WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL ?

Over the past couple of years there has been a lot written about sustainable travel and lifestyle. It’s becoming fashionable to use the term, sustainable responsible tourism, adding it to our conversations and articles more or less as a buzz word without really explaining or honestly understanding the terminology.

During this period of the Covid pandemic, I have had time to stop and think. After many discussions, reading many articles, and watching many documentaries, I have come to the realisation that I want to contribute to the continuing wellness of our planet and our local community.

I agree, for many of us it can become confusing trying to understand what it means to be ecologically responsible, but particularly over this past few years I have come to realise it’s all about the simple things in life! Turning the air conditioner off when we go out, turning the lights off when they are not needed, buying fresh local products, reducing water wastage, and recycling our fashion garments, reducing the use of plastic, drinking fresh clean water, and eating freshly grown food.

Mass tourism is big business, bringing billions of dollars to International companies, and at the same time is the cause of mass destruction to our global environment, both flora, fauna and creating mass pollution.

In my home town of Split, I am fortunate to be living in an area of clean fresh air by the sea, however our glorious Dalmatian Coast is always a source of concern. Over-tourism, like over-fishing can exhaust an area’s resources and eventually strip away it’s natural charm.

For many years all the tour itineraries at My Hidden Croatia have focused on small group unique tours exploring the scenic coastline by land and on sea, sailing through our azure waters, rafting down rivers, hiking through island villages, learning how olive oil is pressed; devouring delicious cuisine and guzzling superb local wines. We suggest truffle hunting, cooking classes, and exploring the rustic hilltowns and vineyards on the Istrian peninsula; discovering the ancient Roman remains in Split; exploring the Konavle Valley south of Dubrovnik, walking and admiring the splendour of the Plitvica National Park; not forgetting our capital of Zagreb with it’s maze of modern museums, art galleries, and fine food. Around and beyond Zagreb towards the East, we find magical castles and forts, nature parks, and walking trails. All waiting for the discerning traveller to discover. This is what I call sustainable responsible travel!

One of my most favourite itineraries is an 8 day slow tour of Island Brač, the island of white stone, in Central Dalmatia. Most visitors take a day tour from Split, however I believe much of the untouched beauty and history of Brač warrants almost a full week to discover the untouched delights and to learn a little about the way of life on this island of unspoilt charm.

Many people love to sail our coastline. The favourite and busiest route is from Split to Dubrovnik through many of the more popular islands. Sailing on smaller vessels accommodating up to 12 guests is highly suggested. The sailing route can include visits to island vineyards, mooring in coves and hidden bays known to these Dalmatian captains and crews. They know all the secrets, the best places for delicious seafood and the most scenic spots and villages along the way. Other popular less busy sailing routes are from Trogir to Zadar, sailing through the Kornati Islands including Šibenik, and the northern Dalmatian islands. The natural environment of the northern route is truly a nature lover’s dream!

At My Hidden Croatia, we can advise you on boat, yacht, and catamaran charter, assisting you with your booking, assuring you of not only the best vessel available, but also a captain and crew that are well known for their seamanship, knowledge and personality.

Our tours are designed according to the interests of our guests. We take into consideration age groups, fitness, budget, cultural and historical interests, length of stay, and any other special request. Our services include tour planning with or without a tour escort, however we strongly suggest the inclusion of hand-picked local guides in each of the destinations to be visited.

Within my own home, I am doing my best to be responsible. I have 3 bins for rubbish. Paper, plastic, and organic waste. I conserve electrical energy as much as possible; I take my basket to the fruit and vegetable market; I have removed all plastic items. I really enjoy vintage seconds shopping, adding some great finds of fashion in natural fibres of linen, cotton and silks to my wardrobe. However, I have a love of fine Italian shoes, and comfortable walkers for the outdoors. Joining local charities and volunteer clean up groups is also on my list, and something I also enjoy. From planting trees to beach clean ups is always a great way to be involved in the community.

Leading a more responsible sustainable lifestyle can be attained in small steps, taking actions, no matter how small, day by day.

Robyn Vulinovich April 2021

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