Eco Hotels in Europe
Europe's vastly varied terrain lends itself perfectly to an eco retreat, and finding a back to nature escape whilst leaving little impact has never been easier. This selection of green minded hideaways, complete with living walls, solar power and recycled furniture, combine world class service and facilities with their serious approach to the environment.
Destination focus: Iceland
Sitting amongst the greenest countries in the world according to 2016 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), Iceland is one of the world's leaders when it comes to harnessing renewable energy. Thanks to its unique topography, 20% of Iceland's power can be generated geo-thermally whilst the remainder is from hydropower, confirming it as the only country in the world that can claim to obtain 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.
In the remote countryside of southern Iceland, the Torfhus Retreat blends seamlessly into the landscape with its turf roofs and locally-sourced stone. Built using natural materials, this sustainable property is powered solely by geothermal and hydroelectric energy, with a focus on leaving as minimal an impact as possible.
Lying at the heart of the breathtaking Tuscan countryside, a mesmerising tapestry of rolling hills, fields, forests, and terracotta-roofed towns, Borgo Pignano is an elegantly restored 18th-century villa surrounded by quaint farmhouses and cottages that offer a restful and restorative escape. A stay at Borgo Pignano is sure to be full of 'wow’ moments, from the first sight of the carved infinity pool that gazes over the undulating hills to the first mouthful of one of many traditional Tuscan meals.
Surrounded by mountains, pastureland and verdant valleys, and set on a working permaculture farm with vineyards, olive groves, sheep, cattle, goats, chickens and vegetable huertas, Finca La Donaira sensitively blends into its extraordinary surroundings. Typically Spanish, whitewashed walls and local stone buildings give no indication of the luxury within at this unique eco-luxury escape.
Set in a 19th-century manor house, Six Senses Douro Valley commands an enviable position overlooking the River Douro, the hotel’s grounds and gardens celebrate the produce and flavours of the region. With its own forest trails, an organic garden of vegetables for guests to wander and enjoy, and pathways through the vineyards, the estate’s grounds are arguably what makes the hotel a destination in its own right but it's Michelin starred chef also helps!
Built and run in such a way to minimise its environmental footprint, Areias do Seixo is a serious eco retreat. Constructed using locally sourced, natural building materials and running on geothermal heating and air conditioning systems, the hotel is committed to reducing its environmental impact. The restaurant uses locally supplied food, and guests can spend a morning in the company of the hotel’s farmers, helping to pick the vegetables and herbs which will later be prepared for your meal. Getting guests involved with this unique way of living helps to promote sustainability in rural Portugal and further afield.
Sustainability forms the literal and theoretical roots of this hotel. Each of the hotel’s iconic treehouses is built between live trees with as little disturbance to the natural environment as possible. During its construction, no trees were cut down and this ecological focus has continued to be at the forefront of the hotel’s thinking ever since. With an innovative sewage system and hydroelectric power, this is luxury travel on nature’s terms.