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Eco-digs

The Alhambra in Andalucia credit: iStock

SPAIN

Fancy sleeping in an Afghani or Mongolian yurt, but can’t be arsed with the long-haul flight? Then get yourself to Andalucia, Spain, where the Hoopoe Yurt Hotel offers a number of themed yurts in a private meadow setting, complete with ecological loos and solar power. Nearby are old villages, dramatic gorges and mountains, plus the kitesurfing mecca of Tarifa is just a two-hour drive away.

MOROCCO

Kasbah du Toubkal is a mountain retreat perched in the Atlases, within the tiny village of Achein, giving a taste of remote Moroccan life. Local labour and environmentally friendly building materials have created a lodge decorated in the tradition of the local Berber community. Local guides take you mountain trekking and on walking tours of the village; it doesn’t get much more removed from tourist-saturated Marrakech than this. 

OMAN

It ain’t cheap – and that’s an understatement – but the Six Senses Hideaway at Zighy Bay is one of the most incredible eco-stays anyone is ever likely to have. Within the secluded bay, enclosed by mountains on one side and the Gulf on the other, you’ll stay in a mock Omani village – only one where your villa comes with a private infinity pool. The resort processes its own water, which is provided in reusable glass bottles, and has a vegetable garden to help stock the kitchen. Guests are provided with bikes to cycle around the grounds, and you can even volunteer to help out with rebuilding Zighy Village, which lies further down the beach. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any more awesome, for a (not small) fee you can arrive in the resort by paraglider, and will be met by a private butler when you touch down on the beach.

Farmstays

credit: iStock

IBIZA

No, we’ve not gone mad – far, far away from the clubs, this farmstay on the north side of the island at Can Marti will show you a very different Ibiza. Stay in an apartment in a restored 400-year-old farmhouse, tend the vegetable garden and borrow a bike to explore the surrounding countryside. Solar energy, rainwater collection and recycling give the green credentials.

ITALY

Ferula Viaggi - an eco-friendly tour geared towards foodies, ‘Slow food, slow foot’ guides you through the rolling hills and secluded villages of southern Italy, providing plenty of opportunity to walk off the masses of local, homegrown fare you’ll be stuffing in along the way. Cooking classes are included, and you’ll stay at a variety of ranches and farms.

SOUTH AMERICA

Fancy living at an old hacienda in Ecuador, or ranching in Chilean Patagonia? Check out southamerica-inside.com, which partners with NGOs, small businesses, local farms and schools to provide an immersive experience, whereby you’ll live within, and contribute to, the local community. The organisation specialises in farm stays in off-the-beaten-path areas, promising “a different way to discover the world”.

WWOOF

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms works with hosts all over the globe to offer travellers a chance to help work land in return for a roof over their heads and hot meals. You’re not expected to know much about farming when you arrive, but you are expected to learn and graft. All hosts are certified as farming using ecologically sound methods. Prices vary according to region. 

 

photo credit: iStock


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