Did you know that there are 15 sustainably certified campsites in Austria?
If not, let us enlighten you. At the end of the blog post you will find a list of sustainable campsites.
But let's first address the question: What is a sustainable campsite?
Well, essentially these are campsites that not only make sure that the guests are well off on site, but also increasingly include environmental protection, a diverse biodiversity and the strengthening of regional production. In order to implement this in a sustainable way, there are various options for advice as well as certification. In Austria, these come mainly from the organisation Eco Camping and from the Austrian and European Eco-label.
To show you a good example of a sustainable campsite, we spoke to Gerhard from the Au an der Donau campsite in Upper Austria. This campsite can claim all three, the Eco Camping Award, the Austrian Eco-label and the European Eco-label.
Schau aufs Land: Dear Gerhard, since when has your campsite been certified sustainable and how did it come about?
Gerhard: In 2014, we were certified by Eco Camping and also received the Austrian and European Eco-labels. How? It just happened that way for us. We have had a sustainable operating philosophy from the very beginning and in the course of this we also had ourselves certified. We are proud to be sustainable and of course we want to show this to our guests.
Look at the countryside: What makes your campsite a sustainable campsite?
Gerhard: The measures for the environment and guests at our campsite are diverse and cover a wide range of areas. Our own photovoltaic system produces electricity with the power of the sun and our gastronomy is run as energy-efficiently as possible. In addition, it is very clear to us that we buy from our farmers in the region, i.e. we are not supplied with meat and vegetables by a wholesaler, but rather obtain our vegetables from the farmer in our community and all meat from the small butcher in the neighbouring community, who has 100 % animals from our farmers.
We source beer from Stiegl, which has hops from the Mühlviertel, i.e. our region. Our guests will not find plastic bottles or straws at our campsite, nor will they find jam or butter in small packaged portions. Then there is the fact that we actually plant a new tree species on our campsite every year. In other words, our small site now has more than 30 different tree species. We also plant a flower meadow every year and in autumn we plant about 3-5,000 flower bulbs that make everyone's heart beat faster in spring.
Look at the countryside: Why was/is it important to you to make your campsite sustainable?
Gerhard: Well, one thing is clear, not for economic reasons. Because then you would have to gravel all the pitches and not put any bushes between them. Then you would have the highest added value per m². We "lose" about 15 % of our area because we plant different hedges in between. Which means a lot more work on the one hand. But the whole thing is worth it, of course.
Many of our guests are now simply amazed at our park-like grounds. They ask us again and again if we can sell them flower seeds, or how beautiful the flower meadow is, or the spring flowers..... Or whether we know that we also have a beaver, or that deer sometimes come right up to the caravan at night. Or amazed because they saw the first kingfisher, or weren't sure if they heard the elusive oriole.
This and much more are reasons why it is important to us to design the site, the entire area, and meanwhile also projects around the campsite, in a sustainable way.
Look at the countryside: Do you have certain (additional) rules for your guests at the campsite due to sustainability?
Gerhard: No, no additional rules, because you cannot make sustainability through rules, you have to exemplify sustainability.
I don't know about you, but after this interview we definitely felt like going there to see for ourselves. Here to visit the website of Camping Au an der Donau.
And here we have created a map where you can find the 15 sustainably certified campsites in Austria. Have fun camping and feel free to refer to Schau aufs Land when visiting the campsites.
Contributed image: © Camping Au on the Danube