Top 10 European cities for eco hotels

Eliza Raymond
Jul 23, 2023

According to their research, Bern in Switzerland is the leader - with 23% of their hotels classified as Eco Hotels. Helsinki and Luxembourg came in at a close second place followed by Brussels and Reykjavik. You can find the full list on the TravelSupermarket website here.

23% of hotels in Bern, Switzerland are classified as Eco Hotels

We talked to Rachel Ferguson at TravelSupermarket to find out more about how and why they did this research. First off, we asked how they defined green hotels for their research. She explained:

We carried out the research by reviewing a wide range of customer reviews on TripAdvisor. We looked for those hotels which were awarded the ‘GreenLeaders’ award and then looked further to see which green and sustainable practices the hotel utilised. The hotels featured in the infographic had everything from lessons for guests on the local environment, recycled furniture, to bee-hives on roofs! 

We were also interested in why TravelSupermarket had carried out this work. Their core business is not sustainable tourism, so why had they decided to invest the time into researching eco-friendly hotels? Rachel explained that the idea for this project formed in response to research that indicated a growing demand for green or eco-friendly companies. Rachel believes this change in demand will inspire an increasing number of tourism businesses to join the sustainable tourism movement. She told us:

We carried out the project following research in 2016 by Responsible Travel which states that ‘travellers prefer companies that embed green or eco-friendly practices into their operations.’ This is no-doubt a positive sign at a critical time, which should help spur more companies to take steps towards greener practices — for both their customers and wider society.

Helsinki, Finland came in joint second place with 20% of hotels classified as Eco Hotels

Recent research released by Green Lodgings supports Rachel's vision for demand-driven sustainability in tourism. The report highlights the growing number of guests that expect hotels to have integrated at least some elements of sustainability into their hotel operations, building and design. According to the report, 44 percent of surveyed hotels stated that guest comments had led to them making a change towards sustainability this year (in comparison to only 24 percent last year).

At GOOD Travel, we were excited to hear this! It shows that as GOOD travellers, our role in creating demand for sustainable business practices is as important as ever. Whether we provide feedback directly to staff or use review platforms such as TripAdvisor to highlight GOOD practices or make recommendations, our comments make a difference.

As GOOD travellers, our role in creating demand for sustainable business practices is as important as ever. 

 20% of hotels classified in Luxembourg were classified as Eco Hotels

The way that we act as GOOD travellers also matters. TravelSupermarket have come up with ten tips you can use to be eco-friendly wherever you choose to visit.

1. Book non-stop flights – take-off requires the most fuel, as much as 25% for short flights, so when planning the most fuel-efficient route, go straight from A to B wherever possible. 

2. Rent a hybrid or electric vehicle – this is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint on holiday, especially if you’re planning a road trip.

3. Ask your hotel about their sustainability programmes and if they use local resources – the more that guests demand this kind of information, the higher a priority it will be.

4. Turn off the AC – air conditioning units tend to consume huge amounts of electricity and in some countries cooling units still use HCFCs which deplete the ozone layer.

5. Does your room really need to be cleaned every day? Ask your hotel to skip a few days to reduce chemical and energy usage, better yet, leave your do not disturb sign out for your entire stay!

6. Buy locally made products – compared to those which have been imported, local products have a much lower carbon footprint and help to support local economies. You’ll also be far more likely to find something unique when purchasing local wares.

7. Take a re-usable bag – single-use plastic bags are still in common use around the world and they contribute significantly to non-biodegradable waste. Carry your own re-useable bag and help the world cut down on its one-trillion-bags-a-year habit.

8. Don’t touch the coral reefs – coral are fragile animals and even the slightest touch can cause irreparable harm or even death. Watch out for your fins and other dive equipment and never be tempted to break off a piece – the damage you do could take decades to repair.

9. Never feed the wildlife – feeding local wildlife can make them dependent on humans and may even lead animals to attack in search of food. 

10. Transport yourself – for short journeys why not walk, cycle or row rather than taking motorised transport.

Do you agree with these tips and do you have any additional ones to add to the list? Please let us know in the comments section below.

July 23, 2023
5 min read