What better way to relax and rejuvenate than by leaving the stresses and strains of everyday life behind.
You don't need to deprive yourself though. Check out our top tips for easy, fun and rewarding steps in the right direction. Uncover the Eco-Warrior in You. Uncover Northern Ireland.
1. Be A Tourist At Home
Forget planes, ferries, cars and trains. Leave all the fuss behind and get back to basics with a walking or cycling holiday in Northern Ireland. See our Walking and Cycling in Northern Ireland sections for ideas of routes as well as operators who can take the hassle out of organising your break. One suggestion is the Share Centre in County Fermanagh, which offers great packages and the centre itself is even green.
2. Explore Northern Ireland's Great Outdoors
Head outdoors and explore our beautiful landscapes. Northern Ireland has some glorious, sandy beaches, eight of which (plus one marina) currently hold the prestigious Blue Flag for their excellent environmental management and pristine water quality. Ideas include the seven-mile Benone Strand in County Londonderry or Tyrella Beach in County Down with its stunning views of the Mourne Mountains.
We also have numerous country and forest parks, full of wildlife and unusual trees and shrubs. These include the unique Peatlands Park in County Armagh, home to two National Nature Reserves, and Gortin Glen Forest Park in County Tyrone, with its scenic forest drive, waymarked walks and deer enclosure. For other ideas of places to visit, including historic buildings and estates, see Attractions in Northern Ireland.
3. Enjoy Northern Ireland's Top Green Experiences
There is plenty of clean, green fun to be had in Northern Ireland. Below are some suggestions for Counties Down and Fermanagh, or see Green Attractions for more ideas throughout Northern Ireland.
Follow the Silent Valley Nature Trail. This trail could be described as the Mournes Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in miniature, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy the natural environment of heathland habitats, observe up close a traditional Mourne dry stone wall, encounter remnants of cut granite echoing the days of quarrying in the Mournes and the feats of engineering that were the valley dams.
After an invigorating walk in the Mournes (which has obtained the Europarc Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas), unwind and rejuvenate in the SOAK bathhouse. This unique facility at the foot of the Slieve Donard uses sustainably harvested local seaweed and fresh sea water for hot seaweed baths which promise to detoxify and enrich the skin with vitamins.
Complete your day with a stroll through the Murlough Nature Reserve and lunch at the nearby Mourne Seafood Bar in Dundrum which uses fresh local produce from the County Down Coast. If you prefer to be hands-on, try the Mourne Seafood Cookery School in Kilkeel for an opportunity to learn about sourcing and preparing your own seafood. Your stay would not be complete without a stay in one of our accommodation properties with an environmental focus such as the Slieve Donard Hotel or the Tory Bush Cottages.
Enjoy an eco break or activity in the Greenbox. This eco tourism region, which includes County Fermanagh, offers a range of activities and breaks which meet high standards of environmental practice. From the ‘Xtreme Eco Adventure Challenge’ which involves trail running, mountain biking and kayaking, to a more leisurely painting and yoga break at Blaney Spa & Yoga Centre, all activities and breaks are designed with low environmental impacts in mind and encourage proactive nature conservation.
You can visit the environmentally conscious Share Holiday Village, an activity centre on the shores of Upper Lough Erne where 99% of its electricity and 90% of its heat is derived from renewable resources. Another option is award-winning Orchard Acre Farm near Irvinestown, which offers environmentally-focused short courses in cookery, gardening and creative craft, plus delicious gourmet food nights which make use of organic, fair trade and farm grown produce.
> For more eco-ideas see Sustainable Tourism in Northern Ireland