Places to Visit in Croatia That Support Sustainable Travel
Sustainable tourism – the concept of sustainable tourism is becoming increasingly popular in Croatia as the tourism industry becomes more aware of the importance of preserving the beauty and integrity of Croatia’s environment.
Various government departments, tour operators, and property owners acknowledge that sustainable tourism is the way of the future and that Croatia’s natural, historical and cultural treasures must be well managed so that they can be enjoyed for generations. I have put together a list of my favorite ecotourism in Croatia picks, for those inclined to travel at sustainably.
If you want to get clued up to what exactly is sustainable travel – check here.
Histria Aromatica, Istria
Histria Aromatica is a unique experience for all nature lovers. This agricultural, working, educational and tourist estate shows it’s visitors the journey from the plant to the product.
It is situated in the region of Istria, in Pižanovac, near Golaš, in the Municipality of Bale and it was created with minimal impact to the environment. Histria Aromatica is a place where the natural order is highly respected.
The whole idea for the project came from a Croatian company called Bioaromatica Ltd which produces a number of cosmetic products based on traditional Croatian and Mediterranean plants such as sage, lavender, pyrethrum, curry, and rosemary. In the fields of the Histria Aromatica estate, the autochthonous species for Bioaromatica’s products are grown, but it is also a place of knowledge which strives to collaborate with schools, universities and scientific institutions.
The brand’s philosophy is combining nature with the knowledge of pharmacists and chemists. Visitors are able to see the plantations and gardens, the museum, and the multimedia area.
One of the most interesting things to visit is the galenic laboratory where you are shown how products such as soaps, baths, bath salts, cremes, tonics and massage oils are made out of natural ingredients, and you can even attend an eco tourism workshop and make some of the products yourself.
One of the attractions of the estate is a 120-year-old fig tree growing out of a 7-meter deep cave. There is also a restaurant on the property where you can treat your taste buds to traditional Croatian dishes and enjoy several kinds of homemade grappa, wine, various tea blends and natural juices.
As fragrances are one of the best ways to bring back memories, you will probably want to stop by the souvenir shop on your way out to choose a product with a fragrance which will remind you of your visit to this remarkable place once you return home. Visiting the Histria Aromatica estate is a perfect way to learn about nature while relaxing and soaking up the sun and the fragrances of all of the amazing herbs surrounding you. It is a place which will be equally enjoyed by children and adults.
The Eco Shelter, Dalmatia
The Eco Shelter is the perfect choice of accommodation for all those adventurers seeking a vacation far away from civilization. The Eco Shelter is situated in Salbunara Bay on the island of Biševo in the region of Dalmatia and its a leader in sustainable tourism.
Just reaching this place is an adventure in itself. First, you need to get to Split, the largest city in the region. From the mainland, take a ferry or catamaran to the beautiful island of Vis and then make your way to the small town of Komiža on the same island and finally take a boat to the island of Biševo. It’s an effort – but it is definitely a trip worth taking.
The island of Biševo has a population of 15, mainly fishermen, and farmers. There is no running water, traffic or shops on the island so make sure you arrive well prepared. The capacity of the The Eco Shelter is only eight beds, which ensures you a Croatian holiday away from the crowds.
The Eco Shelter is situated on an ancient vineyard which is terraced and built using traditional methods using only naturally occurring materials such as stone and wood. The lighting at the Eco Shelter comes from solar panels, and the whole place is furnished with furniture made from sustainable materials.
There is a minimum stay of 5 days, but the vacation package includes accommodation, breakfast, dinner and one trip around the island. The Eco Shelter restaurant uses fresh, local, seasonal fruit and vegetables to prepare healthy Mediterranean dishes. Many products like grappa or jam are homemade, most of the herbs used in cooking as spices are collected on the island, the fish is caught by local fishermen. If your idea of a vacation includes peace and quiet, swimming, snorkeling, diving, enjoying the sunsets, the scent of the sea and the sound of the waves, then Eco Shelter is the ideal accommodation for the holiday of your dreams.
If you are visiting Croatia in search of an active vacation, especially one on two wheels, then Istria is definitely the region you should pin on your map. The Istria Outdoor project unites cycling, accommodation and fine wining and dining.
A detailed map of various road and mountain bike trails with difficulty levels marked is available making the trip easy. You can ride your bicycle through adorable small villages, forests, vineyards, over hills and by the sea enjoying the breathtaking scenery, the sun, and the fresh air. If you are up for it, you can even participate in various races, as a cyclist and/or runner.
For some of the races you really have to be physically very well prepared while others are suitable for recreational athletes. The detailed map also includes Bike & Bed Apartments which are places to stay with storage for your bike and even essential spare parts available. Many agrotourism establishments are also situated along the trails giving you a plethora of choices for a quick bite or, to have a proper traditional and delicious meal. If you prefer running or just simply walking, the bike trails are accompanied by foot trails so you can enjoy these fabulous landscapes on foot, too.
Cadmos Village, Dubrovnik Riviera
This pleasant village is hidden in an oakwood forest near the village of Komaji in the Konavle region, just 30 minutes away from Dubrovnik, Dalmatia. Whether you arrive here looking for adventure or just a relaxing vacation, Cadmos Village will be able to offer you just what you came for. The main attraction is definitely the 3-level adventure park (the first level is also appropriate for children) and four zip-lines, but that is only the beginning.
At Cadmos Village you can test your skills in archery, play a game of paintball or enjoy some cycling or hiking. The restaurant on the property offers traditional meals prepared the old fashioned way; all the ingredients are local, some are even grown in the gardens of the Cadmos Village.
