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Europe’s top 5 sustainable holidays

Words by Smiley Team

Resisting the urge to hop on a flight might be difficult this summer after so many months cooped up during lockdown. But with emissions from tourism expected to rise by 2030, opting for an eco-conscious holiday is the more virtuous choice.

The great news is there are tons of green holiday destinations and activities available to make it easier for you. Hotels, tourism boards and resorts are seeking innovative ways to offer summer breaks during which you can relax fully in the knowledge that your pleasure isn’t coming at a cost to the planet. Here are some of Smiley News’s favourite eco-holiday ideas.

[Read More: Why seaweed is vital in the climate crisis]

Electric roadtrip

Wave goodbye to petrol-fuelled road trips and say hello to electronic adventures – made extra feasible by Switzerland’s E-Grand Tour. The route takes you through the Swiss Alps, as well as the historic cities of Bern, Zurich and Geneva. Hire an electronic vehicle and the regular charging points along the way will allow your smooth journey past mountains, coniferous forests and great blue lakes.

Sun, sea and solar power

Reduce your carbon footprint by picking a destination run entirely by renewable energy. Two suggestions are the Greek island of Tilos and the Orkney Isles off the northeastern coast of Scotland. Tilos is one of the greenest spots in Europe, using only wind and solar power. Meanwhile, communities on the Orkney Isles produce so much energy from water and wind that they even have a surplus to export to the mainland.

Go glamping

While the weather is hot, the best place to be is the great outdoors. Glamping offers a way to keep your holiday local and cut down on your travel emissions. What’s more, the yurts, eco-pods or treehouses that keep you snug at night are usually sustainably built and powered by green energy. Among the many glamping sites in the UK, Eco-Retreat in Powys, Wales, is a great option that conserves surrounding woodland and offers locally-sourced organic food.

[Read More: 5 benefits to living off-grid]

Tour Europe’s organic farms

It might not sound like the most relaxing option, but WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) could be the ultimate mood booster you need after lockdown. By helping out on organic farms around Europe, you will come into close contact with microbes in the soil that are proven to encourage serotonin production and improve your wellbeing. It’s also a great opportunity to meet interesting people, all while helping to cultivate a sustainable source of food.

Zero waste luxury

If you’re searching for a more comfortable option, zero waste accommodation might best suit you. Many mainstream hotels chuck away a horrifying quantity of half-used toiletries, slippers, uneaten food and more. But others are showing luxury doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment. Italy’s first zero waste hotel, Conca Park Hotel in Sorrento, proves this. The hotel’s gardeners use raw restaurant waste to fertilise their flowerbeds, empty glass bottles are ground down to make pool filters and they take every opportunity to avoid needless packaging.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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