Europe this year:
To Fly or Not to Fly?
While you can’t rule out flying as an option for many destinations, remember that air travel is not your only choice. There are often other options that can allow you to spend less and reduce your carbon footprint.
While a long coach trip might not appeal, you could still choose a public transport option of a slightly more appealing sort. For example, a train ride can allow you to savour your travel, rather than just get through it. Thinking outside the box, why not consider other ways to get around. Boats can provide a good eco option for slow travel so you could consider excursions that are powered by your own effort or by the wind and/or the sun.
While sometimes you might still choose to fly, there are plenty of slow travel options to choose from that will allow you to take some time to smell the flowers and enjoy the world around you.
Five Blissful Slow Travel Options:
Here are five amazing examples that illustrate how many ways there are to get where you are going on an eco friendly holiday.
Scandi Bike Tour
The Scandinavian countries are perfect for an eco travel adventure. These Nordic countries may not be cheap but when you are out in the wilds, you won’t need to buy all that much, especially if you choose to ride a bike from one wild camping spot to another. Wild camping is a free and low impact way to stay, where the laws allow it. In Scandinavia, you have the right to wild camp almost anywhere, within reason and can enjoy a low-impact holiday. Cycling is a great way to see some of a country and you can easily tailor your plan to your fitness level and inclinations.
Boating in the Balkans
The Balkans are great for those whose budgets cannot stretch to more expensive holiday destinations in Western European countries. Why not consider travelling down one or more of the waterways that cross the region. There are plenty of different ways to do so, but why not consider seeing some of the area on an exhilarating river rafting trip? This is a way not only to travel without harming the planet but also to enjoy the natural world and get your adrenaline pumping.
Kayaking in Portugal
Kayaking or canoeing is a great way to check out some of the parts of a country that tourists do not normally get to see. In Portugal, for example, kayaking adventures can take you along the Rio Douro, Rio Minho or the Rio Tejo, to explore some of the most picturesque parts of the country. There are plenty of guided and self-guided options to take you through some spectacular wilderness environments.
Hiking in Greece
Whether you are enjoying the volcanic mountains of remote Greek islands, the marvels of Central Macedonia or the Arcadian delights of Arcadia, Greece offers plenty of great hiking opportunities that allow you to get off the beaten track and explore some of the places that inspired a culture of myth, legend and adventure. Hiking, wherever in the world you may be, is a wonderful way to escape the crowds, push yourself to extremes and enjoy the wonders of nature.
Rambling in Romania
Another different sort of walking holiday is one that allows you to ramble between idyllic natural beauty spots and quaint historic settlements. Almost anyone can enjoy a trip of this sort, where a high level of fitness is not required. For a tour of Transylvania, in Romania, for example, you do not need to train up. You just need to be willing to get out there and enjoy the trails.
Five Inspiring Eco Accommodation Options:
Another key thing when planning an eco adventure is accommodation. Fortunately, eco travel does not have to involve any compromise when it comes to comfort, luxury or cost. From camping and glamping to farm stays and state-of-the-art getaways, you have plenty of options all across Europe to suit all tastes and all budgets. Here are five amazing eco options you could choose for your green holiday:
Finca de Arrieta, Lanzarote, Spain is one glamping option that is bound to suit even the most extravagant of tastes. For a sun holiday with a bit of a difference, this eco retreat is a real treat. Bounded on one side by the black volcanic mountains of Lanzarote and on the other by the gleaming ocean, you can enjoy glamorous camping here in a range of accommodations, from eco barn and farmhouse accommodation to silk lined Mongolian yurts. The whole place is powered by a green energy system, the largest on the island, and there is a solar powered pool. There are free-range chickens and a donkey for kids to befriend and most of the food comes from local producers.
Tribewanted’s idyllic farm community in Umbria, Italy is one of many farm stay options available across Europe that will allow you to participate in small-scale farming and organic gardening to whatever degree you wish. The small community at Monestevole will allow you to gain a glimpse of this sustainable way of life and either pitch in fully or help out a little while still taking plenty of time to relax. The choice is yours. If you become a member of Tribewanted you can get a 20% discount on your stay.
Staying in the home of a local can lessen your impact on local resources and allow you to stay for free and properly immerse yourself in the culture of the place you are visiting. Sites such as Couchsurfing can help you to find strangers who are willing to share their home with you. You might even be able to stay with the friends of friends, using your own personal global network of connections. Forging links with people all over the world and working to share skills and understand one another, you will be helping to make the world a better and more sustainable place.
Milia Mountain Retreat, in Crete, Greece is a back-to-basics island option for your eco escape. This delightful eco resort in the rugged mountains of Crete is a world away from the crowds on the beaches. Stay here in a stone cottage and you can enjoy a tranquil retreat in the beautiful landscape, surrounded by protected landscape and organic farmland. For a truly relaxing and environmentally conscious island stay, this could be the perfect choice.
Findhorn Ecovillage, in Scotland, is an option that is a little closer to home. This is one of many examples of ecologically friendly and ethically conscious travel destinations that can be enjoyed in the UK. Not leaving these isles could actually be one of the most green options, so why not check out what Britain has on offer before going abroad for your eco escape. This is one of the groups that has lead the way when it comes to forming eco-friendly and sustainable communities and may well inspire you, not only to travel green but to live green too.
Bear in mind when choosing your eco holiday option that the label ‘eco’ is often over-used. Check out the credentials of where you plan to stay and check that it is actually environmentally friendly, ethical and sustainable. Remember – travel does not have to be damaging to our planet and you can do a lot to lessen the impact of the holidays you take. You can lower your carbon footprint while still getting the chance to share in some of the world’s most exciting experiences and seeing some of its most beautiful sights.
An eco holiday can be almost anything you want to make it, and you need not feel, when choosing greener travel, that your options are limited. All the above options are just a starting point for you to start planning your own adventure.