Main image: “Prague” by Jaroslav Kviz
Jenny Day, co-author of Prague Green City Guide – the first sustainable travel guide to Prague, shares her secrets of the city with Eco Traveller readers.
Sometimes called the Golden City, Prague practically glows with nostalgia. The famous medieval Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and Old Town Square attract millions of visitors every year, seeking a glimpse into the past. But how green is Prague, and what does its future hold?
Prague’s greener side is slowly but surely emerging from the bottom up, thanks to its local businesses, artists and active citizens. For eco-travellers, there has never been a better time to visit. From vegetarian restaurants to sustainable design shops, Prague has no shortage of sustainable alternatives, proving the city has come a long way since the Velvet Revolution in 1989.
So if being one of the best preserved cities in Europe wasn’t good enough cause to visit, here are seven more (and greener) reasons to go to Prague in this mini Prague travel guide.
I decide to go to Bahia, Brazil while listening to Caetano Veloso’s “Alegria, Alegria” (“Joy, Joy”) on my living room couch. Veloso’s voice rings out “Eu vou, Porque nao porque nao?” which translates to “I go, why not why not?” Veloso’s hit song and debut self-titled album came out in 1968 while the military dictatorship still gripped Brazil. Censorship and exportation were very real threats at the time, so artists had to be careful. Veloso later told the New York Times: “It was against the dictatorship without saying anything about it.” The spirit of resistance through music, metaphor, and wit immediately sparks my interest in Brazil, particularly Bahia, where Veloso was born. Besides, Veloso is practically telling me, “Go! Why not?”
Only an hour’s drive from Melbourne, Woodend is a small town in the Macedon Ranges. It was settled during the gold rush in the early 1800s and was the main thoroughfare for prospectors heading up through the Black Forest to Bendigo and Ballarat. Today, it’s a quiet town, but has a quintessential Australian village atmosphere making it a popular tourist destination.
I’ve escaped for the weekend with two good friends, who I rarely get to see. One from Christchurch in New Zealand and one from Melbourne. We used to enjoy an odd dance or two in good old London Town in a past life and now with six kids between us the only way to have an uninterrupted conversation is to hide away in the woods. Woodend seems like the perfect place.
Travel search and booking engines are proliferating like rabbits online. They have grown in such number over the last few years that it is now almost impossible to keep track of which ones offer the best deal or if indeed eco stays and holidays are available through them. Usually I have to search deeper and deeper to find any hint of an eco-orientated hotel, regardless of the green rhetoric many booking engines spruik from time-to-time.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was one portal dedicated solely to the various eco accommodations and experiences available worldwide?
Naturally, I was excited when Eco Companion ventured onto my radar. Interested to find out more about this new eco travel search engine, the idea behind it and how they work, I spoke with Eco Companion’s editor-in-chief Taz Bogue and Eco Companion’s founder Max Sinclair.
There’s something romantic about a wisp of smoke spiraling from the chimney of a log cabin on the top of a mountain. Not only are the views amazing, but you’re also in the perfect place to pause, relax and get in touch with yourself and nature.
The benefits of staying in a cabin go beyond great views. It’s a great way to lessen your environmental impact. From its construction to how it stores and uses energy, a log cabin is ecologically friendly in more ways than one.
Here we share five reasons why it’s good to get cosy in a cabin on vacation.
I think I’ve found ‘The One’. Yes, it’s true. Since I’ve been frequenting Australian shores I’ve been waiting and hoping, hoping and waiting for the right one to come along. And now it seems my wait is finally over. The Lost Lands festival is here!
Set to be held on Melbourne Cup Long Weekend (29th-30th October) in the blissful sprawling grounds of Werribee Mansion and Parklands, The Lost Lands is a two-day music and arts festival designed for families and friends. It is the brainchild of Falls Festival founder Simon Daly, who seems to have his finger firmly on the festival lovers’ pulse. It’s like he’s been in my head.
Written by Belise Kariza – Chief Tourism Officer at Rwanda Development Board
Around much of the world, the hearth is the heart of the home. Especially in Africa, as a meeting place for warmth and wisdom, families and societies would sit in front of the fireplace and without realising it develop the very traditions and values that are passed down to future generations.
While the fireplace has been replaced by central heating, there is still a central hearth where Rwandans gather as a united community with one of our most important shared values: conservation of our natural treasures. Kwita Izina, Rwanda’s annual Gorilla Naming Ceremony, has become a platform which ignites and sustains the fire for conservation and the sustainable tourism dialogue. In other words, the ceremony is the fireplace of common sense when it comes to the direction of the tourism industry in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region.
Izuru’s baby, Ndumunyarwanda meaning ‘I’m Rwandan’. Image: © Rwanda Development Board/Keiko Mori.
Home of the Southermost Point of continental United States, Ernest Hemingway’s island home and the most unusual cemetery I’ve ever seen, Key West is that charmingly quirky place you crave when traveling. The streets are lined with performers, artists and shops with hilariously unusual keepsakes. Trek a few blocks and you’ll find yourself on the brim of a wildlife sanctuary that locals dedicate themselves to preserving. Food, the outdoors, excitement and sustainability sums up Key West, Florida.
Looking for mountain retreat far from the madding crowd? Then maybe this 150 square-foot cabin in Bergen, Norway will appeal. Located on a steep mountainside on the outskirts of Bergen with a commanding view of the valley below, Tubakuba, or Tuba Cube, is Norway’s only off-grid hotel room.
Designed and crafted by students at the School of Architecture, the cabin has four entirely different outward facing walls. Made of 95 percent wood, the south wall is made from untreated larch, which will fade with time and blend in with the forest. Another wall is made of burned larch in a Japanese technique that inhibits decay. The wall facing the valley is made entirely of glass for striking, unobstructed views.
A few weeks ago, when I was asked what I thought the best ecotourism experiences in Australia were, I will admit to being totally flummoxed. There are so many amazing things to do, places to go and stay in the country that I found it almost impossible to pin down ‘the best’. And my idea of the best may not be the same as someone else’s.
There are a growing number of websites where you can search for eco holidays. A few I recommend – and sites I scour often for my own travels – are Book Different, Book Greener and Ecobnb. Greenloons is a great site too, especially for those Stateside, and Responsible Travel and Greentraveller are two favourite UK-based sites. But for Australians, Ecotourism Australia is a particularly good resource as their list of members is available to the public so you can find all accredited accommodations and activities on the same site.