‘Bee tourism’ has been a travel industry buzzword for a few years now and this surge of interest in saving the bees (and by extension, the planet) has inspired plenty of travel destinations to provide bee-friendly experiences and holidays.
Similarly inspired, we’ve collected the best places to travel if you want to give bees a chance.
At Chewton Glen the hum of honeybees is never far away
Life at the New Forest-based Chewton Glen has an unusual soundtrack. As you explore the gardens, collecting eggs from the local chickens and admiring the views of the Wye Valley, the gentle hum of honeybees is never far away.
With over 50 beehives, the owners of Chewton Glen have enough honey to sell locally and provide guests with a mouth-watering array of traditional English desserts. The beehives are kept in a specially-designed wildflower meadow behind the house and guests can help with collecting the honey.
Carmel Valley Ranch the ranch is home to 60,000 Italian honey bees
California was one of the first destinations to combine saving the bees and responsible tourism. Of the many travel experiences here to choose from, one of our favourites is the Carmel Valley Ranch. Surrounded by fields of lavender (including over 7,000 individual plants) and over a hundred varieties of wild flower, the ranch is home to 60,000 Italian honey bees.
Visitors can spend their days hiking the country trails, playing a few rounds on the ranch golf course, and sampling all the different honey products, followed by an evening in front of the wood-burning stoves.
Slovenia is a nation of beekeepers
The national bee of Slovenia – the Carniolan honey bee – is a hardy little beast, and it’s easy to see why Slovenians are so keen to protect it. A nation of beekeepers, Slovenia has roughly 9,700 beekeepers and over 170,000 hive colonies. But not only are the Carniolan bees magnificent honey-makers, they are also very good natured as they hardly ever sting.
Žirovnica (near the resort town of Bled) was home to Anton Janša, known locally as the founder of modern beekeeping. Janša’s beehives are still based here and aspiring beekeepers can watch the honey being harvested before taking a few jars down for a pre-dinner snack at the Fine Stay Apartments.
International bee fans can sponsor a hive at the Adelaide Bee Sanctuary
Visitors don’t even need to travel to Adelaide in order to support Australian bees, although the beautiful landscape, coastline and weather will mean that you’ll probably want to. International bee fans can sponsor a hive at the Adelaide Bee Sanctuary, while visitors are given a tour of both the sanctuary and the local rooftop gardens where residents do their bit to help the bees.
There are regular workshops to help build ‘bee hotels’ for lonely or lost bees, and human-sized hotels are also getting in on the act; Miller Apartments – next to the Adelaide Botanic Garden – is one of the city’s newest eco-friendly hotels and the owners are committed to helping the bees via stable, sustainable initiatives.
Nearly 30kg is harvested every year at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel
The roof of the Paris Opera House has been home to a colony of honey bees for over 25 years and in 2000 Paris announced that the city was a ‘pesticide-free zone’. Since this piece of legislation was implemented the bee population has risen and many other landmark buildings now have their own rooftop honey bees.
Including the Mandarin Oriental Hotel (which has over 50,000 bees in its rooftop hive) where nearly 30kg of honey is harvested every year. The hotel’s guests get first dibs on the honey and the its restaurant has incorporated it into everything from desserts to cocktails.