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Top destinations in Europe for a sustainable beach getaway



Europe’s oceans are not only a source of relaxation and enjoyment but also crucial for life on Earth. With World Oceans Day reminding us of the importance of protecting our seas, there are various ways you can explore Europe’s oceans responsibly this summer. From collecting rubbish while diving in Lisbon, Portugal, to helping protect the seabed in Tuscany, Italy, there are opportunities for every ocean enthusiast to give back to the sea. Here are some ways you can make a positive impact on your next beach break.

In Portugal, over 90% of the litter found on beaches is plastic, making it a pressing issue in the coastal areas. By joining a diving project in Lisbon or Barcelona, you can not only learn how to dive but also contribute to the removal of marine plastic. Organizations like Oyster Worldwide offer week-long programs where participants can collect rubbish from the sea bed and help marine life thrive in cleared areas. By combining your city break with a meaningful volunteering experience, you can make a difference while exploring the beauty of the ocean.

In Tuscany, Italy, efforts are being made to protect the seabed from illegal bottom trawling through an art installation called La Casa dei Pesci. This underwater museum not only serves as a barrier to illegal fishing practices but also raises awareness about the importance of preserving marine ecosystems. By donating to the project or joining a fishing excursion with local fisherman Paolo Fanciulli, you can support the conservation efforts in Maremma and learn about sustainable fishing practices firsthand.

Kefalonia, Greece, is known for being a nesting ground for endangered loggerhead turtles, but these turtles face numerous threats from human activities on the beaches. Organizations like Wildlife Sense offer volunteering opportunities to monitor and protect turtle nests, help hatchlings reach the sea, and clean beaches to ensure a safe environment for these creatures. By joining a conservation project in Kefalonia, you can contribute to efforts to protect these majestic sea turtles and their habitats.

For those interested in whale and dolphin conservation, the Pelagos Sanctuary in Italy offers a unique opportunity to monitor cetacean behavior and contribute to research efforts. By volunteering with the Tethys Research Institute aboard a research boat, you can help collect data on whale and dolphin populations in the protected waters of the sanctuary. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a first-time volunteer, there are opportunities to make a difference while enjoying the beauty of the Mediterranean sea.

If hands-on volunteering projects are not your cup of tea, citizen science projects on small ship expedition cruises offer another way to contribute to marine conservation efforts. By taking identification photographs of whales and other marine mammals during your cruise around Iceland or Greenland, you can help researchers build a better understanding of these elusive creatures. By participating in citizen science initiatives, you can make a meaningful contribution to marine research while enjoying the stunning landscapes of the Arctic Circle.

In conclusion, exploring Europe’s oceans responsibly this summer is not only a way to enjoy the beauty of the sea but also an opportunity to give back to marine ecosystems in need. Whether you choose to volunteer on a diving project, support a conservation initiative, or participate in citizen science projects, there are various ways to make a positive impact on the ocean. By taking small steps to protect our seas, we can ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the wonders of the ocean for years to come.

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