World's 10 greenest countries.
Monday, 27th July 2009
Source : Skyscanner
Looking for a nature holiday in a green country? Skyscanner introduces the most environmentally friendly countries in the world, (according to The Economist) and a range of back to nature, eco-friendly holiday ideas.

So reach for your inner hippy and explore the world of camping, ‘glamping' and eco-lodges this summer, with Skyscanner's selection of low impact, enviro-holidays in the world's top 10 greenest countries.

1. Switzerland

With so much of Switzerland made up of mountains and lakes, it's little surprise that it tops The Economist's enviro-rankings. If you want to experience Switzerland's alpine beauty in a low impact way, try WhitePod Village - a collection of eco-friendly pods, tucked away on a Swiss mountainside. Complete with cosy wood burning stoves, comfy beds and incredible views, this is eco-camping in luxury.

 2. Norway

‘Powered by nature' is the slogan of Norway's tourist board and if you take a trip through fjordland you'll see why. Steep cliffs plunge into deep blue fjords whilst waterfalls cascade down the mountainsides creating a landscape of sheer beauty. The best way to experience Norway's nature with minimal impact is by foot and Bergen is a great base for hiking the area. You can also explore the region by train which takes you through the fjords and up the mountains.

3. Sweden

Cascading northern lights, white sandy beaches, rugged mountains, glaciers, alpine meadows, forests, lakes, rolling countryside and a glittering array of over 24,000 islands and skerries. Sweden was the second country in the world to introduce an eco-tourism charter, and also created 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. Sounds pretty green to us...

4. Finland

Finland's Lapland is one of Europe's last true areas of unspoiled wilderness, with vast swathes of forest and hundreds of pristine lakes, visitors can enjoy the midnight sun, stunning natural scenery and see bear and lynx. A paradise for campers, hikers and bikers, Finland is one great escape.

5. Costa Rica

This Central American country has been deemed the world's ‘most natural conservation area' having protected more than 27% of its land by creating a network of Wildlife Refuges, Biological Reserves and National Parks. Costa Rica offers a diverse range of ecosystems and actives; trek through million-year old rainforest, hike volcanoes, raft wild rivers, and witness the amazing array of wildlife including: jaguars (the environmentally friendly type) reptiles and multicoloured birds.

6. Austria

If you're looking to learn something on holiday, how about visiting Austria's Kalchkendlalm, Austria's most unusual school, located high on a mountain pasture? With breathtaking views of snow-capped mountain peaks, toy town houses in the valley, thick forests and craggy cliffs, join the ‘bread and butter' class, learn how to recognise different grains, make flour and use a bread oven. Visitors can shape their own loaf, and whilst it bakes, learn how to milk a cow and churn butter.

7. New Zealand

Ever since Frodo Baggins and Gandalf introduced us to Middle Earth, New Zealand's vast open spaces filled with stunning rugged landscapes, gorgeous beaches and spectacular geothermal and volcanic activity have captured the world's imagination. Take a sea kayak tour in the Abel Tasman National Park, an exquisite area of coastline between Marahau and Takaka, and explore the bays, beaches and headlands of the park.  Campsites occur regularly along the way, so you can pull into shore and pitch a tent at the end of each day.

8. Latvia

Visit an ‘open farm' where you can learn how food is produced, try your hand at some of the eco-friendly farming techniques, and buy fresh and healthy foods which are not available from the city supermarkets. There are many types of different open farms to choose from: livestock farms, mushroom farms, fish farms, flower farms and also craft centres. Visitors can stay in beautiful farmstead log cabins and enjoy horse riding, hiking or canoeing on Latvia's various lakes.

9. Colombia

Perhaps a surprising entry in the top ten, Columbia has a diverse selection of nature holiday options; go diving in Colombia's coral reef (which claims to be the third biggest in the world), see snow capped summits surpassing 5000m in the volcano region, then relax in the soothing thermal waters of a natural hot spring. Or visit Colombia's coffee region, which showcases the country's biggest (legal) export, and where eco-adventures abound in a landscape of rolling hills and coffee plantations, which can be explored by bike or horseback.

10. France

The new ‘glamping' craze is in full swing this summer, and Canvas Chic's 14 handcrafted oak and ash yurts make the camping experience a hell of a lot more luxurious than the two man dome tent in a muddy field. Based on traditional Kazakh designs, each yurt is furnished with a double bed, tasteful drapes and its own decking area and all are sat under magnificent forest, in the spectacular Ardčche River gorge nature reserve.

How other countries ranked in the Environmental Performance Index

  • Germany: 13th (joint with Slovenia)
  • UK: 15th
  • Spain: 30th
  • USA: 39th
  • Poland: 42nd
Ranking is for the Environmental Performance Index, based on a range of factors including environmental health, biodiversity, air pollution, water use, agricultural methods and tackling climate change, according to The Economist's Pocket World in Figures, 2009.

About Skyscanner
Skyscanner is a leading travel search site based in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Skyscanner provides instant online comparison on flight prices for over 670,000 routes on over 600 airlines, as well as car hire and hotel price comparison.

Press contact
Sam Baldwin, Travel Editor
Tel: 0131 555 7593 

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