10 Mar Top eco-friendly holiday destinations
Spring is here and the end of lockdown is in sight. We may not be back to holidays and travelling quite yet, but naturally we are all starting to look ahead to when we can hop on a plane or go adventuring. Unfortunately, tourism can often have a negative impact on the destination's environment.
So in this post, we share some of the best eco friendly holiday destinations in the world. These incredible places protect the surrounding environments, ensuring that tourism has a positive effect, not a negative one.
1. Cornwall, UK
With international travel still a little out of reach for a lot of us, many Brits are turning to staycations. For starters, staying local is already a more eco-friendly way to holiday, as it avoids the need to take an emissions-driving plane to your destination. Plus, an increasing number of UK travel companies are embracing green tourism and there are plenty of environmentally-friendly options to choose from.
One of the most popular UK staycation destinations is Cornwall. With its sandy beaches and sunnier weather, it holds great appeal – especially in the summer months. The county is home to a number of fantastic eco retreats. Consider an off-grid escape complete with wood-fired hot tubs and homegrown food.
Cornwall is also home to the world-famous Eden Project – comprising a selection of biomes and home to the largest indoor rainforest in the world. It features an abundance of plant species and it’s a must for your UK bucket list.
Best time to go: Cornwall is best visited in the summer months from June through to early September. This is when you’ll have a greater chance of warm, sunny weather so you can make the most of the various outdoor attractions.
For something a little further afield, there are a number of amazing destinations in Europe which can be reached from the UK via train. One very appealing option is an eight-day eco-friendly train trip to Italy. Stops along the way include Turin, Naples, Pompeii, Amalfi Coast, Capri, and Milan.
Whizz through the breath-taking countryside and mountains of France and Italy. Explore UNESCO world heritage sites and discover hidden gems in the Mediterranean. It’s the trip of dreams and the entire itinerary can be done by train.
Best time to go: From May to September is when you can enjoy warmer weather. Avoid peak summer holiday months of July and August to make the most of less crowds.
3. Costa Rica
A list of the best green travel destinations would not be complete without this Central America oasis. It is generally considered to be the brainchild of ecotourism.
Costa Rica is a small country located in Central America and it really has lots to offer. For those looking to connect with nature, the country is lush and full with wildlife. It has over 29 national parks with many excursions available. These experiences include hiking mountain trails, tours of the volcanoes, and bird watching. 25% of the country is also protected by the National System of Conservation Areas. Conservation runs through all aspects of the country’s tourism endeavours.
With Costa Rica not having a real winter period, there are also lots of opportunities to catch the sun and relax on pristine beaches all year round. If you’re looking to surf, Tamarindo Beach is one of the most popular surfing areas. There is a range of accommodation for every budget and a number of restaurants in the town. A popular experience in the area is visiting the Marino Las Baulas National Park – a protected area for rare animals, including leatherback sea turtles.
Best time to go: Although there is year round sun, mid-December to April is the most popular time of the year to visit, as this is the dry season.
4. The Galapagos Islands
First made famous by Charles Darwin’s observations on evolution, these islands are known for their vast biodiversity and beautiful island scenery. In 1979 the islands became the first UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. The islands have since opened up for tourism, striving to ensure that it is environmentally friendly as possible whilst being able to invest more resources into conserving the islands.
With nature bountiful and the beaches rugged with azure water, the Galapagos offers a temporary escape from modern life, perfect for the adventurous types. Many of the beaches are also frequented by the local seal population!
Best time to go: Galapagos is great to visit anytime of the year but the most popular period is June through September.
With its dramatic waterfalls and crystal clear fjords, Norway is a country that takes preservation very seriously. Their philosophy is centred around conservation being everyone’s responsibility. This means that although a lot of Norway is protected, it is still open for people to enjoy and explore.
One of the top ecotourism destinations in the world is the fjords. These stunning areas of natural beauty have been protected and can be enjoyed with outdoor activities such as hiking and biking. The biggest and one of the most beautiful fjords is Sognefjord, which you can see either via a boat or train tour. Many of the country’s major cities are located nearby as well, so you can combine an action-filled holiday with a city break.
Best time to go: June, July and August are best in terms of daylight and temperature but prices are higher during this time. March and April can also be a good time to go and is a quieter period.
Borneo is the third largest island in the world. It is one of the last remaining places in Southeast Asia where tropical rainforests can still be conserved on a large scale. As a result, there is a wide range of endangered wildlife including orangutans, elephants, and various kinds of monkeys.
Borneo is a haven for biodiversity. Conservation efforts continue to develop whilst visitors can experience all that the island has to offer. Alongside the virgin forests and untouched beaches, the island also boasts one of the most pristine reefs in the Pacific. As a result, snorkelling and scuba diving are very popular.
Best time to go: March to October is the dry season. This is the peak season and also the best time to see orangutans in the wild.
7. New Zealand
Considering the country’s sublime natural beauty and rugged landscape fit for Hollywood Blockbusters, it is no wonder why the country has invested a lot in protecting its natural assets. This includes a commitment to becoming carbon neutral.
Some of the most popular ecotourism attractions in the country include the Mount Cook National Park, Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, and the Abel Tasman National Park. These all accommodate a range of activities including hiking, sailing and camping.
Best time to go: New Zealand's summer is December to February making it a great winter break. March to May is a quieter time and typically the weather is still nice so it is also a good time of year.
As with all travelling, it is best to offset your carbon emissions. Have a read of our green travel tips to learn how you can travel in a more sustainable way.