Eco-tourism is no longer a trend but a core principle for many travellers that is here to stay. Holidaymakers everywhere are making more of an effort to minimise their environmental impact when travelling. Luckily that doesn’t mean you need to forego creature comforts or luxury. Many hotels are catching up and realising that guests want to take more sustainable holidays without sacrificing their enjoyment.
That means that finding eco-friendly hotels in Europe has never been easier. What these eco-accommodations have in common is their dedication to sustainability as well as hospitality. To help you find the perfect one for your trip, we’ve gathered a list of 11 amazing eco-friendly hotels in Europe, along with the unique touches that makes each one so.
Tree Hotel, Sweden
The Tree Hotel in Sweden is an eco-luxury hotel with a fascinating history. Its concept is based on a film location from a popular Swedish movie which centred, as the name implies, around a treehouse. Various architects were brought in to build more treehouses once filming wrapped. Today guests can stay in a UFO, a fancy bird’s nest or a mirror cube in the forest.
Throughout the entire year, guests here can immerse themselves in a pristine natural environment, in style. All ‘rooms’ have been built to minimise their impact on their surroundings. Part of the hotel’s credo of sustainability and ecological values is that no trees were destroyed or harmed in building any of the unique accommodations. Inside, guests will find amenities like hydroelectric-powered floor heating, combustion toilets, and best of all – uninterrupted forest views all around.
Green Solution House, Denmark
Green Solution House is a beach hotel of a different kind. Located on Bornholm, the hotel offers a self-proclaimed holistic approach to sustainability. You can get involved and learn more about their green philosophy or simply sit back and enjoy its benefits.
The hotel’s green credentials include its renewable energy sources, wastewater purification, and recycled building materials. The hotel has been certified by the German Sustainable Building Council and no detail was spared. Even the glasses in the restaurant were made by a local designer out of recycled glass. And the menu is stocked with reinvented classics with local and organic produce.
With its motto “Freedom is Nature”, the Forsthofalm is one of Austria’s most sustainable and eco-friendly hotels. A true timber hotel, it’s built entirely out of wood, held together by thousands of wooden dowels and completely free of metal or glue. The wood used is mainly Swiss stone pine, a variety known to improve sleep quality.
Guests waking up here will find themselves secluded and surrounded by nature in the mountains of Leogang. The setting is stunning, especially in winter, when the hotel caters to skiing fans with its ideal ski-in/out location. Those who prefer to relax can enjoy the breathtaking scenery from the rooftop pool. Food is, of course, regional and organic and there are plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans on the menu.
Whitepod has been a player in the eco-hotel scene for a while, but is still one of the most unique examples around. There are no regular rooms here. Instead, guests stay in geodesic pods dotted amongst the beautiful scenery. Not only were these pods built with minimal materials, but thanks to their shape they are incredibly energy efficient. The perfect mix to please design lovers and environmentally conscious travellers.
As well as the rooms themselves, Whitepod also controls the use of energy and water and of course, any waste is recycled. Employees and guests are encouraged to walk instead of using any sort of transport – no hardship when you look at the beautiful setting, both in winter and summer.
ION Luxury Adventure Hotel, Iceland
Iceland is synonymous with adventure and living as one with nature. Escape from Reykjavík and head to the ION Adventure Hotel, one of the country’s premier sustainable hotels. From here you can enjoy some of the best scenery Iceland has to offer, with a location conveniently set right next door to the world-famous Thingvellir National Park.
ION was built with sustainability in mind, using materials like lava, reused wood, and local wool. Its mission is to be an extension of the surrounding nature, rather than an interruption. Products in the rooms and produce in the restaurant come from fair trade companies and are all organic. Thanks to its location on Mount Hengill, an active volcano, all heating at ION is powered with sustainable geothermal energy. And if you prefer your morning bath to be even more ‘au natural’, there are plenty of hot springs close by.
Looking for a green hotel in Greece? Head to Halkidiki, a peninsula close to Thessaloniki where you will find a little paradise called Ekies. The hotel is the realisation of owner Alexandra’s childhood dream. Ekies is not only eco-friendly but takes a modern spin on traditional Greek culture. The unique rooms and villas harmoniously blend in with the surrounding nature and will delight design lovers. Eco-friendly materials were used everywhere, ranging from non-toxic paint to the super comfy Coco-mat mattresses.
If the setting amongst the pine trees right by the water isn’t enough for you, get one of their new Pine Suites. These eco-luxury rooms offer a complete immersion into nature and were built exclusively out of natural, raw materials.
Bohinj ECO Hotel, Slovenia
If you are looking for an eco-resort in Slovenia, head to Bohinj ECO Hotel, the country’s first to be certified with a Green Globe. Geothermal water is drilled from a well next to the building and used for heating as well as sanitation and is recycled afterwards. Not a drop is wasted at Bohinj!
The hotel also has its own efficient energy station, which uses 30% less energy compared with comparable operations. To save heat from escaping, all rooms are specially insulated and the building has a unique sandwich roof made from wood and natural materials to keep in the warmth. To make it easy for guests to limit their resource usage, linens are changed only upon request at Bohinj and the windows have sensors so air con automatically turns off when they are open.
theiner’s garten, Italy
theiner’s garten was built with nature in mind. The owners visited various eco-friendly hotels around Europe before creating their own little green paradise inspired by what they saw. Today theiner’s is not only a certified eco-hotel according to the “Gütesiegel Klimahotel” but was also crowned the most environmentally friendly hotel in the Alps in 2019.
Whereas in most hotels, guests will leave a carbon footprint of up to 50 kg CO₂ per person per night, the nightly impact of guests at theiner’s is a mere 8 kg CO₂. This is made possible by the hotel’s attention to detail, including using alternative energy sources, recycling, and organic produce. In addition, guests are inspired to leave their cars at home and instead use public transport or one of the hotel’s electric cars or e-bikes.
HOTEL ZOO BERLIN, Germany
HOTEL ZOO BERLIN has it all: a cool townhouse setting with historic charm and a promise to promote sustainability. Proof of their effort is in their certification by Green Globe, a set of standards and criteria for eco-friendly hotels in Europe. Participating hotels are checked twice a year on factors including their savings of water and energy, recycling, and responsible use of resources.
Guests at HOTEL ZOO BERLINcan enjoy the historic building reminiscent of old-time Berlin. Even though the hotel has over 140 rooms and suites, all are individually designed and incredibly unique. The perfect eco-friendly refuge for city slickers and green hedonists!
The Green House, UK
You don’t need to travel far to find one of the most eco-friendly hotels in Europe. The Green House in Bournemouth combines luxury and sustainability. Guests can enjoy a luxurious stay in a refurbished Victorian villa in the vicinity of some of Dorset’s best beaches. In the rooms, guests can enjoy incredibly comfortable beds, made exclusively for the hotel, entirely out of bamboo.
The hotel strives to minimise environmental impact by focusing on 5 core principles: Use of local products, a ‘reduce, re-use, recycle’ philosophy, and high welfare standards for staff. Green House is a member of Considerate Hoteliers and has already been named one of the top environmentally friendly hotels in the world.
Vondelpark Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Conscious Hotels is one of the most eco-friendly hotel chains in Europe and their motto is ‘eco-sexy’. Their chic Vondelpark hotel in Amsterdam offers the perfect mix between cool interior design and sustainability. Rooms are outfitted with eco-friendly, recycled and certified cradle-to-cradle materials. Daily operations are carried out in the most sustainable ways possible, from refillable soap dispensers to the use of a fair-trade laundromat for linens.
Energy is sourced, fittingly for a green accommodation in the Netherlands, from Dutch windmills, and all bathrooms use a water-saving system. The green rooftop offers a relaxed view of the city where you can enjoy organic bar snacks and everyday complimentary wine happy hour.
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