So, if you're looking for a guilt free holiday or want to counteract that carbon footprint of yours, this could be an adventure for you to consider. Ecotourism holidays are a great way to learn from and experience new cultures and traditions.
The Norwegian Fjords found themselves amongst the top 5 ecotourism destinations in the world in 2014, according to the Independent Traveller. Having such a remote location and strict environmental regulations, the Norwegian fords have managed to stay pristine. Kudos to Norway that it is an international role model when it comes to environmental policy, preserving its coastline by regulating hunting, fishing and the petroleum industries.
The region is famed for its snowy mountain tops, waterfalls and crystal-clear waters. In addition there is a whole host of wildlife to see, such as eagles, seals and porpoises. As well as the surrounding natural beauty, and the wildlife, you can experience the local culture in the area where small fishing villages have maintained their traditions for hundreds of years.
Ecotourism helps Norway preserve this area of outstanding beauty, as it boosts the local economy whilst sustaining the natural environment - normally a concept which doesn’t go hand in hand - but a refreshing change from the environmentally damaging industries we see all around us.
Norway's Geirangerfjord, Photo: Alamy
There are various fjord tours which you can take in order to explore the famous Norwegian Fjords, some of the tours are only available in the summer months and they generally have a strong focus on environmental protection. A tour of Hardangerfjord will incorporate a one day cruise to see the surrounding mountains, waterfalls and orchards. The biggest and deepest of the fjords is Sognefjord, and is also said to be one of the most beautiful, a tour of the fjord can be done by boat and train. With more wild coastal scenery, you can sign up for a hiking tour to the Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen), this will take a little longer out of the schedule, lasting around 3-4 days.
There are many activities to be experienced on an ecotourism holiday in Norway, search around for the package which incorporates the activities suited to you. Perhaps you are an adrenaline junkie looking to go abseiling and kayaking, or perhaps a spot of hiking to get a glimpse of wild reindeer is more your style. Either way, there are many breathtaking experiences to take in whilst being an eco-tourist in Norway, examples of some activities include:
- River rafting
- Dog sledding
In addition, these activities are organised and included within the ecotourism package deal, along with food and accommodation. During the trip you will see how the natural resources go hand in hand with development in Norway, not only for the tourism industry but also agriculture, hydropower and rural development. Most of the programmes use local guides to enhance your experience and travellers learn to respect the surrounding environment. The motto of Norway’s first ecotourism company, Romsdal aktiv, is “We don’t impact on nature, but nature impacts on us”.
Norwegian Fjords in Winter
Accommodation depends on personal preferences (as well as how much you are willing to splash out). If you want to feel like Tarzan then you can sleep in a tree, or in a hammock above the water, or even sleep hanging of a cliff face with Preikestolen Base camp.
On the other hand, Eplet Bed & Apple is a good choice if you are looking for something a little less hardcore, at this friendly guest house cross fruit farm you will just be a bike’s ride away from seal safaris and waterfalls. Take into consideration that being placed on nature's doorstep often means you won’t have comforts such as Internet connection, so don’t expect to be sending updates on social media constantly.