Go green: 5 simple sustainability tips for travel in Germany

From staying at eco-friendly tree lodges to eating locally-produced food, there are so many ways to make your visit to Germany a responsible one…

Team Wanderlust
01 June 2022
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Discover Germany

Main image: © Mountainbikepark Pfälzerwald e.V. / Andreas Meyer, World of MTB

1. Stay in an eco-hotel

Stay in a green hotel ( © Saarschleifenlodge Gastro GmbH)

Where better to enjoy all of the pristine nature Germany has to offer than at an eco-hotel that takes care to protect the land around it? So many hotels in Germany’s countryside have green initiatives in place to reduce waste, cut down on electricity and water use, and give back to the environment. Many accommodations also offer green ways to get around, with some hotels on the edge of the Black Forest offering bike rentals so you can explore the wilderness in a green way. Or why not stay at a working farm, where you can tuck into organic food grown on-site? For complete immersion into nature, choose to stay in a tree house, built to blend in with the surrounding trees from sustainable materials.

But eco-friendly stays aren’t just reserved for the countryside, with many hotels in German cities taking innovative approaches to doing their part for the environment. Before choosing a hotel, ask to see its environmental policies, and take a look to see what they are doing to cut down waste, source food locally and reduce their carbon footprint.

2. Eat local 

Choose local produce (© Tourismusverband LK Stade/Elbe e.V. / Martin Elsen)

One simple yet delicious way to travel more sustainably in Germany is by thinking about where your food has come from. Choose restaurants that make an effort to source locally grown food. Not only will this taste better, but it cuts down on air miles and helps to support local economies. Keep an eye out also for places that serve seasonal menus, and make use of the produce that is available and grown naturally during that time of the year. 

While you may think Germany is all bratwurst, that simply isn’t the case, and there are many vegan and vegetarian restaurants across the country serving up exciting and creative dishes. Going plant-based and cutting down on meat is a great way to lower your carbon footprint and become a more responsible traveller.


3. Drink responsibly

Freshly tapped beer (© FrankenTourismus/Bamberg TKS / Andreas Hub)

There’s more than one way to drink responsibly in Germany. Much like with its food, there is so much locally-produced wine and beer in the country that it is easy for you to make sustainable choices. The Rheinhessen is Germany’s biggest wine-producing region and a visit here will allow you to tour the vineyards and sample German-produced wines, while learning of the sustainable practises many of the vineyards now have in place. Germany produces thousands of beers, so be adventurous and support local breweries and businesses by opting for local bars and choosing a tipple you have never heard of. 

4. Sustainable souvenirs 

Choose sustainable souvenirs (Shutterstock)

When it comes to looking for a memorable souvenir to take home with you, leave the cheap imitations behind and instead seek out more authentic souvenirs made from sustainable materials. Wander around Germany’s atmospheric markets to support local vendors, discover unique and traditional crafts, and visit independent shops. 

Also worth remembering is that nature is not a souvenir. Leave the shells on the beach and don’t take any of the flora or fauna home with you. 

5. Slow travel 

Take the slow route (©GNTB / Francesco Carovillano)

While it may be quicker to visit Germany by plane, opt for the slow route instead. Germany’s train network is very good, linking many of the main cities as well as the natural spaces, and you’ll enjoy the view from the window. Travelling by boat or cable car are also great ways to explore the country at a leisurely pace. Not only is it better for the environment, but it will afford you a more enriching experience, forcing you to slow down and spend more time soaking up the character, scenery or cultural sights of a place. 

For shorter journeys, get back to nature by choosing to hike, bike and kayak – we have no doubt you will be pleased you chose the green route!

Feeling inspired? 

Start planning your dream visit to Germany now by heading over to the official website. 

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