If you are thinking of heading into Europe to explore some of the many cities on offer, then you really are spoilt for choice. However, if you are going on a city break, then why not think about heading to one of the many green cities that support sustainable tourism in Europe?
A sustainable city aims to promote sustainable tourism and across Europe there are many cities that are now recognised as being so. In fact, all of the destinations below have been perceived as some of the best in Europe.
The aim of sustainable cities is to draw attention to the values, diversity and common features of tourist destinations. It improves the visibility of those cities that share good practices throughout Europe in a way that promotes sustainability on a recognised level.
All of these destinations have been chosen because of the way in which they commit to the social, cultural and environmental sustainability of tourism.
Take a look a the following destinations and find yourself a special eco-friendly holiday in one of these green cities in Europe.
Ljubljana – Slovenia
The beautiful city of Ljubljana promotes a sustainable and eco-friendly level of tourism that really puts it on the map. When you visit the city, you can explore it by use of public transport. But by bike is perhaps one of the best ways to explore the wonderful green areas as well as the many tourist attractions on offer. The city has also created a CO2 sink where it has put aside 1400 hectares of forest to further support its green credentials. With cobbled streets, wonderful restaurants and cafes, Ljubljana is a destination that is well worth a visit.
London – United Kingdom
London is hardly a city that springs to mind when you think of eco-friendly cities but it is doing its bit. It is now known as one of the greenest cities in the world partly down to its hybrid buses. The buses can take you around the sites including Tower Bridge, The London Eye and Buckingham Palace.
When entering London by car it charges drivers a congestion charge to drive into the city. With the Boris Bikes on offer, you can get around easily and cheaply without damaging the environment.
Of course, London has lots to offer visitors. With a hotel located in the centre of the city, it is easy to get around and visit the top tourist destinations.
Copenhagen – Denmark
The capital of Denmark is a city that is filled with natural beauty. Copenhagen is committed to doing its bit for the environment as it aims to be carbon neutral by 2025. So, when you arrive, the first thing you will notice that the majority of people ride around on bicycles. There are over 450km of bike lanes and that means that getting around is easier than most cities. Copenhagen is vibrant, colourful and full of history making it an interesting city break in many ways.
Vienna – Austria
As a green city, Vienna spends a lot of effort into introducing water initiatives. The lush mountain springs provide the water and then the city uses the gravitational energy to create electricity. Along with its eco-friendly background, Vienna is a modern city with a great history and plenty of attractions to visit. Hop on an open-top bus and take in the sights, visit the Hofburg Palace and explore the Sigmund Freud Museum. There is plenty to see and do here, making it a worthwhile trip.
Hamburg – Germany
Hamburg has committed itself to reduce Co2 emission by as much as 40% by 2020. Although that was an ambitious target, it has reduced it by 15% compared to levels seen in 1990. The city has sought to provide residents with easy access to public transport and green areas of which can be seen all around the city. This bustling cosmopolitan metropolis has a lot to offer tourists. This includes the brew houses where you can sample the famous German beer or take a trip to the International Maritime Museum. For some fun why not head to the Miniatur Wunderland, where you can find miniature models of places all around the world. Sample some great coffee shops and some bratwurst while exploring the city and embrace this wonderful destination.
Zurich – Switzerland
When it comes to going green and dealing with waste, Zurich has recycling down to a fine art. They have significantly reduced their waste output when compared to other European cities. This makes them extremely green and that is why Zurich is up there as one of the top destinations. There is plenty to see and do here with the gorgeous Lake Zurich being one of the main attractions as well as Zurich Zoo. You can spend hours wandering around this amazing city with its blend of historic architecture and modern designs.
Stockholm – Sweden
Stockholm was crowned the very first European Green Capital in 2010 and since it has gone from strength to strength. The city is filled with people walking or cycling as this is how 70% of the population gets around. All this is helping to reduce its impact on the environment. The buses that you can use to get around will be running on renewable fuel. By 2050 the aim is to make the city completely fossil fuel free.
However, this is a city that doesn’t disappoint when it comes to tourism because there is so much to do. A visit to the Vasa Museum will give you the chance to view the stunning warship. While art and medieval history underpin all that this city has to offer.
Helsinki – Finland
Helsinki is another famous city that is leading from the front when it comes to going green. The city not only has amazing recycling processes but the majority of people in the city choose to walk or cycle. It is a stunning city and with beautiful areas such as Esplanadi and Seurasaaris Island. They are perfect during the summer months, and you can really embrace the wonderful outdoors. In the city centre, you can explore the Old Market Hall as well as the Linnanmaki amusement park. The park is 65 years old and perfect for getting those white knuckle thrills that you crave.
Amsterdam – The Netherlands
The beautiful Amsterdam, with its canals, coffee shops and rich history, is up there as one of the best cities. Especially when it comes to waste, land use, water and transportation. Cycling is all the rage here and when you visit, it is worth taking to a bike to get around. Take a trip on the canals or head to one of the many museums such as the famous Anne Frank house. Or simply spend time in some of the glorious parks. Amsterdam is full of charm, beauty and culture in abundance.
So there you have it, the green cities of Europe. With ecotourism growing in importance, take a city break in these European destinations and support their sustainability efforts.