We got a new name
Visit Flåm has become Norway’s best.
Visit Flåm has become Norway’s best.
We hear a lot about sustainable tourism and that we should travel more sustainably. There are times when all that well-intentioned advice on what has to happen and what we should do and not do can actually be quite overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together 10 simple tips for tourists to support our environment, local community and local economy and make your holiday more sustainable. Moreover, you shouldn’t disregard the fact that your trip will actually be more exciting and eventful if you take these tips on board.
So you can let others drive and just sit back and enjoy the view. Instead of arguing over the map or listening to the satnav. Parts of your trip may even turn into some of the highlights of your holiday. If you take the train to Flåm, the Flåm Railway, one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world, is part of your route.
Hotels, campsites, hostels and guesthouses are important employers in communities and villages, and they depend on tourists using them. Many of them are also eco-labelled – look out for information or the Eco-Lighthouse logo when you book. Slightly unusual places to stay can be found almost everywhere, such as the historic Fretheim Hotel, which dates back to the time when English lords came to Sogn to fish for salmon in the 19th century.
Whether you use public transport or choose to drive yourself, cycling is an excellent and eco-friendly way of exploring your destination. Hire a bike at your destination if you don’t bring along your own – and don’t forget, many places now offer electric bikes as well. Alternative, some places have small electric cars available – try eMobility in Flåm, for example.
If you have the opportunity, check what alternatives are available before booking tickets for activities. Are some choices more sustainable than others? If you’d like to do a fjord cruise, check whether electric boats are available for the area you want to go to. On the Nærøyfjord you have the electric vessels Future and Legacy of The Fjords. While the hybrid vessel Vision of The Fjords operates between Odda and Lofthus in Hardanger. These are emissions-free sightseeing boats that sail silently through the fjords so that you can concentrate on the views!
This ought to be a no-brainer. Take all your rubbish with you until you find a bin, and sort and recycle your rubbish if you can. Did you know, it can take a whole 2 years for nature to break down orange peel or banana skins? It might be a good idea to take this with you in popular hiking areas and picnic areas, and the same goes for toilet paper. Everything is so much nicer for everyone when we all do our bit.
Restaurants and eateries that use local ingredients help to support local farmers and the local economy. And what’s more, you might learn a bit about the local culinary culture at the same time. At Restaurant Arven at the Fretheim Hotel, the chef is very keen on animal welfare and making the most of old traditions, and he works closely with local producers of fruit and vegetables, cheese producers and small local abattoirs. Local products also reduce emissions as they don’t have to be transported.
Instead of buying plastic bottles of water, take a water bottle with you from home and top it up as you go along. If you don’t have a decent bottle, buy one that’s made of steel or another sustainable, durable material. If you’re in Flåm, you can pop into Flåm Store – they have a number of different kinds to choose from.
You’re on holiday, but this is day-to-day life for the people who live there. You’ll go far if you just ask questions. If you’re not sure whether you’re allowed to park or walk somewhere, just ask someone. Respect privacy and cultivated land, and by all means have a chat with anybody you meet. Nobody knows your holiday destination like the people who live there. Maybe they’ll tell you about one of the local hidden gems.
The right of public access is a benefit that gives us freedom with responsibility. It gives us the opportunity to travel and camp almost anywhere in Norway so that we can enjoy the unique trips that we dream of. Just remember that the Outdoor Recreation Act still applies. Take your backpack and hammock with you make camp in your dream location in the forest, by the shore or in the mountain. Just make sure to camp at least 150 metres from buildings and cabins, no more than 48 hours on the same spot and leave the place the way you found it. This way it stays every bit as beautiful and untouched when the next person comes along.
Whether you want to buy food, footwear, clothes or souvenirs – pop into the local shops in your area and support local trade. The chances of finding something that nobody else has back at home are enormous, even though you’re on holiday in Norway. For instance, how many of the shoe shops at home sell Aurland shoes, the original penny loafers?