Travel is good for the mind, body, and spirit, but unfortunately, it’s not very good for the environment. Tourism places a lot of pressure on natural resources through overconsumption and can lead to increased pollution and natural habitat loss. If you want to play your part in protecting our planet, there are steps you can take to travel in an eco-friendly wayEco-friendly travel goes by many names, “green travel,” “eco-traveling,” “ethical traveling,” or “sustainable travel.” Whatever you call it; it all refers to a general mindful attitude and an effort to minimize your carbon footprint as you travel. To do this, you’ll want to look for destinations with a few key characteristics.
What to look for when eco-traveling?
Opportunities to go paperless
Walkability and public transportation via bus and train systems
Green hotel options or eco-friendly Airbnb
Opportunities to buy locally made products, buy second-hand, and support local small businesses.
A lot of access to green space
Consumption targets and climate plans. Ideally, ones that align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Bans on single-use plastics
High air quality and low pollution levels
Organic and urban farming
Before thinking this will severely limit your exploration opportunities, you might be surprised that amazing travel destinations worldwide are becoming eco-friendly.
Explore the Top 8 Green Cities Around the World
As the capital city of Austria, Vienna is a stunning city with a rich history. Once the home of musical geniuses like Beethoven and Mozart, art and culture ooze out of every inch of the town. From its neighborhood cafes to its historic opera houses and palaces, the city feels luxurious and sophisticated.
Amongst all that luxury, Vienna has created the largest public green space in Europe, with almost half the city covered in green. They also have a high level of conservation, circularity, wastewater management, clean air, and clean water.
Tourists and locals make excellent use of their incredible public transportation systems. There is a ban on plastic bags in the city, so be prepared to use reusable ones when you shop. And feel free to refill your water bottle with the natural spring water found in any tap throughout the city.
Green Hotel Suggestion: Boutiquehotel Stadthalle
As Sweden’s capital and largest city, Stockholm gives visitors a perfect taste of urban Scandinavian culture. Enjoy the beautiful museums and historic Royal Palance. To look back, visit the Gamla Stan, a medieval urban area.Trends in music, fashion, design, and technology were born in Stockholm, so it is no wonder it was also one of the first countries in the world to pass an environmental protection act. In 1967 they started to focus their efforts to become a more sustainable and eco-friendly city.
With 100% of operations powered by renewable sources; 99% of solid waste recycling; 80% of hotels certified sustainable, it’s no wonder they’ve become a role model for the rest of the world. By 2040 they aim to be fossil-free and climate-positive.
Green Hotel Suggestion: VP Plaza Espana Design
A country known for its stunning beaches, rainforests, and people, Brazil is a popular travel destination in Latin America. Home to football (soccer) legends like Pele and Neymar, Brazil is an important cultural, political, and economic center in Latin America. Curitiba is one of Brazil’s lesser-known travel destinations, but it is a wonderful place to get a taste of Brazilian culture while traveling sustainably.
The city’s sustainability efforts were designed to respect its nation’s rich culture and history. Since the 1970s, the city has planted over 1.5 million trees and opened 28 public parks. Citizens are given food and bus tokens in exchange for recycling, and they provide free sustainable living education for everyone.
Green Hotel Suggestion: Radisson Hotel Curitiba
Singapore is the most sustainable city in all of Asia. In the last 50 years, this city/state/nation has transformed into a green metropolis. Known as the “garden city,” Singapore hosts a multicultural community dedicated to becoming an eco ‘smart’ city.
Over 50% of the city is green space, but their plans are much more ambitious. With an entire branch of the government dedicated to developing renewable energy, green building planning, and conservation, it’s clear that saving the planet is vital to them.
Green Hotel Suggestion: PARKPOYAL COLLECTION Pickering
London is one of the most popular destinations in Europe. From the Gherkin skyscraper in the financial district to the iconic row houses in Notting Hill, you could easily spend weeks exploring this famous city’s diverse and fascinating neighborhoods.
Most people are familiar with London, England‘s pop culture and entertainment, but I bet you didn’t realize that it could be considered a green city.
More than 40% of London is public green spaces and parks. The city has one of the best public transportation systems in the world, and they are improving it by investing in diesel-electric hybrid buses. They are also redesigning parts of the city to become pedestrian and bicycle-only zones. Not to mention, London has some of the best zero-waste shops and thrift stores you will ever see.
Green Hotel Suggestion: The Corner - London City
As the city whose motto is “Keep Portland Weird,” it’s not surprising that Portland is not afraid to break away from the norm. Most US cities’ green efforts are minimal compared to Europe and parts of Asia and Latin America. But Portland is not one of them. With the highest number of urban parks per capita in the US, over 315 miles of bike paths, and plenty of pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, Portland is one of the most environmentally sustainable cities in the US.
Most residents fully embrace a FLOSS lifestyle (fresh, local, organic, seasonal, and sustainable). Because of this, plenty of zero-waste stores, thrift stores, and vegan/vegetarian options exist. You can shop at their famous Portland Saturday Market or enjoy the innovative doughnut flavors at VooDoo Doughnuts.
Green Hotel Suggestion: Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel
8 - Paris, FranceParis, France needs no introduction. A symbol of romance and love worldwide, Paris is one of the most famous destinations in all of Europe. It is to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Luxembourg Gardens, and the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. As well as fabulous cafes, fine dining, and iconic fashion. You can learn to enjoy effortless beauty and simple pleasures.
Despite being known for its decadence, Paris has prioritized sustainability since 2014. Over 900 miles of bike lanes have been put in, and they have plans to plant 170,000 trees by 2026. They also plan to ban diesel cars by 2024 and petrol cars by 2030. Over 50% of urban areas will also be converted to green space by 2030.
Green Hotel Suggestion: Hôtel Le Pavillon
Now you can explore your favorite cities without guilt.
These are just a few of the many incredible green cities worldwide. The number continues to grow yearly, making your opportunities to discover new cultures, without guilt, easier. You can protect the Earth and explore it!