One of the criticisms of the green travel movement is that many of its practices are realistic only for domestic destinations. While this has a note of truth, I increasingly find that with a little extra effort you can keep your footprint in check when abroad.
I just returned from a big trip to Prague and found taking care of Mother Earth quite easy in the City of a Hundred Spires. Here are a few tips for when you go!
- Drink the Water: Perhaps our proximity to Mexico is the culprit, but somehow international tap water has gotten a bad rap in America. The truth is, there are scores of countries where you can safely drink and enjoy their delicious tap water. And the Czech Republic is a great example of this. In fact, you’d be crazy to buy bottled water in the capitol, as it’s more expensive than beer. Save money and the earth by packing a reusable bottle.
- Walk/Take Transit: Prague’s cabs are notoriously corrupt. In fact, it is such a problem that city officials are working hard to fix the issue and have posted funny signs in English throughout the city that say “Fair Place,” which are supposedly only served by legitimate cabs. The good news is, you really don’t need them. The city is compact and one of the most beautiful in the world. Walking from one end to another is practically an attraction itself and the metro is great, too, if you’re in a hurry. Skip cabs and bring your walking shoes.
- Daytrip on the Train: Prague, unlike, say, Vienna, Paris, or London, doesn’t have a ton of world-class attractions. You can easily tackle the most famous sights in a day and a half. After that, many visitors begin daytripping to surrounding scenic towns like Karlovy Vary for its ancient bathhouses, Kutná Hora for its “bone church,” or Ceský Krumlov for its village charm. While many guidebooks and locals suggest renting a car for this, trains actually service all of these destinations--and are a greener and more scenic way to get there.
- Bike to a Castle: Are you craving a little fresh air? Is the train not green enough for you? The highlight of our trip to Central Europe was also the most eco-friendly thing we did. We rented bikes from Ave Travel and biked to nearby Karlstejn Castle. The trail was approximately 20 miles of flat, dedicated bike paths following the Vltava River. Little open-air beer gardens dotted the path all the way. When you arrive in the village, you leave your bikes at a local inn and walk up to the gorgeous castle. Trains head back to the city every 30 minutes and your tour price includes a ticket home. The trip was an excellent way to get out of the city and work off all that beer and goulash we’d been enjoying.
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Posted by apresley (Alison Presley)