Travel has taken a back seat in 2020 but when it does recover, sustainability should be at the forefront of our minds. There’s a growing trend to blend the fun of a trip abroad with the pressing need for ecofriendly travel that makes you feel good.MoreLess
Sweden’s second city has been crowned the world’s most sustainable destination for the past four years on the Global Destination Sustainable Index. The majority of Gothenburg‘s public transport runs off renewable energy, and numerous hotels in the city have been awarded environmental diplomas following strict guidelines that must be followed. Gothia Towers is the largest hotel in Europe, but even this huge structure has an eco-first outlook that keep its carbon emissions to a minimum.
Having spent months stuck at home, we’re all dreaming of our next epic adventure – and the Maldives tops many a destination bucket list. Ecofriendliness is taken very seriously here, as the islands are so low-lying, they face continuous risk from the elements. The ecological & environmental situation is precarious, but tourism is financing much of the rescue efforts. So pick a place to stay that is actively doing something positive for the environment.
For a more sustainable experience of Japan, try somewhere off the grid. Hachinohe City, in the flatlands of Aomori Prefecture, is our top tip for 2021. Social distancing will probably be around for a while, and with fewer visitors, Hachinohe will make this less problematic. A few hours’ drive away is the village of Owani Onsen. It’s a wonderful spot for disconnecting and living a fleeting life of luxury. We recommend Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru – an ryokan near to the Owani Hot Spring Ski Area.
Helsinki's approach to sustainable travel starts from the ground up, with countless initiatives across the city united in a mission to make the Finnish capital a leading example of sustainable innovation. Take Majamaja: an off-grid wooden village coming in 2021, promising a holistic approach that combines green energy, clean water recycling and functional space use. Alternatively, Klaus K Hotel and GLO Art Hotel both provide excellent ecofriendly options in the city centre.
Valencia recently claimed Spain’s first ever Green Michelin Star for the environmental efforts of award-winning Ricard Camarena Restaurant. in recognition of its reduced food miles and zero use of chemicals. The home of paella, Valencia takes pride in its food culture – don’t miss the maze-like aisles of the Central Market, one of the oldest food markets in Europe.For a green yet uncompromisingly comfy stay in the city, we recommend The Westin Valencia and Hotel ILUNION Aqua 4.
Acres of pristine countryside, historic cities such as Genoa, Turin and Venice – the draws of northern Italy are numerous, and Emilia Romagna is arguably the gastronomic capital of Italy. Bologna and Parma, for example, are both foodie hotspots, while the latter has been designated Italian Capital of Culture 2021.
Koh Phi Phi, off the west coast of Thailand, has been the focus of environmental efforts for several years. You can now enjoy a luxury stay at Phi Phi Island Village, on Koh Phi Phi Don. A recent winner at the Responsible Thailand Awards, this carbon-neutral beach resort actively encourages guests to take part in efforts to rejuvenate the local environment. If there’s no availability on the dates you want to visit, there are lots of other great options around the archipelago.
Brits don’t have to stray too far from home to travel sustainably. This southwest county sets the standard for ecofriendliness, highlighting how popular tourist destinations can utilise green resources despite drawing the crowds. While international travel remains a tricky prospect for anyone living in the UK, Cornwall will be a tempting option for a fast getaway – especially if you want to reset your approach to travel in 2021 and be more green.
Nova Scotia is located on the east coast of Canada, making it a relatively short flight from the US & Europe, and offers the chance to explore one of the world’s most beautiful countries without breaking the bank. Halifax, the regional capital, is the first place you’ll want to visit when you arrive. The revamped waterfront at Queen’s Marque has some excellent five-star facilities with sustainability at the forefront. Seawater will be harnessed to provide energy throughout the harbour.
Earlier this year, the Nature and Me initiative put Montenegro back on the travel radar for many of us. The campaign encourages travellers to take a break from the stuck-at-home virtual world we’ve been forced to endure for the majority of 2020, and discover areas of natural beauty in Montenegro that are often overlooked. No matter where you travel in 2021, an off-the-grid escape with outdoor activities and farm-to-table food will likely be top of the hit list.