This amazing estate is also the place where the first Treehouse in Croatia opened it’s doors to visitors. The Treehouse can accommodate up to 6 people and is luxurious for a treehouse. A special part of the Treehouse is its terrace, which has a wonderful view of the surrounding area and where guests can relax after an exciting day surrounded by oak woods, fresh air, and peace.
Just like the other parts of Cadmos Village, the Treehouse is perfectly integrated into nature. Cadmos Village proudly promotes the importance and advantages of using renewable energy sources. The entire estate (including the restaurant and Treehouse) is powered by 12 solar panels and an individual photovoltaic system. There is also a windmill with two panels capable of charging your electronic devices.
Cadmos Village is a fantastic example of tourism respecting the environment and the dedication of the owners to contribute to ongoing sustainable tourism is apparent.
Stay tuned as Chasing the Donkey adds more ecotourism activities and ecotourism projects in Croatia as we find them.
Below Are The Eco-Friendly Hotels in Croatia
Back in 2013, a set standards for environmental friendliness were developed in Croatia to encourage hotels to become more sustainable. Here is a list of Croatian Hotels which comply with those standards:
- Wellness Hotel Aurora (Advanced category)
- Hotel Valamar Sanfior (Advanced category)
- Hotel Bellevue (Superior category)
- Vitality Hotel Punta (Superior category)
- Valamar Koralj
- Hotel Feral
- Family Hotel Vespera
- Hotel Padova
- Hotel Carolina
- Valamar Bellevue Hotel & Residence
- Bluesun Hotel Berulia
- Hotel Kimen
- Hotel Ilirija
- Royal Princess Hotel (Advanced category)
- Valamar Dubrovnik President Hotel (Superior category)
- Grand Hotel Orebic
- Hotel Maestral (Advanced category)
- Valamar Zagreb Hotel
- Hotel Melia Coral
- Hotel Sol Garden Istra
- Hotel Sol Umag
- Hotel Kastel
Zadar & Šibenik Regions
- Sheraton Zagreb Hotel (Advanced category)
- The Westin Zagreb (Advanced category)
- Best Western Hotel Astoria (Advanced category)
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (Superior category)
- Vitality Hotel Punta (Superior category)
- Esplanade Hotel
- Hotel Phoenix
- Hotel Tomislavov dom
- Palace Hotel
- Hotel International
- Hotel Turist
- Panorama Zagreb Hotel
- Hotel Jadran
- Hotel Sport
How Can You Help go Green?
Responsible tourism is a concept which is new to me – though the ideas of sustainable travel, ethical travel, and green tourism are not at all new, I was unaware of how the meaning of sustainable travel is much easier to incorporate into my travel lifestyle than I had thought.
We can’t always be aware of sustainable tourism practices, but we can go green as we hop, jump and skip about our planet. All you have to do is Follow a few of these sustainable travel tips.
Travel More When You Fly
What travel more you say? Airplane travel is known to be a no-no for the environment, but we must use it. So, when you do fly, stay in placed longer. If you have a stopover – make use of them and see the country, so you don’t have to fly back there again.
Book Non-Stop Flights
If you don’t have to make a stopover, don’t. Those pesky takeoffs and landings contribute the most to the plane’s carbon emissions, and even better if you book a vacation in known eco-destinations
Buy Carbon Offset
We all have to fly unless we plan to have a stay-cation after stay-cation (boring!). So, as a way of giving back to the environment did you know you can often purchase carbon offset when you book your airline tickets. Really, you can take a look next time.
Learn about local artisans and buy gifts from them
Artisans are a link between the past and the present–they use traditional artisanal techniques and tools to make products for today’s market. Learning about their trade and supporting them by buying their products directly helps keep this important part of culture alive.
Shop Where Locals Shop
Avoid the markets, stalls, and kiosks that are full overpriced mass produced Chinese crap. Instead look for antique stores and buy from local artisans. Equally, when it comes to food, find where local people shop and enjoy the local organic fruit and veggie markets.
Support Organic And Sustainable
Look for businesses that use organic and sustainable methods. Sustainable wineries, shops that promote sustainable farming/fair trade products and restaurants using organic ingredients.
Avoid Bad Treatment Of Animals
Avoid elephant rides, places that allow you pet tigers, feed monkeys, and other inhumane practices. I have in recent years been avoiding zoos that are not focused on animal conservation. Ie, never ever go to Zagreb Zoo while in Croatia, on the flipside Taronga Zoo in Sydney is wonderful.
Ask dive and boat operators if they chum the water. If so, avoid them as chumming can change the behavior of marine life and even make them sick.
No matter how cute they look – please do not feed any wild animals ever. Feeding animals makes them reliant on tourists and can lead to starvation and death.
If Possible, Rent a Hybrid Or Electric Vehicle
Cut Back at Hotels & Shopping
- Take your own reusable bag with you to the market
- Carry a refillable water bottle and avoid buying plastic bottles each day
- Hang your towels up on the rack, so the maid will not change them
- Or, even better leave the Do Not Disturb sign hanging on your door. Doing so means the cleaner won’t need to waste chemicals cleaning your already clean room or change towels and linens.
- Take any leftover free soaps and lotions wit you – unused portions are thrown out, so you may as well make the most of them
For more sustainable travel tips check out Bret Love & Mary Gabbett at Greeb Global Travel who have a whole site dedicated to eco travel, ecotourism destinations and they discuss the impact of the tourism industry on the environment.
Main Photo Credit: Zadar Tourist Board. Zrmanja River.