Environmental protection and sustainability are forever gaining traction in the media and in people’s minds, with travellers thinking more about conservation, organic foods and being green when booking holidays and activities.
Coronavirus has played its part in highlighting the issue: towards the beginning of the pandemic, the BBC reported that air pollution and CO2 fell rapidly as the virus spread. For example, London’s air-pollution levels were down by almost 60%.
There are many ways to be more environmentally friendly on holiday, whether it be going to that eco resort, hiring bikes instead of cars and/or supporting local farmers and initiatives – read on to find out more…
Escape to the great outdoors, with the Austrian Tirol
With lockdown measures easing across the UK and beyond, plus flights to Innsbruck resuming on 1 August 2020 it will be the perfect time to escape to the great outdoors in the Austrian Tirol. With its green, family-friendly core values, a stay at Grafenast Bio Hotel is the perfect solution. Found at an elevation of 1,300 metres in the village of Pillberg (less than 40 minutes’ drive from Innsbruck) it is the ultimate rural retreat; guests can rid themselves of the stresses of the past months and sink into an oasis of calm. Having been in the family for three generations, the Grafenast has won several awards for sustainability, is now a recognised Bio Hotel (hosts with the highest ecological demands) and the restaurant has been awarded a Green Toque (an Austrian certificate for award-winning locally-sourced vegetarian and vegan cuisine). As well as delicious food, guests can also expect TV-free rooms, minimal wireless internet (service is provided in one room), a solar-heated outdoor pool, a meditation room, Panorama Spa and hiking paths from the front door. A three-night stay, during the summer, costs from €367 / £329 for two adults, or two adults and one child. (Cost varies depends on the time of year.)
Austrian Tirol: www.visittirol.co.uk
‘Bee’ inspired in the Pays de Gex, France
Head to the Pays de Gex, close to Geneva, and learn all about bee keeping. During the Bee Experience, a highly qualified beekeeper, Rosy Licon, will give a short briefing and after checking everyone’s bee suit is safely zipped up and all guests have suitable gloves the fun begins. Learn how to light the smoker and the importance of this vital piece of beekeeping equipment, then enter the apiary and meet the bees. For those who are lucky, and have good eyesight, the queen might be seen, plus lots of worker bees (female) and some drones (male). The workers will be doing a multitude of different jobs which will be pointed out and their roles explained in more detail. Finally, visitors may even see baby bees hatching. These activities can be adapted according to the ages of the participants and open for children from six years old in English. A huge treat at the end of the session is to taste the honey from the Pays de Gex region. The cost of this activity is €50 / £45 pp per session lasting 1.5 hours www.proapia.com/.
Pays de Gex: https://en.paysdegex-tourisme.com
An eco-friendly family trip to Les Villages Nature® Paris in France
Situated 32 km from Paris and 6 km from Disneyland Paris (and just over three hours’ drive from Calais) Les Villages Nature® Paris combines nature, architecture, sustainability and learning. Comprising five immersive worlds, kids (and big kids) can learn how to care for animals at BelleVie Farm, marvel at the many plants in the Extraordinary Gardens, let their imagination run wild in the Forest of Legends and treat themselves to a meal on the picturesque Lakeside Promenade. The fifth world, called the Aqualagon®, is the biggest water park in Europe to be heated entirely with geothermal energy. Home to eight slides, a wave pool, a climbing wall and a giant water tree it’s easy for families to spend hours splashing around in this exhilarating paradise. Les Villages Nature® Paris offers a multitude of workshops across the park too, from bee keeping, bread baking and chocolate making to creating a vertical wall garden, building a den in the woods and signing up for a treasure hunt. A week’s stay, from 15-22 August 2020, in a self-catering Premium Cottage, costs from €2,289 / £2,080 total (was €3,439 / £3,126 total – saving 33 %).
Les Villages Nature® Paris: www.lesvillagesnature.com/gb-en
Explore the Swiss mountainside and local cuisine on Verbier E-Bike weekends
Until 27 September 2020, guests can explore the Swiss Alps by electric bikes, choosing a Rando Gourmande tour. The trails range from 25 km to 40 km and can be done solo or with a guide. The Rando Gourmande allows guests to discover authentic, local cuisine and produce whilst experiencing the stunning landscape where it is produced. Each of the two Rando Gourmande itineraries include four stops which offer a variety of local delicacies such as fresh pastries, aged meats and fine wines.
The Verbier E-Bike weekends run each Thursday to Sunday until 27 September 2020.
The Rando Gourmade costs from £59 pp.
A three-night stay starting 13 August 2020 at the Plein Ciel 118 costs from £159 pp based on four people sharing on a self-catered basis.
Walk, talk and taste at Fréterolles Alpine Farm in Morzine, France
Home to Montagne Verte, a local initiative aiming to provide greener solutions for businesses and residents of Morzine, in the Portes du Soleil, there are always plenty of native, eco-friendly activities on offer. Organised by the bureau des guides, this hike gives visitors to Morzine the opportunity to learn about regional traditions and to taste local produce. It begins with an easy trail that leads up through the woods to the Fréterolles Farm, where guests will find Abondance cows, pigs, goats and more. Afterwards, visit the cheese-making laboratory to see how the workers turn milk into cheese, before tasting the delectable products. There is also the opportunity to buy local produce, including the famously delicious Tomme de Morzine cheese, meaning visitors can take a taste of the mountains back home. The hike, tour and tasting costs from €33 / £30 pp and will last half a day. Book through the Bureau des Guides on +33 (0)4 50 75 96 65 / www.guides-morzine.com.