Travel Notes blog
Responsible travel: How to travel more sustainably in 2023
by Laura Bardell-Smith
8 min read

Responsible travel: How to travel more sustainably in 2023

Responsible travel: How to travel more sustainably in 2023
Learn what ethical travel is, what we are doing to support the environment and what you can do to make your next luxury villa holiday in the Med beneficial for the local flora, fauna and people.
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In recent years, there's been a worldwide focus on taking responsibility for protecting the environment. And with the latest research on the environmental impact we've had on the planet, it's increasingly evident that eco-friendly, sustainable and responsible travel is much more than a trend. It's becoming the industry standard.

This blog post will cover ways that you can make your international travel more responsible and sustainable, while addressing how we work to be as much of a part of the ecotourism and socially responsible travel movement as we can.


What is ethical travel?

If you've had the privilege of travelling the world, you may have sat back and thought, Am I treating this beautiful place with the respect and reverence it deserves? If so, you're already on the right track. Ethical travel can be described as making decisions that avoid causing harm to the local community, people and natural environment while positively impacting the local economy.

Because responsible tourism can be easily personalised to fit your values, you can focus on the issues which matter to you the most. Still, good ethical travel should include a mixture of sustainability measures, supporting local businesses whenever possible and respect for the local environment and culture.

It may seem like a lot to consider when you're simply looking for a holiday – but the good news is it’s never been easier to shift your focus to a more socially and ecologically conscious viewpoint.

Learn how we are working to support sustainable travel and tourism.

How to travel responsibly and sustainably in 2023

Make your next holiday sustainable by trying some (or all) of the following sustainable travel tips:

  • Respect nature

    - Many of us are attracted to a particular destination because of its unrivalled natural beauty. For example, the Mediterranean is known for its endless stretches of sandy beaches and crystal blue waters. However, if every beachgoer left one piece of rubbish on the ground, the entire Med would be littered with plastic water bottles, food wrappers and other detritus. Over time, litter can harm wildlife, destroy the beauty of the landscape and make the environment less habitable for locals. One low effort way to cut down on waste while travelling is to bring your own thermos, reusable water bottle or mug and to make sure you always properly dispose of your rubbish.

  • Bolster the local economy

    - No matter where in the world you are, you’ll almost always have the option to choose a local small business over a major corporation. For example, you can hire a local guide to escort you to popular cultural attractions and museums, buy souvenirs from a small shop instead of at the airport and skip the familiar fast food chains for a taste of the local cuisine. When you dine and shop locally, you keep money in the hands of the people who live in your destination, making their lives better.

  • Drink and dine conscientiously

    - Mealtime is a highlight of any holiday. Make your gastronomic adventures sustainable by supporting family-owned businesses whenever possible and seeking out restaurants that collaborate with the area’s farmers. Eating local, in-season produce will reduce your carbon footprint and provide an authentic taste of the traditional foods of the area. Wine lovers could also consider seeking out biodynamic wineries that practise ethical farming like Planeta, our partner in Sicily - there’s nothing better than getting to

    sample the local wines of Italy


  • Pack responsibly

    - Believe it or not, the weight of your suitcase will impact how sustainable your travel is. The lighter your suitcase, the less fuel it takes for the plane to take off. And, on the topic of luggage, there are a selection of companies that offer practical and stylish yet sustainable travel bags.


    , for example, features products that are made from plastic waste recovered from the ocean.

There are countless ways you can practise responsible tourism. When you integrate some of these simple tips into your next journey, you will be making strides towards a better and brighter future for our planet and the people and animals who inhabit it.


Our most eco-friendly villas

If you are interested in making your next holiday with us as eco-friendly as possible, allow us to introduce you to our most sustainable luxury villas in the Mediterranean, which include features such as:

  • Onsite organic gardens

  • Lemon groves

  • Vegetable gardens

  • Rainwater collection barrels

  • In-villa cooks who utilise the freshest local vegetables, herbs, meats and wine

  • Minimal plastic waste

  • Opportunities for recycling and composting

  • Sustainable air conditioning, heating, lighting, electricity, water and laundry alternatives

Despite emphasising sustainability, these villas aren't lacking in luxury, comfort or relaxation. Without further ado, here are our top four villa recommendations.


