Traveling sustainably means protecting the environment, connecting with culture in a meaningful way, and supporting the local economy wherever you go. In every issue of Virtuoso Life, we spotlight the various ways that destinations, hotels, cruise lines, and tour operators are upholding these sustainable travel tenets. Here, from our March issue, a look at 12 destinations and travel companies making it easier for globetrotters to travel for good on their next getaway. Keep these ideas on your wish list:
Dine at one of Slovenia’s Most Sustainable Restaurants
Chef Ana Ros and her now-famous Hisa Franko restaurant pinned Slovenia’s remote Soca Valley to the inspo boards of many a meal-seeking traveler. Another reason to visit: The UN World Tourism Organization recently named her an official ambassador for gastronomy tourism. It makes sense: Ros highlights seasonal produce and proteins sourced from the Soca Valley.
Visit an Urban Farm in the Heart of Paris
Paris is sowing the (literal) seeds of a sustainable future. On the roof of the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Center, urban agriculture firms Agripolis and Cultures en Ville have designed the world’s largest urban rooftop farm, set to break ground in the spring. The nearly three-and-a-half-acre organic farm will supply seasonal produce for local hotels and restaurants, including a new on-site outpost of rooftop-restaurant group Le Perchoir.
Catch Formula Racing’s Greener Alternative
They may lack Formula 1 stars’ vroom, but Formula E racers are making big noise on the pro circuit. Since the first championship event in 2014, the all-electric race cars have zipped through cities around the world, from New York to Paris and Berlin to Marrakech, at speeds up to 174 mph. The E-Prix is Formula E’s version of a Grand Prix, and its coolest – and most controversial – element: Fans can participate with the “fanboost” function, which gives top-voted drivers an extra power punch during a race.
Trade Bottles for a Ride in Rome
In one of the world’s most beloved cities, a new recycling program cuts waste while boosting public-transportation use. Rome recently introduced recycling machines at a number of metro stations, where riders trade bottles for train fare – following Beijing, Istanbul, and other cities that have successfully launched similar programs to help curb plastic waste.
Go Vegan at Sea
Vegan carbonara and private-island adventure, hold the carbon: Royal Caribbean International delivers both. With a new vegan menu across the fleet’s main dining rooms, travelers hungry for fancy plant-forward food feed their cravings with edamame-stuffed portobello mushrooms, toffee “cheesecake,” and more. And in 2022, a vegan feast could be the topper to a day out on Lelepa, Vanuatu, the next addition to Royal Caribbean’s private-island collection – and one they’re touting as the world’s first carbon-neutral private cruise destination.
Get (Responsibly) Close to Arctic Wildlife
Set to launch in 2021 with a maiden Arctic voyage, Quark Expeditions’ new 199-passenger Ultramarine brings adventurous cruisers close to the rugged glaciers and wildlife that shape the world’s most remote northern and southern polar destinations. The ice-strengthened small expedition ship is designed for low environmental impact, while twin-engine helicopters and quick-deploy Zodiacs promise fast access to ocean-level encounters. Onboard amenities such as suites with heated floors and a wraparound viewing deck support comfortable sightseeing around the clock.
Reduce Your Polar Carbon Footprint
Named for the famed Norwegian explorer and Nobel laureate, Fridtjof Nansen, Hurtigruten’s new hybrid electric-powered vessel, will specialize in polar exploration, from whale-watching in Antarctica to dogsledding in northern Norway. The ice-breaking Nansen will join sister ship Roald Amundsen in employing battery propulsion to reduce fuel emissions and minimize its carbon footprint.
Earn Towards Your Next Cruise by Giving Back
Silversea Cruises’ new Fund for the Galapagos supports the famed archipelago’s inhabitants – wildlife and human – while giving back to travelers. Through a partnership with the Galapagos Conservancy, the fund directs donations to local projects, including youth empowerment and environmental conservation. Travelers on the Silver Galapagos and soon-to-launch 100-passenger Silver Origin who contribute $500 to $1,000 get a voucher to spend on future sailings.
Lunch on a Salad from Singapore Airlines’ Aeroponic Garden
The fresh greens served aboard the world’s longest flight go from seed to harvest in as little as 12 days. Thanks to a new partnership with Newark-based AeroFarms, business-class travelers aboard Singapore Airlines’ long-haul journey from Newark to Singapore can enjoy, for instance, a tomato ceviche with mixed greens that were cultivated aeroponically, without soil, sunlight, or pesticides, within mere miles of Newark Liberty International Airport.
Put Your In-Flight Waste to Good Use
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is closing the loop between in-flight waste and airplane repairs. By upcycling plastic PET bottles into 3D printer filament, KLM now produces turbine-blade covers and other supplies in-house, bringing the company closer to its ambitious goal to reduce waste by 50 percent by 2030.
Support Monarch Butterfly Conservation in California
Monarch butterflies travel thousands of miles during their epic seasonal migrations from Canada to Mexico. The 358-room Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara helps guests connect with these majestic creatures as they overwinter. Thanks to a partnership with the nearby Ellwood Mesa Butterfly Reserve, guests who book the overnight “Adopt-a-Butterfly” experience, available during the monarch migration season from November through March, will help support monarch restoration, education, and conservation with a built-in donation to the reserve. Participants also get access to other butterfly experiences, such as a guided biking and hiking tour of the reserve, through the hotel’s Jean-Michel Cousteau-affiliated Ambassadors of the Environment Program. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 hotel credit.
Sip a Sustainable Cup of Coffee in Bali
Coffee’s cultural stronghold in Bali reaches far beyond the island’s farmland. Through a new partnership with Su-re.co, a Bali-based organization that educates coffee farmers in sustainable practices and works with Montessori School Bali, among other initiatives, the 156-room Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay helps stoke local demand for earth-friendly cultivation (the resort serves Su-re.co coffee and sells its beans) while offering guests insight on the island’s rich agricultural history. Guests who sign up for the resort’s Jala Cooking Academy learn how to prepare coffee Bali-style (no milk and lots of sugar) and get to know the importance of coffee farming in Balinese culture – lessons that inform smart, sustainable coffee buying after the vacation is over. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 spa credit.
Top Photo: Galápagos Islands (Lauren Moran/Getty Images)