Travel destinations

The best sustainable travel destinations in Norway


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As plans to ease travel restrictions in the event of a pandemic begin to take shape, travel journalists are scrambling to identify emerging travel trends. Once the global travel industry recovers, many believe that sustainable travel will be the number one area of ​​growth.

Author Elizabeth Becker told National Geographic she believes consumers are “doubling sustainability” and post-pandemic travelers will demand companies to implement “responsible travel policies.” Others believe the change is also happening on the supply side. Pól Ó Conghaile of Independent Irish said the pandemic has given tourism businesses time “to lead their operations and see sustainability not just as a philosophy, but as an economic sense.”

Sustainable travel in Norway

It is one thing for a company to call its operations sustainable, but another for it to prove it. Norway has long been a “sustainability pioneer,” according to Neil Rogers, Stockholm-based travel consultant. He told Outside it’s because most Norwegians live close to nature: “They appreciate and care about the places they recreate themselves and understand that they need to take action quickly to protect and conserve their environment. and their culture. “

Norway has implemented a series of certifications to help consumers distinguish between those who speak and those who speak. Innovation Norway, which sits above the destination company Visit Norway, presented 10 principles of sustainable tourism based on the conservation of nature, environment and culture.

In 2013, Norway established a sustainable destination standard that measures over 104 indicators covering nature, culture, environment, social values, community engagement and economic viability. Operators can apply for Ecotourism Norway certification, while hotels and other businesses can apply for Eco-Lighthouse status to document their environmental efforts.

Here is a selection of some of the top sustainable travel destinations in Norway.

Sustainable food production in Røros

As sustainable travel strategies are all the rage today, Røros began to focus on heritage and sustainable tourism in 2008.

Three years later, the small old copper mining town in central Norway won the first of several sustainable tourism awards.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980, the local community has long been shaped by its mining heritage. Røros’ strategy now focuses on limiting the impact of tourism on the environment and local culture.

A concrete example of the strategy is the emphasis on local food. The town of just over 2,000 residents offers its own butter, ice cream, reindeer meat products and beer.

Oslo urban forest

A large area of ​​forest known as Oslomarka surrounds the Norwegian capital providing a playground for residents and visitors. As such, human use of the forest is seen as a central part of the area’s conservation effort.

The law regulates the use of the forest and the possibilities for development are extremely limited. This careful management ensures that thousands of people can continue to enjoy the hiking and cross-country skiing trails that go deep into the wilderness.

It’s not just for the active, however. Created by Friends of the Earth Norway, the eventyrskoger (fairy tale forests) provides a space for people “to explore their identity and their emotions” in sections of virgin forest.

The famous Besseggen hike

Each year, around 60,000 people make the difficult day hike along the Besseggen Ridge. They are rewarded with unforgettable views galore, including the point where Besseggen separates Gjende and Besssvatnet lakes.

Despite the remote location near the Jotunheimen National Park, it is possible to enjoy Besseggen by public transport and green options.

Gjendesheim is the Norwegian Trekking Association’s busiest lodge in the region. In summer there are daily bus connections from Oslo, while the lodge uses an electric vehicle to move guests around the area.

The lodge only uses locally sourced food and denies the obvious profit center of selling bottled water to hikers. “Our tap water is the purest thing you can bring on your mountain hike,” Marius Haugaløkken, lodge manager, told Visit Norway.

Electric ferries in the fjord Norway

Before the pandemic, there was growing concern about overtourism in Norwegian fjords. With increasing numbers comes increasing pollution, which could cause irreparable damage and risk the status of the fjords as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Much of this pollution comes from cruise ships, which drop hundreds of people at a time in small fjord communities such as Geiranger and Flåm. To improve the environment in and around fjords, the Norwegian government has introduced a zero emission requirement for ships sailing in World Heritage fjords from 2026, although this can be extended until 2030.

Some of the local fjord traffic is already emission-free. The hybrid Vision of the Fjords was followed by two all-electric passenger ferries which now offer sightseeing cruises on the fjords.

If you want to spend more time exploring the vast fjord region, eco tours are available at many destinations. At Geiranger, a GPS-based audio guide in an all-electric Renault Twizy vehicle, perfect for hyperlocal exploration. Thanks in part to its emphasis on locally sourced food, the Fretheim Hotel in Flåm is an Eco-Lighthouse certified hotel.

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