Our Walking Philosophy
Walk Towards 'No Footprint'
We are dedicated towards encouraging low-impact activity holidays, such as walking, and minimising our negative impact on the environment and people.
We are committed to building a sustainable future for our community, and believe that the best way to protect our natural environment is by educating people about the unique flora, fauna and culture of our region.
Walk as a naturalist
All the members of our team are naturalists and aim to introduce you to the unique nature and culture of our land. They are passionate about promoting Greece as a walking holiday destination, about the survival and conservation of the paths and local wildlife and sustainable tourism in general.
All our holidays, guides and businesses we cooperate share:
- Respect the local community and character of the area,
- Benefit the local community,
- Respect and contribute to the conservation of the environment.
Βy supporting our network you are supporting our and our partners’ efforts towards the evolution of the tourist industry in Greece to a more humane and sustainable model.
Walk with an eco focus
We are trying, through all our walking holidays in Greece, to encourage travellers to approach places they visit with greater understanding and respect.
We will inform our guests about the unique flora and endemic and common species they will encounter using presentations, photos and observations. We give guidelines on where to look for them, how to approach them so as not to disrupt their life, how to observe their behaviours or even capture a unique picture showing the rest of the world their magic.
Guests leave aware of the environmental issues faced and how to minimise them. They take home memories and knowledge that stays with them for a lifetime.
Our Walking Aims & Values:
We encourage our guests to behave in an environmentally responsible manner.
- NoFootprint takes you to visit natural places untouched by mass tourism. Many of the paths we’re walking on are part of national parks, or natural reserves. This way, tourism becomes a tool for exploring environmentally important areas and supporting the protection of these habitats and their wilderness.
- We minimize our environmental impact by exploring in small groups and as much as possible getting around on foot or by public transport.
- We opt out of internal flights within our travels and plan our island hopping, using the local connecting ferry lines.
- Our walks are organized mainly during the months that are off the high touristic season, as it is difficult to walk under the hot summer sun. Hence, our impact on the heavily burdened islandic life is minimized and at the same time there is no need for imported goods to satisfy the mass demand and we are able to enjoy healthy locally grown products.
- During our walks we give special care to the areas we visit by paying attention not to litter, or even pick up leftover trash. Your guide will always carry a bio-disposable bag with them.
- During the walks we emphasize the importance of the natural areas of Greece and point out specific examples of Mediterranean flora and fauna we encounter. We find it to be important to encourage and develop a passion for wildlife and wild places amongst our customers (many of whom are novices, trying this form of holiday for the first time).
- Of course, you need to remember that all wildlife sightings are a bonus; none are guaranteed! We ask our guests to never remove a specimen – whether plant, seed or animal – from its natural environment.
- We practice Responsible Wildlife viewing. Even when we do encounter wildlife during our walks, it is important to understand that it’s their habitat there too and we must by no means disturb their natural behaviour or attempt contact with them. Wild animals are called wild because they are not used to human interaction and even if they may not be top predators, they can become aggressive or hostile as a result of your stance towards them. No animal will try to harm you in any way if you leave it alone and observe it from afar.
- By showing our interest in the local wildlife and environment to the drivers, the hotel owners and other local staff, we are actively developing their pride and interest in their environment. Our presence in low-tourism areas makes a difference by highlighting to the local people how important it is that they protect their land and the environment.
- We ask you to consider what you need to take on your holiday carefully before you travel, removing all unnecessary packaging and wrapping. Many of our destinations do not have the same recycling and waste facilities as you do in your country, so we gather all your non-biodegradable waste (particularly plastics, used batteries, etc.) and bring it safely to Athens in order to ensure it is reliably disposed of.
- During your walks you will be provided with a re-usable water filter, which you can install in your water bottle to refill it from the tap each day before you go out. We also often encounter springs during our walks, where the water is of the finest quality. Please remember, not to drink water from rivers before you ask your guide.
- In NoFootprint we stand against unnecessary plastic usage, hence we will provide you with a reusable shopping bag to take with you during your supermarket visits.
- We often organize beach clean up initiatives and invite the local people to join us.
- We also organize tree planting initiatives, where we only plant indigenous species in rural areas that need the extra support. Especially after recent wildfire incidents.
- We support the work of local NGOs that work for the benefit of the natural environment and the local wildlife.
- All our business waste is recycled. All communication is done electronically where possible, saving on paper.
We take a series of actions for incorporating the locals to our efforts, such as:
- We always opt for small, locally owned, family-run accommodation.
- We use local guides which support the underemployment of the rural areas of Greece and support the local community.
- We also make sure to involve local communities wherever possible in our operations, and to ensure that they receive a fair share of the benefits of alternative tourism. This means that we try to bring our guests to local festivals and celebrations, visit artists’ workshops, and other local workers so that they get a fair glimpse of the Cycladic lifestyle and the local customs and traditions. At the same time, we encourage our guests to mix and interact with the local people who are particularly friendly and hospitable.
- We also encourage our guests to shop souvenirs from small businesses and thus support poor families whose only incomes come from the summer high season. In many villages we visit local craftswomen who make their own handmade traditional products and by selling them, support their families.
- All our products for our picnics are bought from the local markets and we prefer products that are locally grown according to the season, supporting the agricultural community that has suffered very much by the dry and arid climate of the Cyclades. These products are directly distributed to us, without intermediates and big companies in the middle.
- Evening meals are all taken in family-owned tavernas that serve typical Greek, Mediterranean and Cycladic dishes.
We have the greatest respect for the local people and their customs and are anxious to share our knowledge of island lifestyle with our guests. In order to limit the social impact of tourism all are guests are introduced to the local customs, religion, politics and history during our walks.
- Of course it is important that we do not appear in the suburban areas as experts from the capital and that the local people have final say in how to act in their home land.
- We respect all local customs and traditions, and we try to blend in and not act with judgement against anything that appears strange or unfamiliar to our guests.
Transport will usually be the primary carbon contributor of any holiday. But what you eat (your holiday ‘foodprint’) can not only exceed your accommodation impacts, but also your transport emissions. We try to be representatives of the no footprint cause by:
- Using public transports as much as possible, which means choosing ferries for travel within the islands, buses to reach our destinations or local taxis whenever necessary!
- Offering Walking Holidays, which by nature leave nothing but footprints.
- Collaborating with local guides in order to minimize or even eliminate inland travelling.
- Offering low carbon food choices, by opting for a plant-based diet or meat and dairies that are locally raised. Besides, this is Greece you are visiting, so by definition your dietary experience will be no match to any other and offer a superb variety of choices.
- Preferring seasonal products, even by the very owners of the establishments, who in their majority grow the produces themselves in their own personal gardens. Our visits to their land off the high season, is a great aid to that cause.
- Staying in small, family-run businesses that have proved to be more sustainable than 4* big hotel chains.