Tips to travel sustainably in Scandinavia
Written by Keator Cheng
On 22 May 2024

Scandinavia, renowned for its natural beauty and progressive attitudes, has emerged as a leading destination for green travel. From dense forests to vibrant cities, it is an ideal place to start your first environmentally friendly trip.

The Scandinavian countries have made significant strides in promoting eco-friendly tourism, implementing renewable energy initiatives, and offering nature-focused experiences that prioritise environmental conservation.

Travellers can embark on sustainable journeys that celebrate the region’s commitment to environmental stewardship.

Eco-Friendly Travel Options

Photo by Jakub Żerdzicki on Unsplash

Public transportation: Scandinavia has a range of extensive and efficient public transportation network, including buses, trams, trains and ferries. In cities like Oslo, Stockholm, and Copenhagen, public transit is not only convenient but also eco-friendly, with many services powered by renewable energy. Plan your routes using apps and local transit websites to make the most of these sustainable options.

Photo by Bob Osias on Unsplash

Electric cars and hybrid vehicles: Both Norway and Sweden have embraced electric cars and hybrid vehicles as part of their efforts to reduce carbon emissions. For those who prefer driving, renting an electric vehicle (EV) is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Norway, in particular, has one of the highest rates of EV adoption in the world with a robust network of charging stations. Many rental agencies offer electric and hybrid vehicles, making it easy to explore even the most remote areas sustainably.

Photo by Dmitrii Eliuseev on Unsplash

Eco-friendly accommodation: From eco-lodges nestled in pristine wilderness areas to sustainable urban hotels, the Scandinavian countries offer a wide range of eco-friendly accommodations.

These types of accommodation prioritise energy efficiency, waste reduction and responsible tourism practices, providing travellers with comfortable and environmentally conscious lodging options. Many eco-lodges offer nature-based activities and guided tours that highlight local flora and fauna while minimising impact on the environment.

Look for accommodation with certifications like the Nordic Swan Ecolabel or Green Key which indicate high environmental standards.

Photo by Max Adulyanukosol on Unsplash

Cycling: Scandinavia is incredibly bike-friendly with extensive cycling paths and bike-sharing programs. Cities like Copenhagen and Stockholm are designed with cyclists in mind, providing safe and scenic routes. Renting a bike is an excellent way to see the sights while reducing your environmental impact.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Eco-lodges and nature retreats: For a more immersive experience, consider staying in eco-lodges or nature retreats. These types of accommodation often use renewable energy sources, have minimal impact on their surroundings and offer nature-based activities that educate guests about local ecosystems.

Support local and sustainable businesses

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Eat locally-sourced food: dining at restaurants that source their ingredients locally helps reduce food miles and supports regional agriculture. Scandinavian cuisine often emphasises fresh, seasonal and organic produce. Farmers’ markets and local eateries are great places to taste traditional dishes made from sustainable ingredients.

Photo by micheile henderson on Unsplash

Buy eco-friendly products: When shopping for souvenirs, choose products that are made locally and sustainably. Many Scandinavian designers and artisans create beautiful goods using environmentally friendly materials and practices. Avoid mass-produced items and opt for unique, handmade products that have a smaller ecological footprint.

Respect nature and wildlife

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Follow ‘Leave No Trace’ principles: Scandinavia’s natural beauty is one of its biggest draws and protecting it is essential. Follow Leave No Trace principles by staying on marked trails, getting rid of all rubbish and respecting wildlife habitats. Avoid disturbing animals and plants and be mindful of your impact on the environment.

Photo by Yves Cedric Schulze on Unsplash

Participate in eco-tours: Joining eco-tours led by knowledgeable guides can enhance your understanding of local ecosystems while ensuring your activities are sustainable. These tours often include wildlife watching, hiking and cultural experiences that emphasise conservation and education.

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