You may have noticed that ecotourism transcends its buzzword status.
Proving to be more than a passing trend, eco-travel has become even better integrated with the offers of the tourism sector. You can find thoughtful traveling packages, routes, and schedules that prioritize self-sufficient escapades with the mission of reducing your carbon footprint.
But you may also be asking yourself.
Why start with the Old World specifically?
As the most compact and historically diverse continent, Europe is an interesting playground for mindful travelers. It is gratifying to cover on foot or bike, and most routes rarely have a dull moment.
Most importantly, countries in the European Union have adopted a series of plans and regulations that prioritize green industry standards. By visiting these countries, you are essentially endorsing their eco-friendly goals.
Embark on the Alpine hike tour
One of the easiest answers to the question of ‘where to green-tour in Europe’ would be the grand slopes of the Alps. This ancient and iconic mountain range is the poster child of the best hikes in Europe and remains a popular spot for adventurers, spelunkers, snowboarders, and casual tourists.
What’s more, the Alps are a historical and cultural melting pot that connects various nationalities. You can embark on a patchwork of hikes through France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, and, of course, Switzerland, one of the most eco-friendly European countries right now.
Pyrenees National Park
It would be unfair to mention the eco-friendly hike of the Alps without putting in a good word for the mountain range that separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of Europe. Brush up on your basic Spanish vocabulary, and head down one of the most underrated green pilgrimages across the epic mountain landscapes, which rival those in New Zealand.
Furthermore, a tiny independent principality known as Andorra is gaining a particularly exciting buzz as a go-to destination for eco-friendly travelers.
The tranquil beauty of Lapland
In the triumvirate of Scandinavian countries that count Norway, Sweden, and Finland, the last one seems to get the shortest end of the stick when it comes to buzz, yet it offers some of the most iconic natural regions in the world. Namely, it has Lapland – the region where Santa Claus lives.
Lapland’s winter idyll is known far and wide, but it’s also far more than an enchanting backdrop. For eco-tourists, it is a perfect example of a vast natural region that has remained intact, by and large.
There’s a string of national parks that can serve as your doorway into an unspoiled wilderness and a meditative experience. This is the destination for you if you are looking to become one with nature without distractions.
And among the natural splendor: the cities
You might be in the mood to mix your experience of nature with that of civilization. If that’s the case, the best bet for an eco-traveler is to visit the city (or cities) that have won the prestigious honor of being the European Green Capital.
Many wonderful cities have won this award since its launch in 2008, but if you are looking for a recommendation on where to start, Copenhagen might be a good inaugural city for eco-friendly travelers.
The Danish capital is a shining example even to other environmentally conscious cities with minimal carbon emissions. Pretty much everyone bikes around, and it’s a convenient way to go sightseeing even if you are a first-timer over here. And there is a lot to see!
Copenhagen is a historically incredible place, resplendent with old buildings that have an irresistible air of mystery. Make sure to check out the Rundetaarn, the Round Tower observatory. Also, take some time out of your schedule to visit Freetown Christiania, an internationally renowned hippy commune.
If you want to see more, you can embark on an eco-friendly city pilgrimage, and Copenhagen can serve as your starting point. Then you can visit Stockholm, Oslo, and Hamburg – all winners of the European Green Capital Award.
There are also urban centers like Amsterdam, Malmo, and Zurich, which are also known for their green infrastructure and eco-friendly goals.
At the end of the day, you still have to keep in mind that more effective modes of travel between these destinations will be unavoidable. It always is! It’s hard to reconcile traveling and eco-friendly behavior.
On the one hand, visiting new destinations enriches the soul. You get a chance to open your mind (and heart) to spellbinding cultures and adopt a new perspective on life.
On the other hand, it’s practically impossible to avoid leaving at least some sort of carbon footprint, especially if it’s a transcontinental arrangement.
However, it’s true that a choice to limit your parameters promotes eco-friendly practices.
For example, you can choose a responsible tour company, bring minimal luggage and filter water, stay longer on your travels, and choose walking and biking as your modes of transportation.
By visiting Europe, a continent that boasts some of the most forward-thinking counties in terms of eco-friendliness, you will fundamentally learn new things about how to approach your environment with more care. Ultimately, adopting the right frame of mind will make a world of difference.
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