Are you tired of the usual camping or vacation club by the sea or in the mountains? Are you looking for a more eco-responsible vacation with a touch of adventure? Then why not try sleeping in an eco-lodge for your next trip? Built in a sustainable way, respecting the environment and the local population, close to nature, it’s the guarantee of an unusual and exotic vacation! In addition, we have good news: you don’t need to go to the other side of the world to enjoy this type of eco-responsible accommodation. It is possible to find charming eco-lodges in Europe and even in France. Discover what is behind the concept of an eco-lodge and 9 addresses that make you dream: by the sea, in the mountains, with a spa, there is something for everyone! So, are you ready to go on an adventure?
Eco-lodge : définition d’un hôtel qui tient ses promesses
Before discovering our eco-lodges addresses in Europe, do you know the difference between an ecological hotel and an eco-lodge? While the first one is designed to minimize its impact on the planet, the second one goes further. Supporting local actors, raising visitors’ awareness of ecology, an eco-lodge offers much more than a roof for the night. It offers tourists a real immersive experience in nature and local life.
Hitesh Mehta, a well-known architect in the field of ecotourism, gives a very complete definition of an eco-lodge in his book International Ecolodge Guidelines. Although there is no specific label for this type of accommodation, Hitesh’s description highlights 3 main characteristics of an eco-lodge.
#1 Construction in harmony with its environment
Even before its construction, an eco-lodge is designed to limit its impact on its environment. There is no question of bringing in construction equipment to plow the ground to lay its foundations! Construction on stilts, light housing or renovation of existing buildings are favored in the concept of an eco-lodge.
Eco-construction is also the key word in the architecture of an eco-lodge:
- ecological materials, ideally local ones, are used (wood, hemp, straw, raw earth, etc.);
- insulation and orientation are crucial to limit the use of heating and air conditioning;
- electricity is produced in the least polluting way possible (solar panels, green electricity supplier), before being consumed in a reasonable way;
- the eco-lodge is designed to limit its water consumption: dry toilets, rainwater recovery system, flow limiters.
Finally, life in the eco-lodge is planned to limit the use of resources to a minimum:
- waste reduction ;
- wastewater treatment by phytodepuration;
- use of natural household products;
- organic and local food.
#2 Involvement of local communities
Far from resorts that distort the landscape and do not involve themselves in the activities of their region, local communities are not forgotten when building an eco-lodge.
The activities generally reflect this spirit. You can discover the region and its customs: hiking with local guides, discovering the vineyards, picking from the vegetable garden. The food is also tinged with local colors with products from local farmers and breeders offered to visitors: vegetables, fruits, eggs, wines, etc.
#3 Tourist Awareness
Finally, an eco-lodge makes tourists aware of good eco-responsibility practices.
Activities can also be proposed to offer those who wish to discover a life in harmony with nature, an aspect often neglected in our city lives: meditation, yoga, forest bathing. Guests are also required to promote eco-responsible activities: hiking, biking, kayaking, etc.
To always choose an eco-responsible accommodation, discover the sustainable tourism labels to know.
5 addresses of eco-lodges in Europe
Want to immerse yourself in the heart of Portuguese nature? The Nômade lodge is perfect for a relaxing getaway. On the agenda: swimming in the natural pool, relaxing in the hammocks, discovering the region on foot or by bike. For the more sporty, the Atlantic Ocean and its ideal beaches for surfing are not far away.
The little extra: the breakfast is made from local products.
Discover the natural reserve of the Gola del Furlo by staying at La Forestale. Located not far from San Marino, enjoy the Italian sunshine in the middle of lush vegetation. The Sun will even provide you with electricity in this charming wooden eco-lodge.
The little extra: to spice up your hikes, you can even schedule an outing with a local truffle master and discover one of the riches of the region!
After these eco-lodges in Europe in the sun, why not enjoy the fresh air of the mountains? Discover Whitepod in Switzerland, an unusual accommodation that will surprise you, with a breathtaking view of the surrounding snow-covered peaks.
The little extra: take advantage of forest baths for a relaxing moment in harmony with nature.
Arctic TreeHouse Hotel
Looking for a change of scenery in the far north? Watch the Northern Lights from the comfort of your lodge at the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel. Built on stilts from Finnish wood and with a green roof, this eco-friendly accommodation is almost unnoticeable in the middle of the Lapland nature.
The little extra: each year, the hotel managers plant between 5,000 and 10,000 trees in the surrounding forests.
Even further north, discover the igloos of Pyhä, bubbles with glass roofs to watch the northern lights while lying in bed! But that’s not all: for your activities, the Pyhä-Luosto national park is nearby. Hiking and biking await you in the summer. In the winter, you can go skiing. If you want to relax after a day of sport, you can even enjoy a relaxing moment in the sauna.
The little extra: why not try the experience of dining in a traditional arctic barbecue, a Kota? Sheltered under a roof, the harsh Lapland weather will not be a problem!
4 eco-lodges in France for a local stay
In addition to these 5 eco-lodges in Europe, why not discover some addresses in France for a more local trip?
Near the Ile-de-France region, enjoy a weekend getaway at the Domaine du Centaure. You will be able to discover the richness of the Eure by bike.
The little extra: the house rotates to orient the bay window in order to save heating in winter and enjoy a cool house in summer without air conditioning!
The Mas de Saribou allows you to take advantage of a multitude of eco-responsible activities in the region: hiking, kayaking, mountain biking and discovery of the Gorges de l’Ardèche.
The little extra: you will even have the right to pick fruits and vegetables in the eco-gîte’s garden!
Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur
For a stay under the sun on the heights of Nice, book at the Casa Sallusti. This establishment welcomes you in its green setting with a breathtaking view. Discover the permaculture vegetable garden before refreshing yourself in the natural pool.
The little extra: why not let yourself be tempted by cooking or yoga classes?
Pays de la Loire
Want to experience glamping in the Pays de la Loire ? Enjoy the proximity of nature with all the comfort of a hotel room at the eco-lodge of Maison Joulin! All you have to do is lie down comfortably and listen to the birds singing.
The little extra: natural toilet, solar water heater, photovoltaic lighting, everything is designed to limit the impact of the accommodation on the environment
Want to discover even more addresses? Discover the top 15 ecological hotels in France referenced on our site!
We hope that these 9 addresses of eco-lodges in Europe have given you the desire to discover the Old Continent in a different way! Which one tempts you the most?
Article written by Anaïs Maroteaux, SEO web writer