We’re all about collecting moments instead of things and doing it in a sustainable way is even better! Just in time for Earth Day, read on for the best destinations around the world for sustainable travel experiences that will leave you with a smile on your face long after they’re over.
1. Auckland, New Zealand
Just a quick one-hour plane ride away from Auckland, the world’s first urban eco-sanctuary, Zealandia in Wellington, is forging the path for similar projects which are popping up all over New Zealand. The sanctuary has a 500-year plan to restore its land as closely as possible to its pre-human state (how’s that for dreaming big?). Visit this patch of green paradise and an experienced guide can give you the lowdown on the incredible species (including those nearly extinct elsewhere) inhabiting this beautiful space. Tours run by day, by night, or by twilight.
2. Ljubljana, Slovenia
You’re on the sustainable track just being in Ljubljana. The city won the title of European Green Capital in 2016 and you don’t have to go far to see the proof — the city literally bursts with greenery and its active inhabitants are frequently seen outside and moving. What’s more, you won’t spot cars in the city centre — they’re banned, and fountains dot the city providing free water to visitors and locals alike — don’t forget your reusable water bottle! But if you want to get an extra special eco-friendly experience in while you’re in town, spend some time at Trnulja Eco-Friendly Farm. Once a deserted estate, the revamped farm now houses a number of animals, including horses, chickens, and goats, and produces its own organic oils, spreads, and flours. Stay in one of the farm’s apartments and enjoy fresh, local produce at the source.
3. Paris, France
Paris has a secret…atop many of its very famous buildings live colonies of bees. The rooftops of the Musée d’Orsay and Palais Garnier are just a few of the places these buzzing residents are thriving. Get a taste of this very local honey at Tour d’Argent, where chef Philippe Labbé uses this coveted liquid gold in his carefully made sauces.
4. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Join the Dutch and do as they’ve been doing for over a century — get around Amsterdamon two wheels! It’s fun, a good way to get in some exercise and make room for more stroopwafels, and good for the environment! Time your trip with tulip season and it’s the perfect way to take the scenic route for a day trip via bicycle to Keukenhof, where 800 varieties of tulips burst to life from the end of March to mid-May. If you’ve never cycled in Amsterdam before, check out everything you need to know to cycle like a local.
5. Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Looking to treat yourself while maintaining the good vibes you’ve been sending out into the universe? Time to book a stay at Jardin del Eden in Tamarindo. The kid-free boutique hotel rooms feature private outdoor jacuzzis overlooking Costa Rica’s stunning natural landscape. The hotel is committed to sustainability — the building utilizes local materials, solar energy, eco-friendly cleaning products, and trains staff to remain focused on sustainability. Complimentary beachfront yoga is offered three times per week to guests. It’s the perfect place to sit back, relax, and indulge yourself.
6. Lisbon, Portugal
Appreciate the beauty of Portugal’s coast guilt-free with a whale-watching tour through Whale Watch Azores. Short flights depart frequently from Lisbon and the company is a leader in responsible whale watching practices, including through education of both locals and visitors. Bonus: Whale Watch Azores is run by a friendly local, Norberto, who loves sharing his beautiful home — and local knowledge — with others.
7. Amalfi Coast, Italy
Learn to live like a local straight from the source with a G Adventures Local Living tour in the Amalfi Coast. What better way to learn about a place than to interact with those who live there? Immerse yourself in the Amalfi Coast with a stay at an Italian farmhouse, walking tours around the coast’s most spectacular sights, and home-cooked meals and cooking demonstrations. Living like a local has never been tastier.
8. Bali, Indonesia
This one’s for all the solo traveller yogis out there. Serenity Eco Guesthouse offers week-long yoga retreats in Bali perfect for focusing inward and giving yourself that much-needed me time. What’s included? Eco-friendly accommodations, two yoga classes per day, one in-depth yoga workshop, a surf lesson, a massage, and daily breakfast and dinner (sourced locally and vegetarian, to boot). Plus, Serenity does all the good stuff around the house to keep the guesthouse as friendly to the environment as possible. Maybe we’ll see you there?
9. Budapest, Hungary
Keeping the money you spend local is essential to sustainable travel. Do your part in Budapest by steering clear of the typical touristy souvenir shops and diving into the world of local Hungarian producers and designers. Follow a local guide into hidden shops with Intrepid Urban Adventures’ Made in Budapest tour. Along the way, you’ll be able to chat with some of the makers who repurpose items in clever new ways, design modern and on-trend clothing and jewellery, and uphold handmade traditions from Budapest’s past.
10. Vancouver, Canada
For those seeking adventure, nearly the entirety of Canada’s vast landscape is your oyster. Maple Leaf Adventures has been committed to sustainability from the start. Discover the varied ecosystems of Vancouver Island by boat, viewing the island’s incredible wildlife along the way. Don’t worry — you’ll have time to relax in hot springs, too. The best part? Maple Leaf Adventures not only operates low-impact tours, they employ locals and give back to conservation organizations, helping to further preserve the gorgeous places they operate in.