three white windmills on green field under blue sky

The eco-friendly guide to Greece

Greece is known for its natural beauty and ancient history. However, Greece is below the average of the European Union regarding sustainability. This has to do with the crisis that started in 2008. Since then, the country has been preoccupied with economic and social issues. The Greeks had to find a way to survive, making sustainability an unaffordable luxury. Recently change started, now that the worst part of the crisis was over. Today, there is finally room to think about improvement. New goals include digitalization and sustainable tourism, but Greece also started working on its first plans for becoming a more eco-friendly country. Many organizations and initiatives are working to protect the country’s environment and promote eco-friendly practices. Here are some of the top eco-friendly practices in Greece:

Sustainable tourism

The Greek government has implemented several measures to promote sustainable tourism, including the certification of eco-friendly hotels and the development of hiking trails and cycling routes. Many tour operators and travel agencies also promote eco-friendly tourism. Greece offers a wide range of eco-friendly accommodations, from traditional villages and rural houses, to modern hotels and resorts. Besides, there are some islands that take it even further, trying to become examples of what sustainable tourism should be like.

Car-free islands

Greek car-free islands are a shining example of sustainable and eco-friendly tourism. These islands have made a conscious choice to limit or entirely prohibit motorized vehicles, creating an environment that prioritizes sustainability, environmental conservation, and a high quality of life for residents and visitors alike. Here’s an overview of these car-free islands and their sustainability efforts:

  • Hydra
    Located in the Saronic Gulf, Hydra is one of the most famous car-free islands in Greece. Here, transportation primarily relies on donkeys, water taxis, and walking. The absence of cars contributes to clean air and minimal noise pollution. This approach not only enhances the island’s natural beauty but also preserves its historical character.
  • Spetses
    Another island in the Saronic Gulf, Spetses, has limited motorized vehicle access and encourages alternative modes of transportation such as bicycles and horse-drawn carriages. This eco-conscious approach aligns with the island’s commitment to sustainability and maintaining its unique charm.
  • Alonissos
    Alonissos, part of the Northern Sporades island group, has implemented various sustainability initiatives, including eco-friendly transportation options. The island encourages the use of electric scooters and bicycles, reducing the environmental impact of traditional vehicles.
  • Schinoussa
    Schinoussa, a small Cycladic island, is an excellent example of sustainable living and eco-tourism. Visitors can explore the island on foot or by bicycle, and efforts have been made to reduce waste and conserve energy.
  • Agistri
    Located near Athens, Agistri is a car-free island that promotes eco-friendly transportation options such as bicycles, electric scooters, and horse-drawn carriages. The absence of cars contributes to a tranquil and pollution-free environment.
E-mobility on Astypalea

Since 2020 Astypalea, a small island in the cyclades, became the first “smart & sustainable island in the Mediterranean“. The old and pollutant buses that used to be the only means of transportation on the island, are replaced with vehicle sharing services offering e-scooters, e-bikes, and electric cars. Energy to charge these vehicles is generated from local, renewable power sources, such as solar and wind. The goal is to create an island with zero climate impact mobility.

No water waste on Lipsi

Lipsi is one of the few Greek islands that choose sustainability over attracting tourists. The small island is located in the East of the Aegean sea, in the northern part of the Dodecanese. While less than 800 people live on the island, over 30,000 tourists come to stay during the summer. As a result, water and a spot on one of the beaches got sparse for the locals while tourists enjoyed the island from their pool or paid-for sunbed on the beach.

The solution the island came up with was a brave one, no more sunbeds or swimming pools. Instead, there is just nature. The sea to swim in, and the sand to lie on, simple and fair. Besides, the ban on swimming pools will severely reduce water waste on the island. Curious if you can stay in Greece without a swimming pool? Check out this guide!

Sustainable accommodations in the rest of Greece

While other parts of Greece are not as sustainable oriented as the islands mentioned above, there are still many things to consider when you look for an eco-friendly accomodation in Greece. To help, recently included a sustainability score for their accommodations, check the availability in your Greek travel destination below!

Renewable energy

Greece had set a goal to produce 60% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and has implemented policies to encourage the development of wind and solar power. Today, the country is at 29 percent, which is an increase of 21% since the start of the crisis. On top of the country’s mountains, you can find wind turbines, and in remote areas solar farms are installed. Let’s hope we will keep seeing more of them! Because with the amount of sunlight in Greece, solar energy should be one of the top eco-friendly practices.

Environmental education

The Greek government has implemented programs to promote environmental education, including the creation of nature schools and the development of educational programs for schools.

Besides, many of the Greek beaches are granted a Blue Flag Beach award. One of the main goals of Blue Flag is to connect people to their surroundings. Each awarded beach has to inform visitors about ecosystems and provide environmental education activities.

Conservation of endangered species

The Greek government has implemented several measures to protect endangered species, including the creation of national parks and the development of conservation programs. Here are my two favorites:

  • Arcturos
    Not many people know that Greece is home to wild brown bears. And if environmental organizations wouldn’t have been active, they will soon disappeared from the Greek mountains. Arcturos is one of the organizations protecting these bears and their habitat.
  • The National Marine Park of Alonissos.
    This marine park was the first park established in Greece and is today the largest marine protected area in Europe, with 2.265 km2. The N.M.P.A.N.S. aims to protect and preserve rare species and their habitats, like dolphins, seals, and sea turtles. But the organization also focuses on archeological, cultural, and historical significance.


Greece has a rich biodiversity, with many rare and endemic species. Many organizations are working to protect and preserve this biodiversity, including the creation of protected areas, the protection of wetlands, and the management of invasive species.

Sustainable agriculture

Many farmers in Greece are implementing sustainable agriculture practices, such as crop rotation, organic farming, and the use of traditional farming methods.

Green buildings

The Greek government has implemented policies to promote green building practices and energy efficiency in new buildings.

Sustainable transportation

Sustainable means of transportation are hard to find in Greece. Train and metro networks are scarce and limited to Athens. Outside the capital, fossil fuel buses are often the only option. Besides, large areas of the mainland and islands are inaccessible for electric cars due to a lack of chargers. 

The good thing is that Greece is on the way to changing this with the implementation of eco-friendly practices. The Greeks are offered tax reductions and subsidies when they choose to go electric, and municipalities will install new charging stations. In addition, the Greek government has implemented policies to promote the development of cycling and walking infrastructure, and the promotion of public transport.

Conservation of cultural heritage

The Greek government has implemented several measures to protect the country’s cultural heritage, including the restoration of ancient monuments and the development of archaeological parks.

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Girl traveling in Greece on small boat over blue water

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