1. Epipleon

Epipleon is a clean, bright and calming respite surrounded by nature but is still located just a 15-minute drive away from Lefkada Town. The villa has been expertly designed with sustainability and beauty in mind, providing guests with excellent pool facilities and gorgeous sea views.

Here are just some of the ways this beautiful villa is one of our favourite choices for an eco-friendly holiday:

  • Solar panels provide an all-year-round electricity production system and the property's hot water

  • Construction is based on bioclimatic architecture, with a design that draws from the natural landscape and focuses on energy efficiency

  • LED lighting throughout the property

  • Stones used throughout were dug out of the plot, and the pine wood used in the construction was cut from replanted woods from Finland. Natural local materials were used throughout resulting in a "minimum emission" building

  • Most of the furniture is recycled or made out of recycled wood

  • The salt electrolysis pool avoids chemicals

  • Eco paints and varnish used

Epipleon is spread across three houses and benefits from a plunge pool jacuzzi, as well as an infinity pool to relax and unwind in. Its shady gardens amongst olive groves provide a peaceful spot for al fresco dining or soaking up the turquoise sea views beyond.

View our luxury villas on Lefkada


2. Rocca delle Tre Contrade

Housing up to 24 guests across 12 stunning bedrooms, Rocca delle Tre Contrade in Sicily boasts continuous 360-degree views of the sparkling Ionian Sea and the lush flanks and lava peak of Mount Etna. The onsite gym, hammam, pool, home cinema and tennis court will ensure endless opportunities for recreation and leave you wanting for absolutely nothing.

Of all our villas in Sicily, Rocca dell Tre Contrade is one of our favourites. We especially love its ecological attributes, which include:

  • A low-impact air conditioning system

  • Laundry and linens that are cleaned and dried in natural conditions

  • Waste that is divided before collection for recycling

  • Untreated paper, cardboard and organic waste that is composted

  • Photovoltaic panels that produce approximately 30% of the villa's electricity

  • Glass bottles, which are used to reduce plastic waste

  • LED lighting throughout the property

  • A vegetable garden and seven-acre lemon grove that provide ingredients for meals throughout the duration of your stay

  • Solar panels that service roughly 80% of the property's hot water supply

  • A water supply that is treated and filtered

Locavores won't want to miss the Rocca delle Tre Contrade's culinary week from 22-29 April 2023. Renowned chef Christian F Puglisi will lead this fully immersive experience for gourmets and eager home cooks alike. Learn more about this once in a lifetime Rocca delle Tre Contrade experience.

View our villas in Sicily


3. Adina

Adina is a delightful contemporary villa with garden beach access on the Greek island of Skopelos – a luscious ecological wonderland where nature takes centre stage. The island has taken a number of steps to promote sustainability, including:

  • Protected natural areas:

    Skopelos collaborates with the National Marine Park of Alonissos, a protected area that preserves unique marine and terrestrial ecosystems. These efforts help safeguard biodiversity and promote conservation.

  • Clean Beaches:

    The island maintains pristine beaches through regular cleaning efforts during the tourist season. Skopelos also implements efficient recycling and waste management programs to minimise environmental impact.

  • Growing use of renewable energy:

    Skopelos is increasingly adopting renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines. This shift reduces reliance on fossil fuels and lowers carbon emissions.

  • Conservation efforts:

    Skopelos actively participates in conservation projects to protect endangered species like the Mediterranean monk seal and native wildlife. The island also implements initiatives to reduce single-use plastics, helping to combat plastic pollution in the marine environment.

  • Sustainable tourism and practices:

    Skopelos promotes sustainable tourism by encouraging visitors to respect the local environment and culture. This includes initiatives to educate tourists about eco-friendly behavior, such as proper waste disposal and the protection of natural sites.

View our villas on Skopelos

One small step can be the catalyst for significant change

Remember, you don't have to revolutionise the way you travel all at once. There is plenty of neutral ground when it comes to ethical travel. But once you realise how powerful your choices are when you are on holiday, we're confident that you will find sustainable travel to be more gratifying than you ever imagined. When you're ready to book a holiday that takes the local environment, economy and people into careful consideration, please get in touch with our knowledgeable team. They would be delighted to help guide you towards a holiday that will make a positive difference, from your accommodation and activities to the foods you eat.