Before you book your next holiday, check out the most carbon-conscious destinations
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Carbon per person: 0.11t (1 tree)
Whilst perhaps well known for a different kind of green, Amsterdam proves itself to be the most environmentally-friendly destination on the list – a return trip from London generates just 0.11 tonnes of CO2 per person, which equals around one tree per visit.
Once there, act like a local and get on your bike – cycling is everything to Amsterdammers, and renting a bike (for around €10) is the best way to see the city. For those who want to give back as you kick back, take a boat tour with Plastic Whale, where passengers are given nets to fish plastic out of the canal whilst they take in the sights.
And when you need a break from the wild Amsterdam nightlife, why not stay in one of 4 Conscious Hotels. These hotels all have one key thing in common – they’re made from entirely sustainable materials. A stay will cost you around €73 a night.
Carbon per person: 0.44t (3 trees)
The party destination of the world – and now the only thing you need to feel guilty about is your hangover! The 0.44 carbon tonnes of CO2 generated per person per return trip makes Ibiza a surprisingly eco-friendly destination, for those who want to party and protect the planet at the same time. Ibiza is destination that cares about going green.
One of the coolest movements in Ibiza recently has been the introduction of biodegradable straws, with many venues such as Pikes, Locals Only, and La Escollera now only using straws made from materials like bamboo, rye and cornstarch.
Ibiza officials are known for organising regular beach cleanups and the island is seeing more and more solar powered boats too. Stay at Cas Gasi – a hotel which uses as many sustainability techniques and eco-friendly methods as possible in the running of the hotel.
Carbon per person: 0.46t (3 trees)
One of the most popular holiday destinations for Brits, but did you know that Benidorm is also one of the best locations to visit if you’re concerned with the environment? A return trip will set the planet back three trees per person, which makes it a bargain for those who want a bit of sun without having too much of an impact on the planet.
Once there, the city’s small size makes it surprisingly eco-friendly – you can walk everywhere! The need for some sun means that most of the city’s skyscrapers are orientated to the south in a way that guarantees sunlight – meaning that Benidorm can reduce its electricity consumption when compared to the average city.
Carbon per person: 0.54t (3 trees)
Costing three trees per person, Albufeira could be the perfect place to visit this summer. Portugal recently won the Earth Award for ‘Best in Europe,’ with the Algarve given special mention as one of Europe’s most sustainable locations.
The Algarve has 60% more of its territory as nature conservation and makes an effort to stop excessive tourism from spoiling its natural beauty. Why not stay at Club Med Da Balaia, where the Adult Zen Zone features its own eco friendly pool serving fresh and healthy smoothies all day long! Be warned however – the hotel doesn’t come cheap, and you’ll be looking at around €800 per person to stay at the resort.
Carbon per person: 0.82t (5 trees)
Renowned for its beauty, Santorini can be visited for the price of five trees. Looking for a green hotel when you stay? Check out Ikion Eco Boutique Hotel, which will set you back around €72 per night.
The owner, Ioanna Athanasiou has gone to great lengths to ensure both comfort and environmental friendliness. You’ll find economy bulbs, hot water provided by solar heating, double-glazed windows, not to mention climate-efficient paints, and furniture made out of 100% recycled wood.
You’ll be looking at around five trees per person per return flight to Crete, and whilst there, check out Eleonas Country Village. The resort is known for its sustainability – designed in perfect harmony with the natural environment, the guest houses have all been built with natural stone and wood, and feature an environmentally friendly fireplace for those rare cold nights. A stay will cost around €150 a night. The Minos Palace Hotel and Suites also offers a variety of eco-friendly activities, including original Greek games and cycling.
Carbon per person: 0.84t (5 trees)
You might have heard that Lanzarote is your typical run of the mill resort island. But you’d be wrong. Known for its dramatic, volcanic landscape, the island has a raw beauty unmatched by other similar resort locations, and is perfect for those who see the Canary Islands as more than one big beach.
Whilst in Lanzarote, live like a local at the Fisherman’s Cottage, a gorgeous home for four by the sea which has been designed with the environment in mind, using only local building materials, and generating all of its power through solar energy. Getting to Lanzarote will see you owing the planet five trees.
Carbon per person: 0.87t (5 trees)
When in Rhodes, your best bet for eco-friendly accommodation is the stunning Gennadi Grand Resort, where a Junior Suite with a Sea View will set you back around €143. Great attention was given to make the hotel eco-friendly, making sure that it conserves energy and water. Make sure you visit the Valley of Butterflies, a unique nature reserve comprised of Oriental sweetgum trees.
Carbon per person: 0.87t (5 trees)
Stay at Las Casas Bioclimática, Tenerife’s (and the world’s) first carbon-free village. The village was developed by the Institute for Renewable Energy Tenerife, and each house is fitted with sensors that test temperature, humidity and air movement. A house for two people will cost from £111 a day per day – room only and self catering.
Tenerife offers plenty of tours and activities for the eco-conscious tourist. Check out a Whale Watching and Marine Science Tour (prices start from £42 a night) which guides guests through marine biology and conservation efforts. And if you want to make less of a dent on the planet when exploring the island, why not hire a Tuk Tuk to take a tour? Prices start from £26.
Carbon per person: 0.92t (6 trees)
Mallorca, the most popular destination on our list, will see tourists owing 6 trees per return visit. The location has its fair share of eco-friendly resorts. Why not stay at the Gran Hotel Son Net (prices in August start around €450 a night) where you’ll find the use of ecological farming methods in the hotel’s stunning gardens and vineyards.
The hotel is also committed to recycling and is looking to create a balance between tourism and sustainable, local farm life. Palma itself, the capital, is a breeze to travel by bike or on foot, so the island is easy to get around without a car, and pick up a local wicker basket known as a ‘senalla’ instead of using plastic bags whilst on the island, which doubles up as a wonderful souvenir when you get home!
Carbon per person: 1.64t (10 trees)
Long-haul flights of course have a greater impact on the environment than short-haul, but if do want to go further afield, Dubai is the furthest you can go for the least amount of trees, costing 10 which is considerably less than the 20 you’d need for Thailand.
Whilst there, stay in Al Maha – a luxury resort designed with nature in mind, striking the perfect balance between creature comforts and the local environment. Several measures have been taken to reduce the resorts environmental impact, such as reusing cooking oil, reducing water consumption, and using battery-powered vehicles to get guests around.
The hotel has a focus on the conservation of local fauna and fauna with its own nature reserve home to 75 species of native plants. Between trips to the beach, visit Jumeirah Mina A’Salam hotel which manages a turtle rehabilitation project and which raises awareness of the ecological threats faced by marine turtles today.
1st Move used carbonfootprint.com to find out many tonnes of CO2 each trip would generate based on flying from Heathrow in London, and then used Trees for Life to calculate that one tree would equal 0.16 tonnes of CO2. See further information on eco-friendly travel at 1st Move International. Check out Carbon Footprint UK, which lets you plant trees to offset any emissions you’ve generated when flying.