Top 9 Eco-Friendly Hotels in Greece

When it’s time to travel again, it’s time to go as green as possible. And we are already daydreaming of Greece’s best hotels that are leading the way in eco-friendliness!  

Gone are the days where hotels were all about a stylish lobby and crisp white bedsheets. Today it’s about delivering unique hotel experiences with sustainability. Thankfully, hotels have realised that going green doesn’t mean cutting back on luxuries – and not only will it benefit our planet, but it will do our body, mind, and soul a world of good too. So we’ve rounded up nine of our favourite hotels in Greece that are putting sustainability first! 

Eumelia Organic Agrotourism Farm, Laconia 

Leading the way for Greek agro-tourism, Eumelia is a high-end, sustainable farming retreat in southern Greece. Set among rich olive groves and an abundance of fertile terrain, guests are encouraged to immerse themselves in their farm-to-table philosophy. Fruit for breakfast is from the gardens and almonds are gathered each afternoon for a snack. Enroll in a cooking workshop or hike up famous Mount Taygetos, where you’ll be met with panoramic views of Laconia. You can also join yoga retreats, workshops, and events for well-being. 

Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas, Ioannina   

Having received many international awards for sustainable development, this resort located in the region of Zagori blends in with its natural surroundings and reflects the architectural aesthetics of nearby villages. Aristi is built in complete harmony with the surrounding landscape and the local architectural style. Only local materials, stone, and wood were used for the interior and exteriors of the resort. The operational needs of the buildings are both environmentally sustainable and with a very low impact on nature. Wastewater is processed to ensure that released water is as clean as possible, all materials are recycled, staff are all locals and all dishes served to guests are made with locally  produced ingredients. Aristi is included in the 21 most environmentally friendly places in the world, according to National Geographic.

Ekies All Senses Resort, Halkidiki 

Set in Sithonia, Ekies All Senses Resort is a family-friendly spot where guests can relax and unwind. With a desire to blend seamlessly into the environment, it’s more like a cozy beach house than a luxury resort, perfect for those who prefer a more casual vibe. Constructed with sustainable and eco-friendly materials (think Greek marble, recycled pine planks, and rattan furniture) the resort has a minimal waste policy and the chefs here use products picked from their own vegetable and herb garden.

Coco-Mat Eco Residences, Serifos 

Coco-Mat’s design team was very careful about every piece displayed here and furniture is made with natural materials, such as cotton, silk, coconut fibres, herbs, wool, and linen. Architect George Zafirious followed bioclimatic architecture principles to ensure that natural air conditioning flows throughout the spaces, while ample natural light floods the two-storey apartments. Brushed concrete floors, bleached cotton, and up-cycled wooden furniture complete the bohemian feel. 

Eagles Palace, Halkidiki 

Eagles’ vision is to contribute to a green, eco-friendly presence on the Athos Peninsula. One of the first Greek eco-hotels, here beach-cleaning initiatives are regularly organised with local primary schools and a huge emphasis is placed on local produce, as dishes are served with herbs grown from neighbouring gardens, and olive oil is harvested from the surrounding groves. Located in Halkidiki, it’s home to unspoiled landscapes, history, and culinary delights. Here you are footsteps away from a Blue Flag Beach, which ensures a gold standard worldwide for environmentally safe, clean water beaches. 

Levendis Estate, Ithaca  

Perched on Ithaca’s hillside, Levendis is backed by mountains and spectacular seascape vistas. With a unique collection of activities, the hotel boasts farming cottages that are hidden within enchanting gardens that overlook the infinity pool. You can completely disconnect as there is no WiFi, while farming influences flow through the entire estate, with a focus on preventing water waste. Birdlife contributes to the compost system and 100% natural cleaning products are used throughout, while water from nearby Kalamos spring is said to offer healing properties. 

Native Eco Villa, Santorini

Offering three private designer villas, all situated in Imerovigli, Native Eco’s unique Cycladic architecture blends in beautifully with modern decor. The villas are recognised for their ecologically friendly building technique and materials. This was the first property on Santorini to be awarded the “Green Key” accolade, which has lead the way in promoting eco-friendly practices. Only materials from the island have been used to carve out this slice of Cycladic luxury. Expect white walls, sumptuous Coco-Mat linens, and artisan seagrass baskets. 

Royal Marmin Bay Boutique & Art Hotel, Crete  

The adults-only Royal Marmin Bay overlooking the famous Mirabello Bay in Elounda Crete architecturally blends in with the natural environment and is one of the first energy-efficient, ecologically green hotel in Greece that offers ideal five-star choices for those searching for both relaxation and luxury. Offering guests five types of accommodation options, the hotel’s eco-philosophy features energy-autonomous rooms and smart architectural choices offering accommodation in a clean environment.

To Armiro Boutique Houses, Naxos

These picturesque beach houses in Plaka are a footstep away from the sea. Found in an idyllic place suitable for the entire family, To Armiro’s five unique villas have a small private garden full of local flora. The Cycladic architecture and the unobstructed view of the Aegean Sea, all contribute to providing a lasting memory of Naxos’ breathtaking landscape. Characterized by its eco-friendly construction and its distinguished material and furniture, it comes equipped with rainwater harvesting systems and features ceiling fans for cooling. The breakfast includes locally sourced ingredients such as organic olive oil, honey, and traditional Naxian cheese.

