• 10 March 2021

Our Earth is an incredible place filled with impressive natural scenery, biodiversity and ecological systems that have been millennia in the making. These days, we are learning more and more about the importance of protecting our planet. Every year on 22 April, we celebrate Earth Day which is an annual event and a day of action to promote and protect the future of our natural world. More than one billion people across the globe take part in Earth Day celebrations; from local clean-ups to global mobilizations. The theme for Earth Day 2021 is “Restore Our Earth” to remind us of the opportunities that lay ahead. 

Being environmentally friendly is not a one-day thing! We can all be kinder to the earth in smalls ways whether it’s daily life or during our travels. To celebrate Earth Day 2021, we have put together a list of five eco-friendly “green cities” in Europe along with some tips on being more environmentally conscious while you travel. Take a look! 

Here are five of the most eco-friendly cities in Europe that you can visit:

1. Copenhagen, Denmark

If you’re looking for a “green city” to visit, the capital of Denmark is an excellent option! Copenhagen is an eco-friendly city with sustainability at the heart of its urban planning and many of its policies. It aims to become carbon-neutral by 2025 and is home to Copenhill – a waste-to-power energy plant topped with a ski slope! Visit Copenhagen and explore by bicycle (it is one super bike-friendly city!), catch an electric bus, swim in the natural pools and snack on some delicious, local-grown organic goods. 

Woman on bicycle Copenhagen Denmark Earth Day
Discover the colours, culture and vibe of Copenhagen by bike!

Related: Go green and explore Copenhagen on a group tour.

2. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon was named Europe’s Green Capital in 2020. The city has embarked on a journey towards sustainability and economic growth, making it a role model for other cities looking to do the same. Lisbon is looking to become carbon-neutral by 2050 and is emphasizing eco-friendly thinking across the city with initiatives such as bike-sharing and e-bikes (remember: Lisbon is a hilly city so it is great to get some help while pedalling!). Lisbon kicked off their year of being the Green capital when 4,500 locals planted 20,000 trees in one day in early January 2020.

Woman admires views in Lisbon Portugal Earth Day
Europe’s Green Capital for 2020 should definitely be on your travel list!

Related: Take a trip and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Lisbon.

3. Stockholm, Sweden

Many Scandinavian cities emphasize the importance of eco-friendly living and Stockholm is one of them! Sweden’s capital has a super “green outlook”. It was one of the first cities to win the European Green Capital awards. Nearly half of the city consists of green spaces so you will never be short of fresh air – despite it being a popular, fast-growing city! Stockholm’s citizens recycle all household waste and the city aims to run completely on renewable energy by 2040! Visit Stockholm and enjoy the incredible outdoor spaces, tuck into eco-friendly food and make use of efficient public transport (and don’t forget to recycle!).

View of Gamla Stan Old Town in Stockholm Sweden Earth Day
Wander through Gamla stan (Old Town) in Stockholm.

Related: See the captivating highlights of Stockholm when you travel through Scandinavia.

4. Ljubljana, Slovenia

This historic city is steeped in stories and topped by an impressive castle. It is also an environmentally friendly city and was Europe’s Green Capital in 2016. The city is made up of 75% of green spaces and has a whopping 230km worth of cycling routes! Visit Ljubljana where you can stroll around the car-free city centre and get to spots across the capital using one of the Kavalirs (electric-powered vehicles which you can use for free). Meander under trees and along the riverbanks. Or even relax in one of the city’s green spaces with a picnic filled with local produce! 

View of Ljubljana Slovenia Earth Day
This storybook-like city is also incredibly eco-friendly!

Related: Visit Ljubljana and experience the beauty of one of the greenest cities in Europe.

5. Oslo, Norway 

Another Scandinavian capital with eco-friendliness at its heart! Oslo was the 2019 European Green Capital. It is filled with car-free districts as well as eco-friendly transport, accommodation and activities! Norway’s capital city is home to Vulkan – an environmentally friendly neighbourhood that is completely run by solar power and geothermal wells. From new developments to tourism, Oslo seeks to be as eco-conscious as possible! Visit Oslo and explore the city by bike or on foot. Head into the nearby forests for a hiking adventure or even go for a (sometimes icy!) morning swim at Tjuvholmen in the city centre!

View of river and city in Oslo Norway Earth Day
Oslo is a city of culture, invention and natural beauty!

Related: Explore green cities, fjords and Viking history on a trip to Norway

Small ways to travel more sustainably

Being kinder to the planet and restoring our earth should be a task we take on throughout the year. One of the ways we can do this is by being environmentally friendly when we travel. Here are a few small ways to make your trip more eco-friendly:

  • Recycle: No matter where you travel, recycling as much as you can is a great way to be more environmentally friendly.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle: This is a simple way to reduce plastic waste. Some cities like Paris, Rome and Ljubljana have drinking fountains where you can refill your water bottles for free. 
  • Make use of reusable face masks: Instead of using disposable masks, a re-usable fabric face mask is a great way to reduce your waste (just be sure to carry a spare and wash it regularly!). 
  • Take a reusable shopping bag to local markets: Another easy way to reduce single-plastic use, whether you are shopping for produce or a few locally-produced souvenirs.
  • Treat your hotel as your home: This may sound like an odd one but it is a great way to travel more eco-consciously. Turn off the lights, aircon and TV when leaving your hotel room. Shorter showers also help reduce water use. 

Earth Day reminds us of the beauty and wonder of our planet, as well as the importance of protecting it for future generations. We can all help in our own small ways from recycling more to choosing eco-friendly destinations to visit. Start thinking green and plan your next trip to one of the destinations above, today!

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