When it comes to hunting down eco-conscious accommodation on a budget, Europe leaves us spoilt for choice. There’s something for every style and purse string across the continent, but as per the title, I’ve picked out some top choices here that offer a good balance of pocket-friendly pricing and creature comforts.
Introducing round 2 of ‘eco resorts for comfortably conscious travel’: Europe Edition 1
Valencia – Zalamera B&B, http://www.zalamerabnb.com
As B&Bs go, this one is pretty damn nice. Aside from being a stylish little hideaway within easy reach of the beach, Zalamera are an eco-conscious option dishing up locally sourced, organic produce and heating their water with biofuels.
Ecological everything and energy-saving tech make this a top pick for the environmentally aware, and at breakfast time there are vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free choices. Budget-luxe room options cater nicely to solo travellers on top of offerings for friends, couples and families, and if you want to really splash out there’s a penthouse suite on offer with a private roof terrace.
Barcelona – Sleep Green Barcelona, http://sleepgreenbarcelona.com
These guys were the first urban youth hostel in Spain to be awarded the EU Ecolabel, and it’s certainyly well-deserved. 100% of the energy used here comes from renewable sources, and the hostel is kitted out with energy-saving LED lights, push-tap water fittings, recycling points and biodegradable cleaning products to keep things extra green.
Located right by the Universtitat metro station and only a short stroll from La Ramblas, you’ll also be just around the corner from the wonderful vegan cafe Santoni, flexitarian restaurant Flax & Kale and bar-with-its-own-skate-bowl, Nevermind. I’d say that makes Sleep Green a pretty wise choice. (Oh – and there’s free WiFi, and there are free lockers. Huzzah!)
Berlin – Almodovar Biohotel, http://www.almodovarhotel.de
Anywhere that says it has a WELLNESS OASIS as well as being a certified organic vegetarian hotel is going the right way about getting themselves on this list. And here Almodovar is.
All the food at this very swish venue is veggie or vegan, featuring lots of local and fair trade goodies. Built from sustainable materials, this hotel is 100% green energy-fuelled and works with independent businesses to find the very best in planet-friendly spa cosmetics, cleaning products and more.
Sat in the heart of Friedrichshain, Almodovar is an enviable place to unwind after a leisurely day eating your way around Berlin.
Bremen – Townside Hostel, http://www.townside.de
A rainwater collection to flush the toilets, clean energy, recycling facilities and that all-important energy- and water-saving tech throughout. Townside Hostel offer simple, gorgeous private rooms as well as dormitory options, and it’s all put together with green credentials in mind.
Organic tea and coffee is free until 10.30am, lockers and WiFi are free at all times and you’re only a 15-minute journey from the nearest airport.
Townside offers a prime location just a stone’s throw from the best local nightlife and eateries, and there’s free bicycle storage so you can keep fossil fuel-free transport safe and sound. (For car parking, there is an extra charge.)
Paris – Solar Hotel, http://www.solarhotel.fr
Free organic breakfasts, free bicycle hire, free feeling of smugness knowing you’re staying somewhere that uses renewable energy? Oh, go on then. There’s a clue in the name here, people. Built with recycled materials and solvent-free paints, the Solar Hotel brightens the heart of Paris with those warm and fuzzy eco vibes you crave.
This cosy joint has won a number of awards and while it isn’t a shoestring-budget venue, at €89 a night for two people including breakfast, it isn’t extortionate either.
Chamonix Valley – Isra Eco Chalet, http://www.israecochalet.fr/
I don’t know what a ‘feng shui ecological chalet’ really is, but I know this is one. And it’s 5-star, which means it’s dead fancy and costs a bit more than than the lovely Sleep Green hostel in Barcelona. Totally worth it though.
Isra Eco Chalet sleeps 15 and has its own sauna, so if you’re planning to hit the slopes this winter and you’ve got a few friends who are keen, you can do it the eco way here. Solar power and composting your leftovers is one thing, the fact they plant trees for every group who stay here is another.
You get incredible views of Mont Blanc from your naturally-insulating, south-facing windows, and the cuisine is locally-sourced (and everything you’d expect 5-star meals to be).
There are loads of other great places to stay, of course, but these are a few that I have a particular soft spot for. Barcelona and Berlin are particularly good for eco-offerings – feel free to add to this list in the comments!