The Top 5 Most Sustainable Cities in Europe
Craving a clean getaway entirely eco-friendly and guilt-free? Here are our top 5 choices of cities that have beautifully intertwined themselves in harmony with the world, proving to be the most exemplary models of how sustainable urban culture should truly be:
1. Copenhagen, Denmark
Beyond the colourful canals and ornate palaces, Copenhagen has notoriously gained a reputation as a society overflowing with ethically-focused individuals who take pride in their clean city and are ambitious towards making it better. It is no wonder they are continuously on the lists of top eco-friendly cities in the world.
Copenhagen now prides itself as the most bicycle-friendly city in the world with 450km of bike lanes available to the public. Today, only 29% of Copenhagen inhabitants own cars and a staggering 45% of people go to work or school on a bicycle- more than Amsterdam! In addition, the city has turned towards a new organic trend in eating, with 24% of total food sale and 88% of food serviced in public organizations being entirely organic. By 2025, Copenhagen aims to become the first C02-neutral city in the world, a feat so incredible that we are dying to go visit now.
2. Stockholm, Sweden
The largest and least populated country in Europe, Sweden holds an ethical gem to the world in the heart of the country at Stockholm. It is the only city that has successfully paired a growing economy with falling emission levels.
Visitors come to see the 14 islands with their gorgeous cityscapes and stay for the overwhelming sense of green community that the city continuously has to offer. You cannot walk far before being enveloped in a scene of greenery as 10% of the city is nationally protected and labelled national parks. Low emissions, clean air, and clean water are the norm here. In fact, the new Stockholm craze is bio-fuel generated from sewage waste to power vehicles. Alternative living is a lifestyle for Stockholm dwellers, and together they aim to remove the use of fossil fuel by 2040. It is the ultimate green society.
3. Bern, Switzerland
Bern’s unique culture, safe living environment, and highly rated environmental quality champion it as the city possessing the highest quality of life. There is nothing not to love.
Situated around the River Aare, Bern’s green spaces, lack of congestion, and water quality are of the best in all of Europe. Locals swim in the clean river every Sunday, sailing dinghies and being with friends and family. Close by is Old Town Bern, a UNESCO World Heritage Sit tracing back to the 12thcentury, preserved to its original quality. The conditions and cleanliness of the city are one of a kind, making it a home away from home and an absolute world treasure.
4. Helsinki, Finland
No other European city could match Helsinki’s immersive nature, eclectic history, and vibrant atmosphere- a vibrance that is completely renewable and recycled, fulfilling all energy needs of the city and giving Helsinki an incomparable glow.
Over a hundred kilometres of shoreline surround the city, creating a unique society of hospitable, friendly locals that are overjoyed to share their culture and green life. Within these shorelines also lies the green district of Vikki, a 23-hectare residential area made of solar and wind energy systems that are always experimenting to find the next initiative. In fact, the first apartment building to ever use solar electricity in Finland is located here. But you do not have to stay here to find something eco-friendly. 75% of hotel rooms in Helsinki are environmentally friendly certified, and those not certified have verification of environmental plans of waste management and energy consumption. It is the ultimate guilt-free stay.
5. Vienna, Austria
Austria’s capital, Vienna, attracts thousands of visitors yearly for their 17thcentury Christmas markets, imperial palaces, flea markets, coffee shops, music, and history. Truly, the list could go on. But beyond the incredible culture, Vienna reigns as having one of the best sustainable cultures in all of Europe.
Out of a population of 1.9 million, 83% of those who live in Vienna walk, cycle, or take public transport to work using the 1,300 cycle lanes the city has to offer. This contributes to the fact that Vienna boasts the lowest C02 emissions per person at 309kg and the best water quality in all of Europe with a score of 91% out of 100, flowing straight from their mountain springs and harnessed for electric power and consumption. The perfect mix of cultural and natural attraction, Vienna proves to be one of the best leaders in sustainable tourism.