Are you looking for somewhere to spend your next European holiday that will not only be beautiful but also eco-friendly? More European cities are realizing the benefits of eco-friendly infrastructure and practices. These cities are well-designed, green and innovative, with creative and elegant solutions to climate change.
If you want to take a city break in a beautiful, environmentally conscious city, why not check out one of these options? These ideas will help you plan your next eco-friendly holiday.
eoco-friendly cities in Europe
Image from Flickr’s Creative Commons
When you arrive in Amsterdam, one of the first things you will notice is the bicycles. Bikes are chained to everything that doesn’t move and parked on every available street corner. Locals and tourists alike ride the Dutch-style roadsters with broad seats, curved handlebars and baskets.
Biking has been an essential part of the culture in Amsterdam for decades. At least 75 percent of the local residents own a bicycle. It is the most common mode of transportation in Amsterdam, and the streets are designed to be bike-friendly. While you are here, rent a bike from a bike rental agency and explore the city on two wheels. Be sure to check out the Van Gogh Museum and the Ann Frank House, too.
In many large cities, the surrounding water becomes so full of pollution and rubbish that you wouldn’t want to swim in it. However, this is not the case in Copenhagen. This city has taken great measures so that its beaches are clean enough for people. It is striving to ensure that all seawater in city limits is clean before 2015.
The capital of Denmark is also known for its excellent organic cuisine. The focus here is on locally grown, seasonal and organic ingredients. After a day of sightseeing, take a stroll to one of the local cafés and treat yourself to a sustainably grown feast.
Nantes is known as the “Venice of the West,” as it is located right on the delta of three rivers, the Erde, the Loire and the Sevre. This French city was named the 2013 European Green Capital. It is one of the most environmentally friendly cities in France and also one of the Europe’s most eco-friendly cities.
Schoolchildren in Nantes are sent to farms so that they can be taught the art of growing their own food and being self-sufficient. There are also green-themed festivals in the city, such as the La Folie des Plantes festival which translates to “crazy about plants,” where visitors can learn about hundreds of plant species.
The city’s current project is replacing cars with bicycles and electric tramways so that public transport will eventually be pollution-free. Why not give this form of public transport a try when you are navigating your way around Nantes?
Barcelona is the perfect spot for a short city break, and this city has a number of innovative projects underway to downsize its carbon footprint. A lot of work and pride has been put into Barcelona, and it shows in its design.
There are also “people spaces” that infuse the concrete urban environment with natural elements. Entire streets, parks and squares have been created to promote “green living.” There is also a biking scheme that encourages visitors to the city to use sustainable transport rather than relying on taxis, buses or trains. Since 2000, solar panel installation has been required by law on all newly built or renovated buildings.
These are a few cities in Europe that are making an effort when it comes to environmental developments and sustainability. They are great examples of how, with innovation and creativity, we can find solutions for sustainable and eco-friendly urban living.
About the Author: Kathy Connors is a travel writer from Cork. She enjoys exploring historic city centres on her personal eco-friendly holidays.