If you’re really passionate about green travel and living, your heart never stops yearning for eco-friendly experiences. The struggle is real. And what better way to fuel your perpetually-blossomed travel spirit than with a green-focused vacation? It does not matter if you’re one for extreme sports, hiking, gardening or just really into aesthetics, (or maybe all four!) this list of must-see eco travel destinations has something hand-tailored for you.
From Inuvik, Canada, where fun and beauty coexist in harmony, to Africa’s sun-filled prairies and gorgeous scenery, to Japan’s very own magical Alpine vistas, be prepared to forget all you thought you knew about traveling and sustainability to dive deep into gorgeous-looking, eco travel that might end up making a nomad out of you (and no one would blame you!).
Arctic highway Drive in Inuvik, Canada
A new highway, starting from Inuvik, will take you to the Beaufort Sea Shore. The 137-kilometer Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway, that opened in November 2017, winds through a mostly frozen landscape of lakes and rivers. Perfect for adventure and eco travel as well as a great opportunity to spot wild caribou, beluga whales and reindeer!
To celebrate the opening of the highway, the community of Tuktoyaktuk decided it was time for a facelift. 400 gallons of donated paint, stain and trim later, the town is awash with new color with a ‘jelly bean’ color scheme, courtesy of the recycled materials.
Eco travel visitors can appreciate Arctic nature, wildlife and cultures, and provide additional income to local communities and traditional lifestyles.
Birdwatching in Hangzhou, China
Hangzhou, tipped as ‘Paradise on Earth’, is China’s top eco travel destination. It is one of the few places in China where people can watch wild birds chirping in the downtown area.
A perfect destination for nature lovers, at Hangzhou’s West Lake, you can glimpse the birds flying over the skyline. Home to dozens of historical sites, the wooded hills encircling the lake are studded with pavilions, towers, pagodas, and caves. The Xixi National Wetland Park in Hagzhou is teeming with biodiversity and a 180 bird species. It allows visitors an intimate glance at the Underwater Ecological Observation Corridor. And for hiking enthusiasts, the Bamboo-lined Path at Yunqi is a serene escape.
In winter, the plum blossoms add a splash of color to the dull, cold days. Hangzhou, with its flourishing legacy of tea and silk, World Heritage sites, scenic natural vistas and profound Chinese culture, is a must-do day trip from Shanghai.
Capital of Culture in Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Leeuwarden in the Netherlands is a must-see spot for it boasts of holding the largest Flower Market in the Netherlands every Ascension Day. Leeuwarden is also home to Froskepolemolen windmill, the last of its kind in the region. At one time 130 windmills stood proudly on Leeuwarden’s fields, now the Froskepolemolen windmill is the only one left. This massive structure seems to hold within it the enchantment of ages already gone…a great spot for photography!
It’s not difficult to see why Leeuwarden has been selected as one of the European Capitals of Culture for 2018. In addition to its fairytale-worthy flower fields and mills Leeuwarden’s streets are lined with beautiful shops hidden in small alleways and covered by the shade of trees. In fact, Klein Kerkstraat, Leeuwarden’s main shopping street, was voted the best shopping street of the Netherlands. If you’re looking for a place to both enchant you and blow you away then Leeuwarden should be in your itinerary.
Slow Travel in Kerala, India
Kerala’s spellbinding rivers and lush fields have deservedly made it one of those eco travel destinations you must see in your lifetime. In fact, Kerala Tourism has won the award for world’s best responsible tourism project at the World Travel Market London.
Kerala’s landscape is as fragrant as it is beautiful. With its hills covered in sweet-smelling spices and gorgeous-looking plantations of tea, every inch of Kerala seems to bear witness to arresting beauty. Travelers can slowly take in and admire Kerala whilst traveling by kettu vallam (tied boats) along glimmering backwaters or take to the road to enjoy delicious cuisine and coffee in the urban areas of the state.
All Natural getaway in Formentera, Balearic Islands
Formentera is less well-known that Ibiza, her bigger cousin in the Mediterranean, but that does not make it any less wonderful. This little piece of heaven on earth is also quite an eco-conscious destination. It is made up of glistening beaches, breathtaking cliffs and majestic pine and juniper forests. Though it is the smallest of the balearic Islands, Formentera is one to take initiative. In October 2017 Formentera launched its first ‘Save Posidonia Festival’ to raise awareness of sustainable tourism and the natural environment and establish important conservation guidelines. The posidonia project has been supported by the Sustainable Tourist Tax with recent investments of approximately €520,000.
