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Last Updated on 08/05/2021
Ecolodges, eco-hotels and eco-resorts are a pioneering form of accommodation that’s changing the way we holiday, but more often than not they come with a hefty price tag. One night in an ecolodge, although absolutely magical, can set you back thousands. But being green doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Proving that anyone can have a sustainable holiday, here are the best budget eco-friendly stays in the world to inspire you this winter:
Nothing quite says winter than a rustic hideaway deep in the snowy heart of Transylvania. The HRH Prince Charles Guesthouse is quite literally a royal jewel, owned by the man of its namesake and accessible only by a bumpy road. Yes, you can actually stay in a guesthouse owned by royalty without having to pay a fortune but you won’t be having tea with the Queen.
More of a precious legacy than a palace, Prince Charles bought the property in 1988 to protect and preserve its unique and natural beauty. The guesthouse is formed of several buildings and each room has been furnished by authentic antiques and textiles from around Transylvania. It’s like stepping through a portal in time; you won’t find a TV or radio on the premises but there are plenty of books to peruse during your stay.
Being in tune with nature is very much the ethos of the guesthouse and the wildlife takes centre stage with an onsite patch of forest and flower meadows with mineral springs and small brooks carving through it. What makes this guesthouse truly special is that it’s one of the best budget eco-friendly stays in Europe for wildlife. Spend a day snuggled up in front of the window and watch bears meandering through the backyard and listen to the wolves howling at night.
Price: From €72 a night.
How to book: Visit Green Pearls here to book.
For an alternative winter city break, head to Erlangen. There you will discover Creativehotel Luise, Germany’s first climate-friendly hotel. Designed for both city and business travellers, the hotel was built with sustainability at its core but it doesn’t scrimp on the glamour, comfort and class of a luxury hotel, making it one of the top budget eco-friendly stays in the world. Proving that being green doesn’t have to be expensive, Creativehotel Luise has taken a holistic approach by designing rooms that follow the cradle-to-cradle concept that mimics the regenerative cycle of nature in which waste is reused.
Each beautiful room has been kitted out with100% biodegradable furnishings; the carpet is made from recycled fishing nets, straw is used to insulate and each shower is designed with NASA technology that saves 90% water and 80% energy. The hotel offers a restorative break after a day of activities. To relax you even further, every room has been designed using the Feng Shui method and guests can make use of the onsite wellness spa.
Price: From €79 a night (includes breakfast).
How to book: Visit the website here to book.
You just can’t beat a good old fashioned hostel when it comes to finding cheap accommodation on the road. If you’re heading to Amsterdam this winter then make sure you spend a few nights at Ecomama, one of the city’s best eco-friendly stays due to its unbeatable comfort and green initiatives. You don’t have to bunk in backpacker style as the hostel offers a range of sleeping arrangements from cheap-n-cheerful 12-bed dorms to private cabins.
A perfect hangout for social travellers, the hostel has a signature quirky style with indoor swings, movie nights in teepee tents and large communal spaces to connect with visitors from all over the world. Ecomama is proud to be part of Green and Conscious Hospitality and its commitment to sustainability can be seen in its natural stone heating, cradle-to-cradle furniture, Fairtrade materials and environment-friendly waste and water system. What’s more, the hostel donates €1 for every night a guest stays to Niños de Guatemala – an NGO located in Guatemala which provides education for disadvantaged children.
Price: Dorms from €59 for two nights (minimum stay two nights).
How to book: Visit Ecomama Hotel here to book.
You might not think that glamping is the most comfortable style of holiday during the winter months but Godzne Vile is ready to prove you wrong. The glamping site, located on the picturesque shores of Lake Bled, offers its guests the chance to stay in mini chalets or mobile homes depending on your preference. Ideal for adventurers and lovers of the great outdoors, this glamping experience may be simple but it’s without a doubt one of the best budget eco-friendly stays you can do.
These chalets provide the perfect eco-retreat for those wanting to immerse themselves in nature without going to the trouble of camping. Made out of untreated larch wood, the mini chalets are kitted out in cosy double or single beds and the mobile homes have the luxury of a private bathroom, kitchen and panoramic views of the forest. For the ultimate magical experience, opt for a mini chalet with a hot tub outside and spend a romantic evening having a soak under the stars.
Price: Mini chalets start from €51 a night.
How to book: Visit Ecobnb here to find out more.
You can either beat the winter season or join it, and Refugio Bella Vista in Italy is giving us a compelling reason why we should make the most of it with its unique igloo hotel in the beautiful Ötztal Alps. There are many reasons why you should make this snowy refuge a bucket list destination: it’s a chance to sleep in a real ice hotel, it’s budget-friendly, sustainable and a perfect hangout after a day of skiing.
Snow is a huge part of this stay but if you prefer the idea of being warm then you might want to make use of the highest sauna in Europe and a Swedish cabin complete with a wood-burning brazier, guaranteed to melt your troubles away. Refugio Bella Vista is a true mountain haven which allows you to connect with nature in a unique and affordable way. It goes without saying that it’s one of my top best budget eco-friendly stays in the world.
Price: Rooms start from €61 a night.
How to book: Visit Ecobnb here to check availability and book.
The hostel prides itself on its harmony with nature and its airy wooden hut-like structure on the beachfront certainly won’t let you forget that. Guests can choose between snoozing under the stars, sleeping in a dormitory or waking up to the sound of the ocean in the beachfront Penthouse. A true island escape, visitors can snorkel, hang out around the firepit and get involved with pizza night for an evening of delicious homemade wood-fired pizza.
Price: Dorms from £5.12 and private rooms from £11.52 a night (yes, really!).
How to book: Visit Hostelworld here to book.
If you’re in need of a budget jungle hideaway this winter then look no further than El Rio Hostel. Voted best hostel in Columbia and the second-best hostel in Latin America, I mean it when I say it’s one of the best budget eco-friendly stays in the world. Boasting its own private river beach, a sundeck, riverside bar and a 30-minute walk from the Caribbean coast, the hostel promises a carefree holiday you will be dreaming about months after you get back.
The key aim behind this hostel is to create a social hub for travellers to come together while being eco-friendly, affordable and comfortable. Guests can choose from a private room with an Instagram-worthy outside ensuite bathroom, private cabañas, dorms or for something different, a hammock hut constructed around a huge avocado tree. El Rio Hostel is an ideal hangout for those who love the thrill of adventure.
Price: Dorms from 30,000 COP (£6.62) a night, private rooms from 150,000 COP (£33.10) a night.
How to book: Visit the website here for more information and to book.
Okay, so it’s not strictly budget-friendly, but we all need a bit of pampering now and then. Camp Ripan, located in the heart of Kiruna, Sweden, captures all the magic of winter with an added bit of indulgence on the side. This eco-friendly stay consists of comfy and cosy cabins with their own private entrances and bathrooms, making it your own private slice of luxury away from home.
The hotel treats its guests to a whole host of seasonal experiences including dog sled tours, snowmobile riding and watching the northern lights. This co-friendly retreat has a sumptuous menu filled with the most delicious seasonal produce harvested from the local area but the icing on the cake is the Aurora Spa, complete with an indoor and outdoor pool, a mineral sauna, an aroma sauna and a mountain stream.
Price: Rooms start from 1358 SEK a night if booked in advance.
How to book: Visit the website here to find out more.
Have I missed any of your favourite budget eco-friendly stays? Let me know in the comments!