Guest post on behalf of Natalie Wilson
Traveling the globe and exploring new destinations is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Whether you’re spending one week in the sun during a summer holiday, or interrailing around Europe, that feeling of stepping off a plane in a new country is like no other. However, traveling sustainably can be tricky, particularly when you’re searching for environmentally conscious destinations. Choosing the best eco-friendly destinations requires a fair bit of research. Not every country has the same passion and ambition to tackle global warming.
On the whole, the general advice is to cut down on air travel as much as possible to lessen carbon footprint. If you can reach your destination by train and public transport, then do. Look for eco-friendly accommodations like eco hotels, and always bring reusable travel accessories whenever you can. And, most important of all, visit one of these five amazing, destinations which are changing the face of eco-friendly travel.
Switzerland is renowned for its swooping landscapes, breathtaking lakes and its resident’s healthy lifestyles. What you may not know is that in 2018, Switzerland topped the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), ahead of both France and Denmark. The report details exactly what it is about Switzerland that makes is such an eco-friendly destination, including its strong performance across many serious issues such as air pollution and climate change. When you do visit, you’ll notice the waste recycling facilities everywhere. They also have one of the highest waste-recycling rates, of more than 50%!
Aside from the wonderful advancements in environmentally friendly practices, Switzerland is an outstanding country that’s perfectly suited to nature lovers. With quaint mountain villages, idyllic traditional wooden chalets and rolling hills, you’ll never be short of things to do and see when you’re in this magical country. Remember, they’re really big on rail travel here, so make the most of this eco-friendly way of travel and hop on the train.
The Netherlands has always been leaps ahead of its European neighbours in terms of eco-friendly travel. They’ve had a National Environmental Policy Plan in place for the past 20 years and have already met over 70% of their goals. By cleaning up the rivers, improving their waste management and greatly reducing air pollution, the Netherlands are environmental leaders.
The country continues to work hard to reduce carbon emissions, including introducing their amazing bicycle paths and bikes for hire in Amsterdam – amazing if you’re only in the city for a day or two but want to explore it all! In fact, they have more than 15,000 kilometres of bike paths to roam.
Health and wellbeing holidays are becoming increasingly popular, and Portugal is slowly rising up the ranks as a go-to destination for a relaxing spa break. In the Climate Change Performance Index 2018, Portugal was ranked 19 out of the 58 countries on the list. This means Portugal is considered an advanced country when it comes to their eco-friendly practices, making it one of the rising eco-friendly destinations.
Because of this commitment to being more eco-conscious, Portugal has begun to offering more ethical getaways for those looking for an eco-friendly break. From luxury Algarve villas to affordable yurts, Portugal is full to the brim of eco accommodation options. The amenities on offer greatly depend on where you stay, but they include eco outdoor swimming pools, yoga retreats, surfing lessons, cycling tours and even beach clean-ups if you want to help.
Denmark is famous for its environmentally friendly ways. No other country on earth beats it when it comes to emissions. Where they release 0.06 tonnes of CO2 per capita, countries like the UK and Qatar are releasing 6.31 and 35.73 respectively. As previously mentioned, it comes just under Switzerland on the EPI. It’s a stand-out place to visit in terms of air quality and its biodiversity. It’s frequently named as among the world’s happiest places to live, and it’s not hard to see why.
With its intriguing, rich culture and history, Denmark is a top eco-friendly destination choice for those who love exploring. It also has a fabulous, highly underrated coast – with some surprisingly lovely beaches. You can even participate in water-sports if you can brave the fairly chilly water temperatures! Its timber-framed houses in harbour towns and gently rolling farmlands ensure it is a truly astonishing place to visit.
Palau is still a fairly untapped country in the grand scheme of things. If you’re jetting off on a holiday in the sun, the 200 islands that makeup Palau may not be your first thought. However, it’s turning into quite the travel hot spot for those looking for a luxurious yet eco-friendly destination. The waters are crystal clear, and the sea is rife with beautiful marine life. Palau is dedicated to sustainable tourism practices, with a special focus on protecting its coral reefs. The reefs are strict no-fishing zones, and diving trips are regulated.
What’s more, the prime minister has called for a blanket ban on the use and import of single-use plastic bags and bottles, which, if implemented, it would be the first country in the Pacific region to impose such a ban. It also aims to promote high-value growth instead of high-volume growth, curbing the number of tourists who visit but encouraging the amount they spend when they do. Tourists who do get a chance to visit should visit the famous Jellyfish Lake, sunbathe on the pristine beaches and experience the world-class scuba diving facilities.
WHY CHOOSE AN ECO-FRIENDLY DESTINATION?
For responsible travelers all over the world, there are very few things which are as pressing as the need for responsible tourism. Tourism is one of the biggest threats to some of the most stunning and beautiful places in the world. The economic benefits are often counter-balanced with the social and ecological problems that high tourist numbers bring, which is why it is so important for us to start choosing eco-friendly destinations which are not only socially responsible, but also more sustainable.
In today’s world, destinations which are considered pure, or removed from civilisation, are more sought after than ever before, but because of this increased level of attention, many of these places are struggling. Often, high visitor numbers to these locations have devastatingly negative impacts upon the local community, culture, population and environment.
This is where eco-friendly destinations play their part. These locations reach far beyond just making sure that their delicate habitats are not overused by tourists. Responsible tourism plays a hugely active role in educating tourists and visitors about local history and ecology. The demand for eco-friendly travel is key, as it allows both economic enrichment and the preservation of traditions, culture, and environment. We all play an important role in helping the sustainable travel trend take hold. When you chose eco-friendly destinations you are saying to the world that sustainability is an important issue that you care about, and are willing to spend money on to support.
Do you know of other great eco-friendly destinations Please share your tips, questions, and stories in the comments below! To receive my articles and reviews straight to your inbox please SUBSCRIBE HERE.
Read More About Eco Travel
- Nihi Sumba Island
- 1 Hotel South Beach
- 10 Easy Ways To Avoid Single-Use Plastics When Traveling
- 24 Ways To Live & Travel More Sustainably
Guest post on behalf of Natalie Wilson
Pin This Article For Later