10 of the best green places to stay in gateway cities
Happy Earth Day! With our world and the environment in focus today, we wanted to share an extract from the upcoming The Green Traveller: Conscious adventure that doesn’t cost the earth by Richard Hammond, highlighting 10 green places to stay in Europe.
Many northern European cities are within reach of the UK within a day by train, but if you’re looking to go further afield – and there isn’t a connecting overnight sleeper service – you might need to stay the night in one of the gateway cities and catch the onward train or ferry the following morning. Or you could plan to stay in these cities anyway and make the detour part of the journey. Railway stations are usually in the city centre and are surrounded by any number of hotels, but it’s not always easy to find green options, so here are ten eco-friendly suggestions to rest your head on a green getaway.
Mob Hotel is in the heart of St Ouen, just a few miles north of Gare du Nord and close to the Garibaldi metro station. The hotel is all about being socially engaged within its neighbourhood (the artistic creations of local craftspeople are everywhere), but it also has strong eco credentials, such as water jugs rather than plastic bottles, refillable toiletries and organic cosmetics in the rooms. The restaurant is fully organic with a seasonal menu that draws on produce from farming cooperatives or direct from local producers (they also make their own honey and beer). There is another Mob Hotel planned for the up-and-coming Confluence area of Lyon (mobhotel.com).
Hotel du Croise is a quiet, comfy little three-star hotel near the famous racecourse of Marcq en Baroeul and a short trip by tram from Lille Europe – the gateway to long-distance SNCF trains to Lyon, Valence, Marseille and other cities in the south of France. The 11 rooms here are simply and neatly furnished, and each offers its own small terrace. It has been awarded Clef Verte accreditation for its environmental policies (hotelducroise.com).
Both a hostel and a hotel, the 4You is just 5 minutes’ walk from Munich railway station. For the budget traveller, there are beds in dorms or for those who want more privacy there are individual single, double and triple rooms with bathrooms. There’s a small bar and restaurant serving local Bavarian food in a quiet courtyard. Bike hire available (the4you.de).
Conveniently located along a short walk between the city’s main railway station and the port, Hotel Florence Nice is a great option if you’re looking to travel the next day on the ferry out to Corsica or for bus or rail connections along the Cote d’Azur. The hotel has the EU Ecolabel for its efforts to reduce its waste, energy and water consumption – and don’t miss tasting the honey that’s produced from its rooftop beehives (hotel-florence-nice.com).
Hotel Milano Scala is an eco-boutique hotel in the historical district of Brera,
a 10-minute walk from Milan Central railway station – the gateway to Bologna, Rome, Naples, Florence, Turin, Lake Como and Venice. It has a range of clever energy-saving devices and a farm-to-table restaurant with fruits, flowers, vegetables and herbs from the sixth floor’s garden terrace. Sip on organic wine while enjoying the fabulous views of the Dome of Milan and the city’s skyline from the Sky Terrace (hotelmilanoscala.it).
The three Superbude hotels dotted around Hamburg are all easily reachable from on foot, on the U-Bahn or S-Bahn trains from the city’s main railway station – the gateway to the Nordic countries as well as to the Rostock ferry port for travelling up the Baltic Sea to Stockholm and Helsinki. All the hotels have installed a range of eco-friendly initiatives from energy-efficient lighting and reduction of water consumption to drawing on renewable energy suppliers and plastic-free cups, straws and bags (superbude.com).
There are four Conscious Hotels in Amsterdam that are elegant but unfussy, and all the materials they use in their hotels are certified cradle-to-cradle, recycled or second-hand, plus they serve an excellent organic breakfast. Hotel Westerpark is a 20-minute bus ride (or 30-minute walk) from Centraal station, while the other three are a short ride by tram: the 112-room Hotel The Tire Station and 81-room Hotel Vondelpark are both near to the leafy Vondelpark, while the boutique 36-room Hotel Museum Square is in the heart of the museum district (conscioushotels.com).
The 75-room Almodóvar Hotel is a smart, modern hotel with an organic, vegetarian-vegan deli restaurant (bistrobardot.de) in the trendy Friedrichshain district: take a short train ride from Berlin’s main railway station to Berlin Ostbahnhof, then it’s a few minutes’ ride on Bus 240 towards Storkower Straße, where you get off at Boxhagener Straße/Holteistraße
Hotel Bellevue is in the Old Port of Marseille overlooking the busy harbour and Notre Dame de la Garde, just a few minutes’ walk from the city’s main railway station and a stone’s throw from the ferry departure point for services to several ports on Corsica and Algeria. It was the first hotel in the city to be certified by Green Key and has a magnificent, listed iron staircase (hotelbellevuemarseille.com).
Hotel Ottilia is a boutique hotel on the site of a former Carlsberg brewery, two stops on the intercity B line train from Denmark’s Copenhagen Central station – the overland gateway to Sweden and Norway. It’s part of the Brøchner group of hotels that are leading the way in green hospitality in Denmark; they’re certified by Green Key and give excess products such as soap and shampoo (as well as donations of furniture and inventory) to the homeless. There’s a terrific organic breakfast and if you’ve time, don’t miss the ancient thermal baths next door (brochner-hotels.com).
The Green Traveller is out 5th May. You can preorder it here.