6 ideas for low-carbon travel activities

Responsible and virtuous tourism is a dynamic that starts with the choice of destination, the choice of accommodation and the choice of activities. Here are 6 ideas for low-carbon travel activities.

Decarbonized activities have one objective: fun, leisure, but zero carbon emissions. And why? Because today, environmental protection and the preservation of natural spaces are paramount. In fact, « getting back to basics » and respecting ecosystems is a growing demand among travellers.

However, it is entirely possible to reconcile a pleasure-based society with tourism. All we need to do is change our paradigms and (re)discover activities that have no impact on the living world. These reconcile the pillars of sustainable development with the intrinsic need for entertainment.

In practical terms? We’re moving away from activities that pollute or disturb flora and fauna (quad bikes, jet-skis, helicopters, cruise liners) in favor of gentle activities. Here are 6 of them.

1. Hiking

Randonnée - activité décarbonée

Photo credit: Shutterstock – everst

What could be more natural and carbon-free than walking? It doesn’t matter if it’s easy or hard. Hiking is a way of life and a way of seeing the world. This sport, which has no impact on the environment, perfectly reconciles ecology and tourism.

As you walk along, your mind calms. Birdsong and leaf veins catch your eye and dispel your thoughts. Can you hear life around you? Even the most insignificant noise is suddenly heard. A bird on a twig, a wind-blown bread apple, crackling embers, a fish jumping into the river. Muscles and heart work smoothly, and the most beautiful landscapes come into view.

In fact, many particularly beautiful and unspoilt areas are only accessible on foot. What’s more, the investment is minimal: a good pair of shoes, poles and some technical clothing are all you need for hiking.

Last but not least, every country has its own list of beautiful hikes, allowing you to practice your walking skills in all four corners of the world. Spain and its sacred paths, Italy and its lakeside Alps, Scotland and its endless plains. Or Nepal and its world’s highest peaks, South America and its hikes in the footsteps of the Mayans, the United States and its flamboyant gorges, New Zealand or Argentina and their monumental glaciers, or Jordan and its ancient cities in the desert.

2. The bike


Photo credit: Shutterstock – Umomos

Tempted by the charm of a cycling tour? Or simply a fan of leisurely strolls? Cycle tourism is a low-carbon activity at the heart of virtuous tourism. Without going overboard in terms of performance, cycling allows you to cover more kilometers than you would on foot. However, cycle touring remains, in the tradition of hiking, an ode to contemplation and letting go, a cult of the present moment and authenticity.

You can easily escape the over-touristic circuits and break the hectic pace of your busy lives. But where to go for a cycling trip? Anywhere! In France first of all (why not the Loire or the Basque country?), but also in most European countries, such as Norway, riddled with fjords and fishing villages, or along the rugged coastline of Ireland.

3. Canoeing and kayaking

Canoë kayak - activité décarbonée

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Sergei Domashenko

Built by the native Americans (canoes) and the Inuit (kayaks), these small, lightweight boats offer low-carbon journeys against a backdrop of adventure and an intense alliance with nature. Propelled by paddle, your pirogue lets you discover lakes, rivers and even seas.

Whether you’re traveling with peace of mind, or on a long itinerary along the water, kayaking is the perfect choice. More stable and comfortable, it’s accessible to everyone. Kayaks are particularly suited to white-water routes. But after all, each paddler is free to adapt his or her practice.

One thing’s for sure: a canoe or kayak expedition plunges you into total silence and offers unparalleled freedom. From the wide-open spaces of Canada to the fjords of northern Europe and the coves of sunny islands, anything is possible when you’re paddling.

4. The sailboat


Photo credit: Shutterstock – Kite_rin

Let’s take another look at carbon-free travel through the prism of water. Come and rub shoulders with the intimidating, infinite sea and discover the unique sensations of sailing. Sail through the furrows of the sea and experience the indescribable sensation of waking up in the deep blue. Listen to the sound of the waves. Watch the sails swell and take you to new horizons.

Gliding on the water is good for nature, but it’s also good for your well-being. It’s a well-known fact that sea air is an excellent natural anxiolytic. In addition to mental relaxation, the sea or ocean also has a beneficial effect on your body. Numerous platforms, particularly for private hire, enable you to hire a sailboat with or without a skipper.

You’re free to sail to your heart’s content: along the pink coasts of Brittany or the exuberant coves of Corsica. Further afield, in the Mediterranean, along the white and blue villages of Greece or the colorful villages of Italy. Or in the Indian Ocean or the Caribbean, to land on the world’s most beautiful beaches in Polynesia, the Seychelles, Thailand, the Grenadines or our beloved Guadeloupe and Martinique.

5. Geocaching

Geocaching - activité décarbonée

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Damian Lugowski

Geocaching is establishing itself as an innovative sustainable tourism activity. What is geocaching? A fun, high-tech treasure hunt! The aim is to use GPS functions to find or hide « geocaches » in a variety of locations around the world.

It’s a watertight, hard-wearing container into which are slipped the identities of people who have already stumbled across it and, sometimes, a few trinkets to collect (provided you leave some in exchange). From a simple glass tube to a heavy-duty suitcase, the sky’s the limit as long as the object doesn’t damage the environment.

Today, caches can be found all over the world, in cities and in the countryside. Why is it so successful, with millions of players? Because it’s a zero-carbon activity, accessible to all, fun and engaging. The precious « treasures » are rated from 1 to 5 stars according to the complexity of their hiding place: a particularly exhilarating system for players.

What’s more, geocaching is free and allows you to discover unsuspected places from a whole new angle. To embark on this great adventure, register on the dedicated website and download the free mobile application.

At a time when every destination wants to develop local tourism, geocaching seems to be a good way of transforming territories into huge playgrounds. It also helps to combat mass tourism by offering spicy alternatives in places that are sometimes overlooked by tourists.

6. Via ferrata or rock climbing

Escalade et via ferrata

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Gyula Attila Hegedus

To conclude our selection of low-carbon activities, take to the skies! From the cliffside to the bird’s nest, discover our latest sustainable activity. From the most classic to the most adventurous, climbing routes are now available for all levels.

Whether you already have your own equipment and well-muscled forearms, or you’ve never put on climbing shoes before, you’ll easily find what you’re looking for. As well as being green and sustainable, climbing and via ferrata are thrilling activities that leave lasting memories. They provide the ultimate thrill and satisfy adrenalin-lovers.

Note, however, that via ferrata is much more fun than climbing. It’s more suitable for children and beginners, and doesn’t require any intense physical or technical skills. Apart from not being afraid of heights…