10 of the best eco-friendly accommodations in Europe | Top 10


Anna cabin, Maashorst nature reserve, The Netherlands

Holenberg Forest is the gateway to the Maashorst Nature Reserve, a pioneer of rewilding in North Brabant, home to stray bison and Tauros – a project to revive the aurochs, an ancient European ox. Nestled in the forest, among a rusty palette of trees, heather, and wetlands, is the self-sufficient, off-grid Chalet Anna. From linens to recycled dish waste, the focus is on reducing your environmental impact. The cabin can accommodate two people and has a large glass atrium to enjoy nature in all weather conditions and a sunken bathtub. There are game drives, biking and treks right on the doorstep.
From £ 154, holenberg.com

Hotel Magdas, Vienna

Photography: Peter Barci

In Vienna’s Prater Park, home to the famous Ferris wheel, the Magdas Hotel enjoys an enviable green location in one of Europe’s greenest cities. It is run by a combination of socially-minded hoteliers and immigrants or former refugees, all with a mission to promote inclusion and create a meeting place for 16 nations and 20 languages. He does it in buckets. Artwork from the local college, recycled vintage furniture, and local wine and beer served on the secluded patio add to the welcoming atmosphere. Those arriving by train or bicycle benefit from a 10% reduction.
Twins €62, magdas-hotel.at

Impact House, Lisbon

Impact House, Lisbon, Portugal

Sustainability is more than a checklist at this lively, B-Corporation certified little hostel located on the cobbled streets of the Belém waterfront district – it’s a way of life. Partnerships with local nonprofits, events to advocate for green issues, and a gathering space for the community are at the heart of the property’s mission. Although it’s right in the city center, there’s an on-site vegetable garden, a terrace serving local and herbal meals, and a swimming pool. Surplus food is donated to charities for the homeless, cleaning products are biodegradable and energy comes from renewable sources. An art gallery features local and disabled artists, while a boutique offers products from social enterprises.
Dorm beds from £ 15, doublefrom £ 50, impactrip.com

Green Solution House, Bornholm Island, Denmark

GSH meeting igloo Green Solution House, Bornholm Island, Denmark
Photography: Anders Beier

Architecture firm 3XN and environmentally conscious studio GXN renovated this expansive, modern hotel to high durability specifications six years ago, and built a carbon-emitting extension made entirely of wood. The new 24-chamber wing will absorb more carbon than it emits, via a cross-laminated timber structure insulated with wood fibers. The entire design of this hotel – minutes from a white-sand beach on Bornholm Island, which itself aims to be carbon neutral by 2025 – uses materials that can be disassembled, recycled or biodegraded . The swimming pool has been transformed into a thermal energy storage system, which heats every room in the hotel.
Doublefrom £ 155 B&B, bornholmhotels.dk

Tiny House package, various locations, France

Plot Tiny House Ferme de Garance
Photography: Franck Juéry

Designed and located to help travelers ‘rediscover the terroir’, Parcel House is a series of self-sufficient Tiny Houses carefully positioned in vineyards, meadows and farms in Brittany, Bordeaux, Limousin and Champagne. The hosts – including butter experts Linda and Jean-Marie in Brittany and eighth generation winemakers in Saint-Emilion – are eager to share their passion for slow food and traditional methods. Each house is built with wood from responsibly managed forests in France and is equipped with solar panels and dry toilets. The lack of television and wifi is a deliberate measure to help customers disconnect.
Of €120, en.parceltinyhouse.com

Apipura Hotel Rinner, South Tyrol, Italy

Apipura Rinner Hotel, Italy
Photography: Stephan Feichter

Everything about this family-run Alpine hotel revolves around this global symbol of regeneration and sustainability: the bee. Owner and beekeeping expert Paul Rinner offers his customers the Beecura system – Italy’s first api wellness experience, involving inhaling air from the hive. The hotel also offers a bee education trial, beekeeping lessons, and an organic honey menu. More conventional leisure activities include an outdoor spa with mountain views and a huge play area for children. Electricity comes from a new district heating station that produces electricity from wood waste, and the food is strictly local and seasonal.
Doubles of €145 guest rooms, hotel-rinner.it

Explorer Hotels, Germany and Austria

Explorer Hotel
Photography: danielzangerl

With branches in nine ski and hiking regions in Germany and Austria, Explorer hotels might not exude rustic mountain charm, but they excel at low-cost, low-carbon vacations. The hotel group was the first in Europe to be certified “passive house status” – think of triple-glazed windows, solar heating and a high level of heat recovery (hotels stay at the same temperature in summer and winter) . Each property is carbon neutral, uses environmentally safe cleaning products, and is committed to a waste reduction policy.
From £ 40, explorer-hotels.com

Dene Cottage, Orkney Islands

Dene Cottage, Orkney Islands, Scotland

The ambition to go to zero carbon puts Orkney on the green card. An impressive number of self-catering vacation lodges on the islands have been awarded the Green Tourism Business Scheme Gold award, including the cozy Dene Cottage. Its off-grid location was part of the attraction when the owners converted it into a vacation home. Solar panels and a small wind turbine provide electricity; it is insulated to high standards and fully stocked in plastic free kit. Electric bikes are available for hire from Dounby village, a five-minute walk down the road.
From £450 a week to four, denecottage-orkney.co.uk

Terraegna mountain hut, Bisegna, Abruzzo, Italy

Recently renovated, this stone shepherd’s hut has the low impact of a home, with a few extra luxuries: a wood stove for cooking and heating, and solar powered electricity and hot water. . It sits high in the Abruzzo mountains, saddled at 1,780 meters, accessible only on foot, mountain bike or snowshoes. It is a place where bears, wolves and wild boars roam. The cabin can accommodate groups of up to 10 and is part of a desire to use tourism to help protect endemic species such as the Apennine chamois and the Marsica brown bear.
The cabin has a double bedroom and sleeps eight more in a shared room, from around £ 34 per person, Wildlifeadventures.it

Wheatland Farm, Devon

No stone has been overlooked to provide a low impact vacation in this 21 acre conservation project and rural Devon getaway. Here there are barn owls, nine species of bats, tree pipits, hares, nesting nuthatches, and in winter the fields teem with flocks of migrating thrushes. All five cottages have a lot of character thanks to a strict recycling ethic and run on 100% renewable energy – Honeysuckle Lodge has an ‘eco-friendly hot tub’ built into the deck. Station transfers and the rental of electric bicycles encourage holidays without a car.
A seven night stay for four from £ 422 Wheatlandfarm.co.uk

Holly Tuppen’s book, Sustainable Travel: The Essential Guide to Positive-Impact Adventures, is published by Quarto (£ 18)