This is for the tree-huggers out there who love the thought of heading on holiday but just can’t justify the carbon emissions. Some of these lovely destinations I am going to tell you about don’t harm and even help heal Mother Earth. So relax and start browsing through these extra-special eco-holidays which won’t cost us the Earth.
Make a start at reducing your carbon footprint by increasing your actual footprints. A walking holiday can easily be planned and executed all without taking a single flight out of the UK. Cornwall and Devon are lovely in warm weather and you can get there and back by train. Take a good pair of boots, mark out your route and stop at B&Bs along the way. Whichever way you do it, shed pounds and get back to nature with a week of strolling.
If relaxation is more your thing, there are eco-cabins around the country which range from basic to utterly luxurious. Hop online and have a look, there are some projects in national parks such as the Yorkshire Dales which include environmentally friendly systems but don’t skimp on the little niceties which make a great weekend away. Flat screen TV, anyone?
The French Alps
Head to the French Alps with your family for a week in an adventure lodge. You can unwind and practice mindfulness and yoga exercises whilst your kids cycle, ride and play in the fresh air of the mountain range. Some eco-lodges have pools, trampolines and loads more, so you can leave them to it and enjoy a home-cooked meal. Bliss.
Join a building project in Italy, where you fly out to create a new project. Pitch in on farm buildings and live the good life for a couple of weeks whilst you help build and work the farm. You don’t have to work if you don’t want to, it’s up to you to relax or get your hands dirty if you feel like it. Not for the lounge lizards, but totally rewarding.
Take a chill pill in Catalonia, Spain. You can rest easy as the villa we are thinking of is solar powered and totally green. There are plenty of remote idylls like this where you arrive to find total peace in the sunny foothills of the Pyrenees for a week or two of solace. Combine a trip with a ferry from Dover and a drive across France to save on carbon emissions and you have a environmentally kind solution to your holiday.
Visit the gorgeous Apokoronas Peninsula in Crete for something totally new, an olive picking holiday. This light work helps the local economy and allows you to be outdoors all day long, mixing with the locals and even learning bits of the language. Saint Basil Olive Grove is well-established and a good place to start.
Travel by train from London to Berlin and find some of the best eco destinations. Once you have hostelled in the capital you can strike out further if you like. It’s worth mentioning that deep within the Bavarian woodland you can find plush log eco-cabins which are perfect for a week’s getaway, complete with solar panels, organic meals and full recycling systems.
You might have to go by plane for parts of this one, but once you arrive in Israel there’s plenty of scope for eco-tourism. Kicking back on a kibbutz (a communal organisation) is a way to get really close to nature and there are plenty of farms and guest houses around. These are sites which teach you to live in harmony with the environment and many people come back from Israel having learnt about a life less complicated
Visiting the far flung corners of Thailand can be a rewarding experience and the carbon emissions offset by using trains and buses when you arrive. Elephant conservation or volunteering in local orphanages are options for those looking to give something back. Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the north of the country offer some great volunteering experiences. Be sure to pick a reputable company when seeking out a trip here.
Rounding off things with a bang is an eco-holiday you will never forget. Find a river lodge along the banks of the Amazon and soak up the rainforest. There are plenty of green options available and some combine hosting guests with research in biodiversity and conservation. Guides take you into the jungle by day where you can bird watch and photograph to your heart’s content before returning for a tasty meal. True eco-tourism at it’s very best.
Picking a holiday can be guilt-free now that these inspirational ideas have shown you where to start. So get online and get booking for the eco-trip of a lifetime.
About the author: Geri Sherman blogs for HolidayGems.co.uk – for last minute deals on destinations around the world, look no further!