Cover image Eumelia Organic Agrotourism Farm

How to be a Sustainable Traveller in Greece

Over recent years people have become more interested in sustainable tourism. Many of us have already tried to reduce (as much as possible) our negative imprint on the environment during our stay in another country; and this is becoming more important than ever. 

As we all navigate through what will be a new way of travelling, Greek tourism and travel expert Maria Athanasopoulou shares her tips on how we can become more sustainable tourists during our next visit to Greece. 

By Maria Athanasopoulou

To be a sustainable tourist, you need to travel, stay, eat and have fun at places that implement sustainable practices. You also need to try to give back as much as possible to the local community you are visiting; as well as ensuring you respect the locals, their culture, and customs.

Let us not forget that when we travel, we always become guests. And guests should always respect their host.

Sustainable tourism is a philosophy and a way of life, which is not difficult to adopt. I believe it will not take us long to get used to this idea and it will hopefully become easier to see the positive aspect as we give back to our environment, to the people, and to the places we visit. 

Greece is a country where sustainable practices have been constantly evolving and in recent years many food and tourism companies have invested their time and money to sustainable tourism.

Here are some tips on what we, individuals can do to be responsible – ethical and sustainable – tourists in Greece.

1Pay attention to the way you move, while you are at your destination.

Insights Greece - How to be a Sustainable Traveller in Greece

 Opt to walk where possible, or cycle where you can instead of driving. Otherwise, let us not forget the means of public transport.

An example is your movement while vacationing on one of the Greek islands. Usually, the distances to the capitals but also to the villages of the Greek islands and the mainland, are not far.

So, you will have the opportunity to move on foot and get to know the place much better. One of my favourites is the promenade walk in the capital of Mykonos, from the new port to the windmills. Also, a walk in the old port of Chania, or a walk on the promenade of Thessaloniki is always a good idea! Wherever you are, you can walk to your destination and see many hidden sights as you go. 

2. Choose carefully where you stay

Many hotels and hostels in Greece have started to implement sustainable practices. Wherever you travel in Greece, you will have a choice regarding sustainable accommodation.

Even if you choose to stay in a big city like Athens or Thessaloniki, you will definitely find a hotel that applies energy-saving practices, uses local products for the food they serve, has local vendors, local staff, etc. All these are sustainable practices and it is important to financially support the businesses who are trying to implement them.

For example, in northern Greece, in beautiful Halkidiki, you will find Nine Muses Studios, next to one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, Kalamitsi. The accommodation is located in nature, while the owners support sustainable tourism in many ways. Serving breakfast using excellent local products, supporting Greek wine and Greek beer producers, making sure they are reducing food waste, recycling, etc.

You will find such accommodations with similar action everywhere in Greece and there is a great range of hotels that are on board, so you will definitely find one that suits your taste and budget.

3. Eat locally

Insights Greece - How to be a Sustainable Traveller in Greece

During your vacation, try to taste the authentic recipes of the region you visit. In Greece, wherever you travel, you will find restaurants that cook with fresh and organic local ingredients, and the dishes are of great variety and quality.  This way, you support the local producers, but also the owners of the restaurants that support traditional Greek gastronomy.

For example, in Kalamata, the restaurant “Ta Rolla”, has already started to implement many sustainable practices, such as using local authentic products in all their dishes, offering food that is leftover every day to groups of people who need it, etc. In “Rolla” you can choose what to eat from a wide variety of local recipes and drinks.

4. Respect the environment

Wherever you are in Greece, you will no doubt have a great time. While you enjoy your holidays, show your respect towards Greek nature and the Greek cities, with your daily behaviour. Avoid reckless use of natural energy sources, avoid using plastic, avoid using a car even for your short transfers, in general, try to burden the environment as little as possible.

5. Support the local communities

Buy gifts and items from small local shops. You will have better service, better prices and this way, you will financially support the local community of the place you visit. Shopping is a first-class opportunity to meet the locals, to chat with them, and through this communication you can discover the special identity of each place.

6. Become one with nature

No matter what destination you decide to visit in Greece, try spending a day in an area with activities that bring you close to nature; such as bird watching, swimming in a lake, hiking in nature, etc. There are gorges of exceptional beauty in Greece such as Samaria in Crete and Vikos in Epirus, places where one can indulge in bird watching such as Dadia in Thrace or Lake Kerkini. Look for places where you can go horseback riding, or get to know one of the mythical rivers of Greece such as Acheron in Epirus or Ladonas in the Peloponnese.

Greece is an ideal holiday destination for millions of people around the world. It has imposing monuments, beautiful nature and most of all, hospitable people. Visit Greece as often as you can, and show the country and its people your love!

Maria Athanasopoulou is the founder of the tourism marketing company Respond On Demand. She is also the founder of the non-profit urban company Top Tourism. She serves as the Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the World Food Travel Association and she is also a Master Culinary Travel Professional. She serves as an ambassador of the World Gourmet Society in Greece and Cyprus, and she also serves as an ambassador of Green Destinations. She has given seminars for tourism professionals, as well as many speeches and presentations on tourism issues, in events in Greece and abroad. She is also a Sustainable Tourism marketing expert.

Cover image Nine Muses Studios