Green and Eco-Friendly Destinations – Part 2

Responsible travel to natural areas leads to the conservation of the environment and the improvement of the welfare of local people.”

– The International Ecotourism Society

Are you in search of a green vacation? Are you looking for eco-conscious destinations? If so, then scroll down to learn about some of the best green destinations!

Galápagos Islands – Ecuador

Found in the Pacific Ocean, the Galápagos Islands is a UNESCO world heritage site that is made up of a series of volcanic islands. The processes that formed the islands are reflected through the ongoing seismic and volcanic activity that have also led to the development of unusual fauna like the giant tortoise and land iguana. However, the most interesting fact is how the Galápagos Islands inspired Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution following his visit there in 1835.

Now let’s discover what makes the Galápagos Islands an environmentally-friendly destination!

Firstly, according to Global Ideas – a multimedia project that aims to report on biodiversity conservation – in the Galápagos Islands, people and organizations work together to protect native species from the effects of climate change.

Moreover, the use of renewable energies is cleaning up electricity production. For example, the Island of Floreana, also known as “Santa Maria Island”, is powered by electricity which is generated from Jatropha seeds. The Jatropha is a flowering plant from the spurge family which can be used for biodiesel production and medicinal uses. Farmers who have been cultivating this plant were rewarded with a significant economic boost.

Another important green aspect of the Galápagos Islands is the Pikaia Lodge, one of the most luxurious and eco-friendly hotels. But what makes this hotel a sustainable one? With its walls covered with lave stone collected from certain areas and sustainable teak doors and furniture, this innovative carbon-neutral hotel aims at protecting the fragile environment. Besides, the lodge has its own reforestation program, where approximately 10 000 endemic plants were grown and rooftop rain harvesting systems were installed.

Terme di Saturnia- Italy

Known as a fascinating attraction in Tuscany, this hot spring was previously a Roman’s preferred bathing spot over 2000 years ago. It has been said that it was created by none other than Jupiter, the god of sky and thunder from Ancient Roman mythology..

The spring water is about 99 degrees Fahrenheit, making it warm enough to swim. The natural water is also noted to have unique elements in reducing acne problems. If you ever find yourself traveling to Tuscany, you need to stop by Terme di Saturnia!

Catalonia – Spain

Situated in Spain’s northeastern corner, Catalonia is one of the country’s most prosperous and most highly industrialized regions. It has a distinct story that originates back to the early middle ages. However, we are more interested in its green and sustainable aspects.

Did you know that Catalonia was the first region to obtain the Biosphere Responsible Tourism certification? What is it exactly? The Biosphere Responsible Tourism certification is scheme set up by both UNESCO and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GTSC), which provides an internationally recognized sustainability certification, meaning that the awarded city complies with the principles of sustainability. As a result, in Catalonia, you will find many green businesses with an EU Ecolabel, awarded for environmental excellence.

Furthermore, some places in the region like some former coal, lead and salt mines were turned into cultural and environmental areas. Another interesting place is the Fígols-Vallcebre Fumanya, which is considered as one of the most important places in Europe due to its Cretaceous fossil remains. This paleontological area, located in Alt Berguedà, contains several fossilized dinosaur footprints. The Cardona Salt Mountain Cultural Park, found on a hilltop, was previously one of the world’s major potassium chloride mines. However, after closing in the 1990s, it has become a cultural facility that visitors the unique chance to learn about the importance of salt and its exceptional geology.

Among these three locations, which one will you visit first? Please share your comments!

Green and Eco-Friendly Destinations

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, green tourism is an essential element towards a sustainable economy. If you are a traveller in search of green destinations for your next big vacation, then you are in the right place!

#1. Ljubljana – Slovenia

Ljubljana is the capital and largest city of Slovenia and the winner of the European Green Capital Award 2016. Even with 285,000 residents, the city is never crowded or boring. It is a historic but lively city which is known for its picturesque architecture and exquisite nature. It is also a fascinating destination where you will get to see an exciting mix of different cultures and events.

However, this city is more recognised for its exceptional commitment to the environment and green living. It is surrounded by panoramic gardens, green walkways and clean water that flows through fountains found across the whole city. Here, the residents are very conscious about the environment as they keep their surroundings clean and tidy and prefer using bicycles instead of cars. Even the public transport system has implemented a range of green initiatives and sustainable development measures. For example, buses and electric trains run on natural gas and a new electric-powered vehicle called Kavalir was introduced. It is an environmentally-friendly mode of transport which was created for the elderly, mobility-impaired people and visitors.

Furthermore, the city offers certain tourist activities that promote green tourism such as:

  • Hikes through the woods to the top of a hill.
  • River rides with kayaks under picturesque bridges.
  • Observation of the flora and fauna

Let’s not forget the Ljubljana Marshes, which is a fascinating mosaic of meadows, fields and hedges. Known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ljubljana Marshes is home to some rare animal and plant species.

Despite being one of the smallest European capitals, it is a city with a green soul. So, if you are looking for a genuine green destination, you know where to go!

#2. Blue Lagoon- Iceland

Located in Southwestern Iceland, Blue Lagoon is one of the most famous hot springs in the world. This amazing spa destination offers a unique and picturesque view where white cloud-like steam rises from the milky blue water surrounded by black lava rocks. The sumptuous visual appeal of the blue lagoon forms part of one of the world’s natural wonders.

The water temperature is generally between 98- and 102-degrees Fahrenheit, making it an ideal place for a little warm-up. With a mixture of sea and freshwater, the Blue Lagoon is filled with silica, an essential mineral that strengthens the human body’s tissues. This mineral can also remove dead skin cells and heal skin inflammation. Microorganisms found in the Blue Lagoon contribute to collagen production, which helps in reducing the side effects of exposure to UV rays. As a result, Blue Lagoon is renowned for its healing aspects.

Overall, the hot spring represents a harmony with nature which is sure to win your heart.

#3. Stockholm – Sweden

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and is the first city to have been awarded with the European Green Capital title. Unlike flashy and sleek cities, Stockholm is a quiet and charming place covered with greenery. It encompasses twelve sprawling gardens with beautiful woodlands and clean canals. Compared to the polluted air present in many urban cities nowadays, in Stockholm, you will be able to breathe fresh and clean air.

Many green and sustainable measures were taken in Stockholm such as:

  • Effective measures to reduce noise pollution was implemented.
  • New standards implemented for cleaner water.
  • All trains and buses run on renewable fuels which have led to a fall in gas emissions and biofuels, generated from sewage are available at petrol stations.
  • A programme called Professional Study Visits Programme was launched in 2010 to raise more awareness about environmental issues.

Stockholm is by far the greenest place in Sweden and will captivate your heart in an instant.

Where will you go first? Will you visit the green city of Slovenia or take a dip in the Blue Lagoon? Please share your comments!