Sustainability is our generation’s favorite new buzzword. But how many people are living up to the call?
The COVID-19 pandemic taught us we could not take our planet for granted. As a result, humans are starting to adopt sustainable measures into their daily lives and practices. One way people can protect the environment is to travel sustainably.
Sustainable travel means traveling in a way that reduces our carbon footprint. On average, traveling requires a significant amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) expenditure. This results in a rise in the Earth’s average temperature.
Contrary to popular belief, adopting sustainable travel practices does not mean you should stop exploring countries and experiencing new cultures. Instead, it means travelling to cities known for having eco-friendly options like green spaces, sustainable transport options, and restaurants that limit excessive meat consumption.
As travel restrictions across Europe begin to lift it’s time to start dreaming of your next sustainable vacation.
Below, we have curated a list of eco-friendly cities to visit so you can experience the world and contribute to the environment while doing it. That’s a win-win in our book!
Paris is known for its delicious food, breathtaking monuments, romantic architecture, and trendsetting fashion. However, the French capital is also being recognized for its eco-friendly initiatives. France (as is Paris) is a pivotal player in the Paris Agreement, which calls on countries to combat climate change and reduce CO2 emissions.
Paris honors this pledge by incorporating more green spaces into the city’s architecture and preserving its existing parks and nature. Paris already has more than 100 hectares of green buildings. Still, the city plans to add more green roof gardens to museums and businesses.
Paris prides itself on its many diverse parks and gardens with some 480 parks and gardens that are ready to explore.
One can’t mention Paris without talking about its food, though. The French value cooking with fresh organic ingredients. For this reason, you can find weekly pop-up markets in every arrondissement. If you are heading to a park, make sure to stop by a market and grab some delicious, inexpensive fruits and vegetables.
Recently, Paris has transformed itself into a safer bike city. Tourists and residents have ditched traditional forms of transportation in favor of biking. There’s so much beauty the city offers. Grab a bike, and take a look for yourself.
Amsterdam is a charming city populated by stunning colorful houses and romantic, dim-lit canals.
Voted the fifth most eco-friendly city globally, Amsterdam is the perfect blend of a young, vibrant city dedicated to sustainability. The city hopes to drop emissions by 40 percent by 2025. To achieve this daunting feat, Amsterdam focuses on sustainable transport around the city, and it’s no surprise to see more bikes on the road than actual cars. Residents often joke that their city contains more bikes than people.
Amsterdam offers food lovers more than 800 restaurants that serve vegetarian options. Similarly, they have a variety of indoor and outdoor food markets where visitors can stumble upon organic fruits and vegetables as well as freshly made pastries.
When it comes to sustainable and energy-efficient cities in Europe, Copenhagen always makes the list. Currently, the Dutch city is on track to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital.
Copenhagen has remodeled its transportation system to no longer rely on diesel. Buses and boats will now run using either electric or solar-powered engines. As it currently stands, Copenhagen is one of the safest cities and most accessible cities to bike in. The city boasts over 450 kilometers of bike lanes, making it Europe’s reigning bike city capital. Free rental bike services are available to all, whether you are a resident or a tourist.
Sustainability is at the core of Berlin’s goals. The city’s climate commitments are to become climate neutral by 2050. Additionally, the German capital aims to cut CO2 emissions by one-third.
Berlin is one of the greenest European cities with over 2,500 acres of green space. Nature lovers will be delighted to know that the city contains more parks, gardens, and forests than any other European city.
For those looking to expand their food palate, look no further than Berlin. The cosmopolitan city has a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan restaurants that will convert any skeptic.
When people think of sustainable cities, Lisbon often goes unmentioned. This changed in 2020 when Lisbon was named Europe’s Greenest Capital. In the last few decades, Lisbon has genuinely embraced an eco-journey. This journey includes restricting car use in favor of walking, cycling, and public transport.
For those who insist on visiting locations by car, Lisbon encourages tourists to use electric vehicles as an alternate method of transportation. The Portuguese capital has one of the most comprehensive electric mobility systems in all of Europe.
Did your ideal travel destination make the list? Whether the answer is yes or no, there are several ways you can make your travel destination more eco-friendly. Selecting eco-friendly tours or travel packages is one way. Check out Travel Neutral’s ultimate sustainable trips for carbon-conscious travelers. These all-inclusive packages allow tourists to explore European destinations on a lighter carbon footprint.