My first experience in an eco-hostel was in Ghent, Belgium, a self-sustained boat in one of the city’s canals. Ghent is not on this list (and they talk about hotels, not hostels), but if you ever go there, look for that green accommodation on the water. That’s my personal recommendation.
This infographic, put together by Travel Supermarket, shows the top 10 European cities for an eco-friendly stay. But keep in mind you can always make your trip greener, even if you can’t find an eco-hotel. How? These are Travel Supermarket’s tips:
1. Book non-stop flights – take-off requires the most fuel, as much as 25% for short flights, so when planning the most fuel-efficient route, go straight from A to B wherever possible.
2. Rent a hybrid or electric vehicle – this is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint on holiday, especially if you’re planning a road trip.
3. Ask your hotel about their sustainability programs and if they use local resources – the more that guests demand this kind of information, the higher a priority it will be.
4. Turn off the AC – air conditioning units tend to consume huge amounts of electricity and in some countries cooling units still use HCFCs which deplete the ozone layer.
5. Does your room really need to be cleaned every day? Ask your hotel to skip a few days to reduce chemical and energy usage, better yet, leave your do not disturb sign out for your entire stay!
6. Buy locally made products – compared to those which have been imported, local products have a much lower carbon footprint and help to support local economies. You’ll also be far more likely to find something unique when purchasing local wares.
7. Take a reusable bag – single-use plastic bags are still in common use around the world and they contribute significantly to non-biodegradable waste. Carry your own reusable bag and help the world cut down on its one-trillion-bags-a-year habit.
8. Don’t touch the coral reefs – coral are fragile animals and even the slightest touch can cause irreparable harm or even death. Watch out for your fins and other dive equipment and never be tempted to break off a piece – the damage you do could take decades to repair.
9. Never feed the wildlife – feeding local wildlife can make them dependent on humans and may even lead animals to attack in search of food.
10. Transport yourself – for short journeys why not walk, cycle or row rather than taking motorized transport.
As for the destinations, check the infographic below.