Ecotourism Spots in Europe: 6 Hidden Places to Visit


Europe tops the list of ecofriendly holiday destinations in the world, with plenty of sustainable vacation experiences. Some of the best ecotourism spots in Europe remain off the radar and are still relatively unexplored.

These are the best places to visit for authentic experiences with a focus on sustainability. Whether you are a nature lover, a history buff or an adventurer, there is a perfect spot for you.

Best of all, these select destinations combine great vacation experiences with environmentally friendly aspects. Everything about them, from the activities to the accommodation options, has a focus on low-impact tourism.

For all the green-oriented adventurers in the house, here are your ultimate earth-friendly vacation spots in Europe:

Best Ecotourism Spots in Europe

Kainuu Wilderness, Finland


Few places in the world can offer the kind of experience Kainuu does for nature lovers. It is a vast, untouched area with unspoiled landscapes and minimal impact from humans. Located in Eastern Finland, the boreal area is home to the brown bear – Finland’s national animal. Watch these huge mammals in their natural habitat from a conveniently located observation point. You can spend a night inside your little hide and observe them without intruding on their space. If you are exceptionally fortunate, you might also see the wolf and wolverine while you are here.

Outdoor lovers will appreciate the variety of activities here. Go kayaking in the clear waters of Oulujarvi, Kainuu’s largest lake. Take a hike through Hossa National Park and enjoy great views of its canyon lake and rugged landscapes. For mountain bike fans, explore the pine forest and stunning gorge in Hiidenportti, the “Gate of the Devil.” If you would like a bit of a challenge, the Wld Taiga Trail offers the most rewarding setting for a biking adventure.

Cave of Pellumbas, Albania

Anyone who loves cave adventures will love the Cave of Pellumbas. It is one of the best ecotourism spots in Europe that combines natural beauty and a unique cultural experience. This underground wonderland is about 360 meters deep with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. It was once a human settlement, and is still home to remnants of ancient culture. These include crude tools as well as artifacts.

Reaching the caves is an adventure in itself. It calls for an almost one-hour hike through stunning mountainside terrain. The beautiful Erzen River cuts its way across a dep valley between the mountains, a picture-perfect scene. When you complete the cave tour, take a refreshing swim in the clear waters of the river.

Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria


Few things compare to the ecofriendly mountain adventure you can enjoy in Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains. This unique ecosystem is mainly located in Bulgaria but also extends into Greece. It is an ancient massif that showcases the force of nature at its best. About 240 kilometers long, the Rhodopes consist of dramatic ridges and narrow gorges. There are deep valleys and breathtaking rivers, dense forests and countless caves.

The area is a birdwatchers’ paradise, with dozens of raptor and vulture species. It is in fact the most important breeding ground for griffon vultures in the country. Wolves, bears and jackals are among its other inhabitants.

In addition to the astounding geological diversity, the area is also rich in cultural significance. Fascinating villages dot the mountainside with outstanding architecture. Do you have a soft spot for ancient ruins? You will adore the remnants of Thracian and Roman architecture in the area. For an immersive cultural experience, join the local communities in song and dance.

Ecrins National Park, France

Set in a scenic area between the northern and southern French alps, Ecrins is one of the best ecotourism spots in Europe. Thanks to its remote location, it is an unspoiled landscape with great eco adventures. All activities here have a focus on sustainability in appreciation of the pristine space.

The park is renowned for its extensive network of trails for hiking, biking and trekking adventures. Active vacationers can take in breathtaking mountain vistas, beautiful meadows and scenic lakes. Mountain adventure lovers will especially appreciate the challenging peaks. There are at least 150 summits here that are above 3,000 meters. For a dose of adrenaline, try the Via Ferrata, a climbing route that features bridges, cables and ladders. You can also enjoy hikes to the glacial lakes nestled between towering peaks.

This is an exceptionally biodiverse area with 4,000+ species of plants and animals. In addition to spotting diverse bird species here, you might encounter marmots, chamois and alpine ibex.

Tara National Park, Serbia

One of the best-preserved natural attractions in Serbia is the Tara National Park. Far removed from mass tourism, it offers a blend of unspoiled landscapes and a historical touch.

This green-oriented destination is set against a background of stunning natural beauty. Located within the Dinaric Alps, it is characterized by rugged mountain terrain and dense forest cover. To the west of the park sits Drina River, a picturesque natural boundary. Perulac Lake is a top attraction here, a reservoir with wooded shores and clear waters.

Charming traditional villages surround the park, offering an authentic Serbian cultural experience. The architecture predominantly features wooden structures in interesting builds. Beyond the villages, you can also explore various archaeological remnants, monasteries and heritage sites.

Tara has amazing biodiversity – 58 species of animals, 140 bird species and 1,156 plant species call this home. Some of the animals you might encounter here include deer, brown bears and wolves. The park offers various eco adventures including canyoning, hiking, biking, kayaking and rafting. Astronomy lovers will appreciate the spectacular views of the night sky in this stargazing spot.

Val Grande National Park, Italy

Italy’s largest national park, the Val Grande, covers 145 square kilometers of pristine wilderness. As one of the foremost ecotourism spots in Europe, it focuses on minimizing human impact. The park has few (if any) man-made facilities and infrastructure and is one of the wildest areas of Italy.

The landscape consists of rugged terrain, offering challenging hiking trails for nature lovers. A walk through this wilderness will take you through alpine meadows and dense forests. Along the way, you might come across, chamois, deer and ibex.

Val Grande still has traces of ancient human habitation, with ruins of old settlements and historical sites. These add a cultural aspect to your sustainable holiday experience. Observing how nature took over the space when humans abandoned it makes the trip worthwhile.

Eco-friendly accommodation options here include the option of camping in the wild or a homestay at a farmhouse. You could also go for enchanting cottages that blend sustainability and comfort.

Charting the Path to Sustainability with Low-Impact Tourism


As we embrace the joys of travel and exploration, practicing low-impact tourism is a crucial consideration. We cannot separate the pleasure we derive from nature’s wonders and our responsibility to preserve and protect them.

Mindful travel means respecting the delicate balances that keep these ecosystems intact. Every little step counts in ensuring that these wonders remain untouched for future generations. So as you journey through these hidden ecotourism spots in Europe, leave a positive legacy behind for the planet.

While you are here, be sure to explore the weirdest places in Europe, some of its most bizarre natural wonders. Venture even farther out on sustainable family adventures in Africa.

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