If like everyone else you’ve been confined to your home over the last year you’ve no doubt spent much time dreaming of your next holiday. If you’ve also being pondering on how you can travel more sustainably in the future, you’re not alone. From transportation to accomodation, it is easy to plan and spend a sustainable break in Scotland. Here are some of our top tips one ensuring you keep your carbon footprint to minimum on your next visit to our beautiful country.
Hit the road in an electric car (EV)
Nothing beats the freedom of the open road. With 13 designated tourist routes, it couldn’t be easier to cruise off the busy trunk roads and motorway and discover Scotland’s endlessly diverse landscape, unique towns and villages, and a wealth of attractions and activities.
Whether you’re the owner of an EV or are planning to rent one, a growing number of rental companies and a far-reaching network of electric charge points scattered the length and breadth of the country makes it easier than ever to explore behind the wheel of an electric car.
Follow the 5 Days in Scotland with an Electric Car itinerary for a self-drive journey through Scotland, from bustling cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow to the wilds of the Highlands, taking in some of our most iconic National Parks along the way.
Take a carbon-neutral island cruise
Nothing restores like the beauty and seclusion of Scotland’s islands. Get a taste of authentic island life and help combat climate change on a trip to the archipelago of Orkney. Hop onboard Scotland’s greenest ferry, MV Alfred with Pentland Ferries. Designed to ensure optimum energy efficiency it uses an incredible 65% less energy and emits 62% less Co2 than similar Scottish vessels. Watch the stunning coastal vistas and seascapes glide by secure in the knowledge you’re already helping to off-set the environmental impact of your cruise.
Once on Orkney, explore with a carbon-neutral tour. Wildabout Orkney offers guided trips and allows visitors the opportunity to make small but meaningful contributions to reducing their carbon footprint, including planting a tree for each day of your holiday.
If want to immerse yourself in nature without forgoing modern comforts or contributing to your carbon footprint, glamping is a great option. Wake up to Scotland’s great outdoors in a range of stunning locations after peaceful night’s sleep; all without the going to effort or pitching a tent and forgoing modern comforts.
The choice is positively eclectic, ranging from luxury yurts at Alexander House in Perthshire complete with roll-top bathtubs and sumptuously soft duvets, to the Scandinavian-style bothies on the shore of Loch Nell at Inverlonan, Argyll, where you can order room service. Or why not opt for an up-cycled gypsy caravan, vintage railway carriage or even an authentically constructed stone broch?
Staying sustainable accommodation is essential if you are planning an environmentally friendly break. From 5-star rated hotels to budget friendly B&Bs; quirky self-catering options to ancient castles; sustainability is fast becoming a top priority of accommodation providers across Scotland.
Find out more about green hotels and eco-friendly accommodation in Scotland.
Explore by rail
Rail holidays are the perfect way to sit back, relax and take in Scotland’s scenery. They’re also one of the most environmentally friendly ways to get about, especially in Scotland. To save, purchase your tickets in advance online. Reduced tickets can become available up to nine weeks prior to your date of travel allowing savings of up to 50 or even 75% off standard fares.
Train travel isn’t only for savers. Travel through the Highlands in the lap of luxury onboard the Belmond Royal Scotsman. With its own onboard spa offering treatments using sustainable botanicals, and a gourmet dining carriage serving responsibly sourced Scottish fare, it’s your ticket to the green journey of a lifetime.
Become a voluntourist
Voluntourism has exploded in popularity in recent years and is a fantastic way to do some good during your Scottish break. Whether it’s helping to ‘rewild’ the forests of the Highlands by planting trees with Trees for Life, teaming up with organisations like Keep Scotland Beautiful or the Marine Conservation Society to clean beaches, or staying behind on the Isle of Skye to help conserve its precious landscape, there are plenty of ways you can devote your time to making a meaningful impact on Scottish destinations.
You can even work directly with local communities protect whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Hop onboard a research expedition vessel with the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust to monitor marine life as it cruises the waters of the west coast and the Hebridean isles.
There’s no better way to get a taste of Scotland than through its local food and drink. The country is brimming with distilleries, restaurants, farm shops, and more; all serving home-grown, seasonal, and sustainable produce that will turn your Scottish break into a foodie adventure.
Sustainability, or to be more precise, a ‘slow’ approach to produce is at the heart of Scotland’s finest delicacies. To sample the very best there is on offer, why not follow one of our dedicated food and drink trails?
From historic distilleries where you can discover the time-honoured art of whisky-making to watching cheesemakers at work in artisan workshops or feasting freshly landed seafood and hand-caught shellfish at waterfront restaurants and beachside shacks, Scotland has a foodie-themed trail to suit every palette.
Scotland is also a country bursting with fantastic vegan and vegetarian foodie experiences. Discover a wealth of cafés, restaurants, shops, and markets which take a firm ethical and diverse approach to sourcing sustainably grown produce.