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Ecotourism in Scandinavia

If you want to consider the environment when travelling, there are plenty of options to choose from if you spend your holiday in Scandinavia. Green travel alternatives are available within and outside the cities. There is a choice of environmentally accredited accommodation and when you feel hungry, you can visit an organic restaurant or shop for organic food which is available from most mainstream supermarkets and specialty shops. If you are looking for experiences, there is also plenty of opportunity for the environmentally conscious tourist; you can eg visit organic farms, wind turbine parks, independent eco-societies, and incineration plants or see examples of environmental reclamation, green city landscapes, get in touch with local environmental groups and much more.

In Denmark, consideration for the environment forms a natural part of everyday life for many people. When travelling to and within Denmark, you can do your bit to help the environment; if you arrive by plane, you can check if the airline has an environmental policy in place and whether they e.g. have launched a CO2 compensation scheme. British Airways and Scandinavian Airlines both have such measures in place, as do a number of other airlines.

Travelling by train is a comfortable alternative to planes and cars and the CO2 emission is significantly lower per passenger, and Denmark offers an efficient and well maintained train network.

You can also opt to do like the Danes; travel by bike. Copenhagen and Aarhus have free ”City bikes” for cycling within the cities, or you can rent a bike from one of the country’s many cycle rentals. Unlike many other capital cities, Copenhagen is a safe place for cycling and there is more than 300 km of cycle paths. Approximately 1/3 of the city’s population actually travels to work by bike regularly.

A region that profiles itself in the environmental area is the island of Samsø in Kattegat. On the island, which is self-sufficient in renewable energy, you can see solar/wood chip and straw powered district heating plants, wind turbine parks and solar cell production. The island is 100% self-sufficient in electricity from wind turbines and has reached almost 70% self-sufficiency in terms of heat consumption.

In Norway everyone has the right of access ("allemannsretten") in the countryside - including the national parks.

Several national parks have arrangements for outdoor activities with a network of marked paths and trails and overnight accommodation in either staffed lodges or self-service cabins.

National parks are particularly important for species that need relatively large and undisturbed areas to survive, such as wild reindeer, predators and birds of prey. Nearly 85 per cent of Norway's national parks are mountains. The mountain landscape varies from endless gently rolling high plateaus to sharp peaks, ravines and glaciers.

The Lofotferga charter boat offers scenic and culinary happenings along Lofoten's shoreline with emphasis on eco-tourism, offering killer whale safaris in November. Lofotferga is a charming, listed vessel that has been awarded the Olav's Rose seal of quality by Norwegian Heritage.

In Finland Metsähallitus ("Finnish Forest Administration") is a state enterprise that administers more than 12 million hectares of state-owned land and water areas and works closely also with the Finnish Tourist Board.

Much of Iceland is still taking shape before your very eyes — raw, dramatic landscapes born from volcanic eruptions and carved out by glaciers. Other parts have hardly changed since the first Viking settlers saw them more than 1,100 years ago. You’ll experience wilderness and wildlife, energy and total calm, within easy reach wherever you stay, even on day trips.

Much of Sweden is an extraordinary natural resource from the high alpine peaks of the north to the beaches and shorelines of the south. The most precious of these are protected by national parks, such as the Laponia World Heritage site that is also home to Europe’s last remaining wilderness. Sweden was the second country in the world to introduce an eco-tourism charter, after Australia. Sweden also set up ‘Nature’s Best’, Europe’s first eco-label that assures the quality of around 180 holidays and activities run by its 80 eco-certified tour operators around the country.

The good thing about booking a trip with one of Nature’s Best tour operators is that they abide by a strict code of conduct, and you make a positive contribution to the environment you find yourself in. This could be hiking and trekking in Sarek National Park – no trails, no accommodation and strictly for the more experienced hikers. Or why not a guided hiking trip in the adjoining Stora Sjöfallet or Padjelanta National Park.

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