The project’s success is a sure witness to Formentera’s stunning natural beauty and an indisputable proof of its merit as an inspiring destination for any eco traveler.
Wildlife Adventures in Namibia
Namibia’s name is derived from the world’s oldest desert, the Namib. With its golden grass and singing rivers, Namibia easily gathers what the best and most awe-inspiring characteristics of Africa in one stunning place. It can also boast of being one of the best places to watch African wildlife as there is an abundance of elephants, rhinos, lions both in private reserves and freely roaming the African prairies.
Namibia offers value for money as camps are priced in Namibian dollars, a currency tied to the South African Rand, rather than the U.S. dollar like many southern African safari destinations, which means your wonderful 5-star trip can be taken at a 2-star price.
Agro Tourism in St Kitts and Nevis
Plant lovers lend me your ears! If you pride yourself on your green thumb or just really like nature then St. Kitts and Nevis’s natural wonders will blow you away. Though St. Kitts and Nevis’s beaches and history deserve to be explored, its gorgeous mountains and quiet nature walks will win your heart. Take the scenic railway tour, which takes you through three hours worth of absolutely gorgeous, birds’ eye view sightseeing. In the future you might even be able to visit the long awaited for Eco-Park.
St. Kitts and Nevis just launched the Eco-Park maintenance Project in January 2017 which is meant to be complete by December 2018. This is an agro-tourism facility built by the governments of Taiwan and St. Kitts and Nevis that has now gained significant tourist attention. The Project hopes to create a multi-functioning park by combining tourism with agricultural and educational components.
Eco Tours in Western Cape, South Africa
As if Africa’s breathtaking landscape wasn’t enough to attract eco travel lovers, the Western Cape showers its visitors with a healthy dose of adventure and glamour. Travelers are welcome to go on a Cape Canopy Tour and zip across the Hottentots Holland nature reserve, imitating the majestic eagles in all but sharpness of eyesight. An exhilarating ride for anyone willing to share the sky with soaring birds to take in the absolute beauty of Western Cape from a much more thrilling perspective.
If you are looking to relax then Africa’s Western Cape will win you over! This gorgeous place is home to Grootbos private nature reserve, a luxury eco-reserve located close to the southern African tip. The reserve has recently won the award for Best Accomodation from the World Travel Market London´s Responsible Tourism Awards. The lodge is home to 791 plant species (100 of them endangered) and three Milkwood Forest which are over 100 years old. Grootbos private reserve has also being named as one of National Geographic´s Unique Lodges of the World. Offering pristine, gorgeous views and unique wilderness, Grootbos easily classifies as a top-notch getaway destination.
Extreme Adventures in Bariloche, Argentina
If you are one who loves some extreme sports with their eco travel, then Bariloche might be the perfect destination for you. Bariloche can boast of an incredibly vast ecosystem- from snowy Andean mountains to thick green forests and glimmering lakes- and this means the fun is almost never-ending!
You can have a refreshing time kayaking across crystal blue waters in a guided kayaking tour. If you are partial to a wilder side of adventure traveling then don’t fret – Bariloche’s winds are perfect for paragliding and you´ll never be disappointed with the breathtaking view and stunning mountain ranges seen from far above. Bariloche’s gorgeous landscape will definitely keep you mesmerized wherever you go and if you decide to go trekking for a change then there is no shortage of mountain paths and vistas for you to admire.
Wasabi Farms in the Japanese Alps, Japan
If you thought the European Alps’ gorgeousness could not be topped then let me introduce you to a worthy contender. The Japanese Alps’ got their name from renowned English Archeologist William Gowland, who, quite literally, thought of these mountains as Japan’s own Alpine vision. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a detour towards the eco travel gem – Kiso valley. The Kiso valley is known for its magnificent mountain scenery where a hiking trail awaits you-and with it the views of a lifetime!
If you’re up for a new experience then get ready to shake things up by visiting a Wasabi Farm. In the outskirts of Matsumoto, the Daio Wasabi Farm is sure to give you an unforgettable trip round its grounds. The technicalities of Wasabi cultivation are quite aesthetically pleasing as they are fed water directly from the melting snowbanks of the Japanese alps, painstakingly designed and thoroughly detailed streams provide every inch of the farm with fresh, sparkling water. The farm’s old fashioned beauty is made absolute by gorgeous wooden waterwheels. If you find yourself wanting to try some fresh wasabi, the farm offers unconventional food with extraordinary flavoring, such as wasabi-flavored ice cream, chocolate and beer!
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