As travellers, we can prioritize ecotourism to make a positive impact – we owe it to the world we love to explore. What’s a better holiday destination than magnificent Italy? From stunning scenery to unique travel experiences, these five destinations are perfect for ecotourism in Italy this Christmas season.
So without much waiting let us try to find the list of the Best Ecotourism Destinations in Italy and what would be the best time to visit these places.
By the end of this post you will also find a free itinerary for Italy to explore these ecotourism destinations of Italy so what are you waiting for?
Having visited Italy multiple times over the last 5 years I believe I can share more information about planning your trip to the beautiful destination,
So let us start with our list of ecotourism in Italy.
Best Ecotourism Destinations in Italy
Lago di Braies
Known also as the Pragser Wildsee or Lake Prags, Lago di Braies is a dazzling emerald lake surrounded by white dolomite and green forests. The lake is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Dolomites, a collection of distinctive mountain landscapes with glacial landforms. If hiking or skiing near the Italian Alps is on your to-do list, Lake Prags is the perfect place to be.
Lago di Braies is one of several destinations in South Tyrol, a region known for its commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices. In 2021, South Tyrol received its Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) standard for its adherence to international sustainability norms.
This standard requires accommodation establishments in the region to comply with recognized sustainability practices, including utilizing renewable energy, minimizing food waste and buying local goods. Of course, you’re encouraged to act likewise during your stay.
Planning a trip to Italy without Tuscany in the itinerary just doesn’t feel right. The region conjures up images of rolling hills and clear blue skies set against scenic backdrops of endless greenery. Walking trails, waterfalls, hot springs, ancient forests teeming with wildlife – Tuscany’s got it all. It’s a true nature lover’s paradise.
Tuscany is the quintessential ecotourism destination of Italy. Most hotels have implemented green practices, going to great lengths to limit air pollution, using green energy sources and consuming locally grown produce. When dining here during your stay, chances are the food is from a nearby farm.
An excellent place to visit for a fully immersive eco-travel experience is the Oasi Dynamo Nature Reserve in San Marcello Piteglio municipality of Tuscany. This WWF-affiliated nature reserve spans over 1000 hectares and is home to foxes, deer, wolves, bird species and a wide variety of rare plants.
Restaurants in the area get their ingredients from the Oasi Dynamo Farm, and their menu items feature wholesome organic foods like nutritious tasty mashed potatoes, parmesan cheese, fresh berries and venison.
Up for a rustic adventure this Christmas season? The beautiful island town of Monte Isola awaits. Located in the middle of the mesmerizing Lago d’Iseo or Lake Iseo, Monte Isola is the largest lake island in Europe and a great place to rediscover life’s simple pleasures. The island is surrounded by lush green mountains featuring diverse flora and fauna. Many walking and cycling trails are available, as well as plentiful orchards and vineyards to explore.
Monte Isola is big on limiting air pollution, so one of the first things you’ll notice about the island is the absence of cars. Instead, you can rent a bike or scooter to get around. Walking is also ideal as it’s the best way to take in the picturesque charm of the town. Plus, most restaurants, trattorias and other attractions are clustered together, so you don’t have to walk far.
Fishing is one of the main activities here, with a strong emphasis on sustainability through recycling programs and using locally sourced materials to create fishing nets.
Sardinia is a gorgeous island known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters and spectacular landscapes. There’s no shortage of exciting activities in Sardinia – swimming in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean, hiking rugged mountains, exploring ancient ruins and so much more.
It promises to be an unforgettable experience as you indulge in traditional Sardinian cuisines and soak up the rich cultural heritage.
The island of Sardinia offers an abundance of ecotourism adventures. You can visit the Gennargentu National Park, home to golden eagles, wild horses and mouflons. If you prefer underwater activities, the Arcipelago di La Maddalena National Park is a great place to start. This geo-marine national park was established in April 1994 and is perfect for dolphin spotting and eco-friendly sailing.
Sustainable tourism in Sardinia generally involves minimizing environmental impact, eliminating plastic use and promoting eco-conscious accommodations.
Nature and culture intertwine harmoniously in Cinque Terre. This destination comprises five centuries-old villages – Corniglia, Manarola, Vernazza, Riomaggiore and Monterosso al Mare.
