12 of the Most Eco-Friendly Holidays for Slow Travel

The Most Eco-Friendly Holidays for Slow Travel

Slow travel is about exploring the world in a more mindful way—by boat, train, or on foot—not only as a way of being more eco-friendly but because it offers a better travel experience. Rather than racing through countries at breakneck speed just to tick each location off a bucket list. Slow travel has a gentler approach that allows you to learn about a country and enjoy every step of the journey, not just the destination.

Travelling slowly means avoiding high traffic tourist areas in favour of hidden gems in lesser-known locations. It's about eating where the locals eat rather than at chain restaurants, and skipping the overrated tourist attractions in favour of more interesting landmarks not found in the tourist guide.

Slow travel plans might mean visiting fewer places and spending more time in them. But the experience will likely result in a great number of memorable experiences. This considered approach to travel means you will make more meaningful connections to the place you visit and the people you meet.

Travelling slowly is so much better for the environment too. By choosing to spend more time in one location, your holiday's carbon footprint is significantly reduced, especially if you walk, cycle, or use public transport when you're there.

There are 10 of the most memorable slow travel holiday ideas to inspire your next vacation.

The Most Eco-Friendly Holidays for Slow Travel

Hiking in Nepal

Home to some of the world's highest peaks, Nepal is a captivating holiday destination ideal for trekking and mountaineering. The breathtaking landscapes are best enjoyed on foot with experienced guides who can show you the lesser-known trails on wilderness treks around snow-capped mountains, quiet lakes, deep valleys, and lush forests.

Cycling in Vietnam

Vietnam is an amazing destination rich in cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and delicious cuisine. It's the perfect location for exploring diverse landscapes from mountain views to city scapes to national parks. Book a bike tour and explore the spectacular tropical forests, rugged coastlines, and paddy fields with expert guides who will show you the true beauty of Vietnam.

Walking the Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast offers 81 miles of rugged coastline to explore with beaches, rock pools, and hidden coves to discover. It's the ideal location for slow travel as it takes around seven days of walking to complete the full trail. Lyme Regis is one of the most dog-friendly destinations in the UK making Dorset a great place to visit with your companion.

The Most Eco-Friendly Holidays for Slow Travel

Island-hopping in Greece

Island-hopping is a unique adventure not to be missed. Greece can be explored by ferry, which is not only a more affordable, eco-friendly alternative to flying; travelling by boat means better views of the islets, bays, and pine-clad mountains. Travel time between the islands ranges between 45 minutes to a couple of hours, and can easily be planned on the day without a tour guide.

Stargazing in Iceland

Despite the frequent volcanic eruptions, Iceland has some of the cleanest air in the world and the darkest skies in Europe. This provides the ideal conditions for witnessing the breathtaking natural phenomena of the Northern Lights. Stargazing in Iceland is possible almost all year round but the best spots are remote. Make sure to book a guided tour if you want to get the best views.

Narrow-boating around Britain

Explore numerous locations around Britain on a narrowboat—the ideal holiday for travellers who like to explore without being in a rush. Narrow-boating provides an eco-friendly way to travel through multiple landscapes, from sweeping meadows to dense woodlands to tiny villages to historic cities. Plan a narrowboat trip with a canal map of Britain.

The Most Eco-Friendly Holidays for Slow Travel

Wildlife Conversation in a U.S. National Park

For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, try volunteering in a national park. Conservation travel involves visiting national parks and wildlife reserves to take part in habitat restoration, research efforts, and community-based projects. This type of eco-tourism provides a way for travellers to experience and appreciate the natural world while minimizing their impact on the environment.

Train Travel Across Scotland

Scotland's excellent rail network offers a fantastic way to experience the country's beautiful landscape if you're not in a rush. There are many different routes to take for scenic adventures through rolling hills around picturesque lochs and into historic cities, like Glasgow and North Berwick. Spend a week enjoying the views from the train windows, hopping off when you see a place you'd like to explore more.

Exploring Botanical Gardens in Wales

Take a trip into to the Carmarthenshire countryside to visit the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Dating back to the early 1600s, it's home to the world's largest single-span glasshouse, a national nature reserve, butterfly house, and gardens. Nearby is Aberglasney, another stunning location with the UK's only surviving Elizabethan Cloister Garden.

The Most Eco-Friendly Holidays for Slow Travel

A Forest Retreat in Sweden

For a relaxing holiday that really embraces the idea of slow travel, book a forest retreat in an Swedish eco-lodge. Go truly off-grid and spend a few days surrounded by nature in one of Sweden's beautiful spruce forests. Chop you own wood, collect water from the spring, and forage for dinner—or simply relax in a cosy candlelit hut.

Wild Swimming in Kent

Whether you take a dip in the river or the sea, wild swimming is a fantastic way to get in touch with nature and enjoy an eco-friendly holiday. Swimming outdoors can be a magical experience although perhaps best enjoyed when the sun is shining! One of the best locations for casual swimmers is Kent, where there are plenty of crystal clear rivers and clean beaches to enjoy.

A Dog-Friendly Staycation

The ultimate eco-friendly holiday is a staycation. Be a tourist in your own city by visiting the local attractions, outdoor spaces, museums and art galleries. Explore the streets you never go down and make time for slow living activities that make you feel like you're on a "proper" holiday. You could even book a dog-friendly hotel! Browse these travel guides for staycation ideas.

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The Most Eco-Friendly Holidays for Slow Travel The Most Eco-Friendly Holidays for Slow Travel