Blessed with striking mountains and rolling hills, as well as wild rivers and wetlands, Poland is a haven for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds as well as avid hiking enthusiasts. About the size of New Mexico and a destination for all seasons, Poland also has a thriving ecotourism and nature tourism industry that offers plenty of eco-activities for families.
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Welcome to the Greenloons Blog, your go-to ecotourism / sustainable / responsible (or whatever term you feel comfortable with) travel resource. Here, you will find eco travel destination profiles, environmentally friendly travel tips, ecotourism certification information, eco trip reviews and much more! Read, share and let us know your thoughts about ecotourism!
In the last installment of the family ecotourism series that takes you through the highlights of Northern Europe, I invite you to appreciate lovely Gothenburg. Gothenburg is the second largest city in Sweden, after Stockholm. It is located on the southwest coast of Sweden and is equidistant between Copenhagen, Denmark and Olso, Norway. According to the Gothenburg city council, each resident enjoys 300 square feet of green space, which explains how one can readily reach the forests, meadows, lakes, parks and gardens that are peppered throughout the city.
In the seventh installment of a family ecotourism series entitled Ecotourism in Northern Europe, I invite you to appreciate the beauty of Copenhagen. Personally, I have never visited a city so environmentally conscious. From carbon neutral taxis to taxi bikes to eco-labeled hotels to specially designated bike and pedestrian paths that surround the city, Copenhagen is a wonderful mix of history, maritime industry, business, culture, and tourism. It is impossible to walk down a street day or night and not see hundreds of residents (some with toddlers wearing helmets) safely meandering through the streets on their bicycles. The city also is resplendent with parks and canals that allow for many opportunities to quickly step away from city-life and get back to nature.
In the sixth installment of a family ecotourism series that provides suggestions for families traveling through Northern Europe, I invite you to appreciate Oslo. A remote Scandinavian land of a thousand fjords and islands, Norway always ranks high in environmental surveys for its water quality and hydro power plants. Its capital, Oslo, is located at the start of the 100-kilometre Oslofjord. The fjord’s 40 islands each have unique character and abundant recreational activities. Over half of Oslo is covered by forests and parks, making it a truly green city. What I found most appealing about its architecture was the abundant use of turf roofs, which allows for natural insulation.
In the fifth installment of the family ecotourism series entitled Ecotourism in Northern Europe, I invite you to appreciate the promise of Stockholm. Built on 14 small islands joined by bridges, Stockholm is a wonderful mixture of busy city life and plentiful, beautiful parks. As the capital of Sweden, it enjoys a reputation for taking the best of socialist and capitalist economic systems as people are extraordinarily egalitarian yet technologically dominant and environmentally strong-minded. Sweden, together with Norway, shares the top spot for the world’s greenest country and Stockholm is a city filled with young people and young families eager to put its city on the world stage.
In the fourth installment of a family ecotourism series entitled Ecotourism in Northern Europe, I invite you to appreciate the potential of Visby. Visby is the capital of the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. It is located 53 miles off of coast of Stockholm and for the typical Swedish family, Gotland is the main island to visit for a summer vacation. With picturesque beaches and cliffs, Gotland is also home to the Swedish sheep farming industry.
In the third installment of a family ecotourism series covering Ecotourism in Northern Europe, I invite you to appreciate the wonder of Gdansk. A coastal city on the Baltic Sea, Gdansk combined with the rest of its “tri-city” Polish neighbors, Gdynia and Sopot, features a great amount of lakes and forests; lots of recreational activities including kayaking, canoeing and hiking; and spa and health rejuvenation vacations all with a conscious eye toward environmental preservation. Although 12 miles separates the “tri-city” neighbors, car and bus transportation is a bit difficult due to a lack of road infrastructure – a legacy from the days of Soviet rule. A better alternative is the electric train that runs frequently through the “tri-city” neighbors and only takes 35 minutes.
In the second of a family ecotourism series entitled Ecotourism in Northern Europe, I invite you to appreciate the splendor of Riga. On the banks of the Daugava River, the capital of Latvia is not only a UNESCO heritage site but is widely considered to be the cleanest city in Europe. In addition to it being one of the few countries that actually reduces greenhouse gas emissions year over year, Riga has the lowest carbon dioxide emission per capita among the EU countries and has the second best (after Sweden) policy related to renewable natural energy sources.
Recently, I had the pleasure of touring Northern Europe. Besides relaxing and spending time with my family, my objective was to test the outer limits of the trip by discovering at least one family ecotourism activity in each of the cities that we would be visiting. In the first of a series entitled Ecotourism in Northern Europe, I invite you to appreciate the potential of Helsinki. As the capital of Finland, Helsinki combines elements of both Swedish and Russian cultures, cuisines and attitudes. During the summer, Helsinki nights are brief and only last a few hours, which allows for ample opportunity to meander along the neighborhoods, markets, and parks.