Each village offers an assortment of adventures, including rock climbing, paragliding, swimming and more. But perhaps the most compelling reason to visit Cinque Terre is the wine tours. The region is home to the rare sciacchetrà, an aged dessert wine favored by Pope Paul III during the Renaissance.
Overtourism was an issue in Cinque Terre due to the area’s popularity. Over the years, tour companies have adopted sustainable practices such as limiting the number of visitors per group and cutting out plastic usage. To lessen the environmental burden, train travel or walking are the preferred means of exploring the region.
During your stay, you can also get involved in sustainability efforts by helping the locals preserve historic sites.
6 ways to explore Italy as an ecotourist
As travellers, we also have a part to play in promoting ecotourism by actively making responsible choices wherever we go:
- Visit less-traveled destinations: When researching places to visit, prioritize locations with fewer tourists to avoid overtourism.
- Stay at local and eco-friendly accommodations: These establishments make concerted efforts to reduce waste, improve recycling and be more energy efficient.
- Register for ecotours operated by locals: There’s no better way to experience rich Italian culture fully. Plus, it’s a great way to return some profits to the local community.
- Respect the environment: Maintain a hands-off approach to wildlife and plant life throughout your stay. Remember to stay on designated paths too, so you don’t disturb the natural ecosystem.
- Buy locally: Buying local quality products contributes to the welfare of the local economy and promotes sustainable living.
- Pack solid toiletries: This eliminates the need for plastic bottles and reduces the risks of spills in your luggage.
Ecotourism Itinerary for Italy
Duration: 10 Days
Day 1-3: Lago di Braies
- Arrive in Bolzano, South Tyrol.
- Explore Lago di Braies, enjoy a peaceful boat ride on the emerald lake.
- Hike or ski in the surrounding Dolomite mountains.
- Stay at eco-friendly accommodations adhering to sustainability norms.
- Dine at local restaurants promoting sustainable practices.
Day 4-6: Tuscany
- Travel to Tuscany, and explore the charming small towns.
- Visit Oasi Dynamo Nature Reserve for a nature walk, bird watching, and wildlife spotting.
- Enjoy locally sourced organic food at restaurants.
- Immerse yourself in the beauty of Tuscany’s landscapes, including rolling hills and waterfalls.
Day 7-8: Monte Isola
- Head to Monte Isola, the largest lake island in Europe.
- Explore the town on foot or rent a bike or scooter (no cars on the island).
- Engage in sustainable fishing activities and learn about local recycling programs.
- Relax by the lake and enjoy the simplicity of life.
Day 9-10: Sardinia
- Fly to Sardinia and visit Gennargentu National Park for hiking and wildlife experiences.
- Explore the Arcipelago di La Maddalena National Park for eco-friendly sailing and dolphin spotting.
- Indulge in traditional Sardinian cuisines made from locally sourced ingredients.
- Support eco-conscious accommodations to minimize environmental impact.
Day 11-12: Cinque Terre
- Travel to Cinque Terre, and explore the colourful villages.
- Opt for sustainable transportation like trains or walking to reduce environmental impact.
- Participate in wine tours and savour the unique sciacchetrà wine.
- Contribute to local sustainability efforts by preserving historic sites.
Tips for Responsible Ecotourism in Italy:
- Choose Less-Traveled Destinations:
- Explore off-the-beaten-path locations to avoid overtourism.
- Stay at Local Eco-Friendly Accommodations:
- Book accommodations that prioritize sustainability and eco-friendly practices.
- Participate in Local Ecotours:
- Engage in ecotours operated by locals to support the community and experience authentic Italian culture.
- Respect the Environment:
- Follow designated paths, maintain a hands-off approach to wildlife, and respect the natural ecosystem.
- Buy Locally:
- Contribute to the local economy by purchasing products from local markets.
- Pack Solid Toiletries:
- Reduce plastic usage by opting for solid toiletries, minimizing the environmental impact.
Ecotourism in Italy
Make it a Christmas to remember by sustainably exploring Italy. By adopting eco-friendly travel practices, you can help minimize pollution, preserve natural resources and support local economies. It’s